Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A Valentine to Dad
by Lisbeth Eng
My father, Arthur Drucker Foise, passed away more than 20 years ago. Growing up was a rocky ride – my rebellious, teenaged soul often clashed with his dominating presence. But as I matured (and I think he did too), we grew to respect and appreciate each other. I was most proud when my father told me that he valued and sought out my advice, as I did his.
I believe that my love of literature, and ultimately my career as a writer, was inspired by my father’s profession as a librarian. He cherished books. Years after he died, I thought of him as I cleaned out my basement a few years ago in preparation for downsizing from a large house to a small apartment. I wanted to find a home for every book I possessed but couldn’t bring with me. Some were mildewed, or dreadfully out-of-date (textbooks from the 1970’s – the local jail wouldn’t even take those) but I felt guilty just throwing them away. The ones too damaged to donate I left at the curb, hoping someone would rescue them before the sanitation workers showed up. I remembered a story from my childhood when my mother gave my father an unusual gift. It was an old French book – I think a random volume from a long-discarded set of encyclopedias. (Some of you may remember when vast stores of knowledge could be accessed in large, hard-covered tomes and not via the ether.) All of the pages of this book had been glued together, except for the front cover, which, when lifted, revealed a hollowed-out space where most of the pages had been cut out. It was now a “faux book,” to be used as a secret storage box when filled with wads of cash or the family jewels and placed surreptitiously on the shelf amongst ordinary books. Well, my father was horrified and very angry with my mother for her innocent transgression. How could someone desecrate a book like this – glue the pages together and eviscerate it?
But it was while in the process of writing and then publishing my first novel that I fondly remembered my father and wished he were still alive to share this with me. I know how proud he would have been and I would have loved the chance to discuss all the themes and plot points with him. He was an intellectual, and I’d like to think of myself as one too – we enjoyed debates on everything from philosophy and religion to current events and politics. I think my father would also have been intrigued by my blog , “World War II…with a German accent,” both as a veteran of that war (he proudly served in the US Army in Asia) and as a German-American.
So, Dad, here’s to you. Perhaps you can look up In the Arms of the Enemy in that Dewey Decimal System in the sky.
An English major in college, Lisbeth Eng has also studied Italian, German and French. Her first novel, In the Arms of the Enemy, is available in e-book and paperback at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon and B&N. Lisbeth invites you to visit her at www.lisbetheng.com.