My father and I have always been on separate pages. His was math and science, mine was history and art. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a brilliant man. A real rocket scientist who is responsible for a great deal of the technology that we take for granted today. And I , well, I’m different from all that.
He had great plans for me. And spent a great deal of time telling me what they were and how I could achieve them. What a letdown I was. At one point he was convinced that I was, in his words in the 1970’s, retarded. Until he had me take an IQ test. Same as his.
I tried. Really I did. A doctor. Sure, I can do it. Not. Lawyer, scientist, architect, same thing. Even the business world was a little challenging with micro and macro economics, statistics and accounting. Yes, it makes sense, but only if you don’t ask questions. And I’m full of questions.
So, with great trepidation I entered the field of anthropology. Trepidation because as a college student I was certain that my financial stream would be dammed up. But he allowed it, only because my mother was an artist. She convinced him that anthropology was not totally worthless.
It’s always been like that between he and I. I’m a disappointment and have never lived up to his dreams. For the longest time I busted my ass to either satisfy, or surpass him. But somehow he was always better.
I published a book. But he had always written a journal and poetry and if only I did this like him I would be a better writer. I ran marathons. He ran to work as a young man and if only I would extend my legs a little further I could be an Olympian. Never. It even went so far as I had debilitating back pain caused by structural damage (too much damn running). Surgically repaired twice, but not corrected. But at age 93 he had back pain too. Much worse than mine. Give me a break!!!
So it was with extreme nervousness that I prepared myself for a visit from him. I go north to see him probably twice a year. I combine this visit with an antique shopping adventure through the Carolinas and Virginia. But he hasn’t come to see me since, well, I don’t remember.
He was coming to see my new home. My new home in the country. Would it match up to the place he had lived in for thirty eight years? I didn’t care. This was my house and I like it.
What did make me nervous though was my man-cave. I call it infinity. It’s full of the things that I love. Like mid century modern furniture. Asian art. Nautical artifacts. And no TV. It’s a real fantasy land.
I decided I would just show it to him and hope for the best. I was surprised.
In this space he found things that he recognized from his own past. Sculptures he had created. Items that he and my mother had collected. Things he had never seen before that the thought were his. Some things never change.
But the thing was that he was very impressed. He loved it and spent quite a while in there looking at everything.
The biggest surprise was yet to come. He called me up one day and asked if I had any pictures from my infinity. I said no, but I could take some. What came next blew my mind.
He wanted the pictures. He said that the items housed in my man cave were museum quality. Wow!! Museum quality.
My mother worked in an art museum. I had studied at the Smithsonian. Surely my little stuff was not equal to that. But he’s a smart guy. And had learned a lot from my mother. And the stuff I have collected is good stuff. Ok. My man-cave is a museum – the Alexander museum of decorative arts.
I thought about this for a few moments and decided that if he wanted a few pictures, I would do him one better. Not just a few pictures, but a museum exhibit catalog. With me as curator. Dream come true!!!
Thus, the book was born. Thirty six pages with over one hundred photos of the items I keep at Infinity. The collection is ever changing but as of today, this is a sample. And I’ll give it to him so that he can remember history as he does.
It’s my museum. I love it. And it changes as I see fit. Museum quality. You said it dude, and you know you are always right!!!
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?