Light. Joy. Fun. Play. Love.
Everything you need to know about my dad, you can see in the photograph above where he is dancing with me. He loved to dance. He loved fun, music, Monty Python, Asterix + Obelix, silly jokes, dogs and family. He was also quite brilliant with a doctorate from MIT in aeronautical engineering, but anyone who knew him was dazzled most by his extraordinary, uncannily detailed knowledge of history.
When I was a teenager, no matter what time I rolled in, he would be sitting in the living room with a light on, reading. I would walk in the door (sometimes trying not to stumble, ahem), he would look up and say, “you’re home.” Then he’d turn off the light, lock the front door and head to bed. He didn’t grill me about where I’d been or what I’d been doing — either he respected me too much or was wise enough to know what he didn’t want to know— he just wasn’t going to sleep until he knew I was home safe.
All of his passwords were variations on the names of dogs he had loved and lost.
He adored his children and grandchildren.
Below is a photograph of my dad with Kate, his first grandchild.
He was a world traveler. Born in Rio de Janerio, he did not come to this country until he was 22. His first languages were Portuguese and French, but he was also fluent in English and Spanish.
Better than 95% of all the family photographs were taken by him; if his camera wasn’t around his neck, you can be sure it was always within reach.
He taught me how to make a perfect vinaigrette, how to plant tulips, how to drive stick shift. He introduced me to the Bayeux tapestries, gaufres a la chantilly, Mille Bornes. He cultivated and celebrated simple pleasures: gardening, family dinner, camping and music.
He showed me by example what a forgiving heart looks like.
He had the most forgiving heart of anyone I have ever known in my entire life.
On Thursday night, November 10, 2016 — surrounded by his wife of 60 years, his children and grandchildren — my dad left this world wrapped in love, tears and prayers for safe travel.
I like to believe that wherever he is, there is light, laughter and dancing.
p.s. I am offline as much as possible right now.