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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Re: What was My Dad Thinking?
In Response To: What was My Dad Thinking? ()

Dear George:

How often do we push away from endless analysis of census records? Yes, they confirm our ancestors’ “domicile”, the names of people living in the “household”, their “occupation” and “date of birth”. It's no wonder that we weary from such data. It tells us very little about how they lived, and what they thought.

Your memories, your “wonders” inspire the Afrigeneas Writer to continue to pen their family and ancestors’ histories. Equally important are our own personal musings. Our words become family history as soon as we write them.

Below are some of my comments about “ Musings”. My remarks are in parenthesis.

I Wonder as I Wander; Musings from the African Diaspora ?by George A. Geder

William Emmett Geder ?1903-1977

What was My Dad Thinking?

The safest I ever felt was laying (lying) in bed between my parents. Dad figured that age five was the cutoff point. One night he tied a monster balloon near the cracked window, woke me up pointing to the swaying dragon, then turned on the lights and asked me what the hell was I afraid of.

On Saturdays, my Dad would take me from one end of Binghamton, New York to the other where Philadelphia Sales, the poor people's discount store, was located. I would lead and occasionally look back to make sure he was keeping up. Shopping took minutes. We headed back towards the center of town, to Milton's Grill. (Description of distance? Did you live far away from Philadelphia Sales? Suggestion: Can you develop this more? Just in a sentence or two)

(I would begin the new paragraph with:
We headed back towards the center of town, to Milton's Grill.) Comic books, orange sodas, my own private booth; compliments of Tony the bartender. Dad was 'belly-to-the-bar', (end of sentence) I was seven years old, and it was 1958. Sometime in the afternoon, Dad would finally put me on the Conklin Ave bus returning me back to the (add other) end of Binghamton, New York with packages for Mom to inspect.

Dad did not talk a lot. I don't remember having long talks with him. He was usually brief and to the point. However, (leave out However) I could tell that there were many things on his mind. It just never occurred to me to ask him. By November of 1977, it was too late. He had passed away.

Everyone told me he was a fantastic piano player. He led many orchestras and bands in his prime. (Can you give the names of a few? It would give some “color” to his musical talent) I only knew (remember) his playing from the holiday gigs, dance recitals and private parties. (Expand a bit on interesting gigs, recitals etc) (Link the following sentence to your remembrance when he no longer played because of arthritis) By then he was in the throes of arthritis. When I was five we moved, and Dad didn’t take the baby grand piano.

My fourth grade teacher asked me where did I learn to write music like that. It was Dad's turn-of-the-century song encyclopedia, but I didn't tell her that. (Why didn’t you tell her that?) (Can you expand this next sentence or tighten it? ) It could have been his own music had he not given up his passion in order to raise a family at the far end of Binghamton, New York.

The 1930 federal census for Syracuse, NY enumerated Daddy as the conductor of an Orchestra. This is three years before Pearle Hancock took his hand in marriage in Rochester, NY. Between 1935 and 1939 my two sisters and brother came along with hard times. I didn’t show until 1951. My siblings were thrilled with that.

Was Dad thinking about the images of his Ancestors in the hidden photo album? Mom, born and raised in Williston, South Carolina with childhood memories of lynched, shot, and murdered uncles didn't want any reminders of the past hanging around her house. She would have thrown that album out in a fit of spring cleaning. (Did she throw it out? Expand on why Dad and Mom's connection to the album)

His Dad, Emmett Moore Geder, passed in 1944; his Mother, Beulah Stevenson, in 1910. I will never know about them. I never asked, he never told. Dad stayed with me while my oldest sister, his care taker (caretaker), vacationed in Africa.

(Make the sentence below a new paragraph)
I could have asked while shaving him or fixing his meals. What was I thinking?
"Daddy, eat your carrots, doctor's orders" ?"When did your sister become a doctor?" ?"You know she's gonna ask and I cannot tell a lie."

So Mr. Geder, you’ve written an intriguing memory. I like your writing style…short, tight, descriptive sentences. They force the reader to visualize and connect to your subject.

Your writing "Voice" reminds me of an off-camera voice in a 1940’s “film noire” movie.

Bravo

Write Away


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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