Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Writing about my father ...

Edgardo Vega-Yunque chronicler-of-new-york-leaves-the-scene

This is the piece David Gonzalez of the New York Times wrote. My father fixed me up with him on a blind date once. All I remember was that he had big hair and made me laugh. He had this one source who was an addict or something and didn't get the concept of voicemail. So he would call David Gonzalez at the paper and leave messages that sounded like he thought he was being screened. "Yo man, pick up, pick up. I gotta talk to you." That story made me laugh. I was planning to go out with him again but then I met Andrew and passion ruled for awhile. I spent my weekends riding back and forth on the F train until Sachi broke her arm and my parents sudden, dramatic separation forced my mother to move in with us. Andrew, who had to be the center of the Park Slope party scene at all times, was crushed by the news of Sachi's accident. "I guess that means we won't be going out this weekend." And that was the end of that for me. Sounds callous but I realized I didn't want to go OUT ALL the time. Sachi and I had a wet tissue fight in the examination room while we waited for her cast and we laughed a lot.

In contrast to David Gonzalez's piece the Times put out an obit that turns my stomach about my dad. I did not get to finish what I was going to tell Bruce Weber and so I will write it here: Mr. Weber said he had been talking to the Clemente Soto folks and apparently he pissed some people off or as Mr. Weber put it, "So I gather your father was kind of a cantankerous man?"

This is what I was trying to say before I hung up, in my dad's last email to me he said: "I am a social rebel and sometimes my rebellion gets the best of me. I don't believe I can change and adapt myself to a world that stifles free expression." His free expression sometimes crossed lines and that did not fly with me. I tried to maintain a relationship with him but it was very difficult and I had finally let a man into my life for good. I was making progress and things were good. Brian, my love and ironically an Irishman, is a man who is happy to tell it like it is but he is well aware of who is going to get pissed off. My husband says , The only thing I HAVE to do in life is die," but he is there when you need him.

In the email from my dad he closed with this: "Be well and always remember that I love you always and as you said to me once: "I will always love you." On the last day of my life I will recall that memory and the one when you, at the age of four, asked me: "Daddy, what is he last number?" I said infinity and your mind, it seemed to me, went to the furthest reaches of the universe, examined my response and said, most naturally: "Oh, the numbers never finish."" There were things he did that made him impossible to be around but he was amazing too and I am sorry that I was not able to convey that to Mr. Weber in the obit. Also he would have hated his obit to read "Novelist of the Puerto Rican experience." He wrote about people, the human experience.

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