They say as we get older many of us become like our parents. To people who swore at some time in their life they would never be like mom or dad, the realization you have indeed become like one of your folks can be devastating.
For me the realization I’m a lot like my late father was surprising, but not
something I regret in any way. To see that little piece of my father come out at times is amusing, especially since I never consciously became this way.
My dad, who died in 1982 of emphysema when I was just 14, was ill much of my childhood.
As a result he didn’t work much after being forced to retire when I was 10 and he was physically unable to do a lot, so it would not be unusual to come home from school and find him in front of the television.
He loved old movies. I’m talking films from when he was a kid — the 1930s and ’40s. When I’d come home and find him watching TV, it was often an old Detroit show called Bill Kennedy At the Movies.
Kennedy, an aging B-movie star himself, would present a movie on Channel 50 every afternoon and dad would usually be right there watching. It reminded him of his youth and he would tell me all about the movies we watched together, who the stars were, what they were famous for and trivia about the movie itself.
He was a wealth of movie knowledge and he never ceased to amaze me with what he knew.
He knew everything there was to know about stars like John Wayne, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Katharine Hepburn — their movies, their marriages, their ups and downs, he knew it all. I noticed recently I’ve picked up dad’s penchant for movie trivia.
Watching a movie with my former girlfriend some time ago, I caught myself rattling off to her the name of a cast member I recognized, what other roles he’d been in and other random
trivia from the movie — stuff I thought everyone knew.
She looked over at me and said, “I didn’t know that.”
You didn’t know? I thought this was common knowledge! I thought everyone knew! I thought …
It was then I realized I was acting just like my father. I have managed to watch a lot of movies over the years, I’ve read a lot about the stars and directors and now I too have become a walking encyclopedia of interesting, but useless knowledge.
I can’t remember my car keys or cell phone half the time when I leave the house, but I can quote lines from every Star Wars movie. I can spot an aging Howard Hesseman — Dr. Johnny Fever from TV’s WKRP in Cincinnati — playing Sandra Bullock’s father in All About Steve.
I’ll bet dad’s up in heaven laughing, saying “don’t say I never gave you anything, son!”
It must be genetic. Thanks Dad! (This is reprint of a View From
here from 2009.)