Missing Dad


Just the other day, my brother sent me a rare picture of my dad in 1935, when he had just turned nine.

Schermafbeelding 2015-06-24 om 20.36.55

Missing Dad

There aren’t too many pictures of you, dad,

and maybe that’s because you were one of the youngest of five kids—

The youngest often becoming the step children of family albums

when parents have become blasé with child rearing

and weary of pulling out their cameras.


You look younger than nine,

but maybe that was because it was still an age of innocence:

five years before Hitler’s tanks would roll across the Dutch border

and violate that shoddy promise of neutrality…


1935 was a cold winter in the Netherlands

or so I verify online.

Where was this taken? In your parents’ garden?

Or after you had been throwing snowballs

at your older brothers in the Dutch dunes near Overveen…


It seems like you were interrupted, with snow still clinging

to your tightly buttoned-up and stylish coat.

As if you were called to attention to pose for this picture

on your ninth birthday.


The expression on your face is priceless.

Poised and with a certain swagger–

a self-confidence that you seem to share

with my now 19-year-old son.


Your cap doesn’t seem to offer much warmth

and I love that cowlick that seems like a hairpiece that was glued on.

Your face is pale, something you hated, you told me once—

Together with the story that you had tried to use sandpaper

when little, to bring back some color to your face.


Oh dad, I wish we could revel in the rare find of this precious picture

but you’re gone and with your death

Too many things have been left unsaid…


You were a quiet but a loving man with a wicked sense of humor.

I inherited your love of books, reading and art

And wish we could have shared that passion more…


But you were distant, quiet, yet supportive,

allowing me to go to school in the UK and the US

and always asking me if I needed money, pulling out your wallet

to underscore your generosity when I walked out the door.


I miss you, dad, and wish I had told you more often

How appreciative I have been of your unconditional love

Which I’ve felt deeply and hope to hand on to my kids

So they can give it to theirs.


Your boyhood face and flair captured by this picture

that emerged 80 years after it was taken

is a gift you maybe set in motion

from wherever you are…


Seeing that picture after you’ve been gone

for almost ten years now

established a contact and connection with you

that warmed my heart and lit up my soul.

For a split second you had not died at all

but you were that cocky kid again,

cold, composed and ready for the world

And the world you made for me.


I love you, dad.

And I love that little boy…

My dad, my little lord Fauntleroy…



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4 Responses to Missing Dad

  1. You are a creative genius…so full of passion that needs to find a way…

  2. Your description of a loving father stirs up memories of mine…beautifully written, Inez.

  3. Fran says:

    Inez….Such wonderfully memories and thoughts of your Dad. How touching!!

  4. Priscilla Kluge McMullen says:

    What a beautiful piece honoring you Dad’s memory.

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