Tag Archives: writing about family

By telegram

I’ve been thinking a lot about Daddy, she says. He died in 1992. And sometimes she calls my brother, “Daddy,” with that questioning arc at the end of the word. DadDEE? I find an old scrapbook of hers, of her wedding shower cards. Old pressed roses from Dad are dust in the wax paper she pressed them in. There is a telegram in among the cards and rose dust, sent from aboard his ship when he was a new merchant marine officer, sent from the Newhall Hills by radiogram to a Western Union office. It arrived by telegram on the 24th of December 1946.

Wishing Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the most wonderful person in the world Love Clyde, it says.

I am amazed by look and feel of the old telegram, those pieces of paper delivered by messenger that once apprised people of important news, usually not good. It is thin and fragile, nearly tears at the folds from age. I frame it for Mother’s Day, and when I bring it I think about timing, seen and unseen, wondering if Dad is speaking to her from wherever he is, sending his love one more time by telegram.