Monday, October 12, 2009


My father turns 85 today.

His story so far: he was born in Jamaica Plain in Boston to lower middle/working class parents. He was in the Army Air Force during the Second World War, serving as a mechanic on a succession of Pacific islands. Afterwards, he graduated from Boston University on the GI Bill, that great act of what those fucks in the GOP, the Party of No, would call “social engineering.” Somewhat following his father’s footsteps, he went to work for a gas company, but like many returned veterans, he seemed to feel that the war had made the world so much larger. One day he read an ad that asked, do you want to have breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, and dinner in Istanbul? The answer was yes. He signed up for the State Department's diplomatic courier service, carrying the diplomatic pouch across Asia and the Iron Curtain, mostly, he liked to say, delivering Ambassadors’ love letters to their mistresses. One day he met my mom in Germany; she had come from Oklahoma and Illinois and was abroad because she also worked for the State Department. They married in DC, honeymooned on Nantucket, and moved to the Philippines. Started having kids (three boys; “State brats” just doesn’t sound as pungent as “Army brats”), settled down, sort of, as a consular officer, in a whirlwind of postings in Japan (where I made my appearance), Poland, Canada, Italy, Germany, Canada again, with several stops around DC in MD and VA in between. He's been retired for three decades now.

We're on-island cooking up a storm to celebrate. Happy birthday, Bud!


apt pupil said...

Happy Birthday Matthew's Dad--thanks for giving us to him! He makes the world a much more sumptuous place.

amarilla said...

Well happy birthday to the handsome devil! Holy smokes our fathers have the same nose! My grandfather was in the Army Air Force too, navigating Pacific missions.

Matthew said...

He was in the 5th AAC, stationed in Finschhafen (now PNG) and on Noemfoor (now Indonesia), as well as Clark AFB in the Philippines, and Okinawa, and the main islands of Japan.