Dad was always a great writer. I hope to think that I inherited some of those characteristics. He always wrote in a conversational style. I remember him telling me that you should write like you’re sitting at a table across from someone, telling them a story.
Dad wrote his memoirs in a book that he finished in 2000. He titled the book “Bye George”. I remember at the time asking him why he titled the book that way, wondering why he didn’t title it “By George” instead. He was noncommital about why he chose the title, saying only that the title was the title he wanted.
Only recently have I realized Dad’s reasoning for the title. He knew what was coming. He knew that he would slowly lose his memory. That’s why he wrote the book – to get all of his thoughts down on paper for others to read and remember before he forgot all of it. He, literally, was saying good-bye.
The book isn’t a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Dad did try to get it published, but ended up printing a bunch of copies for himself that he gave to family and friends. Because of the explicit detail Dad goes into regarding his early life on the farm, how he used horses to till the land, some of the first updates he made on the farm which were, at that time, technologically advanced, a copy of the book is in the Iowa historical society library.
It’s a cherished possession that nothing can replace. I can’t wait for my kids to read it so they can understand what Dad was really like – not like he is today. Someday maybe I’ll write my own version.
As I write more posts on this blog, I’ll share some portions of the book to provide an insight to the kind of person my Dad was.