Last Will and Testament by Carol P. Christ

Just over a month ago and shortly before Greece went into Coronavirus lockdown, I signed the contract on my new apartment in Crete (after waiting 6 months for the owner to submit his paperwork). Though I did not realize it until I had been sitting in the notary’s office for several hours, the date of the signing was February 25, my father’s birthday. My father and I had a troubled relationship, due to the fact that he could not accept that I did not “know my place” in a world where women were expected to be submissive to men.

My father and I did not see each other during the last thirteen years of his life. After having received “the silent treatment” for two of the four months when I was teaching in California and living less than a mile away from him and his third wife, I had gradually come to the conclusion that I did not want to put either of us in the position where he could be cruel to me again. When he developed a heart problem a few years before he died, I decided not to visit. Nor did he ask me to do so. Continue reading “Last Will and Testament by Carol P. Christ”

The Blue Organdy Dress by Carol P. Christ

The blue organdy dress was a present my grandfather bought for me at the end of a summer I spent in San Francisco with my grandparents when I was six-going-on-seven. Was this the first time I crossed my father? Or only the first time I remember? My father had asked his father to buy me a dress for the first day of school. I was taken to the Emporium, a well-known department store in San Francisco. It was there that I spied the blue organdy dress.

Organdy is a thin cotton weave often stiffened with starch that was reserved for party dresses. The dress was palest blue and because organdy is see-through, it came with its own matching slip, also made of blue organdy. The dress had a full skirt and a big sash that tied in a bow at the back. It would have had puff sleeves, and if I remember correctly, eyelet embroidery. It was definitely not suitable for school, nor even for the tree-climbing and running around in the garden I usually engaged in at family gatherings at my other grandmother’s house after church.

My grandfather nodded when I insisted that I must try that dress on. It fit perfectly, and soon after he paid for it. Continue reading “The Blue Organdy Dress by Carol P. Christ”

Gifts from My Father by Carol P. Christ

My father was a very intelligent man who tested “genius” in the army. Drafted into the army at a young age, he decided not to take advantage of the “GI Bill” that would have paid for his college education after the war, because he already had a family to support. My father was lucky not to have served in combat. Scheduled for the invasion of Japan, he served in its occupation. I once asked him if he saw the devastating effects of the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Japan. Instead of answering directly, he said dismissively, “I suppose you think I was traumatized.” I imagine that on some level he was, because unlike many WW II veterans he never spoke about his time in the army, and most tellingly, he was the only member of his unit not to sign up for the “extra pay” to be earned in the reserves, and thus the only one not to be called up to serve in Korea. Although he never questioned the US government’s right to wage war, he always told me, “war is hell.” Though he was not at all pleased when I became active in the anti-war movement, I found some of the roots of my opposition to war in my father’s refusal to glorify it. Continue reading “Gifts from My Father by Carol P. Christ”

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