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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Letter to Dad, No. 5

Dear Dad,

Hello from Cape Cod. I've been thinking of you a lot here, but I haven't been crying over missing you. I thought I might, because the last time I was here, it was September, and you were failing, in the hospital, and I was on the cell phone with the doctor. He was telling me we had to decide about having extra measures taken if you stopped breathing, etc. I remember standing in the front yard in the dark, listening, and then crying. I couldn't believe you might really die. That made me so very sad. I could not imagine life without you.

But here I am.

I thought of you at the Salt Pond Visitor Center today. Remember how we always went there with Figgy? You loved to sit in the auditorium and watch those old short films about the Cape--they still run on a nearly continuous circuit. Today they announced that The Sands of Time was about to start. We've seen that one. It's 12 minutes long. "They're just the right length," you liked to say. And then you would fall sleep in the theater and snore.

I thought of you when I saw black licorice and dark chocolate, your favorites, and postcards at the general store, because I usually sent you one.

Then I thought of you at Nauset Light Beach, when I was in the water with Anne and Michael's daughter, Nikki, who is 9 now. She loves the ocean! As she clung to my hand, laughing and splashing and jumping, I studied the waves closely. The foam, the churning, the lift, the crest, the crash. I remember floating in the ocean with you. Thank you for teaching me to love the sea, or showing me how you loved it.

The house looks good. The water wouldn't start when we got there, so I called the plumber and then the electrician. All we needed was a new circuit breaker for the pump, so that was lucky. Everything else looks okay. I know you'd want to know, since you always asked me.

Sug is enjoying herself. She loves taking long walks in the neighborhood and sniffing in the leaves and around the trees.

I remember coming here with you and Figgy and you snoring really loudly at night, sawing wood so hard that I could hear you down the hall. I remember hearing you get up a lot during the night, to eat something or go to the bathroom. I remember you making us omelets in the morning. I remember you doing a lot of yardwork. Having fried fish once a trip, from Arnold's.

I remember the mid-90s, when Figgy was a baby, and you were strong enough to walk all the way to the beach while I pushed her in the stroller. 

Dad, I can't thank you and Mommy enough for the gift of this house, this air, this ocean, this nature, this Cape. I hope that as long as I live, I will always be able to tap into and cherish the way it makes me feel. I'm hoping Sis and Don will come up in the fall, and maybe I can join them. I never tire of being here.

I hope and pray that you are somewhere light and peaceful. I felt your presence at the sea--maybe you are there. Today it was calm and beautiful.

Dad, even though you are not here on earth with us anymore, I hope you are still on our side. I can't bear to think that we have to face our lives without your humor, intelligence, wit and wisdom. And your optimism. I miss that so much. Please, Dad, watch out for our Figgy. Let her know that she is always loved and always strong.

Good night.

Love always, Alice

  1. Slept and rested.
  2. Breathed in salt air, drew in big deep breaths, to remember it.
  3. Biked to beach and back with Anne and Nikki.
  4. Ordered a side of steamed veggies with my fried oyster po'boy at Mac's in Wellfleet.
  5. About to read--yay. Probably book of Cape Cod stories.


  1. Alice - that is beautiful. Hope you have a wonderful time in that very special place.

  2. Alice sweet letter to your Dad of places he loved on the cape.of course he is there with you,always.
    I have a watercolor purchased many years ago called The House on Old Salt Pond,it was owned by a Dr.Richardson of Boston.The picture is really lovely and if we ever meet for lunch or something I will bring it along.
    Love reading your posts.
    Regards Aunt Ann

  3. Hi Lisa...thank you. Hope to see you soon! Hi Aunt Ann. Thanks for the note. I would love to see the watercolor of The House on Old Salt Pond. I know a Richardson family who HAS a house on Old Salt Pond... it's a family I know in Montclair, and the Cape house has been in their family for a long time...i'm going to forward your note to them....that might be their relative--who knows? love alice xoxoxo