Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Eight Years Hence

My dad died eight years ago today. He was a great man and the world is a poorer place without him.

A classic 20th century American success story, Alvin P. Shapiro, born December 28, 1920, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, rose from his humble boyhood living above Shapiro’s dry goods store on Staten Island, to become Herr-Doktor-Professor Shapiro, senior attending physician at Presbyterian University Hospital, full professor on the University of Pittsburgh Medical School Faculty, author of over 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals, winner of numerous grants and awards in his field of internal medicine with a specialty in clinical pharmacology and hypertension.

He was also a kind, loving, and consistent dad who taught me all sort of things including how to patch a bicycle tire, the proper technique for mixing a martini, an abiding delight in ideas and argument, and what it means to be a man.

I miss him all the time, especially on occasions like this, or at Thanksgiving, or anytime I need perspective, or last year when the Steelers finally won the Superbowl again, but most of all, in relation to my daughter, Mimi, who only got to know her Opa for a year and a half of her young life.

Even when she was an infant, they had a special connection. His first words upon seeing her were “give me that baby,” and no one was as able to soothe her colic like him.

As she grows up, I see more aspects of his personality in her; I mourn the opportunity to see those two connivers conniving together.

The first full moon after his death, we pointed out to Mimi the resemblance between the lunar globe and her grandfather’s round and gentle face.

For several years afterwards, whenever she saw the full moon she would cry: “There’s Opa!”

The sweetness of her joyful recognition was all the more bittersweet for his loss.

Seeing him in her is much the same everyday.


Post a Comment

<< Home