Thursday, August 5, 2010


My Dad led a life of symmetry.


He was born in Norwalk Hospital and died there. And worked there as a surgeon for 40 years in between.

Medical School Graduation, 1959

His funeral mass was at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, where his 6 girls made their First Communion and Confirmation. Several of us got married there, too. And all 6 of us went to 1st through 8th grade across the street at St. Thomas school. It’s the smallest school you have ever seen in your life, although it seemed gigantic then.

The awkward years

The awkward years ll

Fun? Oh, we had some fun.

After Dad's funeral the lunch reception was at Shorehaven Golf Club, right where Julie and Jane and I had our wedding receptions. It’s also where Dad celebrated his 70th birthday, where we celebrated Mom’s 70th 60th 50th birthday, and where we attended countless swimming and tennis awards banquets over the years. (Jane won most of the awards).

We sang Oh Mamie Reilly at every one of our weddings, and we sang it at Dad's funeral, too.

Excuse me while I indulge in my parents' love for a second here . . .

There's a lot to indulge in . . .

Norwalk High School, Class of '51

Dad left us way too early; he never got old. But at his wake -- during the four hours the line of people was out the door and down the sidewalk -- the influx of people from the Norwalk High School Class of ’51, from Dad's Norwalk Hospital colleagues, his friends from kindergarten and Shorehaven, his PAs, Mom's nursing and Wesport school system buddies, and from our friends -- one after another who told us how much they looked up to him -- that incredible outpouring made it that much less painful.

Mom and Dad at MB's 40th

We had high hopes for Chapel Hill Quito Girl's medical career

Dad didn’t suffer endlessly, and he died with Mom and Julie holding his hands, and four of his daughters had a great visit with him Thursday night. That helps when thinking about how he died.

Chopsticks with Jidoo

But when I think about how he lived? In all the stories about Dad that have emerged over the last days, the thing that keeps returning to me is that Dad lived a life of symmetry. And my Dad, my expert, organized, woodworking, meticulous surgeon of a Dad . . .

. . . my Dad loved symmetry.


Pickles and Dimes said...

What a wonderful man. I am really enjoying learning about your dad through these tributes. Thank you for sharing these with us.

MB said...

Love, love, love this, El. Although may I please go on the record as saying that I made my First Communion in Seoul, Korea. I didn't join the St. Thomas bandwagon until 4th grade...
Great photos, great symmetry. xoxo

Me, You, or Ellie said...

He sure was foxy, wasn't he? Another great post, El. Thanks.



Me, You, or Ellie said...

Awesome photos! Your parents wedding photos are so classic, so perfect, so old school Hollywood even.

And "yes," to Jacquie's question --your dad? He has that George Clooney look. Or rather, Geroge Clooney has that Jidoo Joe thing going on.

I love the awkward years photos too, although jacquie is so NOT awkward in that first photo -- she's adorable! And Jane's jumpsuit is the bomb.


MB said...

I just looked at the pictures again and I love my Irish Mom at my 40th, all dressed up with a pint of Guinness in her hand! You look great, Mom!

Mom C. said...

So beautiful Ellie - these blogs are amazing, thank you soooo much. I love you.. mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh yeah, MB. Forgot that. *I* started at STAS one month into first grade and, well, it's all about me, if you're me.

And I firmly believe that Jane is the model for LifeStar EMTs. Rocking that flightsuit.


Anonymous said...

This is so great. All the way through I kept thinking I'd love to read the whole story behind these snippets. Are you thinking of compiling a photo book biography?

sad for you in PA said...

Love the photos AND the stories.
Those awkward years sure are universal :)
It was nice to see what Bill would have looked like if you had taken off more than an inch with your haircut tease!
Writing this down is the best way to deal with this new reality.
You really did have an amazing dad..and I never met him, so that says something about you!

Captain Dumbass said...

That was a great post, Ellie. Wish I had your dad's jaw.