It’s hard to believe that today marks a whole decade since my dad passed away. I wanted to share something in memory of him but I didn’t know where to start from the mixture of somewhat faded memories.
Only recently, I have got hold of an autobiography that he wrote before he passed away. I am still reading it and I am finding out things about his past that I never knew before, so I’ve decided to share some of this…
He writes of his difficult childhood coming to England as a Polish immigrant family in the 1940s and how he was sent to a Polish children’s home, where the children were forced to abide by a strict disciplinary regime; only Polish was spoken and any challenge of authority was ruthlessly dealt with.
This was followed by the juxtaposition of the 1960’s rebellion in London and his struggle to adjust to the world of adulthood and find himself. I think this paragraph sums up the era perfectly that shaped this stage of his life:
“Back home Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones were arrested on drug charges. There was a sense that anything was possible. Anarchy was in the air. Social norms and practices that had held together society were snapping like straps on an overfilled suitcase”.
As I said, I am still only in the first few chapters, but it is already reminding me of his sheer determination and strength to overcome some incredible difficulties in his past and manage to turn his life around to become the dad I knew.
I remember him as an avid runner (running over 10 marathons into his 50s); a passionate University lecturer; his love for music, festivals, travelling and new cultures; his cycling and camping holidays in Southern France; how he took pride in his home and garden; and the funny, generous and loving dad who made me who I am today.
It’s a real shame that he was taken from us far too early and he is sorely missed but I hope others who were lucky enough to meet him also share some unforgettable memories that will stay with them forever.