Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Father's Day, Totti!

Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, January 15, 1928

Dearest Totti,

When you told us how it came to be you served in the British Army after WWII, taken as a teenager from your native home of Belgrade when the Nazis invaded and placed you into a labor camp, I could never totally understand the pain you endured. In spite of the trauma, you managed to continue to love and inspire with your gift of storytelling, music, sports, planting, repairing, surviving.

I remember so vividly the weekends of music fests with your friends of different ethnicities; mommy and you playing your accordions while the music blared into our hearts and souls -- mommy's love of country music, your love of classical and contemporary music, too. Hardly anyone knew Bob Dylan, the troubadour who played the harmonica which you loved to play. You did, and introduced me to his music which forever changed my attitude towards life.

Fortunately, dementia has yet to stop you from playing your favorite tunes on the harmonica, or singing and swaying to your beloved music.

Stationed in Hamburg, Germany serving in British Army, ca. 1948

 My sister taping Totti playing the harmonica, 2014
I remember the roses climbing the wall of our building, plants from avocado and peach pits, thriving under your care with loving eyes and hands.

The days we, your children, came down with the measles, colds, or the flu, you'd be there with your
special way of saying everything will be all right with coloring by number. It was no coincidence that my/our love of art came from those gestures throughout my adolescence.

You taught us history through neurotic outbursts, again, from your teenage days in a labor camp which most profoundly taught me the futility of war. And in your way made me understand not to be afraid of hard work and the world around me.

There are no words that could possibly express how much you've done for me. Everything you've given remains in my memories and heart, forever.

I love you, Totti. Happy Father's Day!

My parents' wedding day, Elmshorn, West Germany, April 6, 1950 

My sister taping Totti singing Bixio's Mamma, 2014

Symphony No. 9, from Czech composer, Dvorak's "The New World"
Father's all-time favorite piece of music, period.

Dvorak's Going Home performed by Paul Robeson

Bixio's Mamma sung by Pavarotti,
Father's favorite Pavarotti song

Blowin In the Wind, Bob Dylan,
Father's favorite Bob Dylan song


Anonymous said...

Most beautiful and heartfelt letter to your dad Petra.

He introduced you to Bob Dylan? Isn't that something. Usually the other way around.
And he still plays the harmonica is wonderful Petra. Dementia is such an insidious disease. May he and you be blessed together for some years to come.

Please wish Totti a Happy Father's Day for me.

Love, K. :)

p.s. Happy Summer!

Ron said...

Oh Petra, what a beautiful Father's Day tribute to Totti! Between your words, photographs, video clips and music videos, this post brought tears to my eyes. And I can see why "The New World" is your father's all-time favorite because it's a stunningly moving piece of music!

"There are no words that could possibly express how much you've done for me. Everything you've given remains in my memories and heart, forever."

Happy Father's Day, Totti!

Have a lovely day, my friend!