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My Father at Work (written in responce to a picture of a family member)

My Father at Work


An enlargement of a picture taken by a News

Photographer in Cleveland, Ohio on a winter

Afternoon in 1953,.  My father is bending over

A mail box that is covered with snow.  He is

Wearing his Postal Workers uniform and a captain’s

Style hat.  There is so much snow on the mailbox

That the words “U.S. MAI L are barely readable.

A pile of snow swept from the sidewalk sits at

My father’s feet.  The picture is framed and on

The back my Aunt has written my father’s name

And the words “The mail man at E. 105 & Euclid

Says…” but the rest is blurred.


I remember seeing the newspaper clipping, once, a

Long time ago.  I do not remember if it told what

My father, the mailman had to say.  In 1953, I am

Living at home but my father is staying with his

Girlfriend and her mother at their home in the Heights.

I have dropped out of college and work for the

Cleveland Public Library and take night classes

At Fenn College.  My Aunt, my father’s oldest

Sister also lives alone.  She has been keeping an

Eye one me since my mother passed in 1947.  She

Is not happy that my father is living with his girlfriend.

She was upset when I dropped out of college, but is

Paying my way at Fenn.  My father has not offered,

Though he stops over now and then and we talk

Pleasantly, about safe subjects like the Cleveland



In the background of my father’s picture, there is

A store with a large sign on the window “The

Biggest Auto Show” it says in very big letters.

The neighborhood around E.105 & Euclid has

Changed since the war.  The offices of professional

Men that my father delivered letters have moved

Out to the suburbs.  Many of the office buildings

Are vacant.  Soon the posh movie theatre, Keith’s

105th. will close.  More liquor stores and taverns

are opening.


My father is looking forward to his retirement.  In

The picture you can see the wrinkles on his face.

Beneath a corner of his uniform cap, his white

Hair shows by his right ear...  He is smiling, but

It is not a full smile.  His teeth do not show.  He is

Wearing his glasses.  I believe that he has worn

Glasses all his life.  My mother used to worry

About him misplacing his glassed.  As a child,

I spent a lot of time looking for them.  A leather

Pouch hangs over his shoulder.  He will fill it

With the mail he has removed from the mail

Box.  What he likes best about being a mail man

Is being out-of- doors.


When he retires, my father plans to marry his

Girlfriend.  They will sell the house in the heights

And the one off St. Clair Ave. where I am living

And then the three of them will buy a house in

Lakeside, Ohio.  Lakeside is a Chatauqua like

Resort run by the Methodists.  When the old Mother

Dies, they might spend winters in Florida.  They are

Looking forward to the future.  I am not sure what

I will do.  My girlfriends family says I can stay with

Them.  I like my job at the library, but I don’t like

Living in Cleveland. 


Ten years later, in May 1963, my father dies in Florida.

His body is brought back to Cleveland so he can be buried

Next to my mother.  President Kennedy is still president.

Pope John 23 is still Pope.  I am married, living just outside

Lakeside and pregnant with child #5.  All the out-of town

Relatives gather for the funereal.  That is the last time

I see any of them  again.