Mom informs me that the plaque is now installed on the place where we scattered some of Dad's cremains in the Memorial Garden of the Unitarian Church in Westport. Mom plans to see it for the first time this weekend.
Hi Dad. It’s John. “Big John!” as you bellowed out my whole life...
I have been taking stock of my own life, in relationship to yours, and reflecting on where I go from here … in carrying out the part of your legacy that is mine now to move forward.
Dad, I thank you. You were a warrior of the heart and an amazing romantic and dreamer. I will never forget when, just ten years old, you led our family all the way to Paris, to the Louvre, to stand below one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world -- the Winged Victory –- that all powerful feminine tribute to a sea battle…where you, Dad, told Doug and me of your wish that we would see “her … the Victoire” every morning on our way to school such that we would grow up to be strong and confident men. What an impression that has made on my life … still, here and now, almost forty years later.
John Davidoff and Dad's friend Frances Sink are both quite fond of "Sea Fever," a poem by John Masefield (1878-1967), who was English poet laureate from 1930-1967.
Jacki Davidoff read this poem during Dad's memorial Service on November 28.
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking, And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
Photo of kitchen/dining area of unit at Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, New York, shows courtyard allowing this unit to relate to other units on the block. (Photo by Tina Fineberg for the New York Times.)
There's an NYT slide show of the Simonson-Nover unit. I especially like Photo #4, reproduced above, which shows the social relationships possible in these units, which backed up into a central courtyard. It's good to see that after 85 years, the units are being used for young families -- just as Dad's parents did when the development first opened.
It's fun to imagine Bernie, Mildred, and their two boys in a unit similar to the Simonson-Nover unit.
Wikipedia also has an article about Sunnyside, the neighborhood in Queens of which Sunnyside Gardens (another Wikipedia article) is a component.