Habitual Mood

Chekhov don't read this

I was sorting out a cardboard box of precious memries and came upon an odd little memoir my Dad wrote towards the end of his life. I'm fairly sure he wrote it for a class in life writing he took at the sinister-sounding (but actually wholesome) University of the Third Age. It's a scattershot document, with a frustrating lack of detail. For instance, it would be interesting to know more about the period in the 1960s in which my father (a rather cautious, straight-laced type when I knew him) hitchhiked through Europe, the Middle East and India, but his written memories of this adventure amount to a handful of lines, and he's no longer around to ask.

And look, I say this with all due love and respect: Dad was no writer. He was interested in words, he read a lot, he collected notebooks full of quotations and jokes and "yarns", and he was a more than capable public speaker. But putting words on the page was not his forte. However, he was an unwitting master of suspense. Page 15 of his memoir concerns his time working for a rural branch of a major bank, which involved making "agency runs", ie. traveling around collecting deposits from local branches. The page ends as follows:

On one of these agency trips, I took the gun, yes we carried a gun - I think it was a revolver. Anyhow, I put the gun Turn to page 16 and Dad's in the middle of a completely different story! I've searched the entire thing and can find no further reference to the gun, or where, exactly, Dad put it. Safely back in the glovebox? In the bank manager's face while shouting at everyone to hit the floor? We'll never know.

#family #personal