Snippets from books

I think that the only book of Frank Deford’s that I read (before now) was his memoir about his daughter, Alex: The Life of a Child, a book that touched me deeply.

Although I didn’t read Everybody’s All American, I was caught up in the movie based on Deford’s book, featuring Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange.

His novel Bliss, Remembered is a delight to read; it is as though the two main characters: Teddy and his mother Sydney Stringfellow, are sitting in my living room talking to me.

From the book:

Truth be told, I never knew all that much about my mother’s life Back East.  She and Daddy moved to Missoula, Montana, when she was still carrying me, and so I–and, too, my younger sister, Helen–simply had no connection with that part of her life, where she was brought up, in Chestertown, Maryland, which is on the Chester River off the upper reach of the Chesapeake Bay.

Even if she wouldn’t talk about it, Mom was proud of having been on the Olympic team.  Of course, she was always quick to add: “I wasn’t good enough to win a medal” — and that invariably concluded the conversation.  As I got older and learned more about Hitler and the important political implications of those Nazi Games, I asked her more about them, but she always managed to be evasive on the subject.  The one time I really pressed her on it was when I was in high school and was assigned to write a composition about something interesting that somebody int he family had done.  But she brushed me off again.  “You gotta remember, Teddy, I was only a wide-eyed little from the Eastern Shore, and I couldn’t’ve cared less about the politics.”

It rather left me in the lurch, though, because what I really wanted to write about was how my father had been wounded at Guadalcanal in the summer of 1942.  However, Mom had always told me that, like so many of the men who’d fought int he war, Daddy wanted to forget about it, and so I was instructed never even to approach him on the subject.


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