Debbie LaChusa

Dad loved to read

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This is my very first writing exercise from a memoir writing course. The assignment was to write a profile of a person in 200 words.

The chair sits empty now, as does the house.

The blue recliner positioned just in front of the television. But watching TV wasn’t its primary purpose. Reading was. A retired English teacher, Dad was a voracious reader. The bookshelves facing his chair—the ones he built when I was a kid—were filled with his favorites: fiction, historical fiction, and the classics. But even the nonfiction books I wrote as an adult were proudly displayed on those handmade shelves.

A few years ago dad’s favorite pastime was stolen from him by the cruelty of old age.

Eyes that saw just fine at a distance could no longer master those tiny words on the page. Compounded by cognitive decline that left him struggling to comprehend, he’d try to read and lament, “I just can’t anymore.”

The bookshelves are empty now.

The pages that filled them sitting in stacks on the floor and dining room table as my sister goes through dad’s things, trying to decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to sell. Those stacks reminders of a man who loved to read and who I hope is now reading to his heart’s content, in heaven.

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