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Father was the Sun

It is surely different to see one's father – an admired public figure – with the restricted view of a son. My memory doesn’t reach back to my earliest childhood. The dark shadows of separation and a foreign environment lie over the post-war period, but, at last came the joy of re-discovering. That was when the happy times began.

As long as I can remember, I had a father who was always busy, who made decisions. To give directions was his fate. No matter how big the excitement was during the holidays, he was always a loving father to us children, but severe.

We were boarding school children, at home only during holidays. I know that other children suffered immensely in the boarding school. I also felt the dagger called homesickness, tormenting my heart. But it was different, because I felt father’s love and I understood that it was his profession that demanded his absence, not him. Even in moments of sadness I felt privileged, because no other child had such a father full of wonders. This feeling of being privileged has lasted until today.

Father was the sun. His presence made everything come to life. Nobody could resist the passion that emerged from him in everything he did. He delighted adults and children, visitors and family; he liked a good laugh, told amusing jokes at each opportunity and in the next moment he could conclude a serious topic. Father conversed with ease and I have never seen him embarrassed. This gave him something invulnerable.

I was 17 and had fallen “immortally and to all eternity” in love. Bravely I confessed to my father that I was ready for matrimony. He didn’t laugh at me but told me to sit down and he asked:” How old are you now?” I answered:”Seventeen.” His response: “Good. Have you changed in the last years?“ “Yes.” said I. ”Do you want to go on learning in the coming years?” “Yes.” I said. Father:”That’s good. But, what makes you think that only you will change with the time and your taste will remain the same?” I looked at him with surprise, as if I saw him for the first time and I understood that his question was justified.

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