Father-Son Day (Memoir 64, 000 words)

    Paul Karrer, a teacher as was his father, agonizes as he opens a letter from an insurance company – a letter that contains a check for life insurance benefits following the tragic death of his father, an epileptic, in an automobile accident. So begins the memoir of Paul and his father, covering more than forty years of a sometimes rocky relationship. The story deals with cars, fatherly stubbornness, story telling, epilepsy, and the things of life both large and small that matter.
    Each Wednesday for three years preceding Henry Karrer’s untimely death, Paul and his father met to share chores, recollections funny and not-so-funny, and the understated love each bears the other. Both challenge the other to tell the best anecdote from their teaching careers. Although the father taught for a longer period of time and was a principal, the son taught in more exotic places, such as Korea and Western Samoa. Each spent the last twenty years teaching in Central California.

Excerpt page 1


    I hold in my left hand a letter I have waited for, but don’t want. As far as business envelopes go, it appears normal. It’s a typical #10 white. The top left corner reveals the sender – STANDARD LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY. I know what is inside – a check, a life insurance payment. I received this envelope three days ago. It has lingered in its own place on my desk as I avoided it. Bills I have opened and paid, the minutiae of mail I have dealt with, but this…this has waited for me, or I for it.
    “Three days is enough,” I grumble to the envelope as I tear it open. I skip over the letter and stare at the grayish check enclosed. There is no surprise in the paltry amount printed on the check - $50,000. Dad was never much of a believer in life insurance. But it is hard to accept that a piece of paper can evaluate a man’s worth with such a low appraisal.
    “Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad,” I say as my head shakes from side to side. “You never fared too well with cars.”
    It all began with a car and it ended with a car.




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