Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Finding my father

From a stack of dusty books in a secondhand dealer's in Shrewsbury today I picked up a copy of 'The Lure of the Land' - a book commemorating the centenary of Harper Adams Agricultural College. It's probably one of the least known books in the universe and it's only because it celebrates the alma mater of my father, mother and brother that I gave it a second look.

I flicked through the pages and found myself staring at a picture of my father as a young man, racily dressed in a wildly striped blazer and sporting an equally wild tie. He looked back at me from behind owlish round glasses. A young man on the cusp of adulthood, aged 17 or 18. There was also an excerpt from his farm diary kept in the years preceding the Second World War and a number of his memories of life as a student at the time. Both agriculture and student life have changed, almost beyond recognition.

He died some years ago now, having lived a long and happy life, teaching his beloved agriculture until retirement offered other opportunities.

Peeling those pages apart today was like meeting him again after too long. Such a joyous suprise. I'm glad it was me who chanced upon 'The Lure of the Land' and not some stranger who'd just turn the page. So glad that his words live on - even in this obscure literary corner.

I felt I'd let his spirit out.

'I've found you.' I said ' Come home with me.'


Wipso said...

Thank you for sharing your very special moment. Happy memories of my own Dad flooded back. He died when I was only 31 but what I had in those relatively few years many some people never have. He was my best friend.

Mopsa said...

How lovely.

Lizzie said...

How marvellous, Mountainear! A touch of serendipidy I'd like to think! Fathers can & do have v. special associations for their daughters if they are 'specially nice!'

mutterings and meanderings said...

Shivers up my spine. That is truly wonderful...

The Eyechild said...


That's my grandad..

Reminds me of one day in London when I was visiting Will, and we were browsing through second hand books on the stalls under the bridge outside the NFC, on the South Bank.

Me and Helen chanced upon a copy of Blackpool Vanishes, by their dad, Richard Francis, and at the front a dedication to Jo Will and Helen.

It was sunny. We laughed.