Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reflections From My father

I have been researching locations that I want the final scene in my novel to take place. Well, not the final scene, but the final pivotal confrontation between the main characters. Living and dead. I have come down to the location of an old cemetery, and a specific one in central Massachusetts. "Spider Gates", or more appropriately known as the Quaker Cemetery in Leicester MA. I already had a rudimentary knowledge of this cemetery from stories my father told. And it was well known among the kids in my high school as a drinking location, ripe with urban legends.

I know it's located on a dirt road close to Worcester airport and is pretty accessible. But I have been yet to find it. Researching the various "legends" and "ghost tales" attributed to it has been fun, and reading the true story behind it is also bittersweet. It certainly fits into the part of my story I need it to. I have been pretty vague about the location of my book. But those familiar with the area, and me, might be able to pick it out. I am sure once I go through and polish the final draft the location will be crisper.

What does this have to do with my dad? Well, lots. He is the reason I write. He gave me my love for books, my desire to write, and my thirst for history.  He liked to read about ghosts, and occult things on occasion, and I have picked up a little bit of his liking of ghosts and cemeteries. He had more books than anyone I knew growing up. And like me, he wasn't fond of libraries. He would rather own his books so he could read them over and over and jot notes in the margins. I do that also.

He was the first one to tell me about "Spider Gates" and the urban legends surrounding it. Some have made it into my short stories. I have been thinking about him a lot today, it was eleven years ago today that he passed. I still sometimes think that if I had been more attentive in those final months, hours even, I could have prevented his death. We had just spent the previous year and a half getting closer and fixing our relationship. (Capping the reconciliation off when he walked me down the isle on my wedding day.) The years of alcholisim and depression were behind us. He was battling different demons in the form of cancer. He fought it for a while, but I think he had grown tired of the fight. Cancer had taken his voice, his dignity to a point, he was a private man, and now he had to let others care for him.

It's funny how I can sit today and pick out so many positive aspects of our relationship, the gifts he gave me,(not monetary, but the gifts of his words) the way he always supported whatever I did. We were certainly better off in my adult years. Just as we had been close when I was a toddler. He was the one who told me I could be anything I wanted to be. And he meant it.

It's funny how perspective can be a double edged sword. My mother certainly clouded some of my feelings toward him in my teen years. And also hindered his recovery to some point. But she was fighting her own battle with depression. One that continues to this day. But today certainly was a day for reflection. He would have loved my novel, and he would get the biggest kick out of my blog. He always said I should have a "computer diary". I keep a bundle of letters he wrote to me after he lost his voice box to throat cancer. They are among my most prize possessions. They show the kind of person he was better than anything else can. He was very intelligent and well read, despite only having a GED.

One day I will write a book about him and his battle with depression and the Vietnam War. I know it has been done, but I owe him his story being told. I might put a picture of "Spider Gates" on the front.

1 comment:

  1. AHHHHHHH I think that is an awesome local! You could really spend a lot of time in there during the day, the scenery would be amazing this time of year! Although knowing you, I'd say your description would involve the crunch of the falling leaves.