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-(Stop)-

My dad used to travel a lot when I was a kid. I remember getting telegrams from him telling me all about the adventures he was having on the road. He could have sent an email, or phoned, but he said he wanted me to have a more permanent reminder of him.

December 14, 1997
Dear Joseph–(STOP)- The freeway was shut down for two days last week –(STOP)- There was a sloth crossing the road –(STOP)- Can’t wait to see you –(STOP)- Take care of Mom and Kaitlin –(STOP)- Love Dad

I felt so special, being the lone recipient of his telegrams. He must have contacted my mom in other ways, I’m sure, and Kaitlin was way too young to read at the time anyways. But I received telegrams, and that always made me feel like the man of the house when he was away.

March 30, 2000
Dear Joseph –(STOP)- My plane is going to be delayed –(STOP)- A volcano erupted in the South and the ash makes it too dangerous to fly through –(STOP)- Give Kaitie a kiss and tell your Mom I love her –(STOP)- I’ll be home Friday –(STOP)- Love Dad

Although I glorified his worldliness as a child, I began to resent it in my teens. He’d miss all the big events, leaving my mom to deal with me on her own. Eighth grade math couldn’t have been easy for her to explain. Not to mention the whole raising two kids on your own thing.

February 3, 2002
Dear Joseph–(STOP)- Mom said you played wonderfully at the tournament –(STOP)- Sorry I missed it –(STOP)- Show me your slam dunk when I get back –(STOP)- I can’t wait to see it –(STOP)- Love Dad

By the time I was fifteen, I saw my dad once a month. Tops. Sometimes not even that often. I felt like I didn’t even know the man, I could only piece together bits and pieces of him from his telegrams. My dad misses me. My dad has been to almost every country. My dad works for the government. My dad can’t wait to see me.

August 18, 2004
Dear Joseph –(STOP)- Remind me to take you to Belarus sometime –(STOP)- I think you’d like it here –(STOP)- I can’t wait to see you –(STOP)- Send my love to Mom and Kaitlin –(STOP)- Love Dad

Of course, as I got older the telegrams were sent less and less often. He emailed every so often too, but it was usually just pictures of the places he’d been with no actual message. I was almost finished grade ten by the time I realized that my dad was losing interest in my having a reminder of him.

January 9, 2006
Dear Joseph –(STOP)- Do you remember Tina? She’s a friend from work –(STOP)- You haven’t seen her since you were 7 but she remembers you –(STOP)- We are traveling to Oslo next week and I will be home after that –(STOP)- Hope you are well –(STOP)- Give Kaitlin a
big hug –(STOP)- Love Dad

I did remember Tina. I remember her scrunched up face and angular cheekbones. I thought she looked terrifying, but Kaitie couldn’t keep her hands off her. Granted, Kaitlin was only about 6 months old at the time. What I will always remember more than Tina though, was that this telegram was the first one where my dad didn’t mention my mom.

April 21, 2006
Dear Joseph–(STOP)- It turns out the conference was postponed –(STOP)- I will remain in Oslo for another week –(STOP)- Don’t worry son –(STOP)- I will come back for you –(STOP)- Send my love to Kaitlin –(STOP)- Love Dad

The morning after I received this telegram, I walked into the kitchen to find my mother crying at the table. I didn’t have to ask. I knew what happened. I hugged her cried too, forgetting that I was supposed to be the man of the house, forgetting that it’s uncool for seventeen year old boys to weep, forgetting that I ever really had a dad to begin with. He was not coming back for me. And he certainly wasn’t coming back for her.

September 16, 2007
Dear Joseph –(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
October 1, 2007

Dear Joseph –(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
November 6, 2007

Dear Joseph–(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
December 20, 2007

Dear Joseph–(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
January 10, 2008

Dear Joseph–(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
March 2, 2008

Dear Joseph–(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
June 23, 2008

Dear Joseph–(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
December 24, 2008

Dear Joseph–(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
May 4, 2009

Dear Joseph –(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad
October 29, 2009

Dear Joseph –(STOP)- I’m sorry –(STOP)- Love Dad





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