Father. Fathers loved and fathers feared, close fathers and distant fathers, famous fathers and "ordinary" fathers. No matter what the relationship, he's special. In the remembrances that follow, Times writers tell something of what that relationship has meant.
In genteel circles, my dad would be known as a collector. But in truth he is a pack rat. A human vacuum cleaner. A magnet on two legs.
The result of Dad's many years of stockpiling now clogs his house, the garage and a mini-warehouse rental unit. As near as I can tell, he doesn't collect anything special. He simply saves everything--magazines, newspapers, shoes, cars, clothes, rocks, lawn mowers, furniture, rubber bands, broken radios, bronze doodads, stuff from my childhood, even some wall fixtures from the bookstore he sold in 1972.
All this came to mind the other day while I was rummaging among the boxes that are piled to the ceiling in my own garage. One row suddenly toppled, pinning me to the floor. As I laid there among the spilled magazines, old theater programs, broken badminton rackets, used screws and other treasures, it dawned on me that--God help me--I too am keeping everything.
What an incredible legacy, huh? It's enough to make strong women cry. Just ask my mother or my wife.