My father, International House, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, August 1986. Photo by JF.
Daddy Domino, by Mildred Plew Merryman, illustrations by Janet Laura Scott. Published by the Buzza Company in 1929, the year the stock market crash triggered the Great Depression. The book was a Christmas gift to my father in 1934, according to an inscription inside. The book filled me with awe and unplaceable dread as a child, with its silhouette artwork and hypnagogic, late Art Nouveau feel, something from a time loop in either the film or book of The Shining.
My father sometimes obliquely referred to his session studying at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. I was unclear exactly how long he attended Reed, or when he went there. The time he spent as a student at the college comprised one of the many fragments of his enigmatic existence. He conjured up an atmosphere including bohemian students and uncomfortably robust instruction.
It was only much later that I contacted Reed, and discovered that he failed to finish even the one semester he was at the college, in 1949. He potentially missed the drunken boat on this one, for this was the period of the Reed College Beats.