Café Crem

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Dealing with Dad

By Kev Moore

Dad Royal Navy

 

Well, the time for this topic is drawing to a close, so it’s time I grasped the nettle and spoke about the relationship with my Dad.

 

Born in Matlock, Derbyshire in the thirties, he took the name of his father, George, and was christened George Vernon Moore. Almost immediately he became known as Vernon to everybody.

 

He joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman at the age of 15, and was sent away to Crail in Scotland to begin training that would send a shiver down the spine of most kids today.

 

He rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer, and left after 9 years service. I am absolutely convinced that this period of his life has shaped everything he is, and everything he has ever done. It has helped him in crises, such as the death of my Mother, when he fell into a regimented routine which he has followed for 22 years. His distress at any deviation from this routine is funny, frustrating, and sad.

He once asked my sister to accompany him Christmas shopping. (they live around the corner and do so much for him) Kaz told him she would make time when she was free, being a busy mother of two and with her own Xmas arrangements to make. He said, he needed to go later that afternoon, because he played snooker at the club between 1 and 3. She went bananas with him, and told him to stop being selfish. But you see, Dad’s routine is everything, and you have to fit around it. It is impossible for me not to draw a sarcastic comment from him if I don’t get up at 8am in his house, it’s almost funny, but becomes depressing.

 

It shapes his view of the world, his intolerance for lawlessness, his lack of liberalism. He would, even now , in his 70’s tackle yobs on the street if they were misbehaving. This, I don’t mind telling you, is a worry. If I was to pinpoint one visible positive from those years, it is his posture. For an old chap, he walks proudly, ramrod straight.

 

He has almost no capacity for change, a situation he encourages by choice, as he was a skilled electrical instrument mechanic. But he takes a perverse pride in ignoring the benefits of computers, email, mobile phones, DVD and video players. When he does get email, he prints them all off as hard copy. He bemoans the demise of the written word, which is laudable, but fails to see the benefits of email. I told him I’d written a short piece on the net about Benazir Bhutto, and he asked “why?” It is precisely this attitude in him that drives me crazy.

 

He is also incapable of showing love to me. He can do it to my sister a little more easily, I suspect, but he would never hug me, and would be decidedly uncomfortable if I moved to hug him.

 

I think he judges me by his own standards, and I am my own man. I hope I don’t judge my children the same way. I still believe that he thinks I failed by not having a “proper job”, despite the fact that I have performed all over the world on stage and television, been received by royalty, met and worked with my heroes and enjoyed such privileges as being given private viewings of Lenin’s tomb.

 

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Her name is Cynthia. My Father never entertained the idea of another woman after my Mother fell victim to cancer, save one lady , some 10 years ago, who, with cruel irony, went the same way in short order.

 

Cynthia runs the League of Friends Hospital shop where my Dad does voluntary work. She is a sandwich short of a picnic, and hilarious. She takes great delight in puncturing his pomposities, and enjoys putting him on the spot. Example: “What was that film we watched the other night, Vernon? It was almost pornographic, shouldn’t be allowed!” Cue my Dad, spluttering trying to maintain his legendary naval composure.

 

Cynthia came into his life at a fortuitous time. Quite by chance, an aortic aneurism had been discovered in his abdomen, which, without swift surgery, would have resulted in certain death. I glimpsed for the first time in him, a mortality, and worry. I didn’t see fear, but to see him worried this way….

 

Cynthia was incredible. She was there for him every day, she cooked his meals. More importantly, I think she gave him a tangible reason to come out the other side. I think for the first time in 22 years, he saw a future. Indeed , the operation was a success, and his life is so different now. They have dinner parties, go off on weekend breaks, have season tickets for the football. All this has transformed Dad, and slowly, very slowly, his edges are being rubbed away. But every now and then, he still slips back into the old self. He has never, ever, lent me his car, or let me drive it for instance. I have driven more miles, more vehicles and in more countries than most people, but I am still the wayward son.

 

Quite out of the blue, between Christmas and New Year, when I was over doing a show in the UK, he offered to drive me up to Sheffield, so we could meet my son half way from his home on Wakefield for a few hours. I was amazed, and thankful. But it’s a double-edged sword. Of course its wonderful that he agreed to do it, but isn’t it awful that I am so grateful for it, when he should be doing that for his Grandson all the time?

 

And you know what? Despite this generational war we wage, I love him.

Photos: 1)Dad in the Royal Navy, HMS Osprey,Weymouth. 2) Dad and Miki in his garden, Mickleover, Derby. 3) Dad and I, outside his house last summer.

dad-and-miki.jpg

 

Dad and I

 

January 23, 2008 Posted by | Art, family, love, men, Parents and Children, personal, photo, writing | , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Father to Son

Corey 

So, its time to write about my boy. He’s 15, 16 on Feb 28th (nearly a leap year baby and less birthday presents, damn!) and he arguably had a tougher time when I divorced than his sister as he was a lot younger. He had to move to Spain with his mother, (I was living in the UK at the time) and suffered terribly trying to learn the language and keep up with his studies in a Spanish only school. His mother’s relationship over here collapsed and they returned to the UK.  I was instrumental in getting him into the right school back in Yorkshire. For the first year or two, he struggled. I’d moved out to Spain, he was so far behind in Maths, (a natural ineptitude inherited from yours truly) and I was worried about him. But then, almost while my back was turned, he seemed to develop a resolve (which I firmly believe he learnt from his time in Spain)  His grades improved, he became a thoughtful young man, he has a very clear mind. He formed his own band, regularly chasing promoters and setting up their own gigs. He has a steady girlfriend who I think helps keep him focussed. He is totally on top of schoolwork, excells in Music and Drama, and is completely bemused by his sisters recent escapades.  I think he is a true friend to her, and will be a great asset to her in her road to peace.  I love him, and my daughter of course, very much,  but the curse of the parent is such that one can’t help seeing her at 22 and thinking, was she okay at 15, and will it go wrong for him? But the truth is, she had problems with anorexia at 13/14..if there was an anxiety written about in a teen mag, she was up for it.  She has more bravado, but is flawed beneath the surface. He has a greater strength of character, and I know he will make his mark in the world, ironically, setting an example for his older sister.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | events, family, friends, health, life, love, men, Parents and Children, personal, school, writing | , , , , , | 9 Comments