Sunday, June 16, 2013

Member, Actors' Equity

My father was an actor on Broadway, for a minute.  I will add to this post when I gather more materials together.  Shouldn't be difficult to do, he kept a leather scrapbook with his name embossed in big gold letters.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jarvis was an advertising man for most of his life, and from the 1950s until he retired he always prized his Clebar stopwatch.

From what I could find on the internet, the watch was probably new in 1952, because other styles preceded it in earlier decades.

My father savored the precise use of words, and the legend "Received from JWT"--that is, J. Walter Thompson Company, where he did his most well-known work--suggests to me that it was not a gift he was given, but perhaps an appropriation he made.

The times on the card’s reverse refer to film frames which he had to consider when timing his advertising copy for radio and television commercials. As a boy, he'd sometimes allow me to watch in silence as he read his work. With his veteran radio voice, and well-hone writer's craft, it was serious business. I’m sure this was long before he worked at Advertising Division, and suspect he cribbed these notes about film frames and times from an earlier card which was probably over worn from use.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Blogging Hiatus

Please read today's post on my Meta blog, which explains my recent absence from these pages.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Motto to Live By

I bought my father a paperweight a few years before he died which read, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re probably right.” I thought he’d love it, remembered the idea as something he’d taught me when I was a boy. (The quote has been attributed to Henry Ford.)

He didn’t like it, thought it was banal.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Brother and SIster

I will be talking about my father’s brother and sister, because they influenced my father—especially Fred, my father’s older brother.

My father’s father died before my father was born. Fred was more than a brother to my father, Fred was the male head of the family—the mother of Jarvis and Fred never married again, never again as far as I know had a male companion.

Marie, Jarvis’ and Fred’s sister, is little known to me. Perhaps others will comment about her here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

70 Years Ago This Coming April 24th

I found this telegram in my father’s folder of unfinished writings—he appears to have kept it on account of a few notes on the back for a play. Mean anything? Who knows?

My father was 23 years old, and the telegram is probably work-related.

So many bits of my father's history are like puzzles. If could piece them all together, I’d have a man’s life, perhaps.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


To what extent should I censor these entries? Not that my father had anything to hide, or that anything I’d write would trouble anyone. But this is not my life, it’s his, and I owe him more than respect.

On the other hand, this is my project. He’s gone, and truth is its own justification.

On yet another hand, this is my account of his life. I’m the one choosing what to reveal, and subjectively spinning his words and deeds and what others thought of him into a story with an arc.

Who’s life is it, anyway?