Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Father Died

My father died
when I was only
ten months old
and I have missed
his presence in my life
ever since
in more ways than one
As part of the
baby boomer generation
I cut my teeth on
daytime TV
as did so many of
my peers
Those were the days
when TV programming
was still in its
toddler years
We watched
the antics of
Buffalo Bob and of
Clarabell the clown
on the
Howdy Doody Show
We followed the
animated adventures of
Mickey Mouse and
Daffy Duck and
Porky Pig and
Bugs Bunny
with a devotion
usually reserved for
movie stars and
hero athletes
And we also grew up with
TV commercials and
advertising jingles that soon
became as familiar and as
memorable as the shows
that ran the ads
One such commercial
was especially
meaningful for me
This was the one
where a cute boy bellhop
(who was only a year or two
older than I was at the time)
would walk through a
posh hotel lobby
calling for the name of
a fictitious person by
the name of
Phillip Morris

My dead father’s name
was also Phillip although
our family name is
Markowitz and not Morris
It took me a while
(years actually)
to figure out
why this particular
cigarette commercial
had become one of
my most memorable
Every time the bellhop
would stop and
make his famous pitch
“Call for Phillip Morris…”
my ears would perk up
and I would feel
a funny
combined twinge of
nostalgia and regret
And then
it dawned on me!
That cute kid
in the
Curious George
monkey suit and
pill box hat was
really me
(or rather a cartoon
character version of me)
It was me
calling out for my
long dead father
from the deepest
recesses of my soul

Call for Phillip Morris!
Call for Phillip Morris!
Where are you?
I miss you Daddy!
Call for Phillip Markowitz!

Daddy won’t you please
come home?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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