My Father

I grew up in a little town in Massachusetts. My father was a Unitarian Minister, but I never saw him preach. I was never taken to the church while he was preaching. He was an extraordinary character. In later years, he lived with his son’s family in upper New Jersey and when the roof needed to be fixed, he climbed up on the roof when he was something like 80 years old. He was a nutcase. He was a nice man but when he got an idea in his mind—at one point, he created a telescope so that the kids in his class could look up at the stars.

My older brothers said you could really see them very well. He found the lenses and had the kids in the class put them together. I don’t know where that telescope is now.

When I was a young kid, my mother signed me up for clarinet lessons. I was very bad at it. I was a really awful clarinet player. It wasn’t totally my fault because earlier, when I was a really young kid, I went and played with something in my mother’s house—a washing machine—and I stuck my fingers up into the washing machine and it ground up 2-3 fingers on my left hand. I still have a short supply of fingers on my left hand. I didn’t stick around. Once your fingers are ground up, you have to go home. Scream for your mother or something. I was just a very small kid.