In honor of August, I want to take this musing blog time to remember my late wonderful father Arthur Richard Krueger. It's been ten years since his passing, and although it sounds trite to say, a part of me has never been the same since he left earth.
But the loss is not the purpose of this posting. The celebration is.
In lue of this, I actually was chosen to talk about him on www.storyboardaudio.com, a sort of online NPR American Life site in the coming weeks. Details to follow stay tuned...
So often you read of the passing of loved ones with a deep sadness....longing....a crushed devastation. For me, it is very sad that he died, yes, but the feeling is more complex. It only 'hurts' when I dwell in his death or the circumstances surrounding it (he passed at a theatre I was working at). And I’ve discovered the last couple of years his death affected me in my other relationships in multiple ways. Very enlightening. When I celebrate him, who he was, the times we were together it is a warm feeling that is with me throughout the day. I prefer just thinking of him warmly in this way. Sometimes, I'll look in the mirror and see so much of him in my features, my spirit… and that is, well...pretty spectacular.
My Dad was such a sweetheart. I took him for granted when he was alive but he sure was amazing. Super gregarious, consistently present and always laughing. You always felt uplifted around him. My Mom says my grandfather (his Dad) was even more of this gregarious ilk. She said he was like my Dad times 3. My grandfather died when I was 6 months old so I never knew him. I think some of the best parts of me come from my father. I wonder if it's genetic? :) Born in 1939, Arthur Richard Krueger was an only child. He had a brother who died at childbirth but was raised by my grandparents singularly. He was an active sports oriented kid and when he became an adult went into the airforce and became an award winning golfer, and played semi professional baseball in CA (of course, who does he have as a son but little theatrical Thadd who couldn't throw a baseball to save his life... but he took it all in good stride). Rumor has it (rumor being Mom) that when he first saw my Mom at the bank they worked at together he walked straight into a glass wall with a thud (which later caused courtship, marriage and a TH-add, not a Thudd). He also was quite the stud dating three girls at the same time when he and my mother met. My Mother being the one woman-man she was wouldn't stand for that for long and quickly put the kabosh on it, telling him "You want to date, then you're going to have to date ONLY me". I can't make this sh** up people.
One of my favorite memories of him was when Hailey’s comet came down in 1986. One crisp summer night we got up at 4am and drove to the nearest high grass hill to try and see it's celestial overcast. There was a palpable aliveness that night staring up into the night sky with my Pop. Maybe now it was more about the quality time I was spending with him then seeing the comet. Haileys only makes an appearance every 75 years. Maybe every 75 years is the rate when father and son really bond...we sure did that night.
When I was little, I also was big on ‘projects’. I would make large wooden Star Wars memorabilia, movie projections, fake styrofoam doors, anything that struck my imagination from some particular movie. I was pretty imaginative as a kid. He would always help me create my fun house toys, collaborating, going to the store with me to buy the materials. I’m sure my intense, kinetic and imaginative brain was a handful for any Father but he never complained. We would create my little dream worlds together and I felt like he understood me deep inside…that is until the giant Mom upstairs would tell us to dismember my new large creations to clear out space in the laundry room (sorry Mom!). Since my Dad died at a theatre I felt a stigma in the Chicago community for years after his death like I was the boy ‘whos father died at a theatre’. I’m sure some of it was self imposed but not all. I think it was one of the reasons I left Chicago (which turned out to be the BEST choice for me) but it was an odd mixture of emotions. I remember reaching out to another actress at the theatre months later who’s Mother had died the same summer only to discover her intial reaching out to me was more of social convention than a genuine interest in our mutual loss. Another lesson in life I suppose. I do know you really find out who your friends are in a times like that and, although I would have preferred to just get a phone call rather than what happened I am glad I got to be with him right up to the end. Or is there an end really? I believe, afterall, he lives on within me.
I miss my Dad. I have gone on with my life some good some bad. But there are times I sure wish he was around. What a special guy he was. Hailey’s Comet is coming back in 2061. If I'm alive I'll be 89 yrs old.....in my rocker and porch with silver hair sipping my anti-oxidant Ensure…seeing it’s bright light in the night sky you can bet who I'll be thinking of then.