Durward Wayne Clark
January 20, 1933 - February 10, 1970
This is my dad's senior portrait. He grew up in a Norman Rockwell-like small Indiana town, served in the US Navy, went to college, married and lived and had children and worked and led Bible studies, barbecued and gardened, loved his close and extended family well and died when he was 37 years, 21 days old.
My brothers and I are now 16, 17 and 18 years older than he was when he died in a car accident coming home to our little house in the suburbs from Atlanta. We each talked to him on the phone that day when he didn't come home. Of course I have only the memories of a little girl.
- what he would have thought of today's inaugural festivities
- if he would have played golf or bowled or traveled in retirement
- where his passions would have led his philanthropy
- what books would be on his nightstand
- who his friends would be
- how the not-perfectness of life would have effected him
- why in heaven's name he named me what he did
...and a million or so other things.
My brothers and I have been fortunate to have had two very kind men for stepfathers; beloved, wonderful and entertaining biological and step families who embraced us for real and modeled for us the spirit of adoption which molded our lives irrevocably. In many ways our cups run over.
But I can't help but wonder....
- what his face would have looked like when he saw our children
- what his advice would have been at our life crossroads
- what he and Terry would talk about
- if he would still look at us with twinkling eyes
- if we'd argue politics or religion
- how we would have aged as a family
...and what it really would have been like to have grown up with him as our here-on-earth dad?
Our funny granny used to comfort herself by saying, "in heaven everybody lives next door" whenever she missed someone dear who passed away or just moved away.
I'm counting on being just down the hall, not all the way next door.
So I can get all my questions answered. I think there will be bunk beds and a pink canopy. So we can all be together.