Melvin Joseph David

1915 – 1992

This page is dedicated to my father, whom I loved fiercely, and always will. I am grateful for the time we had together, but, being the selfish creature that I am, it wasn’t enough.

When I think of my father, it is always in the context of the sea, which he loved. He was never so at home as at the helm of a yacht, adorable in one of his myriad of sea captains hats, with the wind blowing his wild curly grey locks and his eyes set on the horizon, searching for the next adventure. For only in the midst of turmoil was he truly at his best – creative, energized, his blue eyes blazing with humor and intelligence – I loved him most when he was the wildest, I think. Without benefit of a formal education he had managed to hold his own in the world, and succeed. And he never lost his faith in humankind or his sense of humor, no matter what life placed in his lap. Indeed, he spent his entire life trying to learn and broaden his horizons. He had no limits, and there was, at least in my mind, nothing he couldn’t do if he wanted to. I think that one of his greatest traits was the fact that no matter how much he believed something, if you could actually convince him that he was wrong (and he DID have an open mind), he would change his course, 180 degrees and go along with your thinking.

His humor was subtle and a tad absurd, which I always found very funny. If he was asleep when you’d call, and ask if you’d woken him, his standard response was “I had to get up to answer the phone anyway”. By the same token, if he was awake and got some bright idea, he had no intention of waiting till some hour deemed appropriate to call. I never minded, although everyone in the house did not share my liberal views. He loved to call at 5am on a Sunday, filled with some new inspiration – and couldn’t wait to share it. Remembering his boyish enthusiasm, even now, makes me smile and realize what a void his passing has left in my life. Everything new fascinated him, and he was the first to have the latest gizmos and gadgets. So much so that it drove me crazy half the time. He gave me my first VHS (which I still have and use – 19 years later) and my first fax machine – (changed that already) and any number of other things. If he would have lived long enough to really get on the web and do email, I have no doubts that he would be busy with that too. The problems he faced with the most difficulty were the ones that challenged his creative and mechanical mind. The problems of the world became more difficult than could be addressed with creativity and mechanical understanding. How it frustrated him to not understand how to fix something – he could always make anything at all work, until the ways of the world moved so many things beyond the reach of the mechanically minded.

My father had his set of “fatherly” quotes – “SPS” (self praise stinks) he’d say, if you had the audacity to comment that you thought you had done something well. Or, if you felt badly, it was always – “If you’re looking for sympathy, go look in the dictionary, between shit and syphilis” He was human, complete with faults, but I preferred to look at the way he grappled with life, and his unflagging enthusiasm and optimistic viewpoint. I share here the eulogy I prepared for his funeral, and actually managed to get out, without falling apart. He would have been pleased at that- eh, Daddy-o?