Yes, it happened my Daddy died, he just died, he isn’t here anymore.
When the phone rings it isn’t him, he wasn’t sitting in the brown leather couch in the TV room with the dog watching the pilot episode of Luck the other day. And I couldn’t call him to find out all the parts he didn’t like. He didn’t have a chance to taste my Christmas cookies and he won’t be opening the pool in a few months. He’s gone, well sort of gone, some of him is in a rather heavy cherry wood box on my side table near the TV, but thats not him, though I talk to that part of him sort of.
But he’s just not here anymore and its scary and I’m sad and I wish I was superman and could reverse the rotation of the earth back a few months, a year so I could have more time with him.
My father won’t be at my wedding, he won’t hold any of my children, he won’t start bugging me about Thanksgiving in the middle of September, he won’t pay my gym membership or call me every Sunday at 9 am, and we never even went to get a cheesesteak.
But he will inspire me every day, this is the speech I made at his memorial service:
My Story of Ira
If I were going to write a recipe for my father it would go like this:
2: Tony Soprano
1: Woody Allen
A Shot of Zero Mostel
A Drop of Mel Brooks’
A Hint of Don Draper
A T Winnie the Pooh
A Dash of Eeyore
A Bit of Royal Tannenbaum
Mix with a generous amount of the milk of human kindness, two scoops chocolate chips, a few gummy Bears, more than a dash of salt & vinegar.
Swaddle in cashmere, sprinkle with magic and dreams
My first word was Ira; my mother tells me I would chant Ira Ira Ira Ira Ira. It was my word for everything.
Our early years as a family were what they were in divorced families; every other weekend, the month of August, trips to Disney World, a puppy lots of girlfriends, some willing to play part time mommy, some not.
When I was 11 and my brother 8, Ira became a full time parent. He was a hard partying, studio 54 going dater of models, he had nefarious associates and activities, but we were his children and we needed a home, he took us in, watched over us and protected us. It was a rough road, we were like little wild animals, and he had his own demons to contend with. I’m pretty sure Child protective Services would have frowned on sending your 12 year old to the OTB with a note saying $40 on the 6.10, 22 trifecta in the 3rd and $30 on the #5 to win in the sixth.
I was a difficult child, willful, sad, insecure. Ira had no idea what to do with a pre-adolescent girl; he knew nothing of makeup, earrings and bras, of the peculiar and fraught inner life of a chubby awkward preadolescent girl. But what he did know was that he loved me fiercely and without question.
He went to numerous horrible plays, tried to buy me the right clothes, he accepted my failings, monumental as they were, horrible boyfriends, no boyfriends, devastating heartbreaks and depression, getting kicked out of girls scouts, of college, losing my restaurant, messing up a million ways. When I was so down, I thought I would never, could never get up he pulled me up, he held me up, kept me sane and supported me,
What will I remember of my father, what memories will I share with my children?
I will remember many Thanksgivings, where Aunt Lola hid the chocolate chip cookies; I will remember him singing the wrong words off tune to the same song over and over. I will remember that he brought me to Muppets Headquarters and that he sent a knight on a horse to my school to wish me a happy birthday, and the day he took me shopping for a suit, convinced that all I needed was a blue blazer, a white shirt and gray flannel slacks, even though I was not a women’s golf instructor.
I will remember the smell of Kiehls #1 Musk on cashmere, and a vial of perfume that read Chinese Flowers for Alexandra. I will remember the basketball sound his bell made when you thumped it.
I will remember arms carrying me through the Fire Island nights and shrimp cocktail on the beach at sunset.
I will remember being woken up by a tug on my toes and late night sandwiches, many many sandwiches, really good sandwiches.
I will remember that he never yelled at me for stealing from my brother’s piggy bank, but always yelled at me to clean my room. I will remember the feeling of peace and contentment I felt just sitting next to him.
And I will carry down the rules of the world according to Ira
Be wary of Yankees Fans, particularly if they are not from New York, as it shows a lack of character
Petty theft is a relative concept: it is perfectly acceptable to eat other peoples’ cookies, especially if they are just sitting there not being eaten. Also what is eaten in the Supermarket stays in the supermarket.
Nobody gives a fuck if you’re nice, don’t worry about being nice, worry about being kind; being generous, that’s what’s important.
Nothing good will every happen to you after 2am, fun yes, good no.
Always bet the max on slots, raise your bets if you’re winning but walk away if you’re losing, you have bad luck, You only win at the casino when you don’t need the money.
Never put ketchup on a hot dog or mayonnaise on a corned beef sandwich.
Do the dishes, and don’t fill your coffee cup up all way or your might spill.
Jews don’t eat Miracle Whip or put tomato sauce on mashed potatoes.
Vote Democrat, be who you want to be not who other people think you should be, and always be funny.
Keep your eye on the ball; always have a watch, a pen, a book and fresh flowers.
Show extreme caution on escalators, especially the down ones.
I will tell my children the stories my father told me, read to me. Ira was a romantic, a dreamer, a raconteur, and at times a compulsive liar.
My father told me we were the lost Romanovs.
My father told me I was Cuban, since the original Cubans were the Arawaks I was from Ira Waks.
When I was very young and terrified of wolves, a common threat in a 3yr olds mind, he told me East Hampton was protected by prince, in the guise of the stone monster who would keep us safe, as long as we brought him candy.
My father told me of the wisdom of dogs and children, its good to go to movies, listen to baseball on the radio and to get up in the morning no matter what.
My father who loved baseball, babies, the Marx Brothers, mystery novels, bagels with butter AND cream cheese, who loved difficult women, roasting turkeys, comfortable jeans, penguins, casinos, bananas foster, spare ribs, Moby Dick, travel books, John Steinbeck, making deals, flowers.
My father who most of all taught me that when you loved someone, you loved them for who they are, not who the should be, could be or would be, but who they are, good and bad,
To my father, Ira who was my best friend, my confidant, my hero, who loved me without question or condition I say thank you, I was so lucky so very lucky to have you as a father, I love you Daddy. Happy trails to you, until we meet again.