Not to beat dead horse, but yesterday three huge boxes filled with files arrived at my house. I opened them up hastily, excited to see the contents. I knew they were sent from my Dad's old lawyer and somewhere buried deep within the legal size folders I was going to find my Dad.
I began to read the names on all the folders. I didn't recognize too many. I looked at dates, 1949, 1951--they went back 60 years.
I sneezed. With the files came 60 years of dust. I didn't care. I kept sneezing as I sat on my knees going through file after file. I wondered if every time I sneezed my heart stopped for a second? That would make a good film I thought as I kept looking through all the correspondences with story tellers from a different time and place.
I knew Dad as a daughter knows her father. I knew most of the movies he made. I knew his passions, his laughter, and his fear. I did not know his business.
I am completely overwhelmed. I have in my house the contracts of one man's life. I had no idea how hard he worked. More interestingly, I had no idea how many times he fell down, scrapped his knee, and got back up again.
I feel like a private detective, piecing together the clues to my father's career. It was obvious that he worked hard for his family, for me. I know that he wanted to prove his success to himself, I just had no idea how hard he worked to provide for us. In the back of one box is his Last Will and Testament and about four files that are called The Estate of William Castle. I closed that box. I can't look in there. Dad is not in those files. Those files are filled with pain and hopelessness.
Today, I am expecting one more box. I am waiting for it like a kid waiting for her first bicycle at Christmas. What I am looking for I really do not know. Dad is in me now and in my boys. But a little bit of him is left in the papers that made up his life. It has taken me over 30 years to get the strength to look at the details of Dad's career. I pull myself way back, far away from tears, I can't afford to get emotional. Right now, in this time and place I have chosen to work with my Dad. He died when I was a freshman in college. It was always great fun to watch him work.
Sitting amongst the small particles of time, I realize that I can resurrect his career. I just don't know if it is my destiny or his. Maybe in the next box, I will find out.