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Excerpts from Dreams From My Father

September 25, 2011
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I am reading Dreams From My Father for a course. I am posting here a few excerpts.

“‘Your mother has a soft heart,’ Lolo would tell me one day after my mother tried to take the blame for knocking a radio off the dresser. ‘That’s a good thing in a woman. But you will be a man someday, and a man needs to have more sense.’

It had nothing to do with good or bad, he explained, like or dislike. It was a matter of taking life on its own terms.”

“When I got older, though, she would confide in me that she had never stopped dreaming of a house with a white picket fence, days spent baking or playing bridge or volunteering at the local library…

Otherwise, though, the ambitions they had carried with them to Hawaii had slowly drained away, until regularity – of schedules and pastimes and the weather – because their principle consolation…

It was as if they had bypassed the satisfactions that should come with the middle years, the convergence of maturity with time left, energy with means, a recognition of accomplishment that frees the spirit. At some point in my absence, they had decided to cut their losses and settle for hanging on. They saw no more destinations to hope for.”


“But from that day forward, apart of me felt trampled on, crushed, and I took refuge in the life that my grandparents led… Nestled in the soft, forgiving bosom of America’s consumer culture, I felt safe; it was as if I had dropped into a long hibernation.”


“It was as if his presence had summoned the spirit of earlier times and allowed each of them to reprise his or her old role…”


“And I hear him still: As I follow my father into the sound, he lets out a quick shout, bright and high, a shout that leaves much behind and reaches out for more, a shout that cries for laughter.”

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