Dad was concerned. My friends started looking at me strange after seeing all the images collected. Dad, the constant worrier, blamed himself. Truth is, he really only played a minor role. "What's with all the morbid stuff?" they wanted to know.

The reason sits in front of me, here at the table. It is a book, a cherished possession. Mom and Dad hadn't stayed together. I stayed with Mom. When letters or gifts would arrive from Dad, it would be imbued with magical meaning, because it was from DAD. DAD was a god, far away and never seen.

So in the mail arrives this book. Dad denied having sent it, but I have the inscription on the inside cover, "To Debbie with Love, Daddy Poppie." The date reveals that I was four years old. So what's the big deal? A father sends his daughter a book? Well, it's what book, he sent. You see, the inscription was on the front cover of the Charles Addams' book, Homebodies.

So, what the hell is going on here?!?
in a chair
For those who are not familiar with Charles Addams, he was the creator of the Addams Family, a cartoon, appearing in the New Yorker magazine. (It would later evolve into television and film.)

The cartoons were a mystery to a 4 year old, but the book was from DAD. Every so often I would pull the book out puzzling over the images. What does that cartoon mean? As I matured, "Oh yeah that's it!", would come quicker and more often. My teething ring for my sense of humor was that book.

We laugh about it now, but Dad smiles as he admits to wondering why he had a copy of A Child's Garden of Verses on his bookshelf.