Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day from ATA!


Father's Day is one of those sentimental occasions that prompt adults to reflect on the special men in their lives. On this Father's Day we thought we'd post a few words that Wyatt Cooper wrote about his son Anderson and then a few that Anderson Cooper wrote about his father Wyatt.

From Families by Wyatt Cooper:

Anderson can still without embarrassment run and jump into my arms, throw his arms tightly around my neck and squeeze with loving abandon. He can crawl into my lap, curl up like a puppy, and fall asleep against me. Tomorrow, or the day after, or the year after that, he will be a grave young man solemnly shaking hands, keeping his secrets to himself, and expressing his love for me only with a quick and laughing eye or with an impulsive seizing of my hand.



In the meantime one treasures each moment, preserves it, lock it away in memory, and knows that what exists between us tomorrow will be based on the joy, the respect, the truth, and the love that are ours today.



Anderson is a freckle-faced Huck Finn, fun-loving, witty, clever, quick, energetic, and inventive. He should live in the country, on a farm, with trees to climb, a river to play in, and all sorts of animals. He’s very much an outdoor boy. He passionately loves dogs, mice, rabbits, horses – anything that moves, and the wilder it is, the better. He sat on night watching, Sam, his beloved snake, curling around his hand, marveling that this wild creature actually belonged to him, and he asked it, with wonder in his voice, “Sam, is dis all a dream?”



He is a diligent worker and will accept from himself nothing less than his best. Trying to draw a horse, he will impatiently tear up attempt after attempt because the legs aren’t coming right; he will keep at it until he is satisfied with the result. At five he was given a camera, he turned all his considerable concentration toward learning to use it correctly, and his pictures are more carefully composed that those of many adults. His sly sense of humor it totally his own and somehow wise beyond his years.


Perhaps Anderson's father was his inspiration for telling people's stories, giving a voice to those who so often don't have one, as he wrote "At my house, the boys watch Walter Cronkite with us every night and we talk about the rights and wrongs we see and hear.  I don't think it has ever occurred to either of them that their opinions are not being taken into consideration, and I hope that they never begin to assume such a thing."      

*****************

From Dispatches From The Edge by Anderson Cooper:

I was eight when my father took my brother and me to Mississippi to see where he was born. We drove out to Quitman, to where their house had been, but found no sign of it, just some faded bricks where the chimney once stood. He'd grown up in a small wooden house on some 250 acres of farm and pasture land. the barns were gone as well, the wood long since rotted. The pasture, the peach orchard, the cotton fields had been reclaimed by trees and underbrush, buried under canyons of kudzu.

We'd walked around Quitman, stopping in all stores, running into old friends my father had gone to school with.

My father's name was Wyatt, but in Mississippi, when he was a boy, everybody called him Buddy.

"Buddy, that boy is the spitting image of you," people said when they stopped to talk to us during that visit. It made me happy to hear, though at the time I didn't see the resemblance. Now I look at pictures of myself and I see my father's face.



......I didn't know it was going to happen. I guess kids never do. I was ten. My father was fifty. That seemed old at the time; now it is frighteningly young. My father died on an operating table at New York Hospital while undergoing heart bypass surgery. January 5, 1978. That was the date. I still mark it on my calendar every year. I should celebrate his birthday, of course, gather together friends who knew him, tell stories, keep his memory alive. Twenty-seven years later it's still too painful even to try. Too raw. the nerves are still exposed. For years, I tried to swaddle the pain, encase the feelings. I boxed them up along with my father's papers, stored them away, promising one day to sort them all out. All I managed to do was deaden myself from life. That works for only so long.



The day my father died, my life restarted. The person who I was disappeared, washed away by the turn of the tide. From time to time I still catch glimpses of the child I was when my father was alive: swimming through warm water in a crystal blue pool. Playing Marco Polo with my mom and dad. Dissolving into giggles as they get close. My hands reach out, touch their arms underwater. My legs wrap around my father's waist. My mother's hair is pulled back in a bun' my father smiles as I hold him tight. A seashell wind chime gently blows in the breeze. I can hear waves crashing somewhere through the hedges and over the dunes.

******************

Anderson visited Mary Mahoney's in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and reminisces about his first visit there, with his father when he was 8 years old ~

video

On Larry King's last program on CNN, Anderson had this to say to Larry and shared from a letter his father wrote to Anderson right before he died.   "We must go rejoicing in the blessings of this world; chief of which is the mystery, the magic, the majesty and the miracle which is life."  Here's the clip ~

video

And not too long ago Anderson posted some photos of his father to his Instagram account ~



If you still have your father in your life, here's hoping you celebrate him in some way today.  If you have lost your father, may you be warmed by fond memories of days gone by.

AC360 Transcript
AC360 Podcast
ANDERSON

All content, unless otherwise cited, is © All Things Anderson and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

These are so wonderful!! Thank you for sharing. Is there any chance that the old footage of Anderson on Oprah still exists in your archive?

Thanks again!
Joyce

The ATA Team said...

@Joyce, We have the all the Anderson Oprah interviews but sadly O and her lawyers will not allow us to share it. They have made it their life's mission to protect their copyrights, which is their right. Sorry.