Autumn in Rhode Island – 1980
Fathers think they know most everything they need to know about their kids. Until one day they learn something which both surprises and astonishes them because it seems so out of character. At least the character he perceived.
My younger daughter turned 35 years old a few months ago. She is happily married to the man she met at a Halloween party in college. He was the guy laying in the casket when her older sister introduced them. Sis knew they were made for each other!
These two are Guinevere and Lancelot. Two perfect soul mates.
My younger daughter was a fine arts major in school. Graduated Summa cum Laude from Monmouth University and won the Art Department’s prize for best artist. In her spare time. she writes reviews of weird Japanese and American grunge bands and edgy indie films for shriek fanzines both in the U. S. and in Italy. She gets interviews with the band members on line and asks all the right questions. They are always surprised that, not only has she heard of them but she knows so much about them, their music and musical influences.
Her full time job involves running a computer driven industrial grade engraving machine. She likes the work because it allows for a bit of artistry in design while she can still leave it at the office/factory at 4:00 PM.
Both she and her husband are au courant on the latest pop culture phenomena and have opinions on all of it. They are out to the theater, new movies, new restaurants, local and visiting bands and the occasional drag show.
On Halloween they go to the Spooky Empire Fest in Orlando and hang out with others just like them. Costumes and all. Having breakfast with Elvira. Happy as the proverbial clams.
They work everyday (he works in healthcare with the mentally challenged), pay their bills, own their own condo, avoid credit card debt and live down low as far as fixed expenses are concerned. She survived a period of unemployment, looked everyday for a job until she found one and they did just fine with her unemployment insurance.
While progressive in politics, it just never dawned on me that she did anything special other than vote.
Then one day I learned something I never knew about her.
She drove to my house awhile back and I happened to be outside as she pulled up. On the front license plate mount of her car was a blood donor plaque. “2 Gallons”.
“You are a blood donor?”
“Two gallons?!” said I incredulously.
“That’s very old pops.” She’s got a 10 gallon plate and a plaque now.
“Besides now I give platelets”
Until recently, the only way to collect enough platelets for a single transfusion was to take units of blood given by 5 to 10 donors, separate the platelets from the other blood cells using a centrifuge and combine the platelets.
Today, sophisticated medical equipment – blood cell separators – can collect enough platelets for a transfusion from a single donor. The separator automatically removes platelets from the blood and returns the remainder of the blood to you.
Specially trained nurses and staff conduct the procedure while you relax, watch TV or read. The entire process takes about two hours.
Most patients undergoing a bone marrow transplant, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment or an organ transplant need donated platelets in order to survive
Platelets must be transfused into patients within 5 days so there is always a need. While platelets can be removed from whole blood donations it would take 5 to 10 pints to yield the same amount of platelets from a single platelet donor.
“When did you become a blood donor?” asks an astounded father.
“Years ago pop. It’s something I can do for others that doesn’t cost me anything but a couple of hours of spare time. Besides, it makes me feel good”.
Some very sick people got my daughter’s platelets.
So my daughter, with the somewhat eccentric cultural taste, who listens to the weird music and writes reviews for shriek fanzines does what she can. Daddy learned something new about his kid nobody would have ever guessed. I certainly never would have guessed.
She has quietly donated her platelets and whole blood for years. Without a word to me, her sister or her aunts and uncles. She has a good soul.
And her father now looks at her with a new esteem.
Her elder sister is Assistant States Attorney in the county where she lives and spends her days prosecuting domestic abuse cases and working with battered women. She too is happily married. More about her in another post.
Makes you feel like their mom and dad did a good job.
Makes this old man feel good. They call me everyday.