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Unstuck in Time

Kurt Vonnegut


Dear Lili,

My favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, describes in his book Slaughterhouse-Five becoming “unstuck in time,” in which the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, finds himself uncontrollably shifting between the past, present, and future. This is the position I find myself in now. To me, you exist as the sweet young girl who loved her Daddy so much, the beautiful young woman you have now become, and the someday parent who understands how a man in my unenviable position in space and time now feels, cut off from his only child despite every intention and effort available to him to reunite with her. And yet, while all of these manifestations of you somehow exist simultaneously, to me none of them do. All of the “yous” that I can remember or imagine are unattainable to me.

It’s all very confusing. I’ve struggled all of these years to understand what happened to you and me — to us — and sometimes I have to just resign myself to the fact that I may never truly understand the strange and unfortunate course our lives have taken.

I wish I could just talk to you, to help you to understand the reality of what took place in my brief marriage to your mother. No doubt, you have heard one version of the events. Someday, I pray, you will seek out my side of the story, to at the very least recall the memories that you yourself have of what my relationship with you really was all about. We used to be so close, and it pains me immeasurably that that bond we once shared has been severed.

You are always in my heart. Always have been. Always will be.

Love,

Dad

Dear Lili,

As I guess you know, both your Poppie and Nonnie served in the military during World War II. Poppie was in the Army Air Corps (now the Air Force) and rose to the rank fo Major. Nonnie was in the WACs (Women’s Army Corp) and served as First Lieutenant.


Poppie and Nonnie met in England during the war




Poppie with brothers Dick and Val


Poppie is with his outfit on the far right, bottom, kneeling


Many years later, Poppie wrote a bunch of stories about his experience while he was stationed in England during the war. Your Uncle David scanned his book for me, so I want to share it with you.

Poppie’s Vignettes PDF File (Click on the icon after clicking here)

You are always in my heart!

Love,

Daddy ❤

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, Lili!

I hope you are well and happy. I think about you every day. A daughter remains forever in her father’s heart, no matter how many years have passed or whatever distance has grown between them.

As always, I wonder what gift I can give you now. And the only thing I know I can do is to post here and share with you memories of times gone by.

2003 was our last Christmas together. We were supposed to spend 10 days together, but a doctor’s appointment was reason enough to shorten our time together to just a couple of days. I had so looked forward to spending more quality time with you, but it was not to be.

Still, we managed to have fun together, and it is a memory I will cherish forever, like all of the other memories I have of you that I hold close to my heart in my “memory box.”

Again, I make my New Year’s wish that this will finally be the year when you and I are reunited.

You are always in my heart.

Love,

Daddy

 

 




 

 

Dear Lili,

Wow! 22 years old. And here I am, an old man just turned 62. How time flies.

I think about you every day and wonder how you’re doing. And, as always, I hold out hope that one day I will see my beautiful daughter again.

Until then, you are always in my heart.

Love always,

Your Dad 

It occurred to me that you don’t know much about my childhood and younger years. So here is a PowerPoint that I made for my students. (Click on the link and then on the image on the next page.)

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Self-Introduction

Real Courage

 

Dear Lili,

I knew I was going to lose before I went to family court. I never stood a chance against the Japanese “justice system.” But I fought for you nonetheless. For two and a half years. Just wanted you to know. 

Your Dad ❤

Why?

Dear Lili,

I hardly know what to say to you anymore sometimes. It’s been over eight and a half years since I started this blog for you, hoping that one day you would become old enough to understand on your own that the special love a father has for his daughter can never be broken, and that no matter what happens, no matter how many years pass by, those feelings remain, and will remain, until my very last days.

Christmas was always a special time for us. I don’t know what you remember about those times, but I remember everything. I pray with all my heart that you too will remember the happy times we shared, not only at Christmas time but every day that we spent together.

I don’t know why you haven’t contacted me yet. I put up this blog hoping one day you would stumble across it and reach out to me. But of course you must have seen it by now. How could you have not found this or my Facebook page by now? And yet, we remain apart.

Yes, I could have contacted you before now. I know more about you than you might imagine. And yet I have refrained out of respect for your privacy, and for other, more legal reasons that prevent me from doing so. Again, you may understand those reasons as well someday.

And so, another year passes, and another Christmas “letter in a  bottle.” Merry Christmas, my daughter.

You are always in my heart.

Your Dad ❤

Dear Lili,

So many years have passed since you last saw your Texas cousins in August 2003. Of course, they’re all young adults now like you. They all miss you and hope that they can see you again someday.

I thought you might like seeing what they look like now. You never met your youngest cousin Manon, who you’ll see on the bottom left.

Here are the “Then and Now” pictures. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Sarah Douglass, Dante, Athene, Lili, and Ariel
doing ballet at Uncle Peter’s house in Houston
August 2003

Ariel, Sarah Douglass, Dante (standing)
Manon, Athene (front)
Thanksgiving 2019

 

Love always,

Dad ❤ 

 

Dear Lili,

Today is Veterans Day. Both of your grandparents proudly served their country during World War II.

Love,

Daddy ❤

Lieutenant Gertrude Maire Kotz and Major Philip Del Vecchio,
stationed England during the war


Major Philip Del Vecchio (right) with brothers Dick and Val


Your grandparents on their wedding day


Your Nonnie, Lt. Gertrude Marie Kotz,
one of the first enlistees in the new Women’s Army Corps

 

Poppie (bottom right) with his crew

The Art of Life