Sincerely, Horace J. Schmiddlapp

The other day, my therapist said, “How are you? The last time we talked, your father had just died.”

And I answered, “Well . . . he’s still dead.”

This is totally a dad joke, and he would have laughed. Every time a celebrity died, he would rail against the 24-hour coverage on the news, as if there could be some update. Still dead! And I’m finding myself doing more and more things in tribute to him. If you care to play along, here are some things you could do in tribute to my father:

1.Sign something ‘Horace J. Schmiddlapp’. I forget how this first got started. I think he got tired of having to sign endless, useless permission slips for his eight children, so he started signing them ‘Horace J. Schmiddlapp’, and no one ever questioned it. Now that we’re going over legal documents and working through thorny issues of his estate, we’re glad he only took it that far.

2. Bring fancy cookies to the people who work at the post office and bank. This was a recent development, but apparently he used to do this every Christmas. I was amazed to hear it. When I was growing up, he cultivated a reputation as a curmudgeon. I guess it goes to show: Just because you used to be one way, doesn’t mean you can’t start bringing people cookies.

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6 thoughts on “Sincerely, Horace J. Schmiddlapp”

  1. I have to echo the first Anna in saying “How lovely!” The reading aloud is just like my dad, who never thought reading aloud was just for kids, or that kids should only read kids’ books. He read us the “Odyssey” and Plato’s “Symposium” when we were kids (I think… or at least hope? he edited the latter a bit…), and I also have a lovely memory of a family road trip when, although we were all grown up, he read us “The Wind in the Willows.” He’s still with us, but has more or less lost his vision, hence the past tense.

  2. My dad does a Horace J. thing too! He always says “In the words of the great philosopher Horace J. Gilmore…” then some groan-worthy dad joke. He has been doing this for as long as I can remember! Is it an old dad thing???

    1. how funny! I bet there was a character named Horace J. something that they both vaguely remembered.

  3. Re: #8, it’s very hard to figure out how to fairly handicap oneself in Boggle. I try, but nothing seems quite right.
    All these things about your dad are lovely. Also, is your brother continuing the online store, at least while he’s clearing out the house? If so, what’s that site (because if I’m buying books anyway – gotta have something to show for quarantine! – it might as well be those!)

    And for some reason I laughed so hard at their stock photo of bagels with the caption “Cookies and bagels remind Simcha of her father.”

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