One of my favorite memories of childhood and adolescence was visiting my dad’s office in Manhattan. High up on the 18th floor, it had a sweet view of the tops of the East Side high rises. I remember staring out the window to catch a glimpse of the Roosevelt Island sky tram swooping down gracefully between the buildings, silent and straightforward like the true New Yorkers down on the sidewalks.
My dad’s office was small, but what it lacked in space, it made up for in charisma. Like so many nooks and crannies of the big city, the magic of this little corner came from history. This same office had been my grandfather’s up until his death, less than a year before I was born. When the company offered his position to his oldest son, dad also inherited his workspace.
The office walls were adorned with more than framed degrees; they boasted clippings and covers of Time magazine, cartoon strips of note from the Sunday New York Times, and, of course, artwork from his children.
Once I learned that many of the clippings had been taped and tacked up by my grandfather, the room became a time machine of sorts. I read the yellowing op-eds and photo captions knowing that they meant something to him and his work. Perusing the walls was like a gallery walk, collecting fragments of his personality to store away, creating artificial, but nevertheless, significant memories of the man I never got to meet in person.