Listening To My Father: Let The Rough Side Drag

Robert F. Willis (1921-1987)
Robert F. Willis (May 12, 1921 – November 3. 1987). The drawing was made by a Montmartre street artist in 2005 from a photograph taken in Paris after V.E. Day in 1945.

When I was working with my son Saturday I heard my father in my own voice, saying something he would say with surety at just the right moment: let the rough side drag.

On his birthday, a Song for My Father.

I tell a story about him in Not This Pig:

Seven or eight young doctors in training lined up to shine ophthalmoscopes into my eyes. I began to sink after the third resident took a long, probing look. I felt like I might pass out. My father recognized my distress and stepped between me and the next doctor. “That’s enough,” he said. “You’ll have to learn about it some other way.”

My father became the guardian of my dignity then. Years later, our roles would reverse, and his quiet, decisive way of stepping in would be a powerful model for me. Read more.

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3 Responses to Listening To My Father: Let The Rough Side Drag

  1. ms modigliani says:

    I love all the images of your father in your home. I only wish I could have met him and gotten to know him.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Yes, he would have charmed you, and vice versa!

  3. ms modigliani says:

    Like father, like son, eh?

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