‘As I Knew Him: My Dad Rod Serling’ by Anne Serling

Rod_Serling_with_daughters_19592An excerpt from Anne Serling's book at berfrois:

Shortly after Julie and Rhoda leave, my dad drives back to his hometown in Binghamton, New York—a small, once bucolic city in upstate New York where down a tree-lined street there stands a white, two-story house with dark shutters. It isn’t difficult to find; head down Front Street, straight onto Riverside Drive, right on Beethoven Street, then two blocks and you’re there.

This is a pilgrimage my father takes every summer until his death. It is 1965. He is forty years old. In ten years he will be gone.

He starts the car and waits as we call, “Good-bye.” He is going back, he says, “just for a few hours,” and leaning out of the car window, waves. His paratrooper bracelet glints in the sun. I listen as the car’s tires crunch through the gravel road of our cottage. I watch him go.

I imagine him driving slowly down Bennett Avenue, his old street, and passing by his house, now slightly in need of painting, a little worse for wear. I wonder if, stopping briefly, he pictures his mother still there, opening the front door, seeing him suddenly, a vision she cannot quite be certain of, holding up her hand to block the afternoon sun. Or maybe it is his father he sees out in the driveway, washing the old Ford, suddenly dropping the hose, which snakes through the air, spraying memories my dad can almost touch as he imagines both his parents running toward him in a kind of dreamlike, slow-motion reverie that only this level of recall can recreate.

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