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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: 'Dear Dad'

Susan Reid, courtesy
Elizabeth Hardt is 17 and lives in Canaan, N.H. She wrote a letter of appreciation to her father, reminding him of funny and loving moments they've shared.

I’m sitting here at the dining room table and trying to write you a poem.
We’re leaving tomorrow on vacation together, which I guess would be envious to some.
I was going to copy a Langston Hughes or maybe a Silverstein or Donne,
but then I thought, “Hey, I’m 16!” and figured that I should write one.
What could I say except that I love you and to remind you of things that we’ve done?
Like living in Chicago, eating ice cream on a muddy field,
and watching the geese on the pond.
And walking to the library, you singing a song, and me grudgingly joining in.
You carried me on your shoulders all the way home and taught me how wrong it is to sin.
Perhaps I could write about washing the car with you when we still lived in Chicago,
and here in New Hampshire when Sebastian handed you a toothpaste-filled Oreo.
I remember those days tediously picking rocks out of our lawn,
knowing you would protect me from the bees by saying, “Be gone!”
Maybe I should turn this into a sort of essay,
my topic being love and how you show it to me every day.
Like all the times you held me close when I was hurt.
from crushes on boys all the way to sharp rocks in the dirt.
Then, perhaps, I would move on to roller-skating, for how could we forget that?
You had to drag me along the first time and now I want to go back.
You taught me to blade, you showed me the way.
(Though when I crash into walls, people shout, “Mayday!”)
And as I look back now through my sixteen years,
at all the times you wiped away my tears,
and taught me to pray,
and enjoy every day…
...I thank God that you are in my life,
with me through all joy and strife.
And of you every day I grow fonder.

Love, your ever-adoring daughter.

The Young Writers Project provides VPR's audience another avenue to hear and read selections from Vermont's young writers. The project is a collaboration organized by Geoff Gevalt at the Young Writers Project. The thoughts and ideas expressed here are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Vermont Public Radio.

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