22 January 2014

Dave McFadden's dad, Bill, turns 100 today!

David McFadden's father is 100 years old today. Born the same year as Nicanor Parra, who is also still alive and vital down in Chile.

I've met William McFadden just three times, and all of them memorable: at the 70th-birthday Festschrift for his son Dave at Mansfield Press's office in October 2010; at the wedding of Dave to Merlin Homer; and at a small private launch party Mansfield threw in the Hamilton home of Gary Barwin and Beth Bromberg to celebrate Dave's 2013 book, Mother Died Last Summer, a journal of a 1992 trip to Europe he took with his dad a year after his mother died.

Bill wrote the introduction to that book. At age 99. And on a manual typewriter. That makes him the oldest writer I've ever worked with editorially! In this video, taken at the Hamilton gathering, Dave reads Bill's introduction to the guests (family, close friends, some local press, the Mansfield crew, the mayor of Hamilton, as well as writers Nelson Ball and Jim Smith), as Bill listens along.

I'll tell you — Bill is about as charming as they get! He is funny, sparkly-eyed, tender — and he also gave me excellent road directions when no one else in the car could figure out exactly where we were in Hamilton. In a booming voice, he also read to the launch guests a brief and lovely thank-you note that he drew from his the inner pocket of his jacket and carefully unfolded.

I wish William McFadden a very happy birthday! I understand it's a cake-and-ice-cream kinda day, with four generations of McFaddens congregating at his home.

So beautiful.

Over and out.


At January 24, 2014 5:36 am , Blogger Jon Cone said...

Dave McFadden remains one of my favorite Canadian poets, as Para remains one of my favorite poets from the global community. Never had the honor to meet Dave, perhaps one day. (I seldom get back to Canada these days) My best wishes, then, to Dave and his father, Bill. (I still return to the Great Lake novels, and one poem in particular about horses and things horses like, such as pretty girls whispering in their ears.) Take care, J.


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