We just came out with our thirteenth issue and that got me thinking about, of all things, my father.
If you permit me, I would like to tell you a little about him: Edward Wein was born at 454 Koskiosko Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on June 13, 1942. He attended P.S. 52 and Somers Junior High School. Upon graduation of Somers, he went to the New York School of Printing. He became a quick learner and eventually developed his own printing techniques.
After graduating from printing school, my father moved to Saratoga Avenue and Pitkin Avenue in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and worked as a printer’s apprentice with his uncle, David Askin in a company called Skillset.
After working in printing for quite some time, Dad took a liking to advertising and, after studying the trade, got a job with the Playtex Corporation.
In 1967, he left the Playtex Corporation for a job as Production Manager of Muller, Jordan, and Herrick, one of New York’s largest advertising agencies. There, he worked on major advertising campaigns and wrote several commercials for many products including Puppy Chow Dog Food.
While at Muller, Jordan, and Herrick, he was promoted to Vice President and, in 1971, The Wall Street Journal wrote a feature story on my father as being the youngest Vice President on Madison Avenue.
In the late 1970’s, he moved to West Orange, New Jersey, where he took a job with Hank Frossberg Advertising, a major East Coast advertising firm. I was very close with my father. We had a father/son relationship that most people can only dream of. We never fought, and he never once scolded, punished, yelled or raised a hand to me, and despite all that, he was taken from me on April 21, 1981. I was nine years old.
Since that day, I have constantly questioned “The Man Upstairs” as to why he took my daddy away, but I would never get an answer. All I knew was that no matter what I would do with the rest of my life, my father would not be a part of it, and that really hurt.
It hurt to know that whatever would happen in my life, be it a happy or an unhappy event, he would not be there: I couldn’t bring home a date and have my father whisper to me that she’s beautiful and that we’d make a great couple when she was out of the room. I could never have my father come up and see my office at a job and hear my boss say to him that I was doing a good job. I could never see my father’s reaction as he flipped through the pages of this newspaper and hear his input on how the articles, layout and ads looked and hear him say, “I’m proud of you, son”.
What I mean by all of this is that whatever shape my life would take, there would always be one piece of the puzzle missing, and that piece was my father.
What does this have to do with the number thirteen? Good question. You see, thirteen was my father’s lucky number, so much, in fact, that for his birthday one year, my sister Laura had designed a thirteen charm for him. It was given to him before I was born and it became a part of him. Whether he was in the shower, sleeping, or swimming, he never took it off.
That “thirteen” pendant was around his neck for the rest of his life, and now, it’s around my neck for the rest of mine, and that’s when it hit me. He is a part of me and my life. He is here, right now, watching me write this and probably laughing that it took me sixteen years to realize all of this. Just because my father left the Earth, that doesn’t mean that he left me.
Do I miss him? Of course, but now I realize that I don’t have to. All I have to do is close my eyes, and think of a special time that we had together, or smell his Aramis cologne, or touch the pendant around my neck, and know that he is here and he can see what I have done and what I am doing, and that he is proud of me, and the puzzle is now complete.