Friday, August 10, 2007

Gary Cooper and My Father...

My Dad as a young Mid-Western bachelor My father always thought he looked a little like the movie star Gary Cooper. Putting this post together I can see a resemblance.

Gary Cooper from all angles"Coop" was the strong, silent type.
And my dad certainly had his quiet moments.
Plus my dad owned The Princess Movie theater in a small town in Iowa during the Depression, so he had plenty of chances to keep an eye on Coop. 

My father was 6'2" tall with green eyes, red hair and freckles. Here he is, looking ever the proud groom when he married my mother, a city slicker from the East.

My father's motherHis mother died when he was just 16, so he ran away from home (Iowa).He joined the Royal Canadian air force and flew crates over France.He never got to go to college but he loved to recite Walt Whitman and other poets from memory.

Cowboy Actor Gary Cooper Like me, he had a varied work life. He won ice skating contests, rolled logs, sold ladies shoes until a jilted date walked in the front door and he ran out the back
. My father and I dancing He was a terrific dancer and he won my Mom's heart on the dance floor. I was supposed to be a boy, "Charles". So I went with my dad on fishing jaunts, to baseball games and the hardware store. I loved learning to put a worm on the hook and eating ballpark hotdogs. I still love snooping around hardware stores and pastry shops.

My parents My parents used to fight over my future - what would I do when I grew up.
mother wanted me to go to art school, actually fashion design school in fact. My dad nixed that. I could only go if I became an art teacher. I was not consulted...
If they only knew how I've run the gamut

Pumpkin and me, my dad and nieces, Anabel and Louisa An old generational photo - me, my dog Pumpkin, my father and my two petites nieces, Anabel and Louisa. Recently I found an old letter my dad wrote me a few years before he died.

Dear Carol,

Just a note to say all is well including Pumpkin(my poodle), who is enjoying the cool sea breezes. Your itinerary sounds very exciting (I was in North Africa researching a book on souks) and I am sure that you will have a grand time along with your work.
I am so proud of you to have accomplished all of this on your own. I realize how hard it is to break in, in New York, as competition is so keen. You're well on the way and things will come much easier, now that you know how to do things as well as being a full fledged authoress.
(ref:Street Markets book)
As you look back you will appreciate the hard work and seemingly unrewarding efforts, but now everything is beginning to fall in place.
Best of luck, drop a card or a little note when you have time

It does sounds like a letter Gary Cooper would write...


  1. Anonymous7:38 AM

    Thank you, Carol.

  2. WOW! I got all teary eyed when I read your dad's note to you! I hope you frame's wonderful!

  3. What a handsome fellow he was! No wonder your mom was smitten ;)

  4. Anonymous8:30 AM

    He sounds like a sweet dad, Carol. Lucky you!


  5. THANKS!
    Yes, Marsi, he was sweet, unless he had just woken up from a nap :)

  6. Another great tribute. I too can see why your mom was smitten. Was that your Dad in the cowboy hat? What a charmed life you have had with two great parents. Thanks for sharing.
    Cris in OR

  7. No CRIS that's GARY COOPER in the cowboy hat.
    There are labels if you move your mouse over each picture..
    I guess I should have put them under the photos to avoid confusion...

  8. Anonymous10:03 AM

    Nice to "meet" your dad, too, Carol. I have saved letters from both my mom and dad over the years, and whenever I feel the least bit vulnerable, I get them out and read them. They're invaluable to me...

  9. Carol,
    Looking at the mouth, ears and the arch of the eyebrows it was hard to tell for sure.
    cris in OR

  10. Anonymous11:52 AM

    What a fantastic post.
    Your Father looks very romantic. Wow!
    Is that a photo of you dancing with your Dad?
    You two look glamourous!
    I enjoy learning more about you personally.
    Thanks for sharing your stories with us.
    You were surrounded by beauty, and it shows in your art!

  11. What a lovely post. What wonderful memories to share. Thanks for sharing a piece of your history.

  12. Anonymous1:51 PM

    I read your tribute to your Dad, just wonderful!

  13. Your father sure discovered that little girls are priceless, and you did him so proud!
    I always had a very close relationship with my father, and he adored me, even though I was the "disappointment" (little did he know then that six boys would follow *g*).

  14. Anonymous4:10 PM

    I was just wondering yesterday about your dad. You've talked much about your mother.
    That's a very sweet letter.
    We forget how much our parents loved us.

  15. That's a very Brokeback Mountain shot in the middle of all those photos!
    In the second shot of your dad, his mouth looks very similar to that of GC's.

    At "Judgment Day" (not judgment day as in god stuff but judgment day as in looking back on one's life)I wonder what your dad would have said of his life?

  16. He sounds like a wonderful man. And yes, he did kind of look like Coop.

    I think you understand how very lucky you were to have two such wonderful and supportive parents.

    It's good to hear about it, because otherwise, I would think good parents were a myth.

  17. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Your Dads letter makes me cry.
    What a beautiful words, from a proud father.

    I was supposed to be a boy too. ;-)

  18. Anonymous8:25 AM

    Dear Carol,
    You are one lucky gal!
    You have made us all so proud.....(.,.)

  19. Anonymous8:29 AM

    SO interesting to put together the bits and pieces of the back story puzzle of your life!
    Thanks for these stories!

  20. Anonymous9:04 AM

    i love that story of your parents its a good memory
    I also have many photos of my DAD but I wish he would have written me a letter so i could have kept it.

  21. Carol,

    What a generous post, thank you for sharing such a special, personal part of yourself.

    Your Dad was a wonder your city slicker Mom fell for him!

    What a wonderful letter, your Dad was and would be so proud of his girl!

  22. oh it sounds just like coop...what beautiful memories...and what a life you and he have created...blessings, rebecca

  23. Thank you again for all your kind words dear PB readers!
    Carolg :)

  24. Wow, what a story!

  25. What a fantastic post!

    Yes he does look a bit like Gary Cooper.

    Thank you for sharing this and the letter he wrote you.

  26. That was marvelous.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    Love Jeanne ^j^

  27. I think your father does resemble Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper is just about my favorite old film star. I think he is about the best looking star of the past or present. I love those photos of him. In fact, my oldest grandson is named Cooper. My dad had red hair also. And I have the first letter he wrote to me when I was about four years old hanging in a frame on my wall. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

  28. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Yes, he does look like a familiar actor, in his later years (your group pix with Pumpkin), but I can't think of the name. Very handsome! Handsome family!

    I'm sure they would both be very proud of you, carol. Lovely story. Thank you! ;~)

  29. Reading this made me want to write to my own Dad.


  30. Thanks for the memories, Carol. My step-father looked like....well, red-headed Arthur Godfrey (remember him? Old-time radio & early TV comedian), and was as sweet & loving as can be. We lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, then, and he found a lovely gold nugget when panning for gold in a river, which he had made into a pendant necklace for me, which I still wear today, 60+ years later!

  31. What a beautiful post and tribute Carol. I adore the pictures and all the wonderful memories that accompany them. It's bittersweet. As time goes by, I find it painful to look back; I think it's just all the change and loss. If I could only remember the 'good times' sans the pain of what time brings. Your daddy could have filled in for Coop! LOL. Pumpkin was totally adorable and you look beautiful (as always), like Daddy's little Princess. You are so blessed Carol that you actually have a letter written to you from him. My Dad passed '1 week before I got married'. It was VERY sad and painful for me and my mom, but I always hoped he was there with us.

    Life teaches the significance of love, art and memories, and love, art and memories teach us the significance of Life.

    I love this post. HUGS & God Bless!!!

  32. Misha in Paris5:23 AM

    OMG Carol s'expose !
    Le père semble très fier de toi !

    la photo avec le chien : tu n'as pas changé!!!!
    Très émouvant


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