Lines My Father Told Me
My father passed away in April of this year, at the age of 79. His death was sudden, and was unexpected as these things go. There was no time to prepare, and no chance to say goodbye. We were left with his memory, and with a bunch of stuff to go through. I drove his car this past summer to see if keeping it would be a good thing or a bad thing for me (good, it turned out, and I still have it). While rooting around in the glove compartment, I found a mini voice-recorder on which he had dictated four lines of advice. I don’t know if he read these lines somewhere, or composed them. I don’t even know if he recorded them for himself or for us. In light of circumstances, however, they have become parting words, spoken to us in his voice, and first heard four months after his death.
My father was not in a design-related field; he was a lawyer with his own firm on Long Island. Worse, when he re-married in 1976, he threw away all the Herman Miller and Knoll furniture in my stepmother’s house (I was 16 and didn’t know Herman Miller from Herman Munster). If his advice were merely generic and universal, I would put it on the shelf with my grandmother’s imitation Meissen bowl, but my father was sage and wise. His advice has peculiar relevance to our profession and business, so I will share it here:
Be impeccable with your word; don’t take anything personally; don’t make assumptions; and always do your best.
Thanks, Dad, for this and everything else.
Richard J. Weinberg, 1928-2008