My Dad

On June 6, 2015, sponsored a family storytelling event at Global Family Reunion in New York. We asked participants young and old to share family stories. This is one of them. 

My Dad
By Annelie Hyatt

When I was young, my dad wanted to name me Arwen. It was after the ethereal elf princess of Middle Earth, daughter of Elrond and Celebrian. It was to uphold the Hyatt heritage of having one child of the initials ASH, and, as the younger twin, I guess I should consider that a privilege. It was much better compared to the alternative—Goldberry, the name of Tom Bombadil’s wife—which my dad had also considered. However, both names were ruled out by my mother, who insisted on the Germanic name “Annelie.”

My dad and I, according to many, are very similar. We share the same face and smile, something my dad takes pleasure from, as well as the same childish personality and lazy tendencies. The best part of my childhood was when I wasn’t old enough to wake him up early in the morning, he said, and let him sleep til ten o’clock. While my dad is very ambitious about my and my sister’s futures, his two catchphrases through his high school years, according to my grandparents, were “Nobody’s perfect” and “It’s okay to be average.”

My dad was the one who introduced me to Tolkien. Late in the evening, when the moon would rise from behind the trees and the sky became splattered with shades of grey, my dad would take out his green leather bound copy of The Hobbit and read to us before bedtime. After we had finished it, and my sister had decided the world of Middle Earth had not enthralled her, my dad and I continued to read The Lord of the Rings, and then, onto all of the movies. I, myself, read The Silmarillion later on. 

He is also the one who introduced me to the wonderful world of film. Together, we watched Citizen Kane, Chinatown, Vertigo, The Trial, and Rear Window. He introduced me to Roger Ebert, an amazing film critic who provided brilliant insight on the movies I had most enjoyed.

We also, during our childhood, shared a passion for stuffed animals. My dad has had his sock monkey, a scrawny, long-legged mammal, for many years. While on a boat ride, when my dad was a child, he had accidentally dropped Sock Monkey into the Missouri River. His grandfather, using his fishing rod, miraculously extracted him from the depths of the water.

Even though my dad had done so many years ago, I don’t believe I shall ever grow out of my many stuffed animals, or my blankies, or my twisted love for balloon animals. While very animated about his passions, my dad doesn’t experience extreme emotions as much as I do. However, I have always been an explosion of feelings. When I had signed up for a slam poetry workshop a few years ago, my dad became worried because he told me it was extremely hard. However, after six spoken word pieces and many performances, I think I have taught some things to him as well. 

I have taught him that it’s okay to do things you know you will never succeed at, because if you keep on trying then it’ll definitely get you somewhere. I have taught him that feelings aren’t a concept, they are a connection. If you love someone, you need to let them know because you never know when your world with them will explode. 

And I have taught him that explosion isn’t really all that bad, if the scars you reap from it teach you a lesson. Together, as well as apart, we can shake this world because all of us, each individual who lives today, has the world’s future in their hands. We are all the Atlases of this generation. 

And my dad, more than anything, is an inspiration for me. He showed me that there is a whole new world outside of my writing, filled with stories to read, movies to watch, and people to love. A world made especially for ourselves.