On March 1st, one of the most wonderful men in the world died of cancer. My faerie tale best friend’s father Mr. Von Burkeleo. He was the epitome of the gentle artist so many women dream of having for a husband. The exemplar of a gentle father and all around nice person to have around the house. In contrast to the father’s of myself and so many of my other friend’s who were absentee dead beat dads or live-in monsters.
My best friend and I usually argue about women’s studies issues. This is mainly because our experiences with men are different. My father forced my mother to have me, then refused to pay child support when she left him for neglect. A man is supposed to stay home with the family after his wife gives birth, not go out prowling with his drinking buddies. My dad was the stereotypical absent Black father. My best friend, on the other hand ,had Aslan the Lion for a father. Mr. von Burkeleo_ port of lions.
Gentle, inspiring, kind and active in the lives of his children. Both our parents were divorced, but Mr. Von Burkeleo provided for his children and asked for them on the weekends. I don’t think my best would ever have heard: “You’re mother has made a White girl out of you and therefore, you are not entitled to your inheritance”, from her father. My mother once said, All your father had to do was send for you in the summer”. Which he didn’t. Now that I think of it, if my father had fulfilled his shared custody duties, I would have turned out the way he wanted: angry, militantly Afro-centric and xenophobic like my former New York roommates. Perhaps the beating over loss of money and cramping my mother’s style as a tween was my payment for my cultural freedom. I may not have $650,000, but my mind is free to explore and be friends with who I wish.
My faerie friend’s father was a positive influence on the whole family including the children who appended his own in the later marriage. The brothers are valiant have archetrypical dispositions straight out of European novels. There’s a leader, an intellectual and another artist and none of them are the type to knock up a woman and leave her. In fact, I have heard tell that they assisted in the defense of an insulted woman’s honor. Can you be more C.S. Lewis, Dumas, or Dickensian than these three? Oh, yeah, you could say Rowling. They fit every mold of the valiant and charming family of brothers who are very protective of their single sister.
No wonder my faerie friend can not relate to a single Women’s Studies peril. What she has suffered, she still finds hope within it. The Faerie Sister is the type of woman who thrives in patriarchy, while the women like myself bristle under it. No one has dangled a inheritance over her head and said: “change your personality or I will give you nothing”. And certainly, she has not had service her step father in place of her mother like so many adolescent girls in the inner-city and I am sure rural community have to do so in order to get rent paid. Men don’t provide without sex. However, sex for provisions was never presented to her. The Faerie was protected by her Aslan. Patriarchy at its ideal. What a lovely gilded bubble.
I shall try to remember the regal Aslan father of my faerie sister of a best friend more often. Having a man as your economic center can be comfortable if you are truly loved. My father and step father were the ugly side of the rule. They were the dark forces who looked into the lion’s face on judgement day and loathed what they saw; their sins driving the will of the women they’ve insulted to vie for economic independence of 500 pounds a year and a room of her own to create without disturbance. It takes all kinds to make a world, I am in no way endorsing an everlasting patriarchy, but I defend it in it’s noble essence against the corrupting forces that have warped the ideal for their self serving purposes. May they blow away in a dark shadow and be heard of no more at the end of days should they come. I only hope I will have healed enough to purge my burning resentment so I will not be among them.
Thank you for existing, Mr. Von Burkeleo. St. Bonaventure now has the most delightful new companion.