Bliss, Remembered by Frank Deford

December 10, 2010

a great read

About 10 minutes after leaving our Open House last Sunday, Ken, our neighbor from down the street, rang our bell. He said, “I just finished this today,” and he handed me his copy of Bliss, Remembered. I had heard him and Kathy, our across-the-street neighbor, talking about it at a different neighborhood event, and my interest was more than piqued. I really wanted to read that book. So Ken said he’d bring me his copy when he was done, which was just what he did.

Written by the well-known sports writer, Frank Deford, (well, well-known by sports fans, at least, but his name was new to me), it’s fiction, and it’s a real treat. It’s sweet and saucy, and it’s a story of a mother’s gift to her grown son.

The mother, Olympic swimmer, Sydney, is dying. She’s old and she’s OK (she hopes) with her life,with both her past as well as her present, and in typical Sydney-style, she has prepared a written account of her life for her children to read. But she’s invited her son to hear parts of it told between just the two of them.

From p 105: “…..His name was Horst Gerhardt.
Mom stopped and smiled that special smile that I recognized only comes from bliss, remembered. In fact, as she kept sitting there, musing, blissfully, it didn’t seem that she was going to pick up the thread. So I finally spoke up. “Well, who was Horst Gerhardt?”
He was my gold medal, Teddy.
She beamed.

Since one of my favorite things was listening to Daddy tell me his stories of growing up, I savored my time with Sydney and her 60-something son, Teddy. In fact, even now, since finishing the book, I only have to see the living room couch with the pillow where my head lay as I spent my hours reading….Ah. Bliss, remembered.

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