My boy lollipop.

December 13, 2011 § 3 Comments

My father’s head was too big for any conventional hat, one with the size printed inside on the sweat band. Even as a small and skinny boy his head was so big people said he looked like a lollipop.

His was a square Swedish head, flat on top, flat in the back. Viewed in a harsh light it had corners.

Within the reach of my memory, except when I was very small, that head was always shiny and bald.

A head like that required a hat that conformed to it, not the other way around, and so he always wore a knit beanie.

His mother, Florence, made his beanies in his early years. Once she lost the pattern only to find it filed in her recipe box behind the tab labeled “Beans.”

When he married my mother she took over. I remember businesslike beanies knit in no-nonsense gray, silly striped beanies that looked like bull’s-eyes when viewed from above, beanies knit from fuzzy Icelandic wool that probably itched like the dickens.

Although every beanie started out as a short tube closed at one end, my father’s head stretched them flat until the edge barely turned down. Like a Moon Jelly placidly afloat, his hats became nearly flat discs.

The Swedish big–head gene appears to be male dominant. My sister and I didn’t get it but our father’s brother did. Our brother too. My twenty-one month old grandson, Matthew, took a look at the photo of Carl Fogelin in his saggy swimsuit and identified the little boy as “Matthew.”

My father’s large head was a graphic illustration of what was most true about him. He was an active and constant thinker. Not a social person, even as a boy he preferred to disappear into the woods where he could observe and think undisturbed.

He loved being outdoors, but I could tell that his best rambles happened in the space between his ears. Luckily he had plenty of room inside that big head of his to go as far as he liked.

With the beanie, he wore a knit vest and a short-sleeved shirt, even when working in the yard in the coldest winter weather.

Big headed and shirt-sleeved, a philosopher who contemplated the why and the how of this life while burning leaves in the yard; my father.

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§ 3 Responses to My boy lollipop.

  • craig reeder says:

    yup, i’ve seen matthew and he got the family head.
    boy are you and ray some lucky grandparents!


  • Thanks for sharing. Your father sounds like a guy we’d like to meet!



  • Tgumster says:

    Lovely, lovely portrait of admiration and love, Adrian. Truly, I admire it, in particular the line: “A head like that required a hat that conformed to it, not the other way around, and so he always wore a knit beanie.” While you don’t have the family head, you have the family head, as it’s natural to read a bit of you in him.


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