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William D. Schaefer

Professor of English UCLA 1962-90, Executive Director MLA 1971-78, Executive Vice Chancellor UCLA 1978-87. Published articles, essays, reviews, and three books, most recently Education Without Compromise. Also published more than twenty short stories in literary journals. Won the 2002 Emily Clark Balch Prize in Fiction for “Father’s Day “ in VQR, Autumn 2002.


Father’s Day

Autumn 2002 | Fiction

Well, I thought he looked good in the coffin. Had seen him only twice since I left Chicago, once in '53 when he and Mom made that trip to California, his last attempt to lure one of us back to the Trophy World, and then in '56 when Mom bolted and I went home to pick up the pieces. Mom said that even last month, coldest January in decades, he was still taking the El downtown twice a week, fussing around the office doing God knows what. Fred has been running things (quietly of course—does he ever speak?) since Dad's first stroke a few years ago, just Fred and a part-timer for deliveries and packing (but what's there to deliver? or pack?). When I left in '48 the business was shaky but the five of us still managed to keep busy full-time—Fred, Henry doing the packing (remember him? Mom says he died last year), the kid for deliveries, and the new girl who replaced me as secretary-accountant-bookkeeper-receptionist. Was her name Mildred? Something like that.