I would say I have two “dads”, though not in the conventional unconventional way. My first “dad”, Peter, is my biological father. He makes up half of my genes (though my mother secretly believes I am somehow only genetically tied to her). My second “dad” is my step-father, Larry. Though I’m not blood related to him, he’s helped raise me since I was 8 years young. I think they are both fascinating individuals although the two of them couldn’t be more opposite. Here’s a bit about both of them, in chronological order.

My father was born in Kentucky…I think. Actually, it’s a bit of a blur to me as whenever he tells me all the places he lived as a kid, I just hear a mass of mid-western/southern states. As a kid, I remember thinking he was very tall with a very low voice. Of course now his characteristics don’t seem quite as extreme to me. He went to school to study voice and now has a PhD in vocal studies. He and my mother met at Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts in Virginia. She was a vocal coach and he was performing.  He went on to perform in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, in LA and in Toronto. He eventually decided to pursue Opera more exclusively and became a professor at Chapman University, where he now acts as the Director of the Opera department. Every summer he goes to either Rome or Vienna to direct various operas.

My father is an incredibly elegant man. For as long as I can remember he has enjoyed having nice things and keeping them nice. He always had perfectly pressed shirts and perfectly shined shoes. His hair is almost always in place and if it’s not, he usually has a comb handy. His house is always tidy and his cars (and motorcycle) are in impeccable condition.

My father lives by the work hard/play hard mentality. He works long hours and often brings his work home with him, but he also really likes to have fun. Like me (or I guess like him) he loves margaritas. In fact, he likes to eat and drink most everything, a quality we certainly share. He is a hilarious person and always tries to ensure that people are laughing and having a good time when in his presence. Though I don’t get to see him very often, we always have fun when we’re together.

My step-father, Larry, was born on a tiny island in Maine. We like to say he was raised by wolves, which he confirms for us when he butters his toast on the counter with no plate underneath. He went to the University of Maine and eventually became the tri-state director of publishing at Scholastic. After he and my mother met (online!) he moved into the city and became the Director of Publishing at the Museum of Modern Art.

When my mom and Larry first met, I would ask him constantly if he was going to marry my mom. I told him he had to make sure I was there when he asked her. One night when my mom and I were in our Columbus Circle apartment, the phone rang. It was Larry and he said he was calling for me. He said, “can your mom hear me? Don’t say anything but, how would you feel if I asked her to marry me?” I did my best to hide my excitement and handed the phone to my mom. He asked her right then over the phone, the two of us standing in the kitchen. When my mom hung up, we stood there shrieking with excitement. We couldn’t believe how lucky we’d been to be adding such a wonderful person to our family.

Larry embodies the eccentric artist stereo type to a tee. He’s been known to paint his toenails purple from time to time and was a “dead head” in his youth. He is a loud and proud liberal and often expresses his opinions through his art work. He is a fanatical runner and was extremely patient when trying to teach me the joys of running as a kid.  He is a lover of animals and takes the responsibility of caring for his family, dogs, and homes very seriously.

Some might think that having two father figures can be difficult. Of course there are aspects of it that are, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.




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