Monday, August 24, 2009
Like Grandfather, Like Granddaughter
So my daughter Charlotte called with great news. She received a research grant for her senior thesis. She is preparing for her final year as an undergraduate at University of Utah. She is planning on doing graduate work in Mormon Studies, which is what my dad devoted so much effort to during his final years of teaching (This photo is of Dad (Eugene England) in his office in 1998). Charlotte wants to do her senior thesis on my dad and his writings about Mormon Culture, studies and literature. Several years ago she attended a banquet for the 40th anniversary of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Dad was one of the founding editors). She sat at a table with people who had known and worked with Dad, and they shared experiences with Charlotte about her grandpa who she had just begun to know when she was 15 when he died. She called me the day after the banquet telling me how excited she was about what she had heard and learned. "This is what I want to do, learn more about what Grandpa was doing, and continue on with it." It was a bittersweet moment for me. I love the passion Charlotte has to learn more about Dad, read his writings (I think she is currently the only grandchild who is) and carry on with what he was trying to do by helping establish Mormon studies programs in college and universities that should have had them long ago. And I wish Dad were here to be the one to mentor Charlotte through this time. It is one of the things that I miss most about Dad being gone, I really wanted my kids to be able to take classes from him, and have that classroom experience unlike any other. But this is one of the ways that creation of life continues on. Dad created language in his speaking and writing that breathes life into Charlotte years after he is gone. And hearts turn from children to fathers and mothers, from parents to sons and daughters, and the world is saved again.