16 June, 2013

A Father's Day Email

The Miracle Worker
Three years ago, I received an email from one of my oldest, dearest friends, David Fetzer. It moved me so much, it inspired a spout of memories that I wrote about here.

This is what it said:

"Three things I miss about your Papa:

1. Hearing him shout "Fetzer!" either from across a room, or hallway, or on the other end of the phone, in the background.

2. His talent for singing ever-so-subtly off-key.

3. His crazy infectious perma-smile, especially in the context of watching his daughter when she performed on stage. Which I did get to witness.

Thinking of you both today.  =) "

Emails like this always arrive out of the blue from Fetzer-- just one of those guys. He'd show up magically in your inbox, and every so often on your doorstep in Detroit, Glasgow, London, or at the stage door in Los Angeles, beaming with pride.

I've written about Fetzer a few times on this blog-- remember the adorable Salt Laker who sat next to me in Junior year directing class at Interlochen? The curly-haired one with open, knowing eyes, jaunty hats, and hands that fit so perfectly in my own, when we held them they made a suction noise? I gave him a mold of my hand when we parted ways at the end of school, and after reading the post linked above he sent me this photograph to show that the hand still sat upon his desk.

He gave some rousing performances at Interlochen-- some were in scene-work the world never got to see (a stunning Prince Hal soliloquy, and Oswald in Ghosts come to mind). Then there was the time he staged a particularly naughty experiment with his Senior Directed One-Act of Lord Byron's Love Letter, in which he rehearsed his actors in a fully staged version of the show for his professor, only to wheel out a movie projector and play a silent FILM version of the play that his cast narrated out loud below the screen, to everyone's complete astonishment (and, to the professor, complete horror).

Then of course, some of his brilliance was worked in the main-stage shows-- a tortured and annihilating James Keller in The Miracle Worker, where, in one performance when everything at the end of Act 1 went terribly wrong when the door Annie Sullivan was supposed to be locked in "miraculously" opened, he saved the day with his signature wit asking,
     "What'd she do--JUMP?"
to rapturous applause.
Not to mention the silent Waiter in She Loves Me--(in fact, I'm having a lot of fond memories of both my Dad and Fetzer this week as I rehearse for She Loves Me at Caramoor.)

He played guitar left handed.
He drew beautiful cartoons.
He smiled with a sweet little smirk.
He wrote gorgeous, hand-written letters and sent them in the actual mail.
He had a wonderful band with his best friend (called Mushman).
He created a theatre company in Salt Lake City to provide culture to the town that was his home.
He believed in, and supported his friends.

He also gave me one of the very best Father's Day memories in recent history.
I am grateful to him.
I have thought of him every year on the occasion since he sent that message. 

Isn't life marvelous like that?  How a day that once provided joy, in the absence of a father presents so much heartache, but now, I think less of the heartache-- I think of Fetzer's Father's Day Email. 

And I think, as the above memory insinuates, that David Fetzer was always sort of Dad's favorite. They shared a sort of quiet innocent, "watching" quality--both very young souls I think. Despite all their intellect and wisdom, they shared a sense of wonder about being here; Alive and in The World, that is. They went for walks and didn't do a lot of talking. They "got" each other. And I recall how Fetzer dropped absolutely everything to make his way to Detroit for Dad's funeral. Something about his presence there was the tipping point of difference for a lot of us.

David turned 30 on December 17th last year...
     a few days later, he was gone.
Too soon.
Far too soon for anyone, but beyond comprehension for a star so bright.
I am fortunate to have know him and called him a friend.
Anyone that knew him I am certain feels the same. 

I hope that in whatever lies beyond, he could hear Dad shout "Fetzer!"from 'across a room, or hallway' as he entered, and I like to think of them taking nice walks out there, without saying a lot, just as they always did.

See you in the stars, David. 

And thank you.


  1. Beaituful, heart wrenching memories bathed in golden light forever. xxx

  2. AnonymousJune 16, 2013

    Your dad would be so proud of you, Alex!

  3. AnonymousJune 17, 2013

    My glorgious Al... even more than my own Pops, Fathers' Day makes me think of you, and your Pops, and this year, of David... Isn't that weird that Fathers' Day should make one one think, ultimately, of a brother-figure? But I know how much he's helped warm you Fathers' Days past. Nothing can bring any of them back. But please know, in all that, I'm basking in the memories with you, and loving you more than ever.



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