Looking for a Hotplate in WalMart

After I split up with my second wife, I moved to Boston to work and go to graduate school at Harvard. For a while, I still used a part of my house in Amsterdam (NY) when I came back to visit my kids. The kitchen was not one of the parts I was able to use. For this reason I set out to purchase an electric hotplate so I would still be able to cook meals on those weekend visits. I went to the local WalMart and scanned the shelves for an appropriate hotplate. It was there in front of my eyes, but I didn't see it right away. Much to my surprise, as I was walking and searching, a wave of strong emotion came over me. It wasn't sadness exactly, and it certainly wasn't joy. In fact, I can't really tell you what the emotion was, only that it was really strong. I stopped in the isle, fighting back tears. I'm not really an overly-emotional kinda guy and I certainly don't generally get choked up over buying kitchen appliances. I tried to think why I would be having these feelings. All at once it came to me, a rush of memories about hotplates and my father.


My father always had a hotplate in the barber shop where he worked (and spent most of his time). He would cook most of his meals there and ate them separately from the rest of the family (myself, my mother and my brother). Only Sunday meals were eaten as a family - usually a tense meal that my father prepared. As I started to think of these things, the depth of my feelings became understandable, at least to me. As I get older, I sometimes see and feel myself becoming more like my dad. Was this another example?


No - I told myself, the hotplate was a symbol of my father's separation from us while I was buying one so I could spend time with my children. I thought of decisions I had made, partly because of the way my family was growing up. So strong was my experience as a child that when I felt myself repeating the same pattern as my parents I decided that anything would be better. I wanted to show my children a loving relationship. Was it the "right" decision? I thought that it was with my second marriage - I guess things don't always work out the way you want. I doesn't stop me from trying, though. The hotplate worked quite well for the brief time that we used the house for weekend visits and now sits in storage.