Notes on my father

I have a backlog of Fathers Day postings, which have been impeded by the labors of contracting my belongings into a small space. A process that unearthed reminders of my dad. In more or less reverse order: the original Arnold M. Zwicky on vacation; the nameplate from his desk at work (as a public health officer); and plates from a wonderful wildflower book he picked up in Switzerland in his youth.

First, from October 1990, my stepmother Ruth and my dad on a Caribbean cruise:


(Dad got a bit too much sun that day.)

Dad died in 1992, Ruth in 2003.

Then the nameplate, made for him by a fellow in Santa Monica:


In Fraktur-style lettering (a touch of Swissness). It’s on my desk now.

Finally, from my 7/6/11 posting “Flora”, with a section on

Taschenflora des Alpen-Wanderers: 207 colorirte und 10 schwarze Abbildungen von verbreiteten Alpenpflanzen (by Ludwig Schröter, 1899)

… The Schröter, held in my hands as I write this, was brought back from my dad’s Swiss visit [as a young man], during which he not only climbed (modest) mountains and clowned around with his Swiss cousins, but also collected wildflowers, preserving them in a flower press that he brought back to the States and eventually passed on to me. … The Schröter seems to be precious, much sought after. It is, in fact, gorgeous. (It’s also a guide to plants from a hundred years ago and more.)

That posting had a plate with Edelweiss and another with gentians. Now three more plates, with the key to the plants pictured in them. Plate 15 (badly yellowed after about a hundred years), with Ranunculus:


Plate 22, a variety of wildflowers, including those in the genera Potentilla, Artemisia, Dianthus, and Geum:


And Plate 25, another assortment, including flowers from the genera Pyrola, Cyclamen, Papaver, Allium, and Crocus.


My dad was a plant person from early in his life. When I was a baby, he bred tulips. Later he became a rosarian, a passion he shared with my man Jacques.

He was also a strigiphile, with the wise owl as his totem animal.

One Response to “Notes on my father”

  1. [BLOG] Some Monday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky remembers his father through […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: