Please allow me to introduce you to Bernard Olcott, 1918-2006, a man who led a legendary and iconoclastic American life.

Welcome to my blog.  My goal is to provide you with stories from times past by which you might catch glimpses of yourself, or of someone you know intimately. Bernard Olcott touched the world, from Japan to England to Egypt to Kansas to New Jersey. Maybe you know some of these places, too.

Every Thursday afternoon, I’ll present you with a new story, some new adventure or insight, dusted with more than just a little modern context and quirky cultural references. Dad loved screwball humor; although he took himself seriously as an attorney, he wouldn’t stop laughing if you called him an ‘ambulance chaser.’  You see, this is the point: we can’t pick our parents, but we sure as hell can cherry pick their best qualities. And that, my friends, is what will set you free.

Born into an immigrant household in Queens, New York City, whose parents had only four years earlier arrived from Tsarist Lithuania, he leveraged his educational opportunities and served in the US Army during World War II.  After the war, the experienced radio and electrical engineer ascended the ranks of society by rubbing elbows with the beautiful people at The Stork Club. He married into the family of Heckle and Jeckle. Exchanged letters with Albert Einstein. Created a worldwide IT business in the 1960s serving giants of industry. Finished his working life by penning patents with Ted Hood covering innovative keel designs for yachts racing the America’s Cup.

Along the way, he divorced five times – my mother was his second wife –  and suffered through dementia in his later years. His infirmity provided opportunities for two individuals of dubious reputation to peel away millions of his accumulated fortune. Anastasia did scream in vain, I assure you.  There were good days and bad days, just like for any of us mortals. But he had a way of not letting the bad ones negate his best moments.

If you go back to my main welcome page, the latest story will be just below this brief introduction, which remains on top to welcome new readers.  Keep scrolling down and you will see the story before that.  Go all the way down to the bottom (allow extra time for WordPress to scroll and paint content), to the post entitled “YES DEPOSIT, YES RETURN,” and you will have reached my very first post from February 2015 (recently reprised). 

Most posts are intended to be read as stand-alone stories.  There are a few series, like those about Yoshi, Alexander Hamilton, my Mom, France, excessive swagger, sticky fingers, corpses under motel mattresses, or whomever or wherever, that are meant to be read as a group.

Be a free-range reader of the life of my Dad.

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8 comments

  1. Bernard Olcott fits my notion of the modern hero, with just enough greatness to outweigh his human faults to make a difference in and outside the home. Every week, I look forward to these essays for their humor and humanity penned by a cultural blogger of authenticity and insight. It takes talent to leave readers laughing and saying, “Awww…” at the same time. Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loving the blog! Will try to post more. I seem to be reading out of order so I need to get to reading in the right order. Having said that, your pieces are so well constructed, that it does allow a reader to read the entries out of order, without feeling lost at all. Great approach!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. James… Wow! What an amazing man your dad was, and what an insightful writer you are! You have a gift for describing your dad’s character, personality, brilliance in truthful and amusing ways. I can see the parallel experiences with my own dad’s ambition, drive and striving for excellence. I look forward to reading more… Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My aim is that folks might see themselves and/or their parents in some of the descriptions described. Sometimes life does not present easy situations, particularly with respect to mental illness. I would be gratified if I can help foster an informed dialogue on this topic. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

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