Finding Fred: A Memoir of Discovery by Timothy L. Smith (his son)
Author: Born May 11, 1948 in Orlando, FL. Tim grew up in Long Beach, California attending Millikan H.S. and Long Beach City College. He attended U.C. Berkeley majoring in Philosophy and graduated summa cum laude from Long Beach State with a BA in that discipline. He also holds a MS from Chapman University in Organizational Development. Tim has lived and worked in many places. His broad and eclectic background provide the background for his writing and commercial endeavors. Able to bridge distances between individuals and groups, he is sought after as an advisor/coach/consultant by leaders seeking experienced counsel.
Tim began writing poetry in 1975 and has published several volumes as well as having contributed to anthologies. As well, he is co-author of The Limerick Homer (the Iliad and Odyssey in limerick form) and The Greatest Little Transformation Book You’ll Ever Read. Different Waters is his latest work of poetry available from Owl Oak Press. He has recently published an anthology of poetry and prose with Joe Green and Sam Culotta entitled “Into the Past”. Both humorous and affecting, the entries are a look back at coming of age in the 1950’s and ’60’s.
Author’s note: Things change in an instant. One minute a family is whole, the next it is completely and irrevocably altered by tragedy. At the age of sixty-two, the author and his family come to grips with the loss of a father and its profound effect on the lives of his family though a set of remarkable circumstances. In a memoir of resilience and grief, Smith chronicles the remarkable discovery of the truth about his father’s life and death.
At the age of sixty-two, a lifetime’s questioning of self, and family stories, is brought to conclusion through a remarkable series of events made possible by the internet and a certain serendipity. Smith has taken the story of his father’s untimely death, and woven it into a story of personal and familial struggles to survive in a difficult and often threatening world. Resilience, strength, and serendipity come together as key elements in a touching story of one man’s search for his father, his family and himself.
My review: A man finds closure after decades of wondering about who his father was, the truth of his father’s loss in a military plane explosion, and how this affected his mother and younger brother–who was born the day after the accident.
The author shares poignant details of growing up fatherless and trying to find himself as a man, then the amazing details of finding a researcher who’d tried to find his family–as family members of the crew–in order to memorialize this plane’s loss. The researcher took family members to the remains of the plane, and the author got to meet with a man who, as a child, witnessed his own father fall out of the plane.