Father's Day Tribute By Jennifer Green
Bradley J. Bogart - Part I
My father passed away many years ago now, but in light of the upcoming holiday, I thought I would share a couple of stories about him each day leading up to it in order to honor his life. He was a unique, unconventional, one of a kind man that introduced his family and those he touched to a life unimaginable by many. Most experiences were good – some not so good – but all steeped in lessons that taught me to see the world in a deeper, more meaningful way.
I’ll start with two of the most important legacies he passed on to his family – Music and Art
Brad and Music:
My father played numerous instruments and music was always a huge part of our lives. My brothers Michael and Nathan were young prodigies when it came to music, most especially trumpet playing and were so amazingly gifted it’s hard to wrap your head around. I dabbled a bit in playing music, but mostly I was drawn to move to it – thus my love of dancing was born.
My childhood days were filled with nights listening to my father play the guitar or fiddle (He was actually trained on the violin during his childhood days in Hebrew School, but I think he preferred the fiddle because it had a more fun loving perception). We would all sit around singing and clapping while he played. We had a hen we named “Culture Chicken” because every time my dad pulled out the fiddle she would climb up on the windowsill, listen to the music and softly cluck while rocking back & forth.
On the guitar, my dad would sing me “Green, Green Grass of Home” and during the verse, “down the lane comes my sweet Mary - he would replace Mary with Jenny - hair of gold and lips like cherries, it’s good to touch the green, green grass of home”. I also warmly remember him serenading my older brother Mike and I with “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof.
We knew all the words to “Waltzing Matilda”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, John Denver’s, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and many other songs that we cheerfully belted out as a family during car rides. We also learned some of “What do you do with a drunken sailor” until my mom would yell at him to stop!
An impromptu jazz session or hoedown with music around an outdoor fire was a regular occurrence at our house and we had many talented musicians hanging around.
My dad was also a great harmonica player, clarinet player, and could whistle better than anyone else I’ve ever heard in my life! He and my mother introduced us to classical music, jazz music, rock music, folk music, and every other genre imaginable.
I also know that if I ever need a back-up job, I could easily deliver mail by car because I can steer great from the passenger side. I was forced to learn this little talent because when traveling with my dad, if you were riding shotgun when he got the urge to play his harmonica or clarinet (they along with a camera where always in the car) it meant you took over the steering so he could free up his hands to play. My mother never new about this until we were adults by the way – we were sworn to secrecy.
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts he shared with us, especially my brothers, was the gift of music.
Brad and Art:
My dad was an amazing photographer. His passion for the Black & White art form was a gift passed on to me.
He was also an incredible artist in a variety of mediums – ink, paint, charcoal, pastel, pencil, ect . . .
He especially thought the human form was beautiful, and he photographed and painted many stunning nude works. Most of his models were those from classes he took at the local community college – however back in the 70-80s our small community was not quite as progressive in their thinking as my father was in regards to nudes.
My dad proudly hung a beautiful blue watercolor painting of a woman’s behind on our family room wall; he called it “Blue Moon” – his sense of humor evident. Unfortunately when my friends came over and saw it, they likely were never allowed to come back again and he was sadly given a bad rap in some small minded portions of the community.
I am now the proud owner of “Blue Moon” and although it’s not hanging in my family room (not yet anyways), it will soon proudly grace the wall of my art room.
If you would like to see Blue Moon and some of the other remaining art I have left from my father, you can view them soon here on my website as I am dedicating a category to art and photography by my father.