August 27, 2009

Mad Men, the early years

I'm an avid fan of Mad Men. The story architecture, dialogue, and 'look' of the show instantly fascinated me, but there seemed more to it than that. I've often tried to figure out why. I know now. My Dad was Donald Draper.

I've spent a fair bit of time with Darryl lately, who for his age (71) is trim, still tall, dark (a little Metis blood) and handsome. His hair, (with the help of a long-forgotten hair product that would get you "2 minutes for looking so good") is mostly jet black. His voice a lovely baritone. His recent anecdotes have been omniscient, imparting solicited and welcome advice.

My Dad now dresses like a complete and embarrassing the Tilley hat really necessary? I could relate a story about a Maui beach involving 20 year-old swimming trunks, white tube socks and black shoes, but that's for another time.

In the day, Darryl was slick. Shiffer-Hillman suits (the 'Euro cut' sharkskin type that were en vogue in the 60's, made in Montr
éal), white French cuff monogrammed shirts, cuff-links, skinny silk ties, half-wellingtons. The WHOLE deal.

Thoughts of my Dad, coupled with my grandfather's teachings about how to tie a bowtie, have certainly lead me to the nostalgic and practical. I learned a valuable lesson from them both: dress the part, and when in doubt, wear a suit.

I grabbed this picture today of him a little more casual in 1968, but you get the idea. Years after this, I remember being in the same room listening to "Earth, Wind and Fire" on the stereo.

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