Happy birthday Pobie

In which Jess describes the genesis of this blog.

Pobie is a character my father made up during the lead-up to my wedding last summer. I call my father “Papa,” so Pobie stands for “Papa of the Bride.” Pobie is a wry alter ego who expresses himself a bit more candidly than my father might otherwise be wont to do. Although my father’s letters — sent to me religiously first via snail mail when I left for college in 1994, and later, rather reluctantly, via e-mail — are colorful in their own right. Pobie is perhaps more bewildered by the world than my father. He is flummoxed by technology, social media and the relentless churn of the modern news cycle. Where my father might joke about streaming a video that simply features him sitting in a chair reading “Moby Dick,” Pobie would actually set up a livecam for just such a purpose (although someone would have to tell him exactly what a livecam is).

Prior to creating Pobie, my father referred to himself as “Solitary Joe.” This was a fitting moniker since my father is happiest alone with his thoughts despite being prone to claiming with mock ruefulness that he has no friends.

Some time ago my father suggested we create a place online where the two of us could share our ideas and writing. For his birthday this year I thought I’d publish this blog expressly for that purpose. For more than half of my life I have cherished my father’s letters — saving every single one in a big plastic bin (at first) and later in a folder in my e-mail. His letters almost always make me cry and I have claimed that one day I will publish them in a book titled, “Conversations from the Sandbox: Letters from a father to his daughter.” This blog is the beginning of that wish, or perhaps an extension of it. I hope that along the way readers might discover his words, and mine, and find some enjoyment.

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