Gift to the World

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This is a transcription of Jane’s Memorial Service tribute to Sioma.

One day this last July, my father and I were reading poetry together: Rimbaud, Beaudelaire, Verlaine; and quite suddenly, her wrote in the book: “Je serais ton copain de la magie” (I shall be your companion in magic – or of the magic).

A striking idea, but what did he mean exactly?

The answer came to me several days ago as I searched my heart for the special gifts my father gave me. The most precious of all was the gift of magic.

– that sparkle that made him do things quite differently from other people, that made me always feel that I had a very special father.

The magic of clowning, of punning, or a curious sense of humor; of special insights; of demanding tastefulness in all things, and of the perfectly turned phrases, of course.

Nothing ordinary and nothing thoughtless.

His was a search for the amusing, the perfect, the unforgettable.

How many, many people have been recipients of “the Snow Goose” and how many bemused booksellers have wondered at the elegant gentleman who purchased that beloved story by the dozen?

Who in this room hasn’t received a short story or isolated chapter torn from its covers, separated from its neighboring pages – all because my father decided it deserved special attention. I myself own several of these small treasures.

There was no Papa like mine. None as demanding. None as playful.

He said, “I shall be your companion on magic”. But, my dear Papa, you always were.

The imagination to be different, albeit with style, that is the most precious inheritance my father has given me. And this I shall pass on to my children … Sioma’s gift to the world.