Warning: getimagesize(lluniau/murphy_father_and_son_courtesy_peter_e_murphy.jpg): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/sites/n/nwr.tth8.co.uk/public_html/bits/psite.functions.inc.php on line 3913
The Dent on Private Murphy’s Forehead - Original writing from New Welsh Review

ESSAY Peter E Murphy

NWR Issue 109

The Dent on Private Murphy’s Forehead

Although Eddie Murphy didn’t earn his high school equivalency diploma until he was in his fifties, he always loved to read. Not just the New York Times which he ripped through every day for most of his adult life, but books, good books, books by Ellison, Graves, Mailer, Percy, Purdy, Thurber, Updike, Waugh. He left whatever paperback he was reading on the window ledge by the front door so he didn’t forget it the next morn- ing when he commuted to work, riding the A train from Howard Beach into the city to hoist bricks and mortar and steel to the tops of buildings under construction.

He was a good-looking man with dark wavy hair slicked back. The one imperfection was a dent on his left forehead. I don’t know how else to describe it. He told me when I was little, that he was parading a dozen Japanese soldiers that he captured in Germany down Fifth Avenue when one of them tried to escape, grabbed his rifle and hit him on the head. ‘Daddy was a hero,’ I thought. My grandmother told me different. ‘He’s full of shit,’ she said laughing. ‘He fell off the back of an ice truck on Tenth Avenue when he was eleven.’

Eddie was a great swimmer. He said that during the war they didn’t fight on Sundays, so each week he swam the English Channel to France and took the subway back.

‘One time,’ he said, ‘I was off the coast of France, but I was too tired to go on, so I turned around and swam back to England.’ When I told this story to my friends, what a great swimmer my father was, they laughed at me and said I was stupid.

‘You calling my father a liar?’ I yelled, raising my fists. ‘You’re stupid,’ they laughed.

Want to read the full article? Go to our online shop where you can buy an individual issue or take out a subscription to NWR, saving £3.98 on the cover price. Prices start at £16.99 for three issues via Direct Debit, including p+p (UK only).

Peter E Murphy was born in Wales and grew up in New York City, where he operated heavy equipment, managed a night club and drove a cab. He is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University, which sponsors programmes for poets, writers and teachers in the USA and around the world. www.murphywriting.com


previous essay: Blurred Boundaries
next essay: One Hundred Percent a Welsh Nationalist


A brief note on copyright:all authors have given permission for their work to appear online on New Welsh Review's website. Copyright remains with the author. If you wish to reproduce part or all of any article then the permission of the author must be sought, and the author and New Welsh Review credited accordingly.

Contact us:Registered Office PO Box 170, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1WZ - Telephone 00 (44) 1970 628410 admin@newwelshreview.com
© New Welsh Review Ltd, all rights reserved - Registered in England and Wales - Registered number: 02493828
Website design: mach2media and mopublications      Website development: Technoleg Taliesin Cyf.