Things My Father Taught Me: Hollister & Porter Hovey

Laverne and Shirley. Thelma and Louise. Hollister and Porter Hovey. There are few duos more dynamic in my mind than the Hoveys, and that they’re sisters sends them into a stratosphere as yet undiscovered by man. I’m certainly not alone in thinking so. The stylish sisters have been featured in everything from The New York Times to Elle Decoration UK, and most recently they were photographed for Anthropologie’s new tumblr, etymologie.

Yet, when I met them, I was taken by how down-to-earth, how warm and welcoming, how normal they are. Chalk it up to their roots. Like me, much as the years in Brooklyn have affected many of their lifestyle choices, they are Missourians through-and-through. I have to thank them for being so kind to me as I entered the blogger’s fray. They were very gracious with their time and their endless knowledge of the city’s more well-appointed haunts. To know the Hoveys is to love them. Ladies, thank you for sharing thoughts on your father.

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Growing up in suburban Kansas City, we always knew that our father wasn’t really like our friends’ fathers. Before meeting our mom, he’d traveled Europe, lived in South Africa, took boats of cattle across great oceans and ran a gold mine in Bolivia. He read Tintin comics and always begged to rent The Seven Samurai every time we’d go to Blockbuster (we screamed in protest every time. He never won the battle).

As little girls, we both brought him to show and tell and made him teach gold panning techniques to our classmates. He always used this as an opportunity to tell his “monkey stories” from the old mining days. (They had a small pet monkey at the mine. The monkey had a little cup. The monkey would bang said cup on the table until they’d fill it with beer. The monkey would get ridiculously drunk and pass out or fall from its tree. The monkey would forget about the pain – as we all do – and go bang its cup again. The cycle went on and on). He told the monkey story while wearing pink oxfords and Alden tassel loafers (the only shoe he ever wore).

He told other stories, too. He spent hours regaling us with tales of boarding school, numerous step parents (his father married three times and his mom, four) and summers in (somewhat boring, abandoned) South Hampton. “Yeah, I was walking home from the movies one day and this small man pulled up in his big convertible and offered me a ride home. I realized later that it was Truman Capote.”

But he also spent years reading us to sleep at night – Babar, Curious George, Nancy Drew. Stories of mystery and adventure and far off lands.

All of this helped shape our own love of storytelling, travel, and the aesthetics of the colonial era.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! Hope you’re having another great adventure!

Hollister and Porter Hovey

1 Comment

  1. Christine Mitchell
    June 17, 2011

    There’s something about fathers and Seven Samurai. It was regularly requested in our household too and my dad still larks on about the acting powers of Toshiro Mifune. Classic.

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