REMEMBER YOU...SORT OF
26 October 2008
This afternoon the memorial service for our friends' son, who died of a heart attack at age 38 a month or so ago was finally held. If you want to have an overflow crowd at your memorial service, best advice is to die relatively young while not only your friends, but your friends' parents and all the people who knew you while you were growing up are still alive.
Walt was supposed to be at a volunteers' award dinner for the charitable organization he is on the board for, but there weren't too many people at the dinner, since so many of them were at the memorial itself.
It was a lovely memorial. Ken had a full life, was active in music, in theatre, with rugby, and was a civil war re-enacter, so there were people from all those aspects of his life to talk about his contributions. His two sisters (one of whom had flown in from Italy, where she now lives) gave lovely tributes to their brother.
The memorial ended with a lovely slide show which, unfortunately, I wasn't able to see well because a guy in front of me had a big head and was very tall and when I moved my head to see around him, he moved his head too, so mostly I saw the upper right quadrant of most of the slides.
When I walked into the room before things started , I saw so many familiar faces, people I used to know when our kids were in school. When it was all over there was lots of food and socializing and lots of renewing of acquaintances. However, it's really funny when you know someone SO well but can't remember their name. Names in the account that follow have been changed to protect...well, probably me.
There was the woman sitting next to me, whom I recognized as very familiar, and with whom I remember taking a quilting class about twenty-five years ago, but I couldn't remember her name. Later, I asked Walt "what was the name of that woman who was sitting between me and Margaret?" "Margaret? was that Margaret?" he asked. Then he told me the name of the woman sitting next to me.
We both tried to remember the name of Betty. We know her well. She used to work for the schools. Her husband was a local business man. His name is Ron. What was their last name? Neither of us could remmeber. I knew it was an "J" word, but couldn't get it right. Hours later, I shouted "JOHNSON!" "Right!" Walt said. He knew instantly who I was talking about.
He told me he that Theo Wurst had given him a glass of wine. "Oh right--wasn't that the guy whose car Jeri ran into when she was getting ready to go out on a date with him?" I asked. "No, that was...uh...." He couldn't remember. Later, at home, he shouted "Sheldon...that was the name of the guy whose car Jeri hit."
"Who was Vicki, the girl on the diving team with the kids, whose mother was there?" I asked. "Handley," he told me, as we were off on a memory trip about the people from the old diving team who were there.
It kept going like that...he'd remember one name, I'd remember another, we'd both forget the last name. "Whose that woman sitting next to Bob?" I asked him. "Bob? Where's Bob?" he said. "Do you mean Joe?" he asked, looking in the direction I was looking. "Right," I said. "Who is the woman sitting next to him?" I asked. "Uh...his wife," he said. Oh. His wife had gained a lot of weight and I hadn't recognized her. In fact up to that point I had been having a lovely chat with her, thinking she was someone else and that she had changed a lot since I last saw her.
There were the people we knew well, mostly the Davis Comic Opera People, most of whom were at Craig and Roy's wedding recently. We somehow all managed to find each other and gravitate to the same spot, sooner or later. Probably our closest friends in Davis. Definitely our closest group of friends.
I asked Walt if he remembered the names of the two girls (well, women now!) sitting at our table, who had been in the Jazz Choir with Paul. One of them re-introduced herself to Ned and Marta (who were also sitting with us), but I didn't remember her name. Walt, uncharacteristically hadn't recognized either of them (he's usually the one who recognizes all these kids years later).
I told him that one of them told us a story about Paul that we had never heard before. It seems that years ago, when they were all in the Jazz Choir together we took a trip to Disneyland. Walt and I always went along as chaperones and one year I guess the kids were staying in a different part of the hotel from us. Apparently Paul got fed up with the muzak playing in the elevators and decided to disconnect it. He apparently cut the wire he thought was the muzak but it turned out to be the alarm system and they ended up having to evacuate the entire tower of the hotel.
Fortunately (a) I didn't know about it at
the time, (b) the choir director now has dementia and doesn't remember anything and (c)
Paul's dead anyway. So, with those three things, this many years later I can laugh
at what Paul did. You just never know what you're going to learn at a memorial
Terra got a t-shirt today, so we could remove the plastic
MILES TO NOWHERE: 81 miles