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Today in My History

2000: What's "gay," Daddy?
2001:  I Want Monty!
2002:  Let There Be Life!
2003:  Oh My Aching Back
2004:  The Roads Less Traveled
2005:  Dog Day Morning

2006:  Gastronomic Delights of Boston
2007: A Hick from the Sticks
2008:  Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite
2009:  ABCs of MEMEME
2010:  The Age of Aquarius
2011:  A New Month, A New Loook

Bitter Hack
Updated: 4/30
"The Meaning of It All"

Books Read in 2012
 Updated: 4/30
"Total Control"

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Santa Barbara, April 2012

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Airy Persiflage

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mail to Walt


1 May 2012

It's a new month, a new look to this journal.  May is a spring month full of spring colors and sunshine, but with what has been going on around here, it just feels grey right now, so I've given the journal a gray look to reflect what I'm feeling.  I'm sure I will be feeling more sunny when June rolls around.

SUNDAY:  The Wake

We have now put our friend Will Connelly to rest.  Walt and I left for Sunday evening's wake early, having heard rumors of traffic tie-ups at several spots between here and San Francisco, but we got to the funeral home around 4 and sat in the parking lot for about 15 minutes until other cars started to arrive, then we headed into the building.

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The room for the service was very large.  I don't do "funeral pictures," but for Susie and Rachel and others who could not be there, I did try to give a feeing for it.  I am standing in the room at the back of the main room.  By the time the services started both the main room and the room I'm standing in would be filled.  Will, of course, is lying under the crucifix at the front.

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I'm not a big fan of open coffins, but for viewing, they did a very good job with Will and we could tell he was really dead because he lay there throughout an entire afternoon of a gathering of his best friends and he never said a word.

It was a wonderful reunion of old and current Lamplighters.  It was so good to see Father Mark Taheny, whom I have not seen since he left the Lamplighters to enter the seminary, many years ago.  He was there with his 3-D photos, just like he never left.  He had some very funny pictures of Will, including one that had been taken at an Irish pub, with Will lying in a coffin.  He was a bit uncomfortable sharing it, thinking people might feel it inappropriate, but Will would have loved it.

As for the service, it was a nice mix of religion and comedy.

Will's good friend, Noah Griffin gave a fantastic eulogy and even sang a bit, an amazing tenor voice.  He and Will sang in a men's chorus together for years.

Members of the Lamplighters sang "Try we lifelong.." from The Gondoliers, followed by "Hail Poetry" from The Pirates of Penzance.   People who knew Hail Poetry were asked to join in the singing and there were gasps from the gathering when nearly half the hall stood up to give a rousing rendition of the song.  I had my camera with me, but not a recorder, so I used the camera as a recorder and just recorded the sound (the "movie" of the movie is just a picture of my thumb off to the right of the picture.  Listen for the "wow" at the end.). 

After the Lamplighters, the St. Francis Yacht Club Sons of the Sea sang a sea chanty that was so good, I was sorry I hadn't recorded that as well.

MONDAY:  The Funeral

WaltWC.jpg (31522 bytes)So today was the funeral.  As he did yesterday, Walt wore his W.C. Fields tie.  I told everyone that if he had not worn it, I would have sent him back upstairs to put it on. 

The funeral Mass was said at St. Brendan's church, where Will went to grammar school, and was a singer at the time of his death. 

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If possible there were more people at the funeral mass than there were at last night's wake.  The priest was impressed at the number of people and pointed out how special it was that everyone came on a Monday, when most people would be working.

What a turn out of Lamplighters!  So many I hadn't seen in years, like Rosemary Bock, principal soprano for so many years, and Robert Corrick, who left the company in the early 1980s, as well as so many others.  The entire right side of the church was filled by men from the Sons of the Sea in their monogrammed jackets (I think--it might have been the Bohemian Aviary Chorus -- or is that one group, the Sons of the Sea Bohemian Aviary Chorus?).  Will's good friend, Noah Griffin sang Ave Maria and Our Father beautifully.  The priest's homily, for once, was on point and directed at Will's life and the light he brought to so many people.  He welcomed Catholics, people who had once been Catholics and now "hate the church" (I was actually impressed by that), Christians of other religions, and people who have no Christian faith and made everybody feel at home. He was just perfect.

The Lamplighters sang an old Irish blessing, which had been sung at Will's mother's funeral a few years ago.  As with Hail Poetry yesterday, I recorded the song, without "making a movie" so when you watch this video, realize that I didn't even know where the camera was aimed while I was recording.

I was doing fine until the mass started, and it's Henry Anderson's fault that I broke down.  When I saw the casket coming down the aisle and saw Chris Focht followed by Henry as pall bearers, I started crying.  Likewise, as the casket started down the aisle on the way out, Henry and I squeezed hands as he walked by and I started crying again.  Stop that, Henry!

When the funeral and the reception were over, a bunch of Lamplighters went to a nearby bar.  We took up four tables and, of course, we did the traditional toast for Will...



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"Oh it's you..."




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