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Memoirs and Relatives
March 8, 2000


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Don and Me, 1968This will be slightly graphics intensive, which I've never done to you before. It's just that sort of time where you haul out some pictures or relevant scans and put them up.

The first picture, to the left of this text unless you've got a browser that doesn't play that, in which case it's the graphic that looks like I'm describing (and if you're on Lynx it's the one called "Don and Me" and you can pretend you have some idea of what I'm talking about) is of Granpa Don and I, somewhere in the first year of my life. I'm the short one in blue. Granpa Don is the one who vaguely looks like Mr. Rogers.

This picture is from Fort Kent, my hometown. I don't recognize much in this particular graphic. The bookshelf is identifiable -- it was a part of my life for a very long time, eventually living in my room (which impressed the heck out of me and got it out of my parents' den all at the same time. Win-win situation). The books along the top of the bookshelf are my father's collection of Greek Plays arranged by Playwright, and I can still see them when I go home and look at the bookshelf upstairs. I read through some of them later on in life -- the great Greek Tragedies are truly masterpieces of literature. The Greek Comedies, on the other hand, seem to be a long collection of penis jokes. I kid you not. And here you thought Television was a step down from the classics. I also recognize the small chair. It was my sister's chair, and it rocked, and she was quite possessive of it. I can understand that. A four year old didn't particularly want to have a baby enter her world and turn it upside down. I remember wanting to impress Kris very much, and having a kind of reverence for that chair. I got aDon's Obituary wooden folding chair, stained deep brown, later on.

Granpa Don seems eminently patient, playing with what looks like a drum and a small nipper. You can see his hands, and the warmth in his face here. This is how I like to remember him. Already, the old man he became fades in my mind's eye, and this man takes over now and forever. As for the baby -- well, he seems darn cute, and I have no idea what happened to him in the intervening thirty-two years. It must be the beard.

You may or may not be able to read the obituary which also appears here. I know you can't make out the picture. This was taken from a pretty rough copy of the newsprint, which itself appeared on 3/1/2000 in the Portland Press Herald. It tells me things I never knew (or never knew well) about Granpa Don. I knew he was married before he married Grammie, but I didn't know her name was Alva Pomeroy or that they were married for twenty-nine years until her death. I didn't know he and Grammie were married the same year I was born, making their marriage a thirty-two year one. I didn't know he was a volunteer fireman.

At the funeral, I learned and saw other things as well. I learned that he built a house with his own hands. It was a good one. I saw the house he and my Grandmother shared in my early life. He designed that one too. I saw Chicoine Road, named after him by a community that respected him.

The funeral was a good one for these things. All my cousins, aunts and uncles were there -- the first time the whole Maternal side of my family was in one room at the same time since I was twelve years old. Elton and Dona Clark flew in from California, along with my grown cousins Brian, David and Suzanne. My Uncle Alan and Aunt Edie came, as did my Aunt Donna, Alan's first wife. They brought Peter, Al Junior and Laurel with them, as well as my cousin Bill, who was always Billy to me, but he's taller than I am now. Wives and husbands tagged along where possible, though the California crew couldn't really bring spouses any more than my sister Kris could.

It was a very interesting weekend, Dogs Chasing Cards, Frontmeeting all these cousins I knew as young boys and girls. I have an excellent family and it's nice to get to know them again, at least for a little while. It was equally nice to have a few days of my family as I grew up with it -- my mother and father, and my sister and I. No nieces and no husband on Kris's side. I love my nieces and George is one of my favorite people, but there's something deeply pleasant about Mom and Dad, Kris and Eric, just like when we lived on Alfred Street or Pleasant Street in Fort Kent, ME.

I'm including scans of the front and back of the liner notes from my cousin David's first CD. He's the Bass Player in a band fronted by Mary Borgia. It's a good CD, with a strong blues influence and a good amount of what I call "casual rock." Sort of an Edie Brickell meets Blues Traveller thing. The band isn't currently together, apparently, but it'd be nice if they found their way back. I certainly enjoyed the CD a great deal.Dogs Chasing Cars, Rear

I'm not really reducing the back side at all, in hopes that you'll have a shot at making out David, the guy in the bottom picture, sitting with his Bass and looking cool in a kind of a Grateful Dead way. David actually followed the Dead for a good long while, including taking in some shows in Seattle while I was there. We tried to hook up but it never quite matched up, though I did get copies of his newsletter.

Which, if you think about it, is like an online journal, just on paper.

It was a good funeral, albeit a bit long on God and short on Don. The priest was a visiting one who didn't know Granpa Don at all, so he concentrated on what he called "the Christian Burial." Which meant we heard a lot about God with a few left-handed comments about atheism. And yet, I think Granpa Don would have approved in a way. He was a quiet man who didn't troll for compliments. He'd have probably snorted at how much the whole thing cost.

And the ritual was comforting. I was a Pall Bearer, and got to pay my last respects in person, of course. I got to say good-bye to what was left behind, and take comfort in my family and Don's extended family, many of whom I had never met before then.

Brewster Academy, in the person of the Headmaster and his wife, sent flowers. I had some warning they might, but it was still touching. My mother liked it too, very much, as did others. I work at a special place.

As we entered the church with the casket, the bell tolled above, and I knew this really was good-bye. As we had a light lunch (which I couldn't eat, so I had coffee) after the service, I heard the first notes of laughter. We paid our respects to a man we all loved very much, and now it was time to move on.

From there, a lot of us went to L.L. Bean's. It somehow seems like a very Maine way to get back to life.

More on that, on GPS's and on actual ways I have fun in my life (they do exist) next time.

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