The end of August I posted an article about my uncle David, the younger brother of my dad, who passed away a few days later. Today there was a service to celebrate his life, in Norwell, Massachusetts. My sister Judy and I drove from Georgia to Massachusetts for this service, and as I drove to her house this past Tuesday for the trip, I got a phone call that Charles, the older brother of my dad, had died that morning. We had planned to stop in Culpeper, Virginia Wednesday evening to visit Charles and his family there.
Well, Peter and his wife Susan, Leslie, and Paul, Charles’ children, still wanted to get together with Judy and me, so we stopped and had a wonderful visit accompanied by a wonderful dinner. Peter shared some family history and stories with us, including some of the things Charles told them in his final days. There were a couple stories about David that no one had heard before.
This is a photo demonstrating that music was very important to David, especially after his retirement.
There are three generations in my mind – the three brothers, who are the fathers, then the children (me), who I prefer to refer to as the cousins, and then the grandchildren (my children), those I want to share the family history with. Here is a photo from 1945 of the three brothers: David, Gilbert, and Charles.
I had the privilege to share in the service to celebrate David’s life, and here I share my words. First, my father’s thoughts and memories that he wanted shared, followed by my thoughts, and then finally a couple thoughts and memories of Charles, the older brother.
(Gilbert, middle brother) When we were growing up, us three boys played baseball behind the parsonage. One summer Charles and I hoed potatoes on this land for 25 cents an hour. We never did discover how David escaped this responsibility, but he sure did. On my visits with David, I was always impressed with the beautiful photographs he produced – he was even once offered a position with Life magazine, a recognition of his skills in photography. I was also impressed with the booklets he wrote with music he composed along with various poetry excerpts. He also enjoyed taking a number of courses at Harvard that were organized for seniors. Another accomplishment of David’s was his singing of solos at Sunday church services. While all three of us were choir members, only David had the voice for solo performances. Finally, David was a brother whom I always loved and admired. My father wanted to publicly thank Rick, Lisa, and Matt for all their help and assistance for David, especially in his final month. And he wished to express his heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the special care Rick’s wife, Ann, invested in David during that period.
(me, nephew/son:) Some of my thoughts I’d like to share with you. To me, one of the best complements someone can give a person is to say that they admire that person. And those were my dad’s words – he admired David. And I think that sharing and remembering are very important parts of love, and Victoria (the minister presiding at the service) stated that love is immortal, and I think that it is through sharing and memory that that happens.
Now David wrote music, melodies, and poetry, and he was a true photographer. I appreciate that very much because I am a photographer. But for me, the key description of David came a couple of weeks ago, reading a plaque on a wall of a house in a plaza in Toledo, Spain. It was in memory of a writer who was born, had lived, and died in that house. And the key phrase was that this historian was a tireless writer. And for me, that is a key phrase that describes David – he was a tireless writer. And he wrote not only his own material, but invested time in improving and correcting the writing of others – as an editor.
Now just days ago, the older brother, Charles, shared some family history and memories, including those of David, just before Charles died. And they were stories that his six children had never heard in all those years. Now one story was that when they lived in Ithaca, New York, David drove an ambulance. And one day, a car ran a stop sign and hit his ambulance. And the driver of the car that ran the stop sign died. Charles felt that even though the accident was not David’s fault, perhaps David never really fully got over that incident.
Now Charles recognized that their mother, Hazel, had a favorite. And Charles felt that initially the favorite son of the three was himself. And that’s understandable, as many authorities think that the first born child always has a special place in the heart of their parents. But Charles felt that my father, Gilbert, later took over and usurped his position as favorite son. A little further, Charles felt he was able to recoup that position. But the final position, and the position that was held as the three boys were adults was that David was the favorite son. And the reason that Hazel bestowed the position of favorite son on David was, in her own words, David had a propensity for writing. So I wasn’t there, but I could tell that Charles felt an appreciation and an admiration for David as well.
So what I would like to close with is we need to share, we need to remember, that is what we are here for. David was admired by both of his brothers. David was a tireless writer. David was a favorite son, because he had a propensity for writing. And that’s not only Good Love, that’s Better Love, and with any luck, that’s Immortal Love.