He Was 89

Aged 89, my father-in-law died unexpectedly early Monday morning (nothing to do with the stupid virus insofar as we know) at his home here in London.

[Photo by me, London, England, 2020.]

Robust to the end, he was still driving and more active than men 20 years younger. He was born when Ramsay MacDonald was prime minister. At 10, he lived through the Battle of Britain: the house across from his family’s was hit by a Luftwaffe bomb and its residents killed, and he never forgot seeing RAF and Luftwaffe planes dogfighting over London – and occasionally the chilling sight of one (or more) of them plunge to earth.

[Back garden. Photo by me, London, England, 2020.]

He was so old-fashioned that I often joked to him that he was a 19th century man who first had to enter the 20th and maybe he would eventually join the rest of us in THIS century. He barely even got what the internet is, much less used it. And this current virus?: It didn’t make any impression on him. (“You didn’t live through the war.”)

He is yet another passed of a generation that we probably won’t fully appreciate until they all are no more.

[Photo by me, London, 2020.]

That seemingly innocuous pot I snapped this morning as we stay with my mourning mother-in-law represents to me something special. It was – and others in the set – bought in 1962 by my (someday) father-in-law when he had traveled (on an ocean liner) to New York for business. When I first visited this house in 1998, I happened to notice them and I was shocked.

Why? Because my mother had the same exact set of pots and pans. My parents had bought the same line of them when they were married the next year: 1963. The family of the woman I was to marry in England had the same cook pots my parents in New York still had.

This is the worst moment I’ve lived since my own mother died in 2015. Life throws everything at us, and we must always be prepared for such. God bless you all.✝️


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