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Monday, February 10, 2014

I process these sorts of things slowly. A wasn't able to make it to the funeral, so I had the drive down and the drive back to turn it all over in my mind. Lucky me, the drive down was elongated by roughly two hours by reason of rush-hour traffic when I hit the GW Bridge. The drive back was a couple of hours longer than it might have been by virtue of the snow that started up around Scranton. Nothing really adverse either time-- just a little extra time with my thoughts.
Frank and Marianne aren't in this photo, but we stayed with them, in the house on Potters Boulevard across the street from the Brightwaters Park, around the corner from the house where my grandparents lived. In the background here is the bathhouse at Robert Moses State Park, Field 2. After the funeral, after the luncheon, a visit to the beach seemed like the right thing to do. On the way in the evening before I'd grown exasperated by the traffic on the Southern State, so I'd cut over the Ocean Parkway, and was rewarded with the winter smell of the ocean. The wake was directly across the street from Marianne and my high school; the funeral the next morning was at St. Peter's By-The-Sea. As familiar was everything else this weekend was, that was a space I'd never seen. As if to compensate for that lack of familiarity it turns out that the Episcopalians out-do Catholics these days. The service was elaborate and the usual annoyance I experience in church didn't really surface until the shaman dragged C.S. Lewis into it. Even that wasn't so bad. Eddie had suffered a lot, for a long time, and it was good to see that the people in the crowded church all seemed to be pleased about remembering the good times with him. Over the course of the weekend Frank, Scott, Mark and I had time to talk about the unusual times we'd had in law school-- and there were moments when it felt a bit like those times hadn't ended, only deepened. Showing up is key. From the class of '82 (and '81) there we were, along with another friend I reckoned we'd see.
It was the sound of it all that made it seem so surreal: that Long Island accent, so different from Queens, or Brooklyn-- so different from anything else, really. It was like hearing a long-forgotten foreign language. And, of course, through all of it the little worm of a thought: what if I'd have stayed here? Of course that wouldn't have happened-- some twist in my DNA has led me to consistently wonder  where my city is, even though it appears that it turned out to be Buffalo. 's-Hertogenbosch? Tokyo? There was no place for me in Bay Shore, even though it was transporting to have a late supper at the Peter Pan Diner; even though they are rebuilding the John Thomas Inn. But there we all were, to support Joyce and her daughters, the survivors, the ones that show up.

| Comments:
We are very sorry about your friend. I hope you sent a copy of your thoughts of him to your friend's wife. That sort of thing does help.

I glad you went to the funeral. CS Lewis may offend you but his writing is very inspiring for me. Have you actually ever read "Mere Christianity"?
 

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