Monday, April 30, 2007

I think that it's important to stay positive and to look for the good that can come out of a bad situation. For me, the good has been that since my Dad died, I've been spending a lot more time with my family than I used to. We find it comforting to be together. Saturday we went to Sarah's for dinner and Sunday we went to my mother's. At least once a weekend I see someone from my family, and it's just nice. I know my father would be pleased to see how we are supporting each other and taking care of each other, especially my mom. I'm glad we're all in the same area of the country. For a while, some of us were scattered to the winds.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I've been remiss about posting here recently, but that's because I've entered the bead zone. I'm about to re-enter it in a minute but I thought I'd check in to let everyone know I'm still alive. Only 10 more days and I'm off to France. A bientot!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I wanted to post a picture of something cool here, but I don't have a picture of anything too cool to post. It's Earth Day and it's beautiful out. The sun is shining and it's warm and I'm going to go make beads in a minute. Finally spring has arrived. Oh, I found a cute picture to post. It's of my water garden last year, with its resident frog. I hope he comes back this year.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Last night, my mother invited Robert and me to dinner, along with Sarah, her husband and Elizabeth. I thought this was a good step for my mother. It shows that she is getting back to "normal" or at least finding a new version of "normal" for her. During dinner, my mother pointed out the pictures on the wall to Elizabeth, saying "That's Auntie Martha ... that's mommy ... that's Auntie Ellen," etc. When she got to "Grampa", Elizabeth said "Grampa?" and "Papa" over and over as if she were calling to him and she was straining her neck and twisting in her high chair as if she were looking for him. It's clear that we grown-ups are not the only people who miss my father. Elizabeth has no clue about what happened to my father and it must hurt her to miss him and not understand why he's not around. She spent so much time with him -- almost as much as she spent with her real parents -- that she's bound to miss him and notice that he's gone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today is the day my Dad would have turned 73. It's funny that he was born at this time of year, because in all the time I knew him, he was never really able to sit back, relax and enjoy himself around now. Taxes preoccupied him, and he worked like a dog to get them done. He wasn't an accountant, but a lawyer with estates, trusts and a family to do taxes for. Even after his semi-retirement, he always worked really hard around tax time. I wish he had been able to take some time off and go to watch the Masters, but he never could.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Here's the poem my sister Martha read.

After Apple-Picking
by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree Toward heaven still, And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Here is the eulogy for my father, written and delivered by Peter M. Solomon, Esquire.

Grief is the price we pay for love, but when someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. Unlike Marc Antony's famous eulogy to Caesar, I come not to bury T, but to praise him. Theodore Wadleigh was a man rich with the treasures of life; he was blessed with insight which was close to second vision, which was coupled with out-and-out brilliance. I have told many many people over the years that Theodore Wadleigh was the smartest man I have ever met, and that remains true and is likely to remain true for the rest of my life.

T Wadleigh was a man who had great treasures. He had the treasure of a wonderful education and a brilliant legal career. He was able to enjoy some of the fine things of life that made him happy: a magnificent watch, a wonderful cashmere sweater from Scotland, a beautiful automobile. He never flashed them, he just enjoyed them. T Wadleigh had friends that loved him and respected him and looked up to him. T had the treasure of generosity of heart and spirit. He gave to causes he believed in, but you would never know it. He was a private man. He held his thoughts close; he did not display all of his treasures. He enjoyed them. But his greatest treasure, the most magnificent jewels in his life were his loving and dear family. That was where T's gold and diamonds and jewels were. That was where the treasure chest of his heart was located. His wife Karlene was his friend and his partner and the love of his life for 46 years, and I know that her heart is aching with his loss. But the wonderful memories they have will continue to thrive. Especially, their other great gift: their three wonderful children who he lived for and were a part of his being, and likewise he was their anchor. His oldest child, Ellen, and her husband Bob; his middle daughter, Sarah, and her husband Steve; and the baby, Dr. Martha Wadleigh and her dear friend and companion, Angie. T adored them and showered them with his love and his affection. He gave them beautiful gifts because he loved to do it. He loved to see their faces and he understood how they enjoyed them because they were like him; they grew up to enjoy the quiet pleasures of the beautiful things in life. They adored him and their loss is immeasurable.

T could go anywhere in the world anytime he wanted; he traveled extensively; he loved to explore. He and Karlene went on wonderful trips, the children went with them, but I don't think T was ever more happy, more comfortable, more relaxed, more himself than when he was at home surrounded by his family, and hopefully getting ready to eat the only real food that he truly loved and adored, and that was Karlene's cooking.

Theodore Wadleigh was like the Rock of Gibraltar: solid, bound to the earth, serene in his awareness of himself, in the comfort of his own being; no flash, no opulence. Just like the first time you see the Rock of Gibraltar, you look up and you go... wow. You could anchor yourself to T, to his steady and deep commitment to what was good and what was right and what was democratic. Gosh, I loved him for that, he was a real democrat and at the country club that he and I both loved to go to, we were surrounded by republicans. He was a man of great dignity, steadfast in his beliefs; he was like Super-T; a hero who stood for truth, goodness and the American Way - the Right Way. I often thought he was like a combination of Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt. Both men completely comfortable in their beliefs, steadfast and steady and unrelenting. T was unrelenting with what he thought was wrong, and good God, he thought I was wrong a lot. He loved to argue with me and I loved it back. T actually loved to argue with anybody, but he didn't. He was too shy. We were unlikely friends, different in temperament and style and presentation, in how we dressed and how we spoke and how we acted, but he must have sensed something OK in me, otherwise he would not have brought me to his home and introduced me to his family. I think they thought at first, "What is T doing with this strange young man? He is so irreverent. He tells off-colored jokes. He occasionally curses. He disagrees with T half the time". But somehow despite it all, they accepted me and my wife Stelle into their family; and I am so thankful and grateful for that. And as much as I dreaded standing here today, I do it for T and for them with an open heart.

This week a famous radio personality by the name of Don Imus was fired because of a remark that he made about a girls college basketball team. The remark was offensive and the uproar boiled away and yesterday he was fired. Now that would be something that T and I would definitely have talked about; and I can picture this conversation like he was right here. I would call him or he would call me. He'd say "what's the news", because T always wanted to know what was going on. He was so full of the desire to know, to always learn. He was constantly reading and educating himself: and he wanted to know the local news; and he wanted to know what was happening at the country club; and he wanted to know what was happening in our friends' lives. He wanted to be current. He wanted to be relevant, and he always was. So he would say what's the news and I would have the newspaper and anything else I could find, and I would tell him what the local news was and we would talk about the country club and/or friends and then all of a sudden I would say "so wasn't CBS cowardly in their firing of Imus?" And he would go "What do you mean by that? Of course they weren't. They are absolutely right." And I would say to him "they were cowards." And he would say "so you are endorsing racism?" And I would say "No, I am endorsing the first amendment" and on and on it would go until T would finally say "Well, there, it's established. Karlene, did you know that Peter was a racist?" And I would hear Karlene in the background say "Oh, Peter." I will miss those conversations terribly.

Don't think that T did not know how to have fun; he certainly did. He loved a good story or a lively party. He liked to play cards - gin, bridge, poker - when he was younger. He loved a wager. He loved to play golf at the Manchester Country Club. A good golf match, with heated competition was mother's milk. Something else you folks may not know - when T got behind the wheel of a car, he was transformed. He was no longer T Wadleigh and the roadway was not Maple Street or Lake Avenue. He was Emerson Fittipaldi - or perhaps a slightly older and larger verson of Mr. Fittipaldi - and he was at LeMans and anybody in his way needed to be passed by.
Yes, T had great treasures in his life, but there is one final treasure; one final piece of the puzzle. One bright, shining diamond of a jewel that came to him late in his life. When T was amused, truly amused, which was a wonderful sight to see because he would chortle; he didn't guffaw. He didn't laugh out loud. The only word I can describe it as is that he "chortled". He would put his hands on his belly - and his hands definitely fit there - and his belly would start to shake and his little cheeks would turn red and he would just make a chortling noise. And he could be such a curmudgeon when he did that: well, it was great. I am sure many of you have seen it and remember it. But his biggest smile, his most charming chortles, came from a wonderful, wonderful present to T and Karlene and to his family. She was born in July of 2005; her name is Elizabeth. You will get to meet her later today if you go back to the house. She is the daughter of Sarah and Steven, T and Karlene's first grandchild. It was a great blessing that she was born, that he had a chance to be with her so often. The gleam in his eyes when he looked at her, when she began to waddle, then walk and stumble, and occasionally say something: a word, a name - all of those wonderful firsts that you have when you have a child - T got to see them. Elizabeth Poremba will never get to know her Grandfather, but that is all right. Because if you know her, you will see that there is a lot of him in her. She doesn't like not getting her way. She has that same little pout and she is going to be smart, charming and brilliant, maybe occasionally obdurate and petulant, but a treasure to those who are lucky enough to know her; just like her Grandfather. Thank you.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Today was the Memorial Service for my father. It was absolutely beautiful. My sister had a wonderful picture of my Dad blown up and it was at the front of the church, flanked by the loveliest springtime flowers. The hymn my mother chose was perfect - "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," sung to the tune of the Ode to Joy in Beethoven's 9th. Of course, I was unable to sing, as music frequently makes me weepy, even when I don't have anything to cry about. Even singing carols at Christmas makes me tear up, because it is so moving. The eulogy that my Dad's friend Peter wrote was spot on. If you walked into the chapel not knowing who my father was, you left with a very good idea. He's going to email it to me and I'm going to repost it here. My father would have loved the service. We all gathered at my sister's house after for a feast and catching up with family. It was wonderful to see my extended family again and we left with promises to get together for a happy occasion next time. I'm feeling very sad and at the same time very happy today. It was a bittersweet kind of day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I just don't have the desire to make beads. I want to want to but I just can't make myself. Maybe when the weather gets a little better I'll feel differently.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I made four beads today. Well, five, but one ended up in the water because I didn't like how it turned out. So I'm just really happy that I've bitten the bullet and started up again. It was kind of cold in the garage. I don't know what happened to spring; it's still winter here. I may not have a ton of beads for my show, but at least I'll have a few.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Right now I'm at my mother's house. Robert just installed her high speed wireless internet router, so I can bring up my computer when I come to visit. We're watching the Masters and reminiscing about my father. Sometimes he could be such a bear -- rude and obnoxious -- and other times he could be a teddy bear -- kind and loving. We miss both. We're waiting for Robert to finish installing the printer and then we're going out for Chinese. Martha thinks I'm emailing someone, but in fact I'm blogging right now in the chair right across the room from her. LOL. I hope everyone has a very happy Easter.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Today is the day that my Mom and Dad were to fly home from Florida for the summer. So I'm finding it a little hard today, thinking of the "if only's". Plus today is the start of the Masters, possibly the most beautiful golf tournament on TV. My father would work like a dog on taxes all day, get up early to go into the office, and then he'd come home and watch the Masters. He'd say "look at the flowers - they're so pretty". The azaleas on that course are famous. My father loved flowers. When he worked at his old law firm (ptooey-ptooey - you have to spit when you say the name of the devil) he would have a small bouquet of flowers delivered each week for his desk. Each of us wants to plant some kind of tree in my father's memory. I think it would be fitting to plant a tree that flowers, like an azalea, or a magnolia. My father has some birth trees - my grandmother planted them the year he was born. They're at the house on the corner of Readey and Elm Streets in Manchester. Now he'll have some memorial trees, too. One in Auburn, one in Newton and one in Hollis. I miss you, Dad. I hope they get the Masters in HD wherever you are.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm feeling much better. At least that cold didn't hang around too long. I've been thinking a lot about putting things in perspective and the big picture and all that recently. It makes me think that despite all that's happened, I really do have it good. I'm really lucky and I was very blessed to have my father as my father. Yes, he had a bad temper and was hard to get along with sometimes. But he was a great father. I owe so much to him and my mother. And I'm so lucky that I still have my mother and my sisters, too. They have been an incredible source of comfort to me.

Martha go to the doctor.