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A Glitteratti Bathroom Self-Portrait

A Glitteratti Bathroom Self-Portrait

December 2006 Raleighwood, NC


Since I’m sure there are going to be Cambridge pictures taken and my image will eventually make it onto at least one of three other blogs here on lj, I’m being a bit looser with the images I’ll post in self-portraits. It’s still not enough to be recognized by anyone who doesn’t know me, but it’s more than I’ve let on before.

This weekend was back-to-back nights of Christmas parties. We are not the “party” type, but these events were either put on by good friends (the men’s group) or was going to be attended by some of Bonn’s metalheads friends from her recent class.

I spent a good part of the weekend writing a letter to the children of my old friend, The Axeman. David “The Axeman” Hayes, as long-time readers will remember, was an old friend of mine who died a few years back from a brain tumor. He left behind a wife and several children who still live in New Jersey. Shortly after his death Connie, his wife, asked friends of David’s to write letters to the kids, telling them about their father and the kind of man they knew him to be. David, for his part, was very clear that he didn’t want anyone making him out to be some kind of saint, but to tell the bad along with the good.

[ profile] sakkijarvi sent his letter out within a month or so of the request. It was a very honest, direct letter, filled with remembrances and quotes from letters David had sent to him over the years. I knew I’d write a letter as well, but I wasn’t quite ready to do so. It’s sat in the back of my mind, fermenting, since then. A week ago I started plotting it out in my head on a long, dark drive home and I knew it was time to start writing.

I’ve gotten permission from Connie to post it here (as well as to send a copy to you, [ profile] sakkijarvi -- I’ll mail it out tomorrow) but it’s considerably longer than I had expected it to be. After thinking it over, I’m putting the beginning and the ending sections behind the lj-cut. It’s still long and I understand completely if you’re not interested in reading it.

Just click on through to the other side )

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Day (After) Lilly

Day (After) Lilly

July 2005 Raleigh, NC


We received a letter in the mail yesterday from an old and very dear friend of mine. After escaping from high school and having nothing to do with anyone from that school for a few years, Sysma was the first (and for a while the only) person I chose to communicate with from those days. He was extremely smart, had a wonderful sense of humor and knew practically everyone in the school, from the staff to the students older and younger than ourselves.

He was also a genuinely nice guy. Very old world, open and caring. One of the more real people in an artificially constructed environment.

When I called he was very surprised to hear from me, knowing my bad attitude towards school and thinking that I'd just chosen to leave it and everyone there far behind me. We talked, got together and ended up far better friends than we'd ever been in high school.

We started getting together one night a week to play games. (I'm a big board game freak) When he returned from his tour in the Air Force he asked me to be the first person to meet his finance, because out of all of his friends, he felt I was the "safest". (Me with my long hair and my not-exactly-career-path directionless lifestyle)

Sysma got married, moved to Texas and he and his wife started going to school. She became an attorney for the city, he started towards a PhD and teaching. A daughter came along with some serious chromosomal abnormalities and Sysma did something that was on the on the one hand, extremely phenominal and on the other, entirely fitting with who he is: he gave up his career plans and gave himself over completely to his family and the needs of his daughter.

He was also a close friend of David "The Axeman", a person some of you long-time readers might remember. (Sorry no links, I'm short on time) Shortly before he died David asked all of his friends to write to his children, telling them about him. He wanted the good and the bad to be told to them so they could have a better idea of who he really was.

In Sysma's letter yesterday he included a copy of the letter he wrote to David's kids. It was very touching and honest. When you've known someone as long as David and Sysma knew each other (almost as long as I knew David), you know a person's good side as well as their bad sides. David was straight with the kids on all counts.

David and Sysma also had something else in common: they were both serious baseball fans. Sysma was an American League fan; David was a National League fan. The winner would usually call other up on the night (or day after) the Major League All Star game to remind the loser of the score and to discuss the game. Over the years it became the one day in the year they knew they'd be able to talk.

It was a tradition I respected and, sure, I was a little jealous of.

This is the first All Star game Sysma won't have a chance to talk to David. He's written to David's kids telling them about their tradition, and how he's going to miss that call tonight.

I know my brief call won't be anywhere near the same, but maybe I can do my part to help start a new one out of the ashes of an old one.



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