Posts Tagged ‘Eros’

Letter From New York

July 22, 2013

July 20, 2013

A vision of things not to be…

When I was very, very little I encountered the McCormick family. They had six children, all about my age. I don’t know quite how I met Sarah, the McCormick that was my age but we were fast friends by the time we walked together to Kindergarten at Fuller School.

I grew up with that family and have remained close to them in all the decades that have passed since Sarah and I headed off to school for the first time. It is unusual, I know. Our childhood friends seem to slip away as we move into adulthood but Sarah and the entire McCormick family did not. When they moved to St. Louis after 8th grade, I flew down to visit them. When Sarah was living in Spain, I visited her there. When she moved to Albuquerque, I visited her there and she visited me when I lived in Santa Monica. Her son, Kevin, has grown up thinking of me as Uncle Mat and I think of and call him my nephew.

I attended family reunions with her and stood with the McCormick family when a drunk driver killed the youngest daughter, Trish, one night shortly after I had visited her in Colorado.

Mary Clare is the oldest and lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I have visited her there, was present when her daughter Margaret got married and returned when Margaret died. She and her husband Jim lived in New York awhile and we dined together at a favorite restaurant, Café du Soleil. I introduced them to my friends and they became friends.

John and Eileen, the parents, settled in New York after St. Louis and once I had moved to New York, I dined with them on a regular basis at their country club and attended family events with them. I contributed to John’s 80th birthday presents as if I were one of the kids. I mourned when both of them passed away within months of each other.

For four years I have spent my Christmases with these people. They are as much a part of my life as if they were my blood family. They are a family of choice and I went to be with them once again when Joe Eros, the oldest son of Jim and Mary Clare, died in an accident while he was hiking in Alaska, where he was stationed in the Army.

Kevin and I sat, looking at Joe in his coffin, and he said to me that he had always had a vision of the future and it had included doing things with his cousin Joe. We cried together. I, too, had a vision of the future that included getting to always know Joe a little better. And now our vision of the future included things that would not be…

He was a special man. Smarter than anyone I know. His Uncle John said that before there was Google, there was Joe. There seemed to be no nook or cranny of history of which he didn’t have some knowledge. He had a wry, dry wit that would bring a crooked smile to my face as he would crack a joke with his own crooked grin. His eyes danced with intelligence.

After 9/11 he joined the Army, served in Iraq, left the Army, went to law school and re-enlisted and was stationed in Alaska, a place he loved. He died doing what he loved, being outdoors, being alive.

I cannot tell you how much I miss him and miss that I will not have more opportunities for knowing him better. His brother Michael went to Alaska and met with his friends, met with the people who had been present when the accident happened and then accompanied Joe home. My admiration for Michael is enormous and my vision of the future includes knowing him better. He demonstrated what an amazing man he is during this painful period.

I have my family of origin. I have a family of choice. My vision of the future includes them both. I cannot imagine it differently.

Letter From New York December 28, 2011

December 28, 2011

Or, as it seems to me…

I am sitting on a couch at the cottage, feeling like an overstuffed gnocchi. It has been several days of feasting and fun; my longest standing friend, Sarah Malone, was here with her husband Jim, their son Kevin, who generously considers me his uncle. Sarah’s sister Mary Clare was here with her husband Jim and their son Michael, who is now on his way to Rio for New Year’s. I spent last Christmas with them; this Christmas they came to me and it was restful and joyful to be surrounded by old friends with whom I have shared so much through all these years.

It’s my hope that everyone’s holidays were as goodwill filled as mine.

The sun is slowly beginning to set, a soft grey is entering the room, the Christmas tree lights sparkle while a fire burns gently in the stove. Soon we will begin cooking for the evening.

The year is ending with a soft sigh; I’m glad for that. It is lovely to begin the march toward New Year’s Eve in the gentle company of Kevin and Michelle.

I am looking forward to 2012. I’ll be attending the CES Show in Las Vegas and will be covering South By Southwest as well as being on a panel there. Hopefully, I will make a pilgrimage to Martha’s Vineyard to Jeffrey and Joyce’s as I have in the last three of four years. It’s my plan to take the Empire Builder from Portland to Chicago, one of the two most beautiful train rides in America, I’m told. I’m sure I will make a trip or two to Minneapolis and there’ll be unexpected business opportunities that will take me hither and yon.

It is a year to look forward to.

It is my hope that readers are also looking forward to 2012. Once a salesman, always a salesman and so I live in hope. But then, so do we all – live in hope. We have to or we would go quite mad I suspect, looking around the world we inhabit.

We have Syria in revolt against Assad, a restless Russia, an Iraq that appears to be splitting along sectarian lines, pirates seizing freighters, an Iran threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, and a nuclear North Korea run by an untested 28 year old. Put it all together, it’s not a pretty picture. But it’s never been a pretty picture and yet we go on. Why? At the bottom, we live in hope, hope that if in nothing else, in our small corner of the world, we can make a world safe for ourselves, that we can do something that will better our lot and the lot of those around us.

This year, as in some years past, I did not give gifts to friends and family but made donations to causes – the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, the USO and to a challenged family in Reading, PN so that they might have gifts for their children under the tree. It seemed a better use of resources than to search out trinkets for people with too many of them already.

Having the Malone/Eros clan here was a gift to me and I hope that Christmas communicated to them the gift they are and I hope the gifts I gave in the name of family and friends helped them know the gift they are to me. Listening to NPR one day this season, a commentator was talking about Christmas as a time to show the people we love that we loved them. I hope I did and I hope the people in your world shared their love with you.

Now we move on into the New Year and as the New Year approaches, I will focus on living in hope as it is in hope that we are all able to provide gifts to the world in which we live.

Happy New Year!