Originally published October 10th, 2008.
I wonder if he ever went back and knocked on that door; don’t recall that he ever blogged about it. And I think of his sister now too – the only survivor of her immediate family. That has to be hard, to lose 2 siblings so very young.
Awesome LOTD, Todd. Thanks.
Wow – in reading this I had a suspicion Lex grew up in Alexandria and he confirmed it at the end. Alexandra, just across the Potomac from DC seems light years away. It’s like you stepped back in time. I think it is one of America’s oldest cities.
And….I know that Italian restaurant – just can’t remember the name. Some internet friends and I had dinner there once only to sadly learn that there is an apt complex next door with strict no-parking on their (vaguely signed) area. Cost my friend about $150 to park there that evening. But it was the perfect place for Lex and his sister to reminisce.
Lex sounded a bit melancholy – I felt it with him. (as did every reader, I suspect).
A few years ago my aunt died. I was very close to her and my uncle – visiting their 200 year old family farm in WV almost every summer from the time I was 12. Went to school in VA on the advice of my aunt, and would frequently take the 8 hour drive each way from Charlottesville to Huntington just for a weekend visit.
My uncle was the first for whom the sand ran out, in 1998. My aunt, getting old and frail, decided to move to an “assisted living” center. But she asked me and my cousin if she should sell the farm or keep it for us.
I spent so much time there – it was really my home away from home, but knew I’d be surrounded by memories. Overpowering memories.
Good memories but still the past. memories that helped make me what I have become.
As Lex said, you can’t go back.
For now, I can and did go “home” this summer as sad as it was. My Dad went from doing fine to gone in a few short hours. I was lucky that he waited for me to arrive before he passed. Although he was not conscious, there is no doubt in my mind that he waited and knew I was there before he let go. within an hour after I arrived surrounded by his family and friends.
He had a rather remarkable, unremarkable life. Not unlike thousands of the ‘greatest generation’. He came home, went to work and didn’t stop for the next 35+ years. Never once in my life did he ever ask for anything for himself. Everything he did was for his family, his church and his country. He, and my Mother (married for 65 yrs), worked 40+ hours a week in a old southern cotton mill. Raw cotton out one side of the rail car and finished product in from the other.
Everything I am, I owe them. They put me and my sister thru college on what is certainly less than minimum wage today without us or them having any debt. He would take a loan to pay my tuition, etc, pay it off in 3 months and then do it all over again.
He was what hard work looks like. His only enjoyment was reading, his garden, and small 8 tree fruit orchard. At his two chairs, one in the house and the other in his workshop where he held court, were 8 books that he was involved in at the time. Two on US history, one on finance, two on politics, two on religion, and The Bible. Even at nearly 93 he was striving to learn and understand more.
The ‘home’ certainly was his castle. Built from blueprints he found in a newspaper. Two stories, which he finished the upstairs by himself, for bedrooms for my sister and me. The carport, added a wood workshop and storage for his tools and mowers. On the other side of the yard was his greenhouse where seeds took hold until after the last frost. And at the end of the season, he and Mom canned the harvest to last thru the winter all the while preparing for next year’s crop. Although I haven’t lived ‘at home’ in 35+ years it still remains to be HOME.
I miss him terriblely. Not an hour hardly goes by that I don’t find something in my life that I can relate to him. I can not imagine how big the void is for my sister who was with them everyday. She is truely the rock of our family and words can not express my love and appreciation for what she has done.
I can only hope that I am and will continue to be worthy of such love and effort.
You are his legacy and it sounds like he did good!
Thanks BB, I try.
My condolences, Pirate.
Lex spoke of his surviving sister in ~2008. I wonder what she feels now that Lexi is gone? It happens to all of us–we’re left alone to soldier on into the night. But he was a heck of a brother to have had.
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