Friday, April 14, 2017

Familiar Faces

          I’ve grown resigned to the wonky knee, the shock of seeing my mother in an unexpected glimpse of a store mirror, and the difficulty of staying out and awake past 10 at night.

          This week, though, a reminder of the stage of life I’ve reached hit home in a very literal way when reading the on-line version of my hometown newspaper.

          Not having grown up in the town where I live in Massachusetts, my network of friends and acquaintances is probably smaller than others in the area. Maybe that’s why it startled me so when on each of the past three days I still managed to see the name and picture of someone I’ve known. In the obituaries.

          Each was from a stage of my working life.

          The first was a beloved superintendent of the large school system in which I ultimately became a teacher. I met Mr. Donohoe, though, up in a helicopter, of all places, when I was taping footage for some show or other the cable company was producing. A charming, courtly gentleman.

          The next was Mary, who had been already working as a nurse’s aid for years before I was hired as a part-time secretary on the pediatric floor. She was a baby-whisperer who probably knew more about nursing kids than anyone with a four-year degree.

          The third was Mitch, who taught in two of the same schools that I did. He was less renowned for his teaching skills than the old Corvette that he drove to school every day.

          I’m not Irish, but I’m reminded of references to the obituaries as the “Irish social pages,” where you can get caught up with the people you know knew. 


  1. I have had similar experiences over the past few weeks.
    I always read the obituaries and some of them fascinate me. One which has stuck in my head was put in by (obviously loving) children. It was a delightful tribute to their mother and finished with the lines 'the old cow has gone up the paddock for the last time'. I would love to know the story behind that.

  2. I don't read the obituaries unless I've heard a family member has died. I don't need to know how many people my age are kicking the bucket.

    1. Yes, I'm beginning to think I should take up reading the sports section instead.

  3. I read the obits when I had a paper to read from, but now the obits are not readily available to me. I have reached the age where many people I have known are passing away, but I hear of it on Facebook instead. Have a great weekend, Marty, and a Happy Easter. :-)

  4. LOL -- I never heard the "Irish social pages" thing. (But why only Irish, I wonder?) I always read obits. I find them fascinating. There IS an element of age-comparison with myself and family members, as the cartoon suggests, but it's also just incredibly interesting what people do with their lives. Now, the obits I read are mostly famous people in the NY Times, unless I'm back home in Florida and reading my hometown paper.

  5. Know how you feel. I almost fear getting the retiree's news letter for it seems some one else I worked with has left us. Even being in a tiny town for a few years, I am seeing familiar names in the obits. One of the unwelcome side effects of long life.

  6. I know, sad to lose friend in batches:(


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