Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From his obituary

"He enjoyed wood-working, reading, traveling, and helping others."
This may sound like a strange line to single out of the obituary of the man who died yesterday, but it's what this book blogger noticed.  He was an engineer and a perfectionist, so everything he made with his hands came out as perfect as it was humanly possible.  Always.  But reader?  Not when I first met him back in 1956 on what turned out to be a blind date.  I was sixteen, thought I was going swimming "with a group" of friends, and discovered "the group" consisted of my friend Mary, her friend David, and David's friend, who happened to have a car.  He was home from Germany, where he was stationed at Rhein-Main Air Force Base outside Frankfurt, and he had turned twenty-two the day before.  Six years is an awfully big gap in years for a teenager.

About that "reading" listed in his obituary — later when we were dating, I learned that he didn't read anything.  At Christmas, a friend had given him a subscription to Reader's Digest, but the magazines were piling up, unread.  I read the short articles and pointed out whatever I thought would interest him.  He began to read.  After we were married, he continued to read one RD article every morning during breakfast.  But after he graduated from college, he rejoiced that he'd never have to read another book!

Our three children are readers.  So are our grandchildren, except for the one who has always preferred to draw.  His second wife was a teacher before she retired, and I taught college classes as an adjunct.  Now his obituary lists reading, as second only to wood-working among the things he enjoyed.  Do you suppose the books on the shelves lining the walls of our den made a difference?  He made those shelves.  Perfectly.

Rest in peace, dear heart.


Jan said...

I hope my obituary lists reading as my favorite activity! How wonderful to have your children and grandchildren love reading, too. I am glad that my grown children still like to read books.

Shirley said...

Was this your husband? I'm sorry to be so dense. The gradual transition to a reader sounds like quite a loving tribute. I remember that while in college and shortly after college, I only read brief articles (usually magazines). Reading had become a requirement and something that was a chore rather than a pleasure. I'm glad that the joy of reading became part of his life.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Sorry for your loss, but how nice to discover how important reading became to him later in life!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I am so sorry for your loss. This is a lovely tribute to both him and your lives together! Beautiful!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Me too, Jan.

Yes, Shirley, he was my husband and the father of my three children. I divorced him after fourteen years and he remarried. That sentence about "his wife was a teacher ... and I taught college classes" was my way of saying both of his wives were teachers. I'm not mentioned in his obituary, of course, but his death has caused me to do a lot of reflecting about his life — and mine.

Helen, I already knew he read a lot, but I was surprised to find reading included in his obituary.

Thanks, Beth. Since we were divorced, I hadn't realized I would feel such a loss.

Shirley said...

The death of someone who is or had been close does cause one to do a lot of reflecting. After 14 years of marriage and him being the father of your children means that he had been a major part of your life. I hope that most of the recalled memories are good ones worth cherishing of him.

Marg said...

Sorry for your loss Bonnie. When there are kids involved, there are always links, and so it is no surprise that you are feeling reflective at the moment.