A Past Now Gone. Allow me to Grieve.
Coronavirus took another casualty today: the oldest person I have ever known. He was born in 1911, and was one hundred and nine years old - older than any of us. I will refrain from naming him out of respect for his family. He was without a doubt the kindest, most warm-hearted individual I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He would tell stories, stories of how he would wander to New York Harbor as a child and watch the British steamers coming in. He told stories of how they spoke of the sinking of the “Lusitania” during the Great War, of his HAM radios (he always had one, up until he died).
He told of the Great Depression - he had been a runner on Wall Street when the market crashed in 1929. He said that he saw people, upset people, jump. He said that their shoes always came off before they hit the ground. He told stories of his frist automobile, of his college experiences. He spoke of his contributions during World War Two (he was one of the head foreman in charge of building a runway at Guadalcanal).
He met Major Jimmy Doolittle (yes, that Major Doolittle), Babe Ruth, and, if I remember correctly, Walt Disney. He was a living history book: his memory was fantastic. Everything he said lined up - all the years and dates and names. I never doubted anything he ever said. And most of all, he was just a kind, sweet elderly man, always happy. He had all sorts of photographs in his room: black and white ones of people long gone. And now, so is he.
When he was born, there was a completely different set of people on the planet. Think about that: 1911. His grandfathers literally fought in the American Civil War. And with his death, nearly all of that living time period has died. There are a few others who still remain, yes, but I do not know those others. It is different when you know a person. I didn’t even know him that well - I spoke to him but on a few occasions, but how fantastic were those conversations! All I can say now is “au revoir, until we meet again...” Life goes on, I suppose...
I am not sure why I am even posting this: no one else will be able to relate to my words. I just feel like I have to make some sort of statement about it, to memoralize him. I know this pandemic has taken many, and those deaths are no less important, but he is the first casualty I have known, and I feel like I have to do something.