In Memory of My Life Partner
Peggy WeberPeggy and I were together for 42 years. That is 2/3 of my life, and several lifetimes of Incredible and Wonderful memories. I loved her to distraction, and remember almost all of the amazing times we had together. Some of you have been around us for some of these memories, some for many of them. Some, perhaps the most special to me, are the ones only she and I were around for. I thought I'd share some of these with you today.
I Remember:When we met for the first time. We were introduced by Michael Feldman, a close friend to this day, and met for the first time in his dorm room in Thayer Hall during his freshman year at Harvard; I was a junior in Kirkland House. Later, I was surprised and pleased that Michael mentioned to me that you had said you liked me and might want to get to know me better. You invited me for a spaghetti dinner at your apartment in Somerville, and we spent the rest of that evening talking about anything and everything, and I realized that I wanted to get to know you much better. I remember glowing at that possibility.
I Remember:When our friendship gradually changed into the beginnings of a love affair that has never ended to this day. I visited you at Clothware, your clothing boutique in Harvard Square, and realized I had never met anyone with your kind of creativity, style and drive. Starting a successful business on a wing and a prayer, that a Harvard business School student did a study of, and predicted the venture wouldn't last a year. Man was he wrong. You've been gone from Clothware for decades now, but it is still a thriving business, thanks to your dreams and the energy with which you, and your primary partner Donna Southwell, who is here today and shared those dreams, put into them.
I Remember:An evening we spent together early on in your apartment in Somerville. You put on the Fleetwood Mac album Bare Trees, which I had not heard, despite having been an early fan of the Band when they were a blues outfit out of South London. On that album is the instrumental song 'Sunny Side of Heaven', which I had heard quite a few times on the radio, but never knew who played it. It became 'Our Song' that night, which is sort of strange in that it is an instrumental, but I still play it probably once a week at least. It is my single favorite song of all time, for obvious reasons. I came to learn that we shared an intense love of music of all kinds, and had and have very similar taste. Music became one of the binding forces of our relationship, and resulted in so many great experiences over the years.
I Remember:Going to our first Bruce Springsteen show at Fathers Too in Harvard Square. That gig was supposed to have been at Joe's Place in Inman Square, which was a great place for music, but unfortunately burned down the night before. There were maybe 200 people at that gig, and it was one of those nights he became justifiably famous for where all the rules were off and he absolutely burned the house down. We both laughed at the irony of that, and it was a seminal night in our long music appreciation life together. Bruce was said to single out a specific woman in the audience to sing to, and that night it was you. We both knew this, and I did feel a little jealousy over that, but it only added to the internal legend, and the meaning of Bruce's music, among many others, to us.
I Remember:When we decided to move to Austin, Texas in the late 1970's, to attend college and graduate school respectively. That was a terrific move, but we had to wait to bring Bernice and Chiba, our cats, who spent that first fall with your brother Paul in Rochester. We spent Christmas in New England that year, collected the cats and headed back to Texas. That was one of the most difficult trips we ever took. A full-scale blizzard followed us all the way to Arkansas. I remember stopping somewhere in Tennessee to walk the cats and give them a food and bio break. We didn't have collars, let alone leashes, so we walked them using speaker wire in that blizzard. Those two cats were the beginning of a clan of cats over the years that now numbers something like 25. A couple of them were particularly special to you. You developed an almost maternal bond with them, and I know you're with all of them now. Bernice, Thunder, Tsunami and Sasha were attached to you in ways I can only marvel at now, and I'm happy you are with them.
I Remember:When our daughter Amelia was born in Austin, on December 28, 1984. We went to all the suggested Lamaze classes, and I remember your amazement at the one couple who continually asked about the positioning of outlets and lights in the birthing room since they planned to videotape the whole thing, which seemed cute but sort of pointless. Amelia was born via Cesarean Section, so there would not have been time for any video. We later found out that the video couple’s son had been a C-Section birth as well, so no outlets, no lights, no video. The child was born healthy, and we all had a good laugh. Amelia has been one of the two lights of our life. She is 30 now; so long ago those memories.
I Remember:After we moved back to New England, we lived in faculty housing in Wellesley for a couple of years as Amelia grew into a beautiful girl and Peggy refined her painting. Amelia took to painting as well, with a small setup near Peggy's easel she experimented with finger paint in a way that was as interesting as it was messy. Amelia's first friends, Christy and Marcus loved to fill our dryer with building blocks and enjoy the racket.
I Remember:Building our house in Sherborn, which you designed. We got over most of my construction mistakes, and lived for 21 years in that house filled with light, love and animals.
I Remember:When our daughter Jane was born in Boston, on January 17, 1991. No issues with the lights or outlets to laugh about that time, but I was allowed to be in the birthing room. This was another C-Section, and my memory is of Jane popping out, literally, and being handed to me after the initial postnatal stuff. The second light of our life was born. She is 24 now; so long ago those memories.
I Remember:Moving from Sherborn to Essex. You figured out a way to sell and buy a house in one day, which I would have thought was impossible, but, as with so many other things in our life together, you figured out a way, and we were back on Cape Ann, our favorite place in the world. The girls had grown up and moved on to their own lives by then. We made plans to go everywhere and see everything. Your art took on a new, pacific energy, and became focused on the sea around us and the beautiful area we lived in. We re-connected with old friends, and settled in to enjoy each other near the ocean.
The things I remember most are the little internal dialogs that we had. Conversations and times that involved just the two of us. Things that only we knew. These are the things I will remember most. I will carry them like shining jewels that lit our life together. I will never forget, I will love you forever, and some day we will be together again... Forever.