alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
For Christmas, Meredith gave me a slide scanner. I've been, off-and-on, using it on the vast amount of material I have left from dad's estate (even after a rough cull of most of it). I just finished uploading a few hundred slides of my parents' time in Brazil in the Peace Corps to Facebook. If you want more context, here is their Peace Corps Diary.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Letter dated 9/9/2003
Read more... )KLogo
Russell Kay
8 Tupelo Road
Worcester, MA 01606
508-852-5433
russkay@charter.net


Mr. David Morgan
avid Morgan
11812 North Creek Parkway N., Suite 103
Bothell, WA 98011

Re: Lovebirds NW Trade rings
LovebirdRing

Dear Mr. Morgan:

I recently bought two of these rings, in sterling silver, for my wife Harriet and I to wear as what I like to think of as second-generation wedding rings. We got our original wedding rings 39 years ago in Chicago, and neither one of us has been able to get them on the appropriate fingers for decades.

I had actually gotten Harriet one of these rings from you a couple of years ago, just as a piece of jewelry. Harriet’s had problems with finger swelling, so that a fixed ring size ends up, at some point during the day, being excruciatingly tight (and unremovable) or falling-off loose. The split design of the Lovebirds ring made it possible for her to wear a ring again.

Some months back, she lost that ring and was very upset – upset enough that she didn’t want to tell me about it at first.

But I had a more deeply personal reason for getting these as a surprise. We have just learned in the last couple of weeks that Harriet has metastatic breast cancer, for which she starts treatment this week. This marks a pretty fateful step down a road we never wanted to travel on. The prognosis is a lot shorter than we had been planning on. We still have some years to spend together – we hope – but not nearly so many as we wanted.

So I got the two rings, along with one of your wedding ring boxes in which to deliver them. In this time of trouble, I wanted to wear the same ring she did, as a physical sign – both to her and to me – of my support and commitment. I gave Harriet the rings today, and we each put one on. She was in tears, and I was pretty close myself.

I’d like to say a few words about the symbolism attached to wedding rings, both the traditional variety and why I chose the Lovebirds ring.

Traditionally, or so I’ve heard, wedding rings are gold, signifying both purity and the ability not to tarnish or lose their lustre; the ring geometry itself is said to symbolize everlasting union, with no end. (There are other symbolic meanings, but these are the ones I want to talk about.)

The Lovebirds rings – silver, not gold; split, not whole – fly in the face of such traditions, and I think that they much more truly represent what a marriage is really about.

Silver tarnishes; you have to work to keep it shining. A marriage can grow dull too, if both partners don’t work at keeping it bright and alive.

As for the split, nothing is forever, something Harriet and I have been made acutely aware of these last few days. I think the split ring is a useful way to signify two different individuals coming together and staying together for the long haul. We’re not joined in a rigid, immutable relationship. Instead, we can flex with changing times and differing needs, growing tighter or looser.

Of course, the very name, Lovebirds, means a lot to us too. Even (or maybe I mean especially) after 39 years.

Thank you, David Morgan, for making these available.

                                                            Sincerely,



                                                            Russell Kay


P.S.  You may or may not remember me, Mr. Morgan. I’m a short, fat, bald guy who visited your store twice on successive days a couple of years ago, agonizing over and finally buying an Akubra Banjo Patterson hat and also taking away a free bag of leather scraps. I spent quite some time talking then with you about various products you carry and about kangaroo leather. I recall looking at a pair of kangaroo gloves and sighing, “I just lose too many gloves,” to which you replied, “that’s the best kind of customer to have!” That visit is still a delightful memory. I hope you are well.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Bringing the Chicken
www.HeroicStories.com
#268: 7 January 2002
By Harriet Kay, Massachusetts, USA
<lj-cut>
In 1967, my husband and I were starting our life after college, and we were pretty poor. Russell had an entry-level job that didn’t pay much, we had college loans, and had made some stupid choices with credit cards, so we had lots of debt to deal with. Our son was born that summer, and I had to stop working and stay at home with him, which only compounded the financial squeeze.

We were living in an apartment in Evanston, Illinois, a moderately affluent suburb north of Chicago. We got involved socially with a large group of couples of various ages, some from our church and some connected with my husband’s job at Northwestern University. They all had children, we shared many common values, and they gave us helpful hints about raising our son. This active group of people went many places and did many things together. We enjoyed being with them. Even though we often couldn’t afford to go with the group, they always made us feel welcome when we came.

Toward the end of that first summer they planned a picnic and invited us. I asked what I could contribute. “Oh, bring some potato chips,” my friend said. I figured there wouldn’t be much food – just hot dogs, chips, and lemonade – and was relieved that I didn’t have to spend more than a few dollars on the event. I bought two large bags of the least expensive brand of potato chips I could find.

However, when we got to the state park, I found a veritable feast laid out. Heaps of chicken and watermelon, big bowls filled with homemade salads of all kinds. Even home-made ice cream and cake. There we were with our two bags of potato chips. I felt mortified and thought about leaving. I told a close friend that I was terribly embarrassed to have brought so little.

“Oh nonsense,” she said. “In a few years it’ll be your turn to bring the chicken.”

That was long ago; Russell and I are starting to think about retirement and our son is grown. Yet I still remember that picnic and how our friends made us feel included and valued for who we were – not what we had. Their generosity stuck with me all these years, and it’s shaped both my feelings about others and my behavior in helping them.

We couldn’t possibly pay back all the people who brought chicken for us when we were unable to afford it. We’re scattered all across the country, and we’ve lost touch with them. But that’s not the point.

The chicken we enjoyed 32 years ago is a debt my husband and I owe – and will always owe – to the future. It’s not an obligation to be paid back but rather a promise to pay forward. Even in these relatively prosperous times, we still have lots of younger friends who have trouble making ends meet. Nowadays, we bring the chicken.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Appendix: Script for a slide show dad put together about Brazil. I have a few photos he took in Brazil (link), but the bulk of this slideshow is missing, as far as I know.

Read more... )
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Episode 6: The conference in Campo Grande, and a final decision.

Read more... )
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Epsiode 5: As 1965 begins, the bloom is definitely off the rose...

Read more... )
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Part 2, covering their final bits of training in the U.S., and the early days in Brazil, with some final training in Rio.

Read more... )
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Before getting married, my (young and idealistic) parents decided to join the Peace Corps together, entering training just after the wedding. Mom (and sometimes dad) kept a journal, which makes an interesting time capsule. The version I have is typed, and thus was relatively easy to scan, but I gather from internal evidence that she originally handwrote it, and then dad's mom typed it up to mail out to family and friends. Here's the first batch of them, covering their initial training, before they left for Brazil. Read more... )
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
In 1977, my parents sent me to a summer camp in New Hampshire for most of July. I wrote them letters or postcards almost every day, and they saved them. I've transcribed these rather than scanned them, as no one else should be subjected to my handwriting (or the cutesy 70's kid stationery). I myself had trouble with it, but have attempted to leave the incorrect spelling and punctuation intact. Dates are mostly extrapolated guesses from postmarks, and may well be inaccurate. Commentary from the present in [brackets].
Read more... )
So, that was the documented part of summer camp. Somewhere in there, a girl kissed me for the first time. I didn't write it down at the time, but couldn't help but boast about it after I got home. She and I corresponded for a little while after camp ended, but not long. I didn't save those letters.

Dad had (and I often played) Allan Sherman's LP My Son, the Nut, so I certainly would have been familiar with Hello Muddah Hello Faddah, but I don't recall consciously imitating it. It was a funny song partially because it captured Truth.

This was my longest summer camp experience. A few times, my folks sent me to camp for shorter periods. I did eventually convince them that it would be cheaper, and everybody would be happier, if they just gave me a book budget and left me alone for the summer :-)
alexxkay: (Default)
Someone at work recently commented on my Doctor Who scarf. It suddenly occurred to me that I've had that scarf a really, really long time. I'm bad at remembering dates, but I figure it's in the neighborhood of 28 years old. I've got lots of *co-workers* who are younger than that!

As I said at her memorial service, mom really made things to last.
alexxkay: (Default)
Someone at work recently commented on my Doctor Who scarf. It suddenly occurred to me that I've had that scarf a really, really long time. I'm bad at remembering dates, but I figure it's in the neighborhood of 28 years old. I've got lots of *co-workers* who are younger than that!

As I said at her memorial service, mom really made things to last.
alexxkay: (Default)
Probably should have posted this earlier, but better late than never. The memorial service for my mom is at 4pm, Thursday September 29, at the UU Church of Worcester. Here's a map and direction source. Dad says: "I would suggest planning to get there before 3:30 and allowing extra time for travel, because that's an especially busy area at that time of day, with a lot of traffic on the road and to/from Bancroft School."

A few people reading this LJ knew mom well enough that you might want to come. I know the time and place are fairly awkward, so please don't feel I'm pressuring you to go. But if you want to and can spare the time, now you have the info.
alexxkay: (Default)
Probably should have posted this earlier, but better late than never. The memorial service for my mom is at 4pm, Thursday September 29, at the UU Church of Worcester. Here's a map and direction source. Dad says: "I would suggest planning to get there before 3:30 and allowing extra time for travel, because that's an especially busy area at that time of day, with a lot of traffic on the road and to/from Bancroft School."

A few people reading this LJ knew mom well enough that you might want to come. I know the time and place are fairly awkward, so please don't feel I'm pressuring you to go. But if you want to and can spare the time, now you have the info.
alexxkay: (Default)
Been meaning to post this for a while, but forgetting:

Harriet's Memorial Service will be in Worcester, Thursday, September 29, probably in the late afternoon. Further details to follow, closer to the date.
alexxkay: (Default)
Been meaning to post this for a while, but forgetting:

Harriet's Memorial Service will be in Worcester, Thursday, September 29, probably in the late afternoon. Further details to follow, closer to the date.
alexxkay: (Default)
Mom died at 10:10 this morning, while dad was at church. I spent several hours with him today, helping clean house, and comfort him as best I was able. I'm glad it's finally over. Dad's pretty devastated right now, but I trust he will pull through.

There will be no funeral, but will be a memorial service at some point. Dad's thinking of putting it off until September-ish, so that more of her friends from the breast cancer list can be there. More details when I have them.

Thnaks to everyone who's offered emotional support to me during this time.

Profile

alexxkay: (Default)
Alexx Kay

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
1112131415 1617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags