Monday, February 20, 2012

A Memory Restored

I've told you about Frank Whittemore. Guy saved my life, and I'm not just saying that. I've been thinking a lot lately. About mortality. About the effect we have on people, and how seemingly small things mean a lot. See, when I got Frank in my life, I also got his family. His sister, Janith, and her kids Brian, Susan, Randy, and David. His daughter, Jana.

I also got his other sister, Doris.

Doris was a wonderful old lady (and she was old, even then) who lived on the corner of 7th and Harrison Blvd, right across the street from the Ben Lomond High School track. She lived with her husband. I always thought his name was Roy (because he owned a car lot called "Roy's Cars and RVs"), but it turns out it was Bruce. Bruce Haun. Bruce and Doris Haun.

All these years, and I've been unable to come up with their last name. I finally posted about it to Facebook because--well, because I'm scared, and all those little things I've thought to put off because I can do it some other time? Maybe I need to do them now. Anyway, I posted an appeal of sorts, and Stacie came through! She said, "Doris was my Grandma's best friend!" Stacie wasn't sure, but she thought the last name was something like "Haan" or "Hawn."

She was so close!

I wandered out to the Ogden City Cemetery site (a great, searchable site--all graveyard sites should be like that! The only thing that would make it perfect is images of each stone!) and found that you can search for a grave by the decedent's FATHER'S last name! I searched "Whittemore," and there was Doris HAUN!

Doris has been dead for 32 years, give or take. I can't thank her now. I can't thank her or Bruce (dead 22 years) for opening their home and hearts to me. For never objecting when I would just show up, unannounced, and take over their lives. Doris would make snacks, she'd bake, she'd have sodas and sweets for me. Sometimes they'd drive me to Arctic Circle or Kosmos for a burger. They'd let me (and sometimes Shawn, Frank's grandson who, tragically, died a few years ago himself) trample through their amazing vegetable garden (it took up an entire home-sized lot) in search of edibles. They even invited Shawn and me on an RV road trip to Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier. My mother nixed the idea, and it was years before I forgave that. As an adult, I understand not wanting your nine or ten year old hitting the road with old folks you don't know. Of course, if my mom had put any effort into knowing anyone, all of our lives might have been different.

Doris and Bruce embraced me, welcomed me, and accepted me for no reason other than they were kind and I was needy. I look back now and realize just how incredibly rare that is. In these awful times, it would seem almost suspect. But I never questioned it.

And I never thanked them. Sure, I said, "Thanks!" on my way out the door, but I never really thanked them. And never had the chance--Doris died while I was in high school--the very school their home faced across 7th Street. I never let them know just how wonderful they were to me.

Let them know, huh? People who've done for you, people who've really made a difference. Tell them. Because "too late" comes a damned sight faster than you ever expect. Promise.

No comments:

Post a Comment