I’m excited/nervous about the Discovery launch today. I didn’t sleep so well because my subconscious was thinking on that, because it’s hot again, and because I haven’t played racquetball all week. I have what’s known as “tennis elbow”. I have an ailment named after a sport I don’t even play. They should call it “racquet sport elbow”, or RSE, to also cover badminton and squash; I doubt most people will call it lateral epicondylitis, mostly because most of us can’t even pronounce it, let alone spell it.

Pop’s Death

I wrote a little about my grandfather’s life a couple of weeks ago. Here’s something about his death. Most of this is from the recovered diaries. I was living in Albany by that time, while Pop was still in Binghamton.

Thursday 6/26/1980: My father [who was living in Charlotte, NC] called to tell me pop died. He sounded incredibly like a newscaster reporting it. Apparently, the landlord hadn’t seen Pop in a few days, so he got the police to get a search warrant. He was DOA at the hospital {I was first told.]

My real regret is that in my 5½ photo albums, I don’t have one picture of him. Pictures tell a kind of history, which is increasingly important to me.

Called Betty [family friend in Vestal, near Binghamton, with husband and five kids] and asked to crash at her place Saturday night. She had received a call from my father this a.m.

[My sister] Leslie is coming to the funeral [from California.] I haven’t been to [a funeral] in 10 years, and I haven’t been to one where I really cared about the person since 1966.

The wake

Saturday 6/28: Spent $15.50 for roundtrip ticket to Binghamton – outrageous! After talking with Betty on the phone, I went to the wake. Pop died Tuesday but wasn’t found until Thursday, necessitating a closed casket, a fact I was grateful for. Dad arranged a wreath around the picture of him on the wall, which says “The Pride of Bloomsburg, Pa.”, [his hometown.] Lots of flowers, particularly from WBNG-TV people [WNBF-TV changed its call letters], who were in abundance at the wake. [My sisters reminded me that one of the arrangements was a wreath in the shape of a horseshoe, probably arranged by my father, in recognition of his love for the ponies.] Also present were [list of many friends and relatives], all people I had not seen in a long time. One man was bawling his eyes out, an old bowling buddy of Pop’s…

After a discussion on the problems of Veterans Benefits for burial rights (he fought in WWI but kept no records), and playing with RJ [Becky, Leslie’s daughter], Mom & Dad took me down crowded downtown Binghamton. (BC Pops and fireworks.) [I always thought these, in some cosmic way, were for Pop. Why it was incumbent for US to prove my grandfather’s veteran’s status, instead of checking with the VA to confirm that status, is now lost on me.]

The theft

Sunday, 6/29: Mom & Dad called, asked me to seek out a trailer. After striking out with U-Haul, Betty contacted a Mobil station on Vestal Parkway, from which we got a truck. [We all eat at a diner.] Follow Dad to Binghamton, where we discover that the very items we got the truck for, a couple blond dressers and other various items, including his coins, are gone.

Dad was very angry, tho’ he tried hard not to show it, and Leslie called the police. The items were present Friday night. It was clear that it had to be a 2- (or more) person job…

Sorting thru his personal effects, looking for discharge papers. (The scent of the bedroom slowly made me ill.) I found obscure items like his failure to pay his 1957 state taxes and court appearances so attached; a letter that I wrote to him some years ago ripped in two (which was how I felt about it when I saw it); and various & sundry pictures, 2 of which I will [and I subsequently did] get made into prints…

At the funeral, I saw lots of Dad’s relatives… Pop’s brother and sister were there too. The service…was pleasantly brief.

[Subsequently, a couple of neighbors were arrested for the crime.]

Well, that’s pretty much all I wrote. I can’t believe I TOTALLY FORGOT about the robbery. Maybe, my mind decided to hold on to the GOOD things.

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