Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Once upon a time there was a man who pulled beetles from blocks of metal. 
That might be the wrong way to tell his story, although scarabs are a symbol of rebirth so hopefully that works in a way. 

Other possibilities: He was a jeweler. A contractor. A fisherman. 

No, instead I will tell the story of how once he knew another man, an acquaintance, in the town in which they both lived, and this other man thought his name was Bob or Dave or Bill, something that was most definitely not his name, and he let the other man call him Bob or Dave or Bill rather than embarrass him. They did not see each other often, just the odd run-in on the street, and so it went for years that this other man knew him as the wrong name. No harm, no foul. Until one day the other man moved a few doors down from him and began to socialize with his other friends, and he had to tell him that, in fact, his name was not Bob or Dave or Bill. But rather than embarrass either of them he said it had been his name once, that he had been right to call him that other name then, but he had since changed it. And his name was now Allen.

I love that story.

He was a sailor. A tinker. He used to put blue cream soda in empty Windex bottles and squirt it into his mouth. He could fix anything.

Tonight I found out that Allen passed away, and even though things with him have been so hard for the past few years and even harder since my mom died, grim, confusing, downright awful, I know that his story is more than that.

Once upon a time he was my stepdad, and I loved him.


Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your step-dad. What a great little story to tell that really shows his character...a great way to honor his memory. I won't fling all the standard, "stay strongs," and "you are a tough cookie," speeches at you. I hate them when I get them. So scream, cry, yell, curse the heavens and rage if you feel like it. But I believe catharsis comes from release, remembrance, and honoring the honorable. So...to me, for you...so far, so good! -Brandi

Cathi said...

I am really sorry for your loss, Susannah - he sounded like an amazing man. I just read the post that you linked - the story of Allen and it's just beautiful as is your moms words in the comment sections. You both are fabulous writers. Sending you out lots of love! xxoo

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. You are the most amazing writer.

Heidi said...

So sorry for your family's loss. MS sucks.

Unknown said...

I appreciated this post, and the one linked within it about Allen, very much. I'm so sorry you had to endure these heartbreaking losses so close together. My dad died recently, and it gives me a surprising amount of comfort to think he might be reunited with his immediate family, all of whom have been gone for a long time. I've been a reader of your writing for years and in my mind, you'll be my blog mentor someday.