Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memories of Handsome Partner on our Tenth Anniversary

We chose September 11 as the day to scatter HP's ashes, in a place where we had planted daffodils, his idea, nine years ago on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack, to honor the dead of that day, because it it not only the anniversary of that terrible day, it's also our tenth anniversary of coming together again, this time till his death.

Some pictures of the original planting of daffodils, HP pointing, HS planting, Boud taking the pictures. And at the bottom, the second year, showing the daffodils coming through. This is where his own ashes are now scattered.

And here is Handsome Son in the same place, this morning, September ll 2011, attending to this last tribute to his father.

Our lives were permanently changed, as were those of many others, on that September day in 2001, and HP had leapt to the phone to try to warn me before I saw the pictures on television, of what had happened. At that time we were friends but nothing more, and he did what a true friend would do, to try to protect me at least from seeing it without warning.

That evening we, HP, HS and I, all spent the time at my condo, and decided that life was too short ever to be apart again. And we never were.

HP was a modest man, very few of his friends who had not been in his working world being aware of his stature there. He never used his academic title, and would cringe at the notion of talking about his achievements, which were stellar.

The first person from his entire extended family to go to the University, even to be in school past the age of fifteen, he became one of a handful of scholars awarded a prestigious national grant to finance his doctoral studies. Then became one of a tiny number of scientists in atomic research devoted to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We were invited by half a dozen US research institutes to come to the US, he for his postdoctoral work, and I to continue working in modern languages, both eagerly sought after, post Sputnik.

When his health eventually forced him into early retirement from the lab, after many years of working on methods of producing clean water -- which we all still benefit from even if we don't know about him -- and increasing rice production in Asia, using benevolent ag. chemistry, and a long list of other projects, he took up a retirement career in -- home petcare.

With many devoted clients and their pets, he went on with this strenuous life, walking up to 30 miles a week in the company of various dogs, till he was 70, and again his health weakened to where he was unable to continue. He still rescued animals, though, all his own pets were rescues, and had a touch for them that was lovely to see. No false pride in switching from high prestige research work to humble animal care, he loved this new life.

HP and HS with friends, including his dear Dalmatian, K.C, full name Katie Cherie, very posh. Her ashes are now scattered with his, since we kept them since she left us several years ago, along with those of his cat Troubles, long gone now. He would have liked this company.

Recent years were a whole new challenge, being quadriplegic, very little use of his arms and hands, very dependent on 24/7 care, but his wish to be at home as long as possible we were able to fulfill, right to the end of his life. And he was still interested in family and friends and keeping up with the news.

He loved my art and wanted it on display on our walls, though I wouldn't have chosen that, but it gave him such pleasure that we did it. And he went on, as long as he was able to read, enjoying American history, archaeology, the history of the Incas and Aztecs, and gosh, all the bookcases full of his interests surround me as I write this!

Two little notes that sum him up so perfectly: the rubber duckie was a vital part of his lab equipment! his assistants told me that every new person hired into the research lab was instructed on no account to touch the duckie nor to move the papers the duckie was sitting on.

That's because it was material related to his current research, vital to have at hand, too precious to be moved around. And so typical of him to choose a irreverent way of marking it.

The other is something I only discovered two evenings ago, when I was giving HS some items from his father for him to keep in his memory. I gave him HP's undergraduate thesis, printed and bound, as they were then, and his doctoral dissertation, our file copy. I typed the diss on a manual typewriter, before the days of more high tech methods, and I was showing HS the opening pages and credits, since he had never seen one of these before. And I discovered that when HP took the typescripts I'd completed to the binder, way back in 1963, he had had an extra page inserted that I didn't know about, knowing that I might see this only years hence, maybe after his death.

It was a dedication to me.

Please, dear blogistas, accept this invitation to post here your own memories and thoughts about Handsome Partner. Some of you have known him in rl, some via email, others by remote control, so to speak,but over the fifteen years I've been active on the internet a lot of our history has been open to you, and it would be lovely to hear from you what you like to remember of him.

For taking part in this memorial to a good man, Handsome Son and I thank you!


Minimiss said...

Nice pics Liz and lovely to read a little more about Andy's life.

Anonymous said...

Heather's father and I were aware of her friendship with you and HP over the years, she would mention a little of this and that...what I remember of HP, and it sticks in my mind even now, was that he was concerned for our daughter when she developed her brain lesions, commiserated with her MRI delays, etc. With his own health failing, he had compassion for someone he knew only over the "net". This was a comfort to us here.He must have had a big heart - Jean in Cowtown

Anonymous said...

Lovely tribute Liz. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Pat1203 (Ravelry)

Anonymous said...

HP was whimsical too. I took a rather silly photo of HS sitting smiling in a ditch wearing a fluffy snowsuit with rabbit ears. HP reportedly put a copy of it on his desk at work. I hasten to add that HS was about 18 months old at the time. The thousands of daffodils in my wild yard now take on added significance. RIP

Gabriella said...

I only knew HP through your words, Liz, but I always felt like I knew him. I wonder how he changed over the years that you knew him, or if he scarcely changed.

What wonderful photos of him and HS and the pets.

I was thinking of you yesterday, because I knew it would be an important day for you. Sounds like it was peaceful and lovely, though.

Hali said...

Beautifully stated. Thinking of you...

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I've only 'met' you over the past year (possibly a bit longer) so I's probably not a good person to comment right now. However, I have followed your journey with your HP with thoughts of my dad in the back of my mind. ALthough my dad was a farmer, with no more than a grade 8 education, he was one of the the smartest and most inventive men I've known. Somehow I think that Dad and HP could have been friends. Blessings to you, HS, and to the memory of HP.

Heather said...

He was somebody that I knew through you, Liz, and because of that I knew that he was a kind and caring person. I thought of him as a surrogate, long-distance grandparent or great-uncle, and it was always touching to know that he asked about me and knew about the things I was up to.

How beautiful, too, to find the dedication after all this time. Perfection.

Anonymous said...

Liz, I only knew of him through your words here on the screen, but I always thought, "How fortunate those two are! To have come back together..." I think he must have been a very wonderful person indeed.

Thank you for opening your lives to us. And thanks especially for your meditations on losing a loved one.
Joyce in Wisconsin

Emil Manfredonia, Physical Therapist said...

I have known Andy and his lovely wife and son over the last year and have seen a family full of love and commitment. I was Andy's physical therapist and it was always a pleasure treating him. I never knew about some of the information in this blog and it was great reading about Andy's life and influences. He was a truly amazing gentleman. Andy will always be remembered as a favorite patient of mine. I am fortunate to have known him.

Kitty said...


I wanted to tell you that I planted some mixed pink daffodil bulbs by the large rock in the center of my labyrinth yesterday morning. I'll post a picture when they come up.

I had been thinking that some early Spring bulbs would be nice there and Andy's request made the decision for me as to which flowers to choose.


Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful and touching to read, Liz. My memories are a little strange: I loved Andy's accent. Also, it was such fun to bring him the Galileo rock from Pisa when he was reading the book (in Italian I think) about Galileo. It was wonderful that you got back together again and were able to share so much.