Wednesday, April 29, 2009


My father had a wide network of friends, but he was the hub: he knew all of them, but very few of them knew each other. So although my sister and I have called the people for whom we have numbers, there are a few people we know he'd have wanted us to contact who've been left out. We didn't know how to get in touch with them, and Dad's other friends don't know them (or only met them once or twice, through him).

One of the people we hadn't been able to reach is a woman named Dorothy. Dad knew her because, many years ago now, he picked up her son Bruno, who was hitchhiking. Bruno was something of a ne'er-do-well, but he and my father adopted each other. Bruno looked after Dad. Dad looked after him. When Bruno died of long-term health issues, eight years ago, Dad called Dorothy to give her his condolences.

They've been phone buddies ever since. They only met in person once -- I'm not sure whether that was before or after Bruno died -- but every year for eight years now, they've called each other on the telephone on their respective birthdays, to chat and pass along best wishes.

The phone rang tonight, and the voice on the other end said, "This is Dorothy. Is this Fran?" I explained that I was Susan, and I told her very sadly that Dad had died, and she said, very sadly, "It's my birthday today, and when Alan didn't call me, I knew something must be wrong."

Dorothy's eighty-one years old today. She lost her son eight years ago, and her husband died eighteen months later. But she's still in fine health.

May you stay healthy for a long, long time, Dorothy. Happy Birthday, and thank you for being such a loyal friend to my father.

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