I want to talk about Pete. But I worry people will not be comfortable with me talking about him, especially if I cry – which I most certainly will. I worry talking about him might communicate to some that I am “stuck” in grief when in reality, I think I’m just now coming out of shock. I worry people will tire of me talking about him when in reality, I have actually spoken very little about him since he died.
And he was so great. We should talk about him. Right?
Did you know…
Did you know Pete collected stringed instruments? one acoustic guitar, one electric guitar, three electric basses, one acoustic electric bass and one upright bass?
Did you know he played his upright bass for Faith to walk down the aisle at her wedding? He played “There’s a place for us” from West Side Story.
Did you know he loved the Allman Brothers? When Greg Allman died last month, I hated not having him around to play his favorite songs.
Did you know he loved history? When he died he was studying the Columbian exchange. He had been reading about it for almost a month. One day after work, he wheeled into the kitchen and asked me, “Did you know that cows are not indigenous to America?” I said, “No I didn’t. Who on earth would load a cow into a boat and transport it here?” When I turned around, he had the biggest grin on his face because clearly I had asked the right question. “Exactly… it’s part of the Columbian exchange.” He kept talking blah blah blah and I cut him off and said, “Wait, Columbian like Christopher not Columbian like the country?” Then he no longer had the same smile but still stuck with me. “Yes, I’m reading up on the ramifications of Columbus coming to the new world and how we got what and when we got it.”
Did you know he was also reading Waking Up White and frustrated with it. From time to time, he’d suggest that the author is naive or that her experience is not his experience in realizing his “white-ness.” And then in no time we would come to realize white people aren’t too different from one another – none of us really understand that we’re white and privileged and powerful. Even him, in a wheelchair, on disability – a middle aged white male has tremendous power.
Did you know someone gave Mateo a bi-plane that came with a battery operated toy screwdriver. The bi-plane could be taken apart with the screwdriver. One morning I helped Mateo take the plane apart but then I couldn’t figure out how to put it back together. I said, “maybe PopPop can help.” And so he started to hand the pieces to Pete and sure enough, 15 minutes later the plane was back together again.
Did you know he loved Sherlock Holmes? Absolutely any rendition, he was in.
Did you know he wore button up shirts and ties for the 25 years he worked for National Starch? But before he got to his desk, he would loosen his tie and roll up his sleeves.
Did you know he can quote the first line or tell you about any main character in a book but most of us have never seen him reading those books? I think he read them all before he turned 25.
Did you know he was not a fan of sweets? Yep, he would say, “All this and sugar free too.”
Did you know he had the cheesiest sense of humor?
Did you know he also had the darkest sense of humor?
Did you know he bought himself an Amazon Alexa mostly to have her tell him jokes? True.
Here – I’ll ask her for a joke for you…
“What do you call a potato wearing glasses? A spectator.”
Did you know he collected hats?
… and NRA stuff – Not National Rifle Association but The National Recovery Administration. This was a prime New Deal agency established by FDR in 1933. The goal was to bring industry, labor, and government together to create codes of "fair practices" and set prices.
Did you know he marched on Washington in protest to the Vietnam War? He and others from NJ slept near the Lincoln Memorial. He often talked about his shock (and probably fear and perhaps some new awareness of how the world works) at military police with automatic rifles walking around what was a completely peaceful protest.
Did you know he was actually a tea drinker in his earlier life? But then he got a job where in order to get a cup of tea, you had to go into a lounge where primarily women gathered. He felt out of place and perhaps invading their space so he settled for the coffee that was flowing freely in the office.
Did you know this was his favorite tshirt of all time? (Based on research done by me.)
Did you know although he did not have a sweet tooth, he loved bread with butter? When we were first married, I made (my bread machine made) honey granola bread regularly. And he went to work with it still warm. He said, “Those were the good days.”
Did you know he also loved pork roll? Of course you did.
Did you know he loved to talk to strangers?
Did you know he had an impressive LP Collection until his wife convinced him to sell them back to the Princeton Record Exchange for a fraction of what it cost him? And her reasoning was that we had not had a record player on which to play any of the records for as long as they had been married. And did you know she needs someone to grant her dispensation from this horrendous act?
Did you know he loved Mark Twain? Particularly, he often quoted the War Prayer.
Did you know he loved Dan and Joe more than any words he could ever utter? The three of them lived happily with one another using as little words as possible before they met me. And now there is all this need for talking.