Remembering Jerry’s Birthday

My late husband Jerry was born in 1942, so he’d be 75 this year. I can hardly imagine it. One of the things that happens when people die is that they become frozen in memory at the age they were.

My father was 49 when he died; from my perspective now, very young. Years later, visiting Bloomfield, Iowa, where he went to high school, I stopped by my cousin Colleen’s hair salon and barber shop, which she ran with her husband Louis. Louis was cutting an elderly man’s hair, and he asked me to tell the man who I was. In Iowa, I’m Wendell York’s daughter. The old man climbed out of the chair, hair half cut, and came to shake my hand. “I went to high school with your Dad.” I was startled, never having thought of my father as old. In truth, he never was.

Friends Nicki and John have invited me for dinner, and Nicki is making lemon meringue pie — which was Jerry’s favorite. I’m not a great pie baker but I learned to make a great lemon meringue pie, extra tart just the way Jerry liked it. I will enjoy Nicki’s pie, and the lovely memories it brings.

4 thoughts on “Remembering Jerry’s Birthday

  1. Dear Ms Klainer, I’m a regular reader, though seldom replier, from Turkey. You may remember I’m the one , who asked people in his language community to follow you. Frequently, you write about things that touch my heart. I’m deeply impressed by the way you bring up topics, the way you accept and treat people and the way you use language. As we age, I think, our hearts go softer and softer. I feel kind of strange reading such lovely memories, bringing similar experiences I had with my beloved ones into mind.

  2. for Vedat: I’m so glad you are still reading, and than you very much for commenting. What makes any piece of writing relevant is that is can evoke broader human emotions. That you identify with my experience of love and loss is a wonderful affirmation of our human connection, even over great geographic distance and culture.

  3. As I look at Jerry’s photo each time I come up the staircase, I realize that like our father, he will remain frozen in time in his youthful image, except I then realize that he will remain alive as long as there people who love him! We are thinking of all of you on the day of remembering.

  4. for Linda: I love your wall of family photos … and glad Jerry is there. I wish we had a portrait of our father in his 40’s, the way we remember him, but there were so few photos of him then.

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