Yeah, so, I haven't read much of anything here since that last post I wrote. Except for the few I was pointed at. And another few randoms.
My godmother has been having Dreams. The kind that foretell things. She's been dreaming of her mother, my Nana (who's been dead a few years now), taking her father, my Grampy, on a trip, with varying details and increasing intensity, for a few months now.
Monday night, I got a call from my Dad. My grandfather had died in his sleep, while in the hospital coping with side-effects of gradual congestive heart failure. That's what finally got him.
This is the first obituary available online, from Maine...
LYNN, MASS. (March 26): Mr. William P. Kramer, 88, of Lynn, died March 24, 2008, after a brief illness. He was the loving husband of the late Alice (Connick) Kramer who he married on July 17, 1943.
Born in Auburn, Maine, Nov. 28, 1919, Mr. Kramer was the son of the late Howard and Grace (Conway) Kramer of Saugus, Massachusetts. He grew up in Saugus, received his associate degree from Wentworth Institute, as well as a bachelor degree in Engineering and a master degree in business administration from Northeastern University. He was an engineer with Fay, Spofford and Thorndike for nearly fifty years where he rose to the level of vice president and continued as a consultant for them after his retirement. Mr. Kramer was instrumental in the development and writing of the Massachusetts State Building Code and served on the State Building Code Commission
Mr. Kramer served in the Navy during World War II and lived all of his married life in Lynn, settling in a home built by his brother-in-law, Edward Connick of Lynn. He was a talented piano player and avid reader who also enjoyed fishing, crossword puzzles and cars.
He is survived by five children, Alice Thibodeau of Scituate, William Kramer of Lynn, Walter Kramer of Lynn, Karen Enman of Fort Fairfield, Maine, and Maggie Evans of Nantucket and Port Clyde, Maine. Mr. Kramer also leaves his brother, Donald Kramer of Florida, 18 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
The wake will be Friday, in split sessions earlier and later in the day. There'll be a Funeral Mass Saturday morning, followed by snacks and social time somewhere. Cremation Monday or so. And interment or scattering sometime after that. Then there will be weeks or months of clearing his home of 50 years. I hope to get a pipe or similar small token of his, some of his tobacco (or at least the exact name of his blend, so I can get some to burn as incense now and then), and some piece of Nana's award-winning bunka shishu, to start something of an ancestral altar. I should see about getting some small pieces that tie to my (20 years and more deceased) paternal grandparents as well.
My last visit with Grampy was only a couple weeks ago. He was exceptionally lucid and cheerful and full of stories. More conversational than on many such visits. A good way to remember him.
I realized last night that I had forgotten once more on that visit, to ask him the conclusion of a story he'd told of years past -- I believe it was of when he was stationed in Labrador with the Navy, working some sort of construction, and they had this concrete pad to pour. The pad was to have bolts protruding, which were to anchor the feet of some great machine. They managed to set the bolts so that they were *flush* with the top of the machine's feet -- so there was no room to put the *nuts* which were necessary to actually hold the machine *down* -- and he had come up with the solution, because that was what he did. He told this story *years* ago, and I've never been able to figure out how he solved it -- without tearing up the footing and starting over, and without damaging the machine in any way.
He'd told other stories over the years, of other things he just "saw the obvious fix" for -- once there was a natural gas tank design that was failing dramatically. It filled just fine, but when they started draining the gas -- the tanks would collapse. He looked at the drawings, and said "yup, I should think it would." There was a valve, a simple pressure-relief valve, which only went one way -- so it let the lighter-than-NG air flow out when the tank was filled -- but it failed to let the air back *in* when the NG was drawn out the bottom. Replacing that valve was all it took to solve the problem -- and save the company millions.
I'll miss him. But I'm happy that I've been visiting irregularly but more frequently in recent years than for many before. I like to think he was happy for that, too.
And in the way of these things, I just received word from my father that, at about 11 AM today (Wednesday), the elder of my younger brothers welcomed his second son, Alastar (alternate spelling of Alastair) Oak, as Triston Ash's baby brother, in a midwife-assisted homebirth. My 4th nephew. So on Sunday, my folks will be heading that way for a couple weeks of new-baby assistance. Busy, busy, busy.