Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Memory About Edward

[from the eulogy I gave]

Edward's entrepreneurial spirit first showed itself at scout camp. His first year at Camp Yawgoog was 1966, the year after my first year. He went to the commissary and made a very important discovery: They didn't sell gum. I suppose this was because gum on sidewalks, under tables, and under chairs can be messy. Not being a gum chewer, I didn't notice this my first year.

The next year, Edward came prepared, his footlocker containing lots of gum, of all flavors and varieties. He sold gum by the stick, no doubt earning as much from each stick as he paid for the entire pack. I hate to think about how much he made, and what he did with it. I suspect it mostly went to the commissary.

That wasn't enough, however. Edward also realized that the thing other boys were most likely to forgot to bring to camp was soap. So he also stocked up on soap. He sold these, also at a sizable mark-up. A worthy service to his fellow boy scouts, no doubt.

But even that wasn't enough. From time to time Edward would go to the washout, look for soap left behind by someone, and confiscate it. Then when a boy would come to him to buy soap, he would say, "I've got new soap for such and such a price, and I have used soap at such and such a price." I wonder how many times he sold the same bar of soap to the same kids.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

R.I.P. Edward Oscar Todd 1st

On October 30, 2011, my brother, Edward Oscar Todd 1st, died at home after a long illness, at age 57. He fought excessive weight for years, then diabetes, then numerous complications therefrom. He was cremated and his ashes will be scattered at sea. That seems a suitable disposition for a commercial fisherman who made his living from the sea until his illnesses advanced to disability.

I want to put one of his childhood pictures on this post, but don't seem to have it electronically. I'll get it and add it later.

I asked to say a few words at his funeral mass, and was granted the privilege. My topic was the growing up years. I spoke without notes, but want to get the stories in writing so that others in the family could read them and have them. Here's the first installment.

I want to share memories of Edward during our growing up years. I know many of you knew him as Ed or Eddie, but in our family we never used diminutive names. It was always Norma, David, and Edward.

The first memory isn't actually a memory, but rather a story Mom and Dad told. I imagine Edward was around two years old when this happened, so I would have been four. At the Church of the Epiphany, our Episcopal church in Providence, RI, the baptismal font was at the back of the church. Whenever an infant was to be baptized, the priest would invite all the children to go back to the font to watch. We sat in the front pew, left side, so the three of us made the walk all the way to the back of the church for a baptism. One Sunday we were back there to watch. The priest held the baby, dipped the sea scallop shell in the water, and baptized by pouring. At the end, Edward ran from the back of the church to the front, and yelled at the top of his lungs, "Mommy! Daddy! They washed the baby's head!"

The next memory fast forwards several years. I suppose Edward was maybe 8 years old, or at most 10. It was a quiet weekday night. Dad was at work at his night job in downtown Providence. Edward and I were watching TV with Mom, and Norma was somewhere in the house, probably in her room. It was getting close to bedtime, when Edward asked Mom, "Why do women wear bras?" Then, before she answered, he added, "Is it to make their breasts look bigger?"

Knowing Mom, I'm surprised she didn't answer, "Sometimes." But she didn't. She gave a good answer of the purpose of this particular woman's undergarment. Edward was satisfied, and trotted off to bed. I had the privilege that two extra years of age gave of staying up a half hour extra. So I told Mom that I would talk to Edward, straighten him out about what types of questions he should be asking. Mom said that I would do no such thing, that what he had asked was totally appropriate.

More to be added another day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My First Real Earthquake

Monday night we were in Oklahoma City, the final night on our trip to Rhode Island for a family funeral. At some point during the evening, maybe a little after 9 PM, we felt the house shake and the rumbling of an earthquake, along with the sound of it.

This was my first real earthquake to be in. I say "real" because I've been through two previously. Both were small. I don't remember where they were on the Richter Scale, but certainly less than 3.0 and maybe less than 2.0. The first of those happened a couple of years ago while I was driving in or near Bentonville, Arkansas, and I never felt it.

The second happened perhaps a year ago. I was at home in Bella Vista, Arkansas, on a Saturday, I think, when hear a loud, sharp SNAP like sound. It could almost have passed for an odd thunderclap, except the skies were clear that day. I thought it might be an earthquake, went to the computer, and soon found it was. There was no movement with that—only the sound.

So Monday evening when the house began moving and we heard the rumbles, we had to think for a moment about what was happening. Five or so seconds later and it was all over. Or at least I did. Our son-in-law said they had a much larger one Saturday evening, clearly moving the earth, lasting for about 30 seconds. Plus there were after shocks between that big-ish one and the one we felt. So had was more ready than we were. These all took place around Prague, Oklahoma, a small town between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Last night, just after midnight, there was another earthquake in about the same spot. 3.0 on the Richter scale, they say. I guess I should have felt it, but was either asleep or rolling about trying to sleep. And, looking at the USGS site for earthquakes, I see there was one we slept through early Tuesday morning, a 4.7 intensity one, and even one we drove through at 7:05 PM Tuesday evening, a 3.6 intensity one. When I say "drove through", we were already 60 miles past the epicenter, and didn't feel a thing in the car.

So, one more thing to check off the bucket list: "Live through an earthquake". Not that it was really on my bucket list. And not that I really have a bucket list. I was scheduled to be in San Francisco at a conference way back in 1989 when the earthquake hit SanFran, but had cancelled the trip. I notice the USGS website with the best map scale doesn't show a couple of these yet. Once they do, I'll update this blog post with a link.