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.

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