I’m especially glad today that daughter Milaka was able to drive up to Don’s Anacosta memorial gathering. Not only did she represent the family, she was the sole representative of the years 1966 through 1999. She was proud to go.
Yesterday was a gathering of family. Aunt’s, uncles, cousins, next door neighbors, and all the childhood friends from his tight knit San Ysidro neighborhood met in Old Town. His wife, who grew up next door to Don was there with her grandkids. Lots of folks spoke, tears were shed, laughter filled the room, and memorabilia went around the tables.
His wife brought a picture frame filled with photographs from his childhood. Another frame was filled with images from his marriage through today. Missing were photos of the years from his return from Vietnam through his wedding. After everyone shared how much he was loved in his childhood, I stood up and named those of us who had loved him during our thirty years of friendship: Paul, Tom, Tim, Monica, Gene, DeAnna, Linda, Bobbie, Sandie, Tracy…and all those other myriads of local friends whose names I cannot remember.
Margot, George and I were the sole representatives from those long and colorful years.
His brother Lloyd spoke of those years but not intimately. No one shared that he read cards. A guru. Little was said about his painting except that he was so tired of his Horizon Line series that he was experimenting. Depressed too. He did stay in touch with someone, said Lloyd. He didn’t know who. His studio was above the recovery store, and it was filled with jazz and art books. Art everywhere.
We all had felt cut off
I came home yesterday feeling like I was filled with lead. Heavy. Weighted down by not only the loss of a unique friend, but the loss of all those other special friends scattered to the winds of time.
If you love someone, stay in touch.