He was in his mid to late seventies at that point. That was seven years ago, or thereabouts. I came across a picture with no date but memory serves well.

He was with his wife of fifty plus years. The picture shows the two of them, sitting next to each other in their own chairs. It was their last event together as his wife – and you can tell by the photo – was in advancing stages of dementia. She died two years later.

They came to the new country in the early fifties and made a good life for themselves, raising a family, working hard, penny-pinching, enjoying the simpler things in life. Strong work ethic that came from the old country.

I didn’t really know him that well, but the little I did I knew was that he was a quiet man with few if any friends, a man who preferred the quietness of his own company.

At this event he was presented with a coffee table book. You can see him holding it up in the photo*. It was about people who came from the old country and settled in the new one. He starting recalling tidbits of his life before he came here, about his parents and his mother who died in the sixties who he still missed.

Then he started to cry.

He was worried if he had made his mom proud or not. He said he hoped he made her proud.

That was the only time anyone had ever seen him cry.


* I don’t have permission (his or that of his family) to use a clear copy of the photo. This version in many ways seems more appropriate, sadly, all things considered.