Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shelbyville Reunion, July 2003

Here is Wayne in between my mother, Dolores, and my daddy Jim. Or, as nicknames go, Doll and Leland. We were staying at my Auntie Dorothy's and I arranged for Wayne to be driven the 110 miles from Madisonville--his son David drove Wayne and Bobbi, and David was the one who suggest Two-Gun Henley to me, which I of course put a twist to. My father was the only one in the dark, and they sat the entire afternoon on Auntie Dorothy's new deck, talking about growing up in Humboldt Park, Wayne and my dad walking from Wolcott and Willard Court, respectively. Meeting up at Henderson Park. How they stood on Honore Street and watched a scene from CALL NORTHSIDE 777 filmed, my dad being a bouncer at Mania's Lucky Stop on Division Street, with my mom a dice girl at the Orange Lantern over there by Hermitage, things like that. Well, I called him yesterday evening while my nieces were playing ball in the yard. My father is very hard of hearing now, so I got the full story. Three months ago, Wayne had a 60 pound tumor removed from his stomach. Underneath that, the docs found cancer in his spleen, prostate, gall bladder, everywhere. He's not on chemo and getting hospice. He wanted to spare everyone from feeling the need to visit, but after getting the copy of the book I dedicated to him, he had to tell everyone in the Chicago area. I will be in Austin at the end of October for the World Fantasy Convention, but hope to take Greyhound to Louisville in November and get my Cousin Slick to drive me in his '64 Dodge Dart out towards Madisonville. I still haven't cried, though tears almost came Saturday morning while I was walking in the tunnel connecting the Red and Blue subway lines, of all places. More like my eyes unfocusing, floating in mist. He worked for decades as a trucker until the place went bankrupt, he moved back to KY and ran a store called Henley's Gottemdown (after a radio show that is long gone). He kept saying how proud he is of me, and I told him that while he was having a life I was writing my fictions every day for twenty years now. I wanted to die before him. There are too many ghosts around me and I want to join them.......Wayne


Blogger Stewart Sternberg said...

As we get older the lines between life and death blur. Especially if we live each day in pain and the struggle becomes more absurd.

It's all about finding meaning and perspective, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 5:26:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

One thing I sometimes think about in such moments is that "there's always time to become a ghost." It doesn't have to be today, or tomorrow. For all we know it might be planned for us anyway next week. None of us will avoid it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Yvonne Navarro said...

It's not your time to become a ghost yet. You have to hang around, like me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 7:23:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

Still having trouble with blogger posting? I wonder what is going on.

Monday, October 23, 2006 9:03:00 AM  
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:47:00 AM  

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