Sunday, August 4, 2013

Condolence call to Neighbor Luke Sanders

Walked up the hill to give my condolences to Luke Sanders, father of Bill Sanders, who died on July 29, 2013, six days ago.
Here's the last picture taken of Bill. Unfortunately he had a terrible drinking problem and couldn't stop. The death certificate, which I saw in a folder, said "Cause of death: Liver failure."

He would've been 50 years old on "the last day in December," said Luke.

We had a nice long talk. I shared my memories of his son, which he enjoyed hearing.

Luke, a former sheet metal worker, has a beautiful house that he's kept up since the death of his wife, Joan. Bill was in his 30s when she died. Luke has two other sons and grandchildren.

Joan, who died of cancer, collected Hummel figurines. Sexist that I am, I always figured Hummel to be a man. Luke told me Hummel was a nun.
And here she is .. atop the Hummel cabinet.

A talented artist, Berta Hummel joined the Franciscan convent in Germany, and became a children's art teacher. Never, though, did she stop producing her own art, which culminated in the famous Hummel figurines, named for Berta Hummel, who later became Sister Maria Innocentia.

Berta Hummel aka Sister Maria Innocentia... 1909-1926.

Producing her figurines during WW2, she earned the personal condemnation of Hitler. Read more about it here. 

Her death at age 37 is directly attributable to Hitler's closing of convents or, if allowed to remain open, of cutting off all water and electricity. She died of tuberculosis.

Bill Sanders lived with his dad most of his life, so his dad will be missing him. Bill's former GF Valerie moved in a few months ago to help take c/o him during the final stages of his liver disease. Bill had told me that, saying it was good, but that there were some pitfalls, too.

As many of you know, I recently wrote a short story about Bill, in which I made him out to be a hero. I hope to get it published in a lit mag. The title is "A Hurricane for Mr Robertson."

I was so incredibly blown away by Hurricane Sandy last October, I knew I wanted to write about it. Somehow I thought of putting Billy in it.

While I was sitting on the couch talking to Luke, a series of loud chimes went off. Here's the clock, stocked with - you guessed it! - Hummel figurines.

Above the couch is a painting someone made of Bill, on the left, and his brother Bob. Bill is wearing his trademark bandana, which he wore to work as a landscaper.

Luke said he worked until the day of the accident that landed him in the hospital and hastened his death. He took a fall, landed on his head, and spent his last days at Elkins Crest Rehab.

Luke last visited him the day before he died.

Luke was hooked on collecting beautiful work. These are Japanese plates made by Beauties of the Red Mansion. Google it yourself as I don't wanna get involved in any more fantastic stories.

Valerie made a needlepoint of the Beauties.

Here's the family room downstairs. Luke told me the house was pretty much the way his wife left it.
How about all these trophies? Luke got them from bowling and Little League.
I shook hands goodbye. Earlier, I told Luke I detected an accent. He was born in NC, near Winston-Salem. I told him Bill had told me he still drives down there to see his family.

Used to, he said. Now he takes the Greyhound Bus.

I told Luke that if he liked, I'd come back and visit him. He said he'd like that.

 Beautiful trees. Bill used to take c/o the yard and garden. I told Luke that Bill had taught me the names of a few of the weeds that were choking my azaleas.

Bill was cremated and his ashes will be sprinkled in the Poconos. 

I never like visiting someone empty-handed, so I brot Luke a tomato from my garden.

1 comment:

  1. Nice of you to write this. Another sad story and poor man to have to bury his son. That is one of the worst things in life, as your family can attest.

    I had no idea about the Hummel History. Thanks. I always enjoy learning something and always enjoy your blog, though I haven't seemed to have time lately to visit as often as I would like.