Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Mr. Margolis, the guy next door to us, has died. He was 92 years old and in failing health, so it wasn't a big surprise.

A few months after we moved in (this was about 3-1/2 years ago), Mr. Long, the guy next door on the other side of us, died of a heart attack (he was in his 70s, I believe). He had been quite welcoming and nice, and he was one of those retired folks who serve as an unofficial "mayor" of the street: he had his eyes open and knew everything that went on. We lived next to a guy like that in Chicago, and if anyone so much as slowed down and looked at our house during the day we knew about it when we got home from work. Anyway, we were looking forward to living next to another guy like that, but he died. His wife, a very nice person, still lives there, but she's not the type to hang out in the yard and chew the fat with neighbors the way Mr. Long did.

Less than 6 months later, Mr. Clark, another gregarious neighbor who lived directly across the street, died as well. He was very friendly, liked to talk and also kept an eye out for his neighbors. He went into the hospital for surgery and died of complications. Mark and I sensed a pattern developing since we moved in and hoped no one else noticed.

But Mr. Margolis looked like he was going to soldier on. He didn't get out much--just to the synagogue on Saturdays, occasionally out for a weekend lunch with his son and to his front porch when the weather was decent. He was in and out of the hospital a few times, and his wife (who was in a nursing home) died last year, but it seemed like he was planning to tough it out for a while longer. Apparently he had gone into a hospice before he died--I should have known something was up because I hadn't seen any of his around-the-clock caretakers recently, and his son from New York had been down.

I really hope everyone else on the block stays healthy ...

In other news, I went to work today. I waited until I thought the crazy people in SUVs, who are always in a hurry, had finished careening through the slush and ice. Most of my route is interstate highway it was in pretty good shape by the time I headed out. In fact, it was all fine until I got to work. The ramp down into my parking deck looked OK, so I headed down, only to find that the automatic door wouldn't open for me. So I had to back up the ramp, execute a tricky turnaround and park in the visitors lot. It was a sheet of ice. I was able to drive on it--slowly with no sudden starts or stops. But when I tried to walk on it I realized it was going to be the most dangerous part of my day. I made it in, joining the six or so other people who came in, and then our boss said we should all go home at 3:00. The good thing about living in a place that gets paralyzed by small amounts of snow is I get a lot of reading done.

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