Rest in peace, Papa

I was hanging out here in the Landfill Chichen scrawling out a long, unintelligible screed about the latest antics of our loverly mayor and city council, when there was a knock at the door. At 6:30 or so who could be at the door? Mormon missionary? Sierra Club proselytizer? Young American Kid selling candy to “keep him off drugs”? All of those things and noooo thank you. I knew if I went to answer the door I would bite somebody’s head off. So I got the GG. And wouldn’t you know, it was Luke of Perrynet. Luke can knock (and has knocked) on our door any time of the day or night.

As I walked from the Chitchen to the front room, I saw him point next door and say, “Sunday at 3:00.” Hans, “Papa” to his grandkids. I wasn’t surprised. I’m not sure how old Hans was. He was younger than The Comm but he was no spring chicken and he had a lot of problems and, for a few years now, I’ve been figuring it was only a matter of time.

Papa and Fabian (his wife prefers “Fabian” over “grandma”) were living in the corner house to the south of us when we moved in. In fact, they lived there when we were kids and, when I became a Haisley PTO mom, I encountered old papers with Hans’s name on them. Haisley PTO president.

Papa’s daughter had twins, boy and girl, a few months after Lizard Breath was born and Laura came along about a year later than Mouse. Although those kids were living in Chicago, cancer and a divorce caused them to visit Papa’s house with quite some frequency, and they even lived there for a year, going to school at Haisley. Those times are some of my best memories of bringing up kids here in the Landfill neighborhood. With kids right next door, there were built-in playmates. It was a lot like when I was a street urchin on the south side of Sault Ste. Siberia and it alleviated me at least somewhat from the whole minivan-playdate scene. On the flip side, I can also remember yelling, “SHUT THE DOOR!” about a frizillion times a day as everybody slam-banged in and out of the house.

I have so many memories of Hans, I can’t sort them out. One of my favorite? It was summer and Lizard Breath and the twins were five or thereabouts. We had one of those loverly little plastic kiddie pools from KMart in the back yard. Wish I had one now! It was lunch time. My plan was something like PBJ sandwiches! Max (one of the twins) came bounding in the back door brandishing a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese! Okay. I hated that stuff when *I* was a *kid*! I had *never* cooked it for my kids and I was kinda hoping we wouldn’t go down that road. I refused to cook it. I was nice (I think). I can’t remember if they actually ate PBJ at my house or not. But they did take the macaroni and cheese over to Papa’s house and *he* cooked it for them and my kids *loved* it and boy oh boy, have I bought a you-know-what-load of Kraft macaroni and cheese over the years. To this day, I still haven’t touched a bite o’ that stuff.

We haven’t seen much of Papa and Fabian over the last couple of years. I went back to work, they became very frail, and we are out of town a *lot*. They have a good network of friends in the area and I have seen various people there over the years. Apparently they moved to assisted living a while back (I’m guessing around the time I became the 21st century nomadic enigma or thereabouts) and Fabian, who has memory issues and/or a touch of dementia, is settling into the memory care facility there. She’s aware enough to know that Hans has died.

I haven’t said anywhere near enough but, “Farewell, Papa.”

4 Responses to “Rest in peace, Papa”

  1. GG Says:

    Its a blog, Dear. Some days are better than others. It’s like a river.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I think these are some fine musings on the life of a friend and neighbor. The affection is clear in this post. RIP Hans.

  3. Pooh Says:

    Hans and Fabian sound like fine neighbors. His daughter and grandkids would probably appreciate a copy of this story, and others, if you had time to write them down.

  4. Uncly Uncle Says:

    You either have a nail or other puncture or a rim leak. It is probably the puncture. Take it to Belle tire and they will fix it quick and cheap. No fightin it. -UU