Friday, October 03, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Walter R. Marthins
Walter R. Marthins, 97, of Wethersfield, husband of the late Mary V. (Quebec) Marthins, died Sunday, (September 28, 2008) at Hartford Hospital. He was born in Middletown, the son of Olaf and Jenny (Bloomberg) Marthins. Before his retirement he was an underwriter for the Traveler's Insurance Co. and served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. He enjoyed golf and painting. He leaves a son, Richard Marthins of Connecticut; a sister, Betty Rowe of Middletown; four grandchildren, Randolph, Christopher, Jeffrey and Todd Marthins, all of New Jersey; 11 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Funeral will be Thursday, October 2, 9 a.m. from the Rose Hill Funeral Home, 580 Elm St., Rocky Hill, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial, 10 a.m. at Corpus Christi Church, Wethersfield. Burial will be in Cromwell Cemetery, Cromwell. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to American Cancer Society Research.

“Try not to be too long, you know how your brothers get,” D’Wife reminded me before I left New Jersey.

The funeral home was only a few minutes away from the Hampton Inn we were staying in Connecticut. If I left at 5:30, like I would on any other morning, I could complete my route in about an hour and be back in plenty of time to shower, dress and a have a little breakfast.

By chance, I had packed the exact same outfit I had run the Distance Run in, including my lucky shell and sharky sox.

The route I
planned to run would take me past my old school, the street bike tag was invented, my old house, to my grandpop’s house, past our old church and back to the hotel, and clocked about 6½ miles; my usual Saturday length.

However, after missing the first turn in the dark fog and mist, I decided it would be best karmically to run it the
other way – to go to the church first, get that over with, and finish with school.

Running up the “business district” was a lot like the scene in The Blues Brothers when they were driving around in the shopping mall with 2 police cars on their tail

Elwood: Baby clothes...
Jake: This place has got everything.

Sadly, I also saw a lot of “Retail Space For Rent” signs. In fact, most of the stoplights were just flashing yellow, even at quarter of six in the morning, not even anticipating any traffic.

I tried to remember some of the names of kids I had know on each street as I went by, but could only remember two or three on that part of town. As quickly as I remembered, I forgot them again.

Once I got to the church, I took a moment to say a prayer. My spex were fogged and it was still dark, so I gingerly made my way up the parking lot, noticing the reflection of the fence, looking for the gap and the lighter grey of the concrete sidewalk that led me up the slight incline to the Corpus Christi school parking lot. Finding my way around the corner and onto the driveway, I moved along to the street to Grandpop’s house. The new owners hadn’t made any drastic changes yet, so that was an easy goodbye.

I set a course for my old house.

It’s a deceptively subtle climb from over that mile due to all the turns it was more of a bunch of little climbs. And, I was pretty fresh still.

The route I ran
LAST time I was here was even more aggressive! I wouldn’t be doing that again. That day was an investigatory stroll; this morning I was closing a door.

The sky was beginning to blue and I could see the clouds drifting away as I crossed Wells Road, a main “don’t go past that” street of my childhood. I had trouble remembering which of two houses was my first elementary school “girlfriend’s” since both candidates had extensive additions and remodeling done. I kept my eyes open for the funny little bend in the sidewalk across the street from our corner market. The drug store where I bought my first Mad Magazine and Hot Rod Magazine was now a liquor store [thank God they waited for us to move before making that switch].

I sped down the hill to 64 Clearfield Road - of all the places on the street to put a bike alert sign?


I guess the old garage is some sort of bikey shrine now.

I passed a neighbor walking his dog and found the bike path, crunched across the gravel and off to school. It’s hard to believe that “The Mitchell Apartments” used to be an elementary school. I wonder if they still have the same cafeteria food?

I passed the entrance to Mill Woods Park, where I learned to ice skate and swim [in that order I think?], then up the hill on Prospect Street. This was NO gradual climb like the other earlier on; this was a quad buster, an arm-swinger that seems to rise 500 feet at a 45° angle. I still have nightmares about it – you know the kind where your feet won’t move, no matter how you tried.

I groaned up to the summit and called upon my seashell friend to get me over the top. We did and triumphantly bombed down the descent, smiling and almost giggling, being careful not to skid out on the wet leaves and steep curbs.

Heading back to the hotel, the highway traffic had increased now, and the stoplights were fully functional again. The coffee shops and diners had breakfast cooking, they filled the air with the aroma of bacon and sausage. The pale blue sky showed streaks of salmon and coral, as the streetlights clicked off one by one.

I trotted past the door of the Hampton, out of breath – yeah, I kicked it up a little to finish, although I’d never started my watch so I wasn’t running for a certain time. I just wanted to look good, in case a brother or two was in the lobby.

Which there was.

“How’d it go?” he asked.

“Peaceful.”

We exchanged some chit-chat, a handshake and a hug and I stepped into the elevator.

I wasn’t dreading the rest of the day anymore.

NOTE: We didn't find out until the actual Mass [you know you're dealing with a special person when the priest (70 years old, and a veteran of many, many funerals) gets choked up] that Grandpop Walt didn't become Catholic until 1984 ... at the age of 74, just before my Grandparent's 50th Anniversary. My brothers and I never noticed that although the whole MartFamily went up, Grandpop didn't take Communion ... I guess we were to busy goofing around to notice.

4 comments:

Stephen said...

A most excellent way to say goodbye.

Sorry for your loss.

Audrey said...

So sorry, Randy.

Jill said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather Randy.

sauconRunner said...

Sorry to hear about your grandfather.