Fun_People Archive
2 Sep
QOTD - Kidder, 9/2/99

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu,  2 Sep 99 13:33:45 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: QOTD - Kidder, 9/2/99

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <>
Forwarded-by: (Quote of the day)
Forwarded-by: Kevin Johnsrude

Several times every year, and always before he went on a trip, Alan's father
used to visit his own mother's grave.  He never spoke about it, and never
took Alan with him -- he wasn't a demonstrative man, except in the
courtroom.  On a drizzly, dismal-looking day, Alan drove to the little
Jewish cemetery in Connecticut where his grandmother was buried.  The place
contained about three hundred headstones.  As he searched for his
grandmother's, Alan noticed that the dates on many stones were old, and that
no one had left pebbles on them.  "There's no one _alive_ who would have
known these people _ever_," he thought.  "_No_one_alive_ would have known
these people."  When he found his grandmother's grave, he began to speak
out loud to her, to this woman whom he'd never met.  He told her that her
son had died and wouldn't be coming to visit her anymore.  He didn't imagine
that she could hear him.  He didn't imagine that she couldn't.  He simply
felt obliged to deliver this news to this place.  And once he'd done that,
he thought again of all the other people buried there.  "No one alive is
likely to have ever mentioned their names.  Ever said their names."  He
walked from one stone to the next, in the rain, and read each name aloud.
There was no one else around, but he felt as though he were repopulating
the place.  He felt as if he were shaking dust off all those names.

	-- Tracy Kidder, "Home Town," p. 174.

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