It Just Got Personal – The Meaning

Meaning

Is this the story that never ends? What more is there to say after ‘The Eulogy‘? Well, let’s just say that I want to close the loop … all the way back to that dream.

This is part seven of my story. It’s the penultimate ‘chapter’.

You can read the story to date through these links;
Part One : ‘The Dream’
Part Two : ‘The Calls’
Part Three : ‘The Journey’
Part Four : ‘The Organization’
Part Five : ‘The Music’
Part Six : ‘The Eulogy’


Of course it was a great day, a sad day. A day we celebrated the life of my dad. At Ninety Four Years of age, no one could argue that he had a great run.

He lost his 38 year old daughter when he was he was just 72 and lost his wife of 52 years just 6 years later. But he kept rolling for another 15 years.

The dream that I wrote of at the beginning of this series – it is still in my head. It always will be because I have come to realize that the seemingly random sequence (54, 52, 51, 63, 58, 65, 64, 50, 54) actually represents our family’s milestones. Even the repeat of 54 at the beginning and end …. my call sign?

nineteeen ….

50 … when my father met my mother
51 … when my father and mother got engaged
52 … when my father and mother married
54 … when my mother gave birth to me
58 … when my mother gave birth to my sister
63 … when my father left the Armed Services
64 … when my father graduated as an educator
65 … when my father started his first job and when our family moved into our first real home

That is what those numbers meant in my dream.

Even then he knew.

It Just Got Personal – The Eulogy

Eulogy

In the first five parts of my story, I have deliberately avoided who I was writing about. Those close to me will likely have guessed and/or assumed …but now you know. I am the son of my father, John Richard Philpin, who passed away on December 18th, 2018 at the ripe old age of 94. This is the eulogy I gave as friends and family said their final goodbyes.

You can read the story to date through these links;
Part One : ‘The Dream’
Part Two : ‘The Calls’
Part Three : ‘The Journey’
Part Four : ‘The Organization’
Part Five : ‘The Music’


“Howard – all you have to do is walk from here to there – just through the curtains. And when you get there … start talking. You’ll be fine.”

That was my dad in Singapore nearly 60 years ago. He was advising his friend Howard how to stand up and talk to an audience. The guidance reminded me a little of the 2 step guide to drawing an owl ….

  1. Draw two overlapping oval shapes.
  2. Fill in the rest.

But that was dad. Never short of advice and never let lack of personal experience get in the way of giving it.

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It Just Got Personal – The Music

You can read the story to date through these links;
Part One : ‘The Dream’
Part Two : ‘The Calls’
Part Three : ‘The Journey’
Part Four : ‘The Organization’


If you knew him, you know he loved music. Classical, Jazz and ‘Swing/Big Band’ being his favorites. So I chose one piece out of each of those categories for the day. Each one features an artist he loved and at the same time reflects his personality.

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It Just Got Personal – The Organization

You can read the story to date through these links;
Part One : ‘The Dream’
Part Two : ‘The Calls’
Part Three : ‘The Journey’



My mind was pretty clear as to how to organize the funeral. He was to be cremated. We would have a small service in the local church where he had lived. The service would be conducted by one of his friends in the village who was ‘a man of the cloth’. Afterwards, we would have a reception for all in a small hotel – just opposite. One of his favorite places.

In my mind, we should have been able to make it happen the following week.

But of course. It was Christmas. And that was just the start.

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It Just Got Personal – The Journey

You can read the story to date through these links;
Part One : ‘The Dream’
Part Two : ‘The Calls’


Time to get on a plane. Well, actually a plane, a couple of trains and a few automobiles.

On a trip like this, I usually book ahead. But not really possible. A few hours ahead isn’t really ‘ahead’.

I packed as I booked the plane.

I decided to hold off on trains – electing to sort it out when I got to the station – and then just get the ‘next one’.

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People: Benjamin

Stood to the side of the road, walking stick supporting him. Well kept. Elegant even. Just standing. The traffic constantly passing him by. No slowing down, but then no attempt by him to get them to either.

I slowed down to let him cross. No movement.

I opened the window.

“Would you like a lift?”

“Thankyou.” he said. “Thankyou very much.”

Slowly walking towards the car, he gets in.

“Much appreciated.” he said. “I’m going to 4th street … is that ok?”

“No problem. Which cross street?”

“It doesn’t matter. Anywhere on 4th. I’m going to the bank.” Continue reading

People: Jan

Jan knows the UK and lives in Texas now, but the journey from one to the other allowed her to see the rest of the world.

She lived in Mildenhall. I’d heard of it. Used to live near there myself.

She joined the USAF to get trained, qualified and see a world ‘outside of the 50’. She left after just three years because she met and fell in love with the man who became her husband (best-laid plans and all that!). Training and Qualifications put on hold, but still traveled and saw the world. After all – her husband was still in the forces.

Now she is an antique dealer and her husband works at the nearby USAF facility. Well not just the USAF, turns out it is the only joint USAF and NATO training facility in the world.

Who knew?

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People: Alex

“I spent the day with my dog.”

“What kind of dog is it?”

“A Boston Terrier.”

“Oh wow, do you have pictures?”

“I did, but I lost my camera and so all my pictures.”

“Oh no, you know these days it’s so easy to keep your photos backed up in the cloud, so you’ll never lose them.”

“I know. I have Google storage and Verizon cloud, but I just never get round to doing it, because it isn’t important.”

“Well maybe you will now.”

“Maybe. But now there’s an opportunity to create a set of new memories.” Continue reading