Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My kooky brother-in-law

I've been thinking quite often these days about my brother-in-law, Pete, Norma Jean's husband for almost five decades. Don't ask me why these pictures kept intruding into my consciousness, but I remembered he had sent me this series of three pictures sometime in 1985. They made laugh then, and they make me smile with fondness now. He died on February 10, 2011, just a few days past his 67th birthday. He wrote a post about his final birthday here.

Pete finally decided to start a blog in early September 2010, after having spent a vacation with his daughter Allison, who was promoted to Lt. Colonel in the Army and who also gave birth to a beautiful daughter in June of the same year (and is raising alone). After having been badgered about it from all sides, he didn't actually say he would do it, but he left the door open. He ended up writing more than a hundred posts before the end.

I was visiting Allison also, as her guest, along with my sister Norma Jean. The five of us, counting Lexie, or the seven of us if you also count the two dogs, Lou and Moose, all gathered in Alexandria, Virginia, last August for the ceremony to celebrate Allison's achievement. It meant a lot to Pete, and it is the subject of his first blog post, which you can read here. Pete was a gifted writer, and since he's been on my mind lately, I hunted down those three pictures and scanned them for this post. I think he is probably having a laugh himself; if there is a heaven, he's there.

Pete was not a perfect person, but then again, who is? We sometimes engaged in enthusiastic arguments. I enjoyed many things about him, not the least of which was his intellectual curiosity.  Sometimes I think that those who are intellectually gifted have a particularly hard time fitting their square pegs into the round hole of society. During those three weeks I spent in Florida with Norma Jean, she shared a piece of his writing with me that is dated 1/20/85 (about the same time those pictures were taken), and he entitled it "To My Children: A Layman's Guide to Living, or 'Life Isn't Fair, Allison'." It is in outline form, listing 11 different categories: Friends; Work and career; The Cosmos (universe); Family; Education; History; Politics; Everyday living; Religion; Self; and Your future society. I'd like to share with you that last category, as he wrote it.
  1. Accept concept United States is no longer power it once was
    • United States, as we know it, will probably not exist in far future
    1. Global society -- we're no longer self sufficient
    2. Fear a new wave of conservatism and repression
    3. United States economy too increasingly dependent upon non-essentials
      • Recreation and leisure-centered economy
      • Information services replacing goods and products that are basic needs
      1. Will see increasing separation of classes
        • Believe there will be a political revolution
        • Increasing separation of affluent/educated and the lower classes
        1. Outer space will be place of future, predicting now:
          • Global warning systems, civilian visits to space, colony to moon
          • Space will likely be the primary battleground of the future
          He wrote all this in January 1985!!! The guy was not only prescient in many ways, but I truly hope that some of the things he predicted will not come to pass. However, many of the things he wrote have definitely come true today, with no hint back in 1985 (to me, anyway) that the United States would be like it is at this juncture. He saw it, though. It seems quite clear to me that Pete was someone I am proud to have known, proud that he was part of my life, and I wish we could talk together about all this.

          He was not a believer, but I am. If I am right, we will have that conversation someday (somewhen?). 


          1. first a rather nice rememberance of him...love the pics...as far as his predictions maybe he saw something we did not and though i still hope we seem to slide further along that slope...1985, wow...

          2. He certainly was a thinker. It's nice that you have these fond memories and that you share them occasionally. The photos are hilarious. Yes, a nice remembrance, as Brian said.

          3. Civilian visits to outer space. Colonies to the moon.

            How common place will they be in the very near future? Time will tell.

            Pete was prescient, wasn't he. A wonderful tribute to your BIL.

          4. As you know I found Pete's blog soon after I found yours. I immediately took a liking to Pete because I was so amazed to see his ideas and how they agreed with mine except that he expressed his ideas so clearly. I find it really hard to understand that so few people see what Pete has described. Pete also put his beliefs into practice as he supported his fellow man. So I can see why you thinkl about Pete.He gave us lots to consider.

          5. Pete was obviously a deep thinker to have predicted these future outcomes.
            You mentioned intellectual curiosity. That's a term I seldom hear but one I use often, and a trait I value very highly.

          6. I can see why you miss him...what an awesome guy. I like his thinking. Bookmarked his sight and plan on going back to read from time to time. I'm blown away by his 1985 predictions. He and I would have that square peg thing going...although I'm not that intellectual...curious though. I think I would have enjoyed blogging with Pete.
            Nice remembrance of a great guy by a loving sister in law. xo

          7. Pete and I shared many similar values, at least, during the short time we commented on each others blogs. I miss the comradery.

          8. Your regard for Pete is very clear. He must have been an exceptional guy.

          9. Lovely memories DJan - I do think sometimes the subconscious knows more than we realize.....:-)Hugs

          10. I am so sorry for your loss. From seeing that blog he kept, you can see what an amazing person he was. He appears to have kept his humor and determination to the very end. He died much too young.

          11. Pete sounds like a remarkable man in many ways. His predictions are very interesting. While there were small signs of some of the things he mentioned others hadn't even been thought of at that time.

            Those photos are great DJan, thanks for sharing them with us.

          12. I just returned from reading Pete's last several posts. He was quite a guy. Your writing about him is a wonderful tribute to a man who clearly left the world a better place than it was before his presence. The pictures made me laugh, too.

          13. Pete sounds like he was an amazin' fella and every family needs a kookie BIL or three! What a wonderful tribute to him, I know he will be missed.

            God bless and have a peaceful day!

          14. He was indeed very far-seeing for 1985. You can rightly be proud of him.

          15. Pete certainly was one of those guys who had great presence. He was a thinker, a communicator, and it seems like he was also a genuine, all around good guy. I am so sorry for his loss in your life and in the lives of his family.

          16. Blogging creates a wonderful place to honor those people who graced our lives, perhaps even changed our lives. What a fine tribute to Pete. I like to think of Yoko Ono's comment when asked how she felt about losing John and she said, "Now we get to spend all our time together" (or something to that effect). I like that thought.

          17. Whether you have or don't have that conversation, keep him in your heart, keep his memory alive and he will be there with you, for as long as you live.

          18. Isn't it wonderful that he started to blog and share his thoughts..I am sure it must be a great comfort to go back and read some of his posts..kooky maybe..a good kooky:)

          19. I came to you via Murr, and am glad I did despite the tears in my eyes and heart from flipping through and scanning. I love your heartfelt memories and the beautiful way you share.

          20. Isn't it a blessing to have the people like Pete in our lives?

            He was sure on the mark with a lot of that stuff....

          21. He sounds like an amazing man Djan! And eerily insightful into our society...


          22. What a gift: words and the people who string them together!

          23. Love the pictures. He sounds like a prophet!

          24. Amazingly linear thinking. My thoughts tend to wander; his are so precise! I can certainly see why you enjoyed sparring with him. It must have been the two of you sharpening your wits on one another. Those are the kind of people who make you feel a bit more alive for having been around them. Thank you for sharing these memories.


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