The Phone Call
I received a voice message on May 29th from the coroner’s office in my hometown. Immediately I knew the only reason for the call would be to inform me that my brother Radford had passed away. When I reached Casey from that office, she gave me the bad news.
My brother had a good friend Tom that he worked with for years at R.R. Donelley. Tom would drive him to doctor appointments and checked up on him regularly. Rad had been having difficulty breathing and went to a Pulmonologist to check it out. The doc sent him by ambulance to the E.R. They sent him home with an inhaler and told him to follow up with his doctor. Tom knew he had a follow-up appointment with the doc and called Rad the day of the appointment to see how it went. Tom had keys to the apartment and when Rad did not return the phone call he dropped by the apartment and discovered that Rad had passed away in his bed.
A Quirky Guy
Rad was a good guy. He never gossiped and he was kind and gentle. When going through his papers, there was a peer review from a fellow Donnelley worker. The man wrote, “I have never worked with anyone as helpful as you. Whenever I come to you with a problem, you help solve it. Although you are a quirky guy, I will miss you.” That about sums up my brother. There is no denying that he did have some odd behavior. He did not have cable TV, he simply bought movies to watch. He did not have a cell phone or long distance. If you wanted to talk to him, it was up to you to make the call.
When I lived in Virginia, I asked Rad if he would come to visit me. We only lived four hours from each other. He said, “That is highly unlikely.” And that was that, no further discussion. Whatever was at the top of his mind came out of his mouth. He did not mince words. I grew to appreciate his frankness.
Back Home Again
It was a very sad and exhausting trip back east to handle the details of Rad’s death. There was an upside for me. I love Lancaster Country and miss many aspects of living there. Seeing the beautiful barns, Amish folks riding in buggies, eating TastyKakes and Philly Cheesesteaks put a smile on my face.
The law office for my brother’s estate is in Lititz. I adore this small town and its architecture. The oddest thing happened while I strolled through the streets of Lititz. A quiet voice called out, “Mary Ann.” Looking across the street, I saw Louise. In high school I had a boyfriend, Keith, and this was his sister; who I have not seen in 45 years. I have written to her mother, Patsy, throughout those 45 years. Patsy lives about a half an hour from Louise and I was able to sneak in a quick visit with her and her husband. Patsy was like a mother to me and I miss her terribly.
The stone buildings in Lititz are gorgeous and the Moravian stars on the house porches are so enchanting. I was surprised that Lititz has a distillery and a brew pub – JoBoy’s. The brew pub had yummy cheesesteaks, but I liked the cheesesteaks at Spring House Brewing Company in Lancaster better. Iron Horse Brewing Company & Restaurant had the best crab cakes! JoBoy’s and Spring House had the best brews.
My brother lived on the third floor of a very old apartment building. Oddly, my father lived in the same apartment and my brother moved in when my dad passed away. My husband is a saint, he logged 30,000 steps in two days on his phone app cleaning out the apartment. I had the task of going through 25 years of bank statements, bills and important papers.
My grandmother lived her final days at the retirement home behind Rad’s apartment, The Long Home. It looked like they were doing a major renovation to the historic building. My grandmother was 92 when she passed away at Long Home. When I visited my grandmother, I would ask her if she was joining in on the many activities the home offered. She would say, “I am not joining that group of old women.” She did not see herself as being old.
The trip to Lancaster was bittersweet. I would have loved to have shopped at the quilt shops, eaten at the family style restaurants and stopped by Lancaster Central Market. The schedule was tight to complete all the tasks that occur with a family death. Perhaps another time…