Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paul the Greek

So, weeks after the incident described below, my landlord passed away. Monday, 17 September 2007. It was an unpleasant surprise. My roommates and I did not visit him in the hospital. Partly because it was awkward since we weren't family and partly because we were busy. When his wife told me he'd be home "soon", for some reason I believed her. Or I figured that it was probably best to think that way.

One day as I was making my way to school, the wife of the soon-to-be neighbors re-building the house next door asked, "Have you heard anything about Dan?" to which I replied, "Well, he hasn't been doing his physical therapy and he's had trouble recognizing people..."

Whereupon I was told that he'd actually died two days ago. Ah.

After the news had been spread, Jess sent flowers. Which was awesome because she was in Chicago but still had the presence of mind to call a florist and have them sent to the funeral home here. Scott and I are not really what you would call 'attentive'. That evening I led Carolyn (whose had plenty of run-ins with the landlords) and new roommate John (what an awful way to get started at a new place) to give condolences to Mary. It went about as well as it could. However I, of course, managed to say one of those things you don't say at moments like this: "have a good night". Of course, the the answer is "I don't know if I can."

Scott and I attended the wake the next day. I really do not like funeral culture. It may have made sense in the past to be able to see the deceased one more time. I think its a terrible thing. I don't like it at all. It's not them.

The wake did give us the opportunity to see pictures of Dan when he was younger. To be able to visualize him in a way that made him whole was kinda nice. He wasn't just the old infirm landlord who seemed to come up with new ways to accuse us of things everyday. Through the pictures and talking to his wife, relatives, kids and grandkids I was able to make him more solid in my imagination.

It also helped to solve a mystery. His wife always called him "Paul". I just thought it was old age, but after seeing his obituary, it turns out his middle name and nickname was Paul. "Paul the Greek" apparently. In a kind of story that I love, he hung out with a bar owner in the West End whose name was appended with "-the Greek" (I can't remember the exact name now). So, by association, he became Paul the Greek.

So here's for Dan, Paul the Greek. Who's probably punching someone's lights out who deserved it right now.

Here is his obituary in the Herald:
Daniel Paul "Paul the Greek" Sr. Adkins
Cambridge, Mass
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Daniel Paul "Paul the Greek" Sr. of Cambridge, September 17, 2007. Beloved husband of Mary (Russell). Father of Marion Grey and Paula Baptist both of Cambridge and Daniel Adkins Jr. of Malden. Brother of James Frtiz and his wife Jenny of VA. Grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of five. Funeral Services in the Cota-Struzziero-McKenna Funeral Home, 197 Washington Street, SOMERVILLE, on Friday, September 21 at 10:00 A.M. Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home Thursday 4:00 P.M. thru 8:00 P.M. Interment Westview Cemetery, Lexington. Daniel was a member of the Fresh Pond Golf Club and a veteran WWII US Army.