How It All begins! “33’s Theo”

It was all supposed to be a way of distracting Shelly when, after six months, she had made no improvement towards moving on emotionally after the death of Jim, her husband of 45 years. Her dearest friend, Susan, had persuaded Shelly to accompany her on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard to do an old friend the favor of house-sitting while she was away for a short time.

They had happened upon an old ham radio in the basement of that house. On a whim Shelly puts in the code of her old friend, Teddy, who had been a ham radio enthusiast when she had known him at Harvard years ago. Bingo! Someone answered, and it turned out to be his son, Ben, who invited Shelly and Susan to visit him at his home in Malden so that they could get to know each other better and in so doing, Ben could learn more about his own father.

After Shelly and Susan arrive at Ben’s home, she met his adult daughter, Teddi (named after her grandfather) and she invited Shelly to go on a walk with her. She wanted to discuss her father with Shelly. Let’s listen in on their conversation.

“Thank you for agreeing to come chat with me, Shelly. I’ll bet you’re thinking I’m about to give you the third degree, but rest assured, I’m not. I just wanted you to know a few things about my father before we all listen to you and learn things we probably never knew about my grandfather.”

“So you think there may be gaps in what you know about your namesake?”

Teddi laughed. ”You know I probably never told anyone before how proud I am to be named after Grandpa. He was quite a character, but very lovable in his own way.”

“Yes, he was,” Shelly reflected sadly. “I’m so sorry he’s gone. My husband Jim died just six months ago, yet I never expected to hear that Teddy had passed, too. Teddy was the kind of man whom you expected to just keep going.”

“I agree. He seemed impervious to everything, even death, especially death,” Shelly said.

“We’ll talk more about Gramps another time, Shelly, but I want to tell you a few things about my dad first.”

Teddi told Shelly that her dad hadn’t been himself for some time… long before her grandfather died. Shelly said “they were like two strangers that happened to share some DNA.”

Teddi went on to say that her father and grandfather hardly spoke to each other , except to comment about the time or which of the chores each of them was going to do on a particular day. Teddy said, “I would get really angry sometimes, but I eventually had to accept the fact that, although they didn’t act like a typical father and son, in their own way they loved each other.”

Shelly then says that her dad has changed, and that their once close relationship has grown cold and alienated. She reveals to Shelly that the family hasn’t yet told her brother, Cal, a physician serving in Nigeria in the Peace Corps, that his grandfather has died. She is afraid of the effect it
will have on her brother.

Teddi tells Shelly that her visit is s godsend because she can see that her father really is impressed with Shelly. She feels that, if her dad opens up to Shelly, it will help him to accept his father’s death and move on.

What can Shelly do to help Ben, whom she has just met? She hasn’t even seen Teddy, Ben’s dad, since that summer at Harvard 45 years ago? And now he has died like her husband, Jim, and she, depressed herself, is supposed to help Ben open up and confront his problems.

Where will all this go? Check out the next post on this website!

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