Even when you don't talk to or see a person for a long time, you may hear rumors about them. One of the rumors I heard many years ago was that Linda Austin no longer wanted to have anything to do with Madison. Wrong. Bad rumor.
On January 5th, I wrote a post about places to escape the dreary sunless weather Madion had been enduring for several weeks. When I mentioned one fantasy escape, a visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, I listed the names of the members of the Madison Central High School Class of 1965 who lived in the area, thinking maybe the ones we hadn't heard from in a long time might one day Google themselves, find the blog, and get in touch.
No long afterwards, I received an email from Marlene Bjornethun, asking if I knew how to get in touch with Linda Austin. Since I won't release email addresses without permission, I emailed Linda and crossed my fingers, hoping she'd reply. And yes, dear reader, she did reply. She's agreed to let me post her reply, so here goes:
I am glad to hear from you and will email Marlene as well. I checked out your blog when I got the notice of the last reunion. It's a great service you are doing for the rest of us. I was going to write you at the time, but was so down about the obituaries that I postponed... and then forgot. It's amazing to feel grief for people I last saw 40 years ago, but it was real. In my head everyone but me is still 18.
One of these days I will send you a link to my web site. I haven't updated it in a year and a half, so will wait for that. Any day now. (Read with sarcasm.)
My brother, Mark, was probably the one who said I didn't want anything to do with Madison. I didn't say it that way, but it probably came out wrong in translation. I'm not sure why I've been reluctant to get in touch with old acquaintances when I visit Madison, but it probably has something to do with denying how much time has passed.
My Mom and Dad are both gone, but my brother and his wife are in Madison. I go back only once a year now. Last summer, we spent the entire visit working on the cottage we inherited from our parents.
I spent my entire professional career working for the Social Security Administration, first in Chicago, then in Baltimore. Took an early retirement during the Clinton Administration. In spite of a precipitous drop in income, I've never regretted it. At the time, my mother was in a nursing home, my dog was on his last leg, and I had convinced myself that I was headed for a heart attack. (No, I haven't had one.) Now, I take an occasional job, but really prefer goofing off.
Shortly after I received Linda's first email, she sent another one that answers the question in this post's header:
Just realized I didn't answer your question. No, the violin is long gone. I sold it in college to buy a motor scooter. Broke my leg in accident on the scooter. Many years later, had the knee replaced due to arthritis. Guess I should have stayed with the violin.
Doster Robert "Doc" De Haven - Class of 1949 - MADISON - Blow, Gabriel Blow. Beloved father, musician, and teacher, Doster Robert "Doc" De Haven Jr. [age 85], passed to heaven on Friday, Aug. 12, 201...
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