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I've been retired for over a month now and I've gone back to school. My current professor is one-and-a-half years old, and he doesn't teach using the traditional Socratic method, he's more of a hands-on type of instructor.
I call him Professor Kooky Lukey and he's my second grandson. I know you're not supposed to give your grandsons self-fulfilling nick names, but you see, I want Luke to retain his kookiness. That's what makes him special.
His older brother John is a first born, like me. Johnny is more the serious type; reflective, orderly, and often times obsessive and overly focused. Luke is teaching us that there is clearly another way to look at life.
Professor Lukey has taught me that it's OK to start a book on the last page and to rip out a page or two if the desire to do so makes you laugh. It certainly makes the story more interesting the next time around.
Kooky has taught me that playing an orderly game of matchbook cars driving down imaginary streets on the carpet is always more interesting when the cars suddenly go flying through the air with total abandonment. It's even more hysterical when, Mac, the family dog, retreats and hides in his cage to escape the projectiles.
Professor Lukey has also taught me and Johnny that an occasional unpredictable tackling and wrestling of his older brother to the ground is a keen method of utter enjoyment. Particularly, if Johnny yells, "No, Lukey, No!
Decades ago, in another life, when I was studying to become a teacher, I read all the John Holt books about how children learn. I loved those books, and I loved that Holt would spend hundreds of hours just playing with kids in order to truly understand the manner in which children naturally learned.
I'm fascinated with how two brothers, with essentially the same shared experiences, can be so wonderfully different. Society will assuredly require that Lukey reign in some of his exuberance and Johnny will certainly have to let go of some of his self-awareness and obsessions. Hopefully, from each other, they will reach an equipoise for success. However, I also secretly hope that they retain a healthy level of indifference to what others want them to be.
In any event, I have a lot more to learn from Professor Kooky Lukey. At 65 I can't wait until I see my 57-year baby brother so I can randomly assault him and wrestle him to
Lukey has taught me that life doesn't have to be all that serious and I plan on practicing that a bit more.
Hopefully my brother Robbie still retains some of his childhood laissez-faire. Professor, I'll let you know how my homework assignment goes.
June 18, 2021
Tonight I went to bed and couldn’t get these pictures out of my head. Ann Marie, or AHAH to you, just showed them to me earlier. As I tried to fall asleep I found myself overwhelmed with emotion thinking about them. I knew that my tears were speaking to me so I got out of bed and wrote this note to you.
Someday, when you’re as old as PopPop, you will fully understand the feelings that I am attempting to express.
When I saw this series of photographs of you I was moved with so much love and appreciation for your beauty and your incredible lightness of being at the age of three. What innocence and joy you exude in these pictures and what joy you bring to me on this upcoming father’s Day!
When I was younger I truly enjoyed each moment with my three daughters. But often times there was not enough time for me and AHAH to catch our breath and reflect on how wonderful life truly was. However, with a generation between us, and me being closer to the final chapters, I can now see the circle of life more clearly.
Through these wonderful photos taken by AHAH, I see you as my dad saw my kids, and how my grandfather saw me, and on and on it goes.
Tonight, I am full with happy tears as I know that most of what you will experience in life will be without my earthly presence. You will love and be loved, you will experience great joy, and you will assuredly experience pain and loss.
Throughout the arc of life, I hope that God is good to you and allows you to retain a good deal of your joy and lightness of being.
P.S. When you’re old enough to understand, thank AHAH for her commitment and countless hours in learning the skills to become an artist. Her photographs have enriched our lives and will be cherished for generations to come.
Side note form Ann-Marie:
You have taught me so much and have been my supporter all the way. Love you!
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.