No, no, I did not die! Not even close. But I did write my obituary—be prepared and all that—for future use. My survivors only have to email it off to the newspapers, if there still are such things. I hope they appreciate this, because I don’t think they know the details of my life, like dates and such, and I don’t know where they could even find them on short notice. We all should do this. I will no doubt be tweaking it now and then, so send me any suggestions for improvement.
Here it is:
Obituary of Roger Walck
If you are reading this, I must have passed on, although I do not know how. I wrote this well before it was needed. But no matter how difficult my final days may have been, it could only be a tiny part of the total. We tend to overemphasize endings, no matter how brief, and attribute far more importance to a difficult, even gruesome, death than it deserves. Overall, I had a great life with no regrets and I fully approve of the great cycle of life and death imposed on us all. It is a good system. There should be a periodic renewal of everything—a thorough cleaning of the house, so to speak—and this requires making room for the new generations. Some may want to live forever, but the real question is would anyone else want them to live forever? I doubt it. Out with the old, in with the new. Who can argue with that? Would you still want to drive your first car?
I was born on Mother’s Day in 1936 in Riverside, NJ, although I never lived there. My uncle was a physician at Zurbrugg Hospital in Riverside, and he and my aunt delivered me. She was his wife and head nurse at the hospital, and that’s where everyone in our family went for non-emergency medical treatment. We could drive there in about an hour.
I grew up in East Lansdowne, PA, just across the street from the grammar school whose school yard was the community gathering place on hot summer evenings. My grandparent’s house was right around the corner where I often went on Saturday mornings and where I was greeted like visiting royalty. It was an idyllic childhood, and when I was in sixth grade, we moved a few miles away to Lansdowne. I graduated from Lansdowne-Aldan High School in 1954, Penn State in chemistry in 1958, worked briefly at the RCA labs in Princeton, NJ, and had the shear dumb luck to marry Misao Iwata, a nursing student at the Hospital of the University of Penn from Seabrook, NJ, who I met through a high school buddy. She changed me in many ways, all for the good, and the change is still unfinished. We raised two boys, Jesse and Andy, well worthy of our pride, and who produced grandchildren far superior to anyone else’s.
After a brief time moving around, I ended up working in Wilmington, DE, for Atlas Chemical that became ICI Americas, then Zeneca, then AstraZeneca where I retired at age 54. (I told you I had a great life.) Work seems so long ago, I can barely remember what I did, but it must have been something useful for them to keep me so long.
For a while, my wife and I were heavily into square dancing, even becoming presidents of the Pi R Squares in Wilmington in the year of our country’s bicentennial.
In retirement, I taught many Red Cross courses in lifeguarding, swimming, first aid, and commercial pool operation. I also worked part-time as a lifeguard for many years at our nearby JCC. Later, I volunteered at Longwood Gardens and maintained a blog for my high school class that morphed into a general blog for seniors. The blog was meant to convey my personality and pattern of thinking—who I actually was—an insight usually missing from our ancestors. You can read it at http://www.rwalck.wordpress.com, if it is still available online. (Even “online” may be an archaic term when you read this.)
Obituaries tend to drone on, and even this is probably more than you want to know (notice, however, I never used the word “beloved”), but I wanted to clarify the question some of you may be asking, “Is that the same guy I used to know at . . . ?” Maybe yes, maybe no.