Monday, December 31, 2018

The Boy

It's impossible to think about anything else or talk about anything else or write about anything else.


James. He went by James. James reinvented himself several times over the years, and preferred to be called James, but I looked that kid in the eyeballs and asked if I could still keep calling him Jimmy and he said the very thing that made him so very him.

"No worries."


That tormented soul.

Julie went that day. Jane went the next week and overlapped. Jacquie and Clara went to the safe harbors of Mexico to escape. Jacquie's friend Janet joined them.

As I told Jacquie, I'll be the jackass who finally arrives on the 12th.

The 12th. I just want it to be the 12th. I just want to GO.

Mistah and I haven't been in San Diego since the day we drove out of there to move to New London and to claim our home in 2008.

That was a long time ago.

We're going back.

We're going back to celebrate The Boy.

Our Boy.

Our Jimmy.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas 2018

Peace, my friends.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Young James, The Westy Years

In our years traveling in the Westy, Mistah and I spent a lot of time in San Diego. Jacquie and her family tolerated us parked in their driveway and sleeping in their "play loom" because, well, I don't know. We were Fun? And semi-helpful? I helped with dinner and baths and diapers and hair. And Mistah did da flo on command.

We were part of everyday life. We had dinner together every night, we played High Point Low Point, we were ubiquitous.

We got to know those kids.

Jimmy wasn't always that excited about the arrangement; he didn't always love sharing his mom and dad with us, and one of our favorite quotes from those years was, "Fly AWAY Aunt Ellie!"

I did not fly away.

Not even close.

Since we lost James last week we've all been struggling through the haze of grief to find something that makes sense. I dove into the Westy photo albums. They represent just a small slice of life -- just eight short years of a way-too-short life. But they're pretty great.

What I love our about years-on-the-road Westy photo albums is just how full of San Diego they are.

We were there a lot.

But it wasn't just us, I swear.

The whole family came out in 'ought-one or so.

The grumpy faces fill my heart with love.

Christmas in San Diego. Red thermal undie pjs from Auntie Ellie and Uncle Bill for both kids. They sagged but man, they were cute.

Jimmy with Big and Little. Both were crucially important.

The thing about San Diego and kids? Beach babies.

Jimmy got used to having us around and even grew to love our excursions . . .

. . . see?

His kid sister loved us too, even though she looks like she's in a line up.

Seriously . . .

Jimmy loved the Westy, Aunt Ellie & Uncle Bill, Clara, sure. But really, it's all about the doggies for that kid. Always.

This is my favorite photo of all time.

NO wait, this one is.

Or this one?

We were all about the Westy pancake parties.

Plus the leg!

Our Westy photo albums flow chronologically. Which is no big surprise since it's me.

And so . . . . another year goes by . . .

. . . and we return to a Boy and His Dog. This is my favorite photo of all time. For real this time.

And then Phelps!

Look at that Mom and Dad of ours . . .

. . . and look at those munchkins.

His godmother loves him.

And the next year? Of course we were back in San Diego.

Beach kids abound.

The hair.

Not a lot of people know this, but the kid was a masterful sidewalk artist. This is the Statue of Liberty. Obviously.

Unfortunately we don't have a photo of James' rendition of the guy Hanging Down. Jimmy loved to hang down.

Help me Bruddah
Long live the King

Running the bases with their Uncle Bill. 
Photography by the blurry wonder.

This is captioned, "The World's Second Best Ice Cream Man"

Oh yes.

This one is my real favorite . . .

. . . no, this is. That face!

And this is the rarest photo of all time -- San Diego babies in the snow.

But seriously, this is the best quintet, possibly forever:


God, how this mom loved this boy. His champion, his advocate, his biggest supporter.

God, how we all loved him.

Okay, back to San Diego for another turn of events.


The thing about these kids from Southern California . . .

. . . is the light is always good. And they were little so we got to boss them around and make them come outside with us. And therefore get great photos.

. . . how many favorites can I have?

. . . because I have a lot. The Hair Years.

And this series:


And then . . .  getting ready to go camping at San Elijo, Uncle Bill and the kids wrote a song . . .

We're going camping on Saturday night . . .
We're gonna have so much fun . . .
Everybody's gonna be there . . .

Including . . .

Quinault the Camping Bear!

San Elijo . . . 

. . . forever the Happy Place.

And, of course, I've written about The Quest . . .

. . . but I just love this one.


Tide Pool Explorers

And then, after all those years, we stepped out of the Westy and made New London home.

And they came to Connecticut to visit us.

They could not stay away.

Why would they?

We have some pretty iconic shots from New London, too . . .

. . . and we also have Quests here.

And all of a sudden we had gigantic kids in the Westy . . .

. . . kids who were growing up in front of our eyes.

We've lived just as long in New London as we did in the Westy -- nay, longer -- and that seems absurd because we feel like we can almost touch those years.

But they're years away now.

There is no way to parse losing Jimmy, losing that Young James of ours. The pain in my heart is one millionth of one fraction of the pain in Jacquie's heart. All we want to do is to make sense of it, to find something to hang onto. And one thing we have -- one tiny morsel -- is one fleeting chunk of time. The Westy San Diego Years.

We're grateful.

We love you, kid.

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We've felt the incredible outpouring of love. It's amazing and astounding and humbling. So many people have asked, "What can I do?" and I reply "What can *I* do?" But there is a specific and concrete way to help, if you're so inclined. Thank you, our gorgeous and generous community.

GoFundMe -- Memorial Expenses for James Kennedy