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Eighth grade was a very special time between Jeremy and me. We were on sabbatical in Hawaii and the two of us went snorkeling nearly every day for three months, trying to get the best possible fish pictures. We last snorkeled together in Maui three months before he died. I could write many stories of our snorkeling adventures but most of it would interest only him and me. Maybe someday I'll do it. He liked Hawaii's Big Island the best. Mother and I had shopped around there for the perfect place to live but we couldn't seem to find it.
He always enjoyed introducing us to the young ladies in his life, and we enjoyed meeting them too. The nearby picture is the occasion of the high school prom in '91.
One of his high school summers he began working with Mr. Rosas, a heavy equipment broker. He was only about 16 but on the telephone no one would realize how young he was. One of his first jobs was looking for a second-hand bulldozer. Somebody needed one with a "ripper". Sometimes the soil is too hard for the scoop of a dozer to get anything loose. A ripper is a big sturdy spike behind the driver that can be lowered to begin ripping up hard earth. Later he had a job looking for a good sized ship for a customer in Peru. The ship needed a rear deck that could be outfitted as a sardine seiner with a big net spool. Jos was telephoning every west coast harbormaster from Alaska to Chile to find out about the availability of such a ship. He was sending and receiving FAXes and FedEx parcels at a furious rate. He knew about layers of brokers and how they all get their share. I was in awe of how someone so young could get into the heavy equipment brokerage business so quickly and so effectively.
He took the photo on a bike trip in Alaska. In the last year of his life, he took much joy from a beautiful road bicycle now in the garage. I'll never sell it. I can't use it either because of the toe clips and the required skinny tire maintenance. This bike was for serious touring around the peninsula -- too good for commuting to work. I am wishing I could better recall him recounting those journeys which he enjoyed so much. I don't know if this was the bike he dreamed of riding to Vermont with Joel. When driving in the nearby hills, I cannot drive past a bicyclist without checking the face -- to be sure it is not him. We nominated a bicycle-related charity to honor him.
When Jos was at Pomona and in Alaska, he often told us his most recent "epiphany." After moving to WebTV, he never used that word. Now I cannot recall any of his epiphanies, nor has anyone recalled any of them for me.
The summer he fished in Alaska he didn't make much money and he really got quite hungary. Never-the-less, we did receive a telephone call from Federal Express that a refrigerated parcel from Jos in Alaska awaited us and we should pick it up immediately. We did. It was some magnificent fresh salmon, a lot of it. It was wonderful.
After we bought an inflatable boat, he bought one also to join us. His boat, now in the garage, reminds me of the happy times we had on the Lexington Reservoir, the Steven's Creek Reservoir, and the Elkhorn Slough. He gave us an intricate lecture on the vendor inconsistancies of the html IFRAME tag. He explained it so clearly that Mumsie understood it (and she's never written any html!). At our WebTV pool party I got out his inflatable boat. It had a leak that I patched later. I couldn't go near that boat without having tears streaming down my face. I still can't.
Jos could run out of patience. We all recall the delightful children's stories by Dr. Seuss. Jos on his toessel site in his tale of Sairam does mimic the Seuss style. One day I found the delightful Seuss adaptation of Gene Ziegler. I called it to Jos's attention. He didn't want to pay any notice. I thought it would be fun to try to figure out just how does one mimic Dr. Seuss? Who better to teach me than Jos? So on another occasion I said, "let's go over your Sairam story." I don't know if this was the third time or the fourth time I brought up the topic but Jos told me in no uncertain terms that he was happy with his Sairam story the way it was, and I had better not bring it up again. So I never did. He was normally so light and cheery that I was taken aback seeing him severe. I guess he had too many other projects consuming his resources.
In May we went to Maui to try to prepare the way for his brother's return from Japan. Jos wouldn't agree to come along with us until the last minute. He and his WebTV loaner PC struggled with the archaic condo phone system. We moved to another condo where it worked great. Jos had visions of telecommuting to Silicon Valley from the Big Island, from Vermont, and from Alaska. We took a Molokini snorkel outing where he pumped our guide for info to help brother Martin find a job, and for info for himself for an easy way to upgrade his diving skills. We decided to give that guide an extravagant tip when we debarked. Jos palmed it over so smoothly that the transfer was invisible to me watching for him to do it. He was a wonderful traveling companion! We were lucky he would agree to travel with us, but we felt he should instead have been with some young lady.
An odd coincidence on Maui: I sometimes purchase the quarterly "Foreign Affairs" though not often because I consider it a little expensive. When Jos and I got on the plane to Maui, we found that each of us had purchased the same issue of Foreign Affairs.
In July, brother Andrew and I agreed to travel to Grandma's cottage on Lake Michigan. Jos wouldn't agree to come until the last minute (I secretly paid the premium fare again). He insisted on paying for a rental car upgrade to a full sized Oldsmobile. After we found nifty ancestral photos, he figured out how to purchase a scanner so we could scan them onto the internet. I basked in the warm relationship he had with his brother, my mother, my sister, my aunt, and cousins. He had found out about House on the Rock, and wanted to go see it. We had not time and so we decided to postpone it for a later trip.
I tried to talk up a family reunion in Homer, Alaska for the summer of year 2000. He was reluctant, but my feeling was that he would come around if I could convince his brothers.
He thought Mumsie and I should not purchase a vacation condo in Maui. We figured he would grow to enjoy it and bring his WebTV friends and some day his lady friends. I thought that if the Alaska family reunion didn't work out, Maui would.
His financial affairs were neatly organized. He had a few high fliers, eBay, Sega. He experimented with E-trade, became annoyed, and settled on Vanguard.
There is a box of letters I will peruse. He seems to have saved everything. Jos's box of letters contains two noteable letters from me:
There are home videos.
Mumsie, what's this R.F.B. on this coffee cup? That stands for "Reading For the Blind", one of his high school volunteer activities.
Jos lived with a roommate, Camilo, in Mountain View. After Jos died, brother Andrew (with Brent, Amy, Kate, and Gwen) moved his things back to our home, to the garage and to his childhood bedroom. Here is his snorkel gear. These things all trigger a jumble memories, still unsorted...
His keyboard: From magazines or advertisements he cut out decorative letters of many colors and taped them on the keys. No need, he was a fast touch typist. Didn't those snips of paper interfer with typing? Today they remain a bright symbol of his joy in life. I fight against time itself for taking my dear Jos and changing him from reality into merely a dream, a joyful dream. To fight this separation I play with his keyboard which brings him back to the present.
His bedroom. his bedroom. No, we won't go in there now. There are too many memories in there.
The family photo album will trigger many stories of earlier days. We can capture those later. Now we must capture the present with his friends before they disperse.
Dad recalls himself with Jos.
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