a life well lived

Monday, March 10, 2014


This posting includes a response.  Deev aka Elsa

Today is Ian's birthday.  He would have turned 52 years old.  I remember when he died.  Bishop Pendleton looked around at Peter and Mike and said, "Kay, you'll see these boys grow up to be men, but Ian will always be your little boy."  How right he was. 

Ian was our 4th child and 3rd son.  He was 4 years younger than Mim and 4 years older than Elsa. 

Ian was the apple of Peter's eye.  When Elsa was born, Peter (who was 14 years old) told me, in all seriousness, that I would have to raise the new baby without his help.  He was heart and soul Ian's.

There was always a special feeling around Ian.  He loved God's creatures and they loved him right back.  I can remember hanging out the wash one day and Ian came  around the corner of the house, holding Parley, one of the cats that hung out around our house, and singing softly to him, "We belong to a mutual admiration society."

I often wondered what Ian would be like as an adult.  In so many ways, John is like the brother-in-law he never knew.  Like B-Boy, John is a nature lover, a good friend, and a good son.  Like Ian, John puts all manner of living critters immediately at their ease.  Elsa and I will never forget the Christmas there were 17 squirrels in our back yard, with John on the porch, tossing out shelled peanuts.  Sometimes I feel as if John is Ian (which is Scottish for John) come back to us.

No parent is ever prepared to survive a child, especially a very young one. Ian was 11 when he died.  He was born on March 3, 1948 and died on March 30, 1959. 

For his birthday that last year, he asked to take some friends on an airplane ride.  All of his friends said yes, except one, his best friend, whose mother was afraid something might happen.  I tried to persuade her to let him come, saying, "We can't protect your children from everything, as much as we'd like to think we can.  You could keep him home and have something terrible right in your own backyard."  Within the month, it had.

Ian went off that last day to play at his best friend's.  They biked up to the Southampton Hobby Shop to get materials for working on model planes. Ian loved working on models - there were planes hanging in his bedroom window.  Which makes me think of a favorite B-Boy story. 

Ian had great business savvy and a keen eye for available loopholes.  Each Friday, Pete would bring home wonderful homemade pretzels;  to this day, I have never had such delicious pretzels.  On Saturday morning, I noticed a commotion out on the "Top Lawn" that stretched between the Grubb, Lockhart and Stanley Rose houses.  Ian was out there, selling the pretzels.   

I was horrified.  "Ian, you come in the house this minute!  You are NOT to sell pretzels on the Top Lawn."  He came inside and retired to his room.  Within 15 minutes or so, I was aware of a rustling out front.  There was Ian, selling the pretzels from INSIDE the house, out of his bedroom window,  but definitely NOT on the Top Lawn.    

But I was talking about that last day.  I said my goodbyes to him at the
front door and he started across the lawn.  It was a rainy day and there was a great big puddle right in his line of march.  I was just about to say, "Don't jump in the puddle!" when I thought to myself, "Why does he have galoshes on if not to jump in puddles?"  To this day, I am grateful that the last thing he heard from me was "I love you" and not "Don't...!"

Ian's friend had a very busy father.  Dads back then didn't tend to make the amount of time in their lives for their children that today's fathers do.  But one thing he and his son would do was go out target shooting every weekend.  The friend had his own gun and was responsible for its care.  On this particular day, he took out the gun to show it off to Ian.  He thought it was unloaded.  He was wrong. 

I will always remember going to the door and seeing his dad.  "There's been an accident.  Ian has been shot."  I asked if Ian was at the hospital or still at his home.  He answered, "He's gone." 

It was a Monday, the day after Easter, the first day of Spring Break.
Pete was at work at Weitzel Lumber Company in Philadelphia.  I have always wondered how he managed to get home on his own.   We just clung together, all chewed up inside, but we had to be strong for our children.

Mike was just 17, Mim was 15 and Elsa was 7.  We also had to be strong for his best friend, who was absolutely devastated.  Peter, who was 21, was way out in California with the Ripley's.  It was so hard to tell him that "his" boy was gone.  I cannot imagine what he suffered on that long, lonely trip from Newcastle to Bryn Athyn.

Because of Ian's death, we never leave the house without saying goodbye, we never let someone leave without waving to them, we always call if we are going to be later than we expected.  We appreciate every moment we have with each other and we know it could be our last. 

A while back, Elsa pointed out that Ian would have graduated from high school in 1966, just as the Vietnam War was getting into full swing.  Would Ian and his best friend would have joined up instead of going directly to college?   It seems likely to me. 

Ian loved to nurture all sorts of creatures, from cats to mice to his Mom.   It was not unusual for him to wake me up from my daily nap by popping a hot homemade scone in my mouth or with a piece of creamy fudge.  He took care of those that needed help and was an all-around good lad. 

To celebrate his birthday, I am posting Ian's well-worn fudge recipe.  He clipped it out of a magazine and excelled at making it.  The recipe did not reappear until about 3 years ago.  It may be Carnation’s Fudge to the rest of the world, but our family calls it "Ian's 5-Minute Fudge":

Ian's 5-Minute Fudge
Combine 1/2 cup (small can) undiluted evaporated milk with 1 2/3 cups sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Cook 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows and 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips; stir until marshmallows are completely blended;  add 1 tsp vanilla.  You can add ½ cup of coarsely chopped walnuts at this point, although a lot of people like just a pure slab of chocolate;  Elsa always skips the nuts (too many young people are allergic to nuts), but sometimes adds ½ cup of chocolate-covered raisins or dried cranberries.  Pour into buttered 9-inch square pan.  Cool, then cut into squares.  (At Christmas time, we wrap the squares in clear kitchen wrap and tie them with pretty ribbon as presents or something to give guests after a party.)

Hug your kids tonight extra hard, just for me.  Love  - B-Boy’s Mom

From:  Deborah N
Subj:   Ian Scott Lockhart
Date:  Sat, 4 Mar 2000 00:35:48 -0500 (EST)
Dear Kay,
When my father died last Thanksgiving - two days after - it was totally unexpected.  Because he was to leave on a plane the next day, those who were visiting me said "goodbye" - thinking they would not see him for several weeks or months.  I, on the other hand, figured I'd see him in the morning, would take him to the airport, and would say goodbye then.  I am so *glad* that the other folks got to say a "proper" goodbye.  I am sorry that I did not say the things I would have said at the airport.  I am so glad that your last words to Ian were not "don't".  It's amazing to me, the power of a "good" last word. 

Your stories of your relationship with your beloved late husband and your children are so very moving and nurturing.  Thank you for telling your stories.

Love, Deb

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