“He made it for you”, his daughter told me, handing me the little cross of golden metal.
Edward was a clever handyman. He could make anything with his brain, with his hands and with his strength. He had always enjoyed sculpting, gauging, repairing, mending, building. His own house, he built! Bit by bit, with patience and ingeniosity. He even built a car! Two cars, and then one more!
He loved to innovate. He loved to make people happy, too.
He went into mechanics and happened to be hired by a firm which produced armaments and shells during World War II. He liked to joke with his beloved wife, saying things which might have sounded out of place, in another person’s talk, not so humorous as he was, Ed.
For he married Rita, who had come from Germany, before the War. Rita was his queen and the loving mother of their three daughters. Rita was a clever seamstress and devoted herself to produce lovely table clothes, napkins, embroidered dresses and shirts, as well as linens for the church. When I asked her where she had learned that art, as I was noticing the pretty silk bobbins lining the shelves, she laboriously answered: “My… grandmother… taught… me.”
For Rita was struck by the mysterious malady that Doctor Alois Altzheimer named. She gradually lost her abilities, slowly sinking into the prison of a body which no longer obeys nor responds to the will.
Edward stood by her. Day in and day out. For weeks, for months and for years. He too, had to renounce his many activities. Entirely devoted to his wife, he built for her a cozy little «den», where they both spent their days. A caring aid was hired, to help Rita and provide Edward with some relief. When I used to walk to the large home, built by Edward himself, he would offer me a piece of his «Wonder Bread», and let me marvel at his latest item, which very clever ninety years old fingers had succeeded to make: a cane, a seat, a ‘shelalah‘, a bench, a cupboard… Edward could simply not stop inventing new objects, from scraps. He winked at me once, pointing to his darling spouse:
“I guess the Lord keeps me on this earth just for her !…”
The Lord called him first. But Rita was present in the church which she had served for many years. She was present.
And her daughter brought me the little cross which Edward had patiently shaped, out of a piece of brass, and that he intended to give me. He had been waiting for my next visit to their red and white home, on Crest Hill Drive…
“He made it for you!” his daughter said before the funeral mass. And Rita was present.