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Random Observations by Pat Ostrye

A Gentle Man to Remember!! 

    A word or two about everyone's friend, Dana Howard Baskin, who was sent off to meet his Master in glorious fashion today, Friday, August 22, 2008.  I was probably the only one in the capacity congregation who had never met any of the Baskin family,  not even Dana, but we had an extraordinary e-mail connection several times a week, about my column, typos, current affairs, more typos, whatever!  He was always very understanding about the typos which I seemed to discover as soon as I hit the "send" key and had to keep sending useless apologies.  I think today's column was the first flawless piece yet.

    I wrote my first column for the Weekly on October 5, 2007, not quite a year ago.  On a Sunday afternoon, I happened upon an issue of SGV Weekly outside the Sierra Madre post office and decided I would find out if there was room for one more column.  I queried the paper immediately (Sunday, yet! ) using the e-mail address at the top of the front page and received an answer back just as fast.  I had given him a simple resume' from over the years in this area, having lived in Monrovia 60 years and written for many of the papers during 30 of those years.  He asked me to forward my last column (I was with another paper at the time).  He didn't say a column but the last one I had written.  In less than an hour I was accepted and have looked forward to each week since, as I satisfy my compulsion to put words on paper or perhaps the word should be 'vent'.  

     I deeply appreciate the chance he took in accepting me without checking references or something more than that one column.

     Because I'm a Navy veteran from WWII and writing patriotic stuff on Memorial Day and Veterans' Day and occasionally about women in the military, there was lots to converse about with Dana.  He told wonderful stories about his parents' traveling in the days of his father's many years as a career-Navy man who had died 15 years ago, and about the medals he had won and how his parents and I, being from the same generation, had had similar experiences.  I had an idea that they were even married about the same time as my late husband and I were.  My husband, Peter, died 20 years ago, having had a satisfying and active life in Monrovia city government and the community, a teacher in the Monrovia schools for 30 years and author of the Monrovia Centennial Review, a coffee-table hard cover history.

     We discussed the death of Tim Russert at such an early age and, because Dana always seemed to be 'on duty' 24/7, I asked him when he slept.  His reply was that he didn't seem to need much sleep.  Since I have 7 between the ages of 49 and 62, I told him what I'm always telling them, you need more sleep.  It will catch up with you.  I'm firmly convinced that the most crucial times are the years in one's 50s.  So much to do and so little time!

     Already I'm missing those regular e-mails although we never did meet.  And I wish Cheri, Brian and Blair the very best for the future.  I watched my seven being fragmented over their father's death.  The youngest was 28 at the time.  Healing takes such a long time as the outside world just moves ahead.

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