Sad to see that Richard Squires ’53, captain of the squash and tennis teams, has passed away. Although I never met Squires, I must have looked at his picture (along with all the squash players and other athletes from years gone by) many times along the passageways of the old gymnasium. Those pictures provided, for me, one of the most powerful connections to the Williams of the past. Shades of “carpe diem” from The Dead Poet’s Society.
Of course, there is something more than a little strange about linking to the obituaries, but perhaps it is the Irish in me. (The obituaries are occasionally referred to as the “Irish Sporting Pages” — I have no idea if this is a slur (Oh no! I have violated the “community standards!”) or a compliment or something in between. I don’t know if Squires made it back for his 50th reunion last June, but I know that my own father’s 50th reunion is just over 4 years away. It makes you think.
Ben Stein spoke at Williams a few weeks ago. The Record notes that
After discussing the values his father learned at the College, Stein stressed the importance of keeping in touch with one?s parents. He discussed how he spent more and more time with his parents as they grew older. One of his most prized possessions is a fax from his father expressing his gratitude for this attention. “What really matters is how you treat those close to you,” Stein said.
Long time fans of Stein will recall his many articles in the “Ben Stein’s Diary” series — a blog before there were blogs — in the American Spectator on this theme. I could not find any of those articles on-line, but Stein hits on a similar note here.
It is that it’s just past Father’s Day. But when you love your father and he is gone, and when you have a magic moment to evoke him, to conjure him up through the eyes of those who knew him, to play a movie of him, a holograph on the carpet in the White House, where he had his happiest days, you do it.
I also spoke to former secretaries of his and statisticians who worked with him 30 years ago and are still at the White House, and it all made his absence less keen for a moment.
But that is not the real lesson: Most of the readers of this page are younger than I am. You still have your parents. Treasure them. Value them. Be with them.
The day will come, soon enough, when you, too, are begging your parents’ friends for a word of remembrance, and getting tears when the word comes.
I suspect that Squire’s family and friends know this feeling all to well. With any luck, it will be many years before I do.