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Rick Hamrick

As is often the case, John, your post got me curious. I was quite ignorant of Thomas Wolfe's life ('was' is the operative word) and was surprised to learn he died so young. It is also surprising that the Ptak family lives in Riverside Cemetery, although the obvious advantage of hearing the echoes of O Henry stories might well attract one.

I suppose it is possible you simply live close enough to the cemetery that you can claim to be 100 feet from Wolfe's grave, or that you may enjoy sitting on a bench in the cemetery not far from Wolfe's last earthly address.

Still, it is more fun to imagine Tessie running among the headstones, singing songs she learned from the gentle whispers of those long gone, yet lingering in the wind and sweetening the scent of fall.

John Ptak

(*Sigh*) I really should proof this thing, whatever that is. Old Double-Dead Tom is actually 1000 feet away, not a hundred as wrongly advertised. The cemetery is pretty, all hilly and such, and reminds me of Oak Hill cemetery in DC (without the buried wealth). You're right about Tess, too: she loves to run around the place. Actually, the man who built the house I live in 1903 is there too. This feels a little weird, since (as far as I can determine) he died a very old man in the room where I sleep, probably staring at the very ceiling that I stare at, giving up his ghost and on way to the cemetery up the street.

Rick Hamrick

Ah, makes more sense now.

I live in the house which was owned by my high-school band director, a dear man who was nearing retirement when he taught me. He passed away in the mid-80's, but I don't know the details. I do have a lovely pair of photographs of him and his wife which his son gave me. I sleep in his rehearsal space (he moonlighted as a dance-band leader and was an amazing trumpet player). Sometimes, it feels like he is still here, and it is a good feeling.

Back to the naming list: wouldn't you like to know what the heck caused Heller and/or the publisher to change Catch-21 to Catch-22? Or maybe you already know! If so, 'fess up, John.


"O Lost" isn't TOO bad, but I have a fondness for the line: "O lost, and by the wind grieved, Ghost, come back again." I know. I'm hopelessly Romantic.

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