Friday, June 1

From My Life


My wife (no, not Irene, but the other one) died in the early hours of August 9, 1968. She'd been living alone in a walk-up on Perry Street for several months, and was found by a neighbor who'd stopped by to check on unusual noises she'd heard. I learned of her death only from a small news item in the Times that said that her death was due to undetermined causes. When I went around to the precinct house to see if I could learn more, I suddenly became an "estranged husband" who might well be upgraded to the status of "suspect." But the causes of her death remained "undetermined" and, after several hours of sometimes polite questioning, I was told I was free to go but not to leave town. Some weeks later, her "remains" were released to me, though I, at first, had no idea what to do with them. Her family, who had for years had nothing to do with me but were sometimes in contact with her, suddenly had nothing to do but phone me, pleading that she not be cremated, but rather buried in their family cemetery plot somewhere upstate. So that's where she lies, in a cemetery that's really rather pretty, with her now unused feet pointing toward the Shawangunk Mountains off in the bluish haze to the west.