Friday, July 10, 2015

On the Death of John Sperry & my mom's love life

My mother told me the names of 3 of her boyfriends who she dated prior to marrying my father.  This happened a long time ago, so she said she was a virgin when she married.  The word “dating” means something different now, but there weren’t contraceptives then.  I did not find out these names, actually, until after my father died.

They were John Sperry, who she dated in high school, when they were both vacationing in Randolph, NH; Alan Horton, who she dated in college, but also when vacationing in Randolph, NH; and the third was her friend “Ernie’s” brother.  If I remember correctly, the last might have been called Douglas Stowell — but I’m not sure about that.  Mom also dated this third guy in college, but later than Alan.  Ernie was a friend of hers who went to Mt. Holyoke.  The brother went to Dartmouth. I thought I had already blogged about that, but I see I didn't post it.

My understanding was that in High School my mom was totally not ready for any kind of commitment.  In college, Alan Horton proposed to her, but she never could decide, so eventually he gave up and found someone else.  The third guy apparently broke her heart by breaking off with her after college.

I don't think she had any serious romances again after that until she met my father -- tho I couldn't be quite sure about that either.  She met my father in 1949, six years after she graduated in college, so she took her time.

John Sperry died July 2, 2015.  He was 93 years old.  He outlived my mother by almost a decade.

I never met him in person.  He contacted me after my mother died. We became pen pals. He sent me lovely photos, mostly of the west coast.  He lived in Jenner California.

He was constantly out hiking and traveling internationally, showing extraordinary energy and vitality.  His illness was rather sudden and quick.  I gather he died 7 weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

It’s funny.  When my mother first died, I thought he would die in fairly short order. I was scared to write to him, because I was afraid to hear that he had died.

But he was such a reliable correspondent that I started taking his communications for granted.  

Then, in 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 3c cancer.  I started thinking I might die before him. 

Then, this week I wrote him, sending him some photos this time, and found that he had died — so I squeaked by and did not die before him, apparently.  Still I don’t know that it would be realistic to aspire to 93 for me.


Here’s another blog about him