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At the end of October I wrote about Norman, who was my brother's father-in-law. He had died at the age of 84.

Today I got an email from my sister-in-law. One of Norman's older brothers, Talbot (Tab for short) had just died.

Tab was ninety last month. He's had Alzheimers for several years now, and in April was bad enough that the decision had to be made to put him in a nursing home. (The woman from the home came to get an intake interview, talked with my SIL's SIL, walked across the street to meet Tab, and they found him on the floor after a fall).

Tab was an editor at Addison Wesley. His wife had died a few years before. We hadn't known how sick she was, because he had never told anyone. He was like that. Intensely private, and unwilling to be a burden on anyone.

Tab and Allison married during WWII. She was a teacher, and they didn't tell anyone they were married for quite a while, because (everyone sitting down? Nothing in your mouth?) it was illegal, in her school district, for female teachers to be married. They didn't even tell the family. Not even Tab's twin brother (who also has Alzheimers, and who had to enter a facility several years ago).

He spent his last few years in the care of SamandEve. (Sam is my SIL's brother, Eve is his wife, and they come as a pair. Thankfully). While Tab was still living in Wellesley Eve would create meals for him, freeze them in single serving containers, and take them over. Thirty or forty meals at a single time. They talked him into buying the house across from them; two bedrooms, living room, dining area, kitchen, extra room across from kitchen, all-season porch, three season porch, screened porch and deck. Views out across the marshes, a glimpse of the Atlantic, ospreys flying overhead. He spent his last few years under their eye.

A few months after Tab finally moved, and his house had been emptied, a group of teenagers celebrating four days of no-school overshot a turn, and their car landed in Tab's old front door. They weren't hurt, but we were always relieved that he wasn't there.

Tab was gentle, quiet, kind, and intelligent. He was a quiet part of the family, and louder voices often caused his words to be lost. In the days when he was still working he could display a sharp wit, and great knowledge. (I suppose you don't get to be a textbook editor without learning a lot). But I want to remember him; his gentleness and his courtesy.

I suspect Wilfred, the twin, will not last much longer. He's been in very bad shape for a long time. And, unlike most twins, Wilfred and Tab didn't get along very well, and they rarely saw each other. When they did meet it was mostly due to Sam, who loved both of them. And when they met after having been apart for several years, they both showed up in the exact same kind of raincoat; a black and white check. A standard Londdon Fog or Burberry or something like that we could understand. But how many people go out and buy black and white checked raincoats?

Good night, Tab. May you rest easy, at last.

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