in General

Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above

Today, we’re back in San Francisco. But a week ago, we went to the hospital to visit Irving Kalikow, ninety-three, inventor and designer for General Electric, numerous patents to his name, the other grandfather to my wife. He survived open-heart surgery by Dr. Vlahakes, chief of cardiac care at Mass General Hospital. Unfortunately, he had a series of minor strokes during the surgery. Some time ago, Nurn purchased a Radio Shack CD sound system for Grandpa Irving. The familiar strains of Ode to Joy¬†gently resonated through the hospital room as we entered.

Irving’s eyes saw me, and his eyes brightened. His face had color, but every word was an effort. “Oh, you! I must tell you — Dan has told me that you created this beautiful music — that you wrote it — and I’ve been listening to it — listening to it all morning long — and it has given me such pleasure —¬†all your beautiful music! I didn’t know — didn?t know that you had such skill! I didn’t know all the music — the music — that you had written!”

All the eyes of his family turned and looked at me.

I said: “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Word came to us this morning. I reserved the red-eye tomorrow night, San Francisco back to Boston. Irving Kalikow has died. He was a good engineer and a great lover of classical music.

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