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.