||[Jan. 17th, 2019|06:08 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
This afternoon I went to the funeral of my friend John Beach, who was my dad's age. He considered my dad his best friend, and I spent a huge amount of time with his kids.|
Things that are interesting about John Beach:
At one time he had more LEGO bricks than anyone else in the United States, before or probably since.
He married his sister.
He and my dad got in a bike race from San Diego, California, to Saint Augustine, Florida.
John moved to Colorado to be the plant manager for Sampsonite, the company best known for making luggage in the 1960's. He was an expert at plastic injection molding, and streamlined operations at their plant so much they were idle half the time, so he somehow convinced LEGO to set up a franchise operation where they'd make LEGO bricks at a plant in rural Colorado, and he made millions of bricks. He brought home floor sweepings, and his kids had so many bricks they could make model houses big enough to crawl into.
His first wife, Barb, was almost like my aunt: she came over a lot and I spent a lot of time at their house. She was tiny and delicate and funny. They were out riding a tandem bicycle and had an accident, and she fell and broke her wrist and ankle, so she couldn't use crutches but was stuck in a wheelchair. I remember pushing her around when I was in my early teens, and brushing her hair because she was not dextrous with her left arm.
She retired, and two weeks later started coughing uncontrollably, and they found out she had cancer metastasized through her whole body. She died maybe five weeks later.
When John was in his late teens, his mother died, and his father married a woman who had a bunch of teenage kids, and they all became friends, several ended up going to college together, and they spent lots of time together as adults. After Barbara died, he was helping one of his sisters-by-marriage with taxes and stuff, and they moved in together, and married. He was proud of having married his sister.
About ten years later, she had a massive stroke while driving, and died immediately, and that shook him. He decided he needed to start doing more things sooner, because he might just drop dead or be full of cancer. So he decided to ride across the US on his bike. He immediately called up Dad and asked if Dad wanted to go. But it was an expensive supported ride, and besides they were only doing 80 miles a day. Every day. For three months. Dad was all I want to do this on the cheap and I want to do 140 miles a day. Every day. For two months. (My dad was nuts.)
So he gave John a month head start, and they reconvened in Louisiana and kinda rode the rest of it together.
I liked that instead of something gross like an open casket, instead, on the dais, they had all his bicycles, some vintage 1971 LEGO bricks, and some cross country skis.
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