In memory of Patrick Meadows and Stephanie Shepard
Letters to and from Patrick from over the years. I am attempting to remove last names in the interest of privacy. Many of his old letters are undated. When that happens I make an educated guess (in terms of posting dates for this web site) but I could be wildly off in some cases.
(e-mail from Fred on 12 Aug 2001, part of a large collection Patrick sent to me in Aug 2015)
Dear Stephanie & Pat,
Full of music, good food (no small admission from one who lives in Firenze), dance, incredible landscapes, some new friends, & best of all, affection. I have printed them out as shared them — the best of his eccentric prose. & I received yr gorgeous card. I now have an impression of yr inviting & interesting (horrible word — should be dropped from critical vocabulary) house. I learn that both of you became stone masons over the yrs to achieve ‘your place’.
e-mail letter from Fred to Patrick and Stephanie on 31 Jan ‘1, which Patrick sent to me on 8 Sep ’15 as part of a large collection.
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 19:08:46 -0500
Subject: But . . .
Merwin DID say, ‘If I wasn’t human I wouldn’t be ashamed of anything’
& Oooo how we need Iraq. You know . . . Your tax bill is losing favor, sir. BOMB IRAQ. I’ll make a strong statement to begin my administration. BOMB IRAQ. Ms L. may testify. BOMB IRAQ. Some say, sir, that women should decide the disposition of their bodies. BOMB IRAQ. Etc., you know, someone let the blacks get away, so now it’s Iraq.
In response to a YouTube video called Rules for Rulers, Patrick responded on 16 Nov ‘ 16:
Pretty good video. But democracy has one big problem.
If you can keep people dumb with entertainment, and make them think what you want, you control everything without giving true rewards in proportion to the value of the normal person – if they can’t think, they won’t get what they want or need, but will blame it on somebody else.
It’s like dictating what you have to think.
Oh well, I don’t know why the mob prefers football to understanding life a little bit.
Found in my e-mail, this was part of a collection of things Patrick sent me called “You Never Know.” This segment is dated 19 April 2006.
My first impulse when Stephanie died was to dump everything – after 29 years together, the accumulated baggage was overwhelming. Not only physical objects – the house was full of papers, clothing, furniture – but memories, in the form of thousands of photos and such simple things as the arrangement of towels on the rack.
Patrick and Lee traveled to Oregon after high school. Here’s a story fragment about the experience. He references the Seventh Day Adventist religious group, but he’s actually describing the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a different Christian sect. The fragment is from a collection called You Never Know that Patrick sent me on 11 Aug ’15.
South of Eureka, a van distributing bakery goods picked us up.
I approach eighty living on this beautiful island, and probably will finish up here. Over half my life I have been living here in paradise. To get here and stay here I sinned a lot, but it has been worth it. Unless, of course, when I quit this world I have to pay for those sins, as at least one of my daughters seems to believe.
Nobody really knows about that, I suppose. And in any case there’s nothing to change the past, and I’m not one to look for forgiveness, so I will just have to face the music.
Fred Young and Patrick were fast friends, deep friends, unending friends, for many years. Many of his letters, and those to him from Patrick, reflected their mutual zest for life, appreciation of the arts, and passion. Patrick had saved this obituary in his files, important enough to keep after downsizing most other things. I present it here to add context to the many letters that have been (and will be) posted. Continue reading “Obituary for Fred Young”