Postcard to Gretchen in May 1987

I’m not exactly sure when I wrote this, but based on the Gary Hart reference, it may have been on 8 May 1987. (You can click on the image to see a larger version of it.)

JP to Gretchen (May 1987)

The job reference confirms that it was some time of May 1987. Mary was flying in because Dean and I were celebrating, with our respective girlfriends, five years at our respective aerospace firms. Indeed, I even had a cake made for after dinner that read “FFY” for “five years.”

Postcard to Gretchen

Here’s a postcard I sent to Gretchen (c/o Patrick) on 6 April 1987. Not much news but included for the completeness of the record. (Click on it to see a larger version.)

JP to Gretchen (6 Apr 1987)

About the Mary reference: Mary and I had driven to Vegas for my birthday celebration, but I failed to make hotel reservations. It was snowing up there, but we walked around and had dinner and enjoyed the sites, such as they are. I couldn’t find a place for us to stay so we drove to Henderson, still couldn’t find anything. We finally traveled over Hoover Dam through heavy snow and stopped for the night in Kingman, following big trucks, who cleared the tracks for us, in my Karmann Ghia. She was quite angry with and thought we were going to die.

Imperfect Copy

I’m an imperfect copy of an imperfect father
Adopting his failures
Mimicking his weaknesses
Poorly duplicating his better qualities
His virtuosity in music
His confidence with women
His tenacity in publication

Patrick and JP at Piano with a Rally Book

We shared the joy of teaching
A love of words and music
A sharp wit and curmudgeonly air
A familial void
The absence of each another
Over too many years

I’m an imperfect copy of an imperfect father
Yet I must self-acknowledge
My few qualities, the ones he lacked
As a racer
As an engineer
As a responsible man

7 May ’17
Palma, Mallorca

Copyright © 2017, 2019 John Dillon

New Year’s Eve 2018

And so, once again we prepare to celebrate another new year, each time hoping that the incoming will be better than the outgoing. 2018 was better than its predecessor. The loss of Patrick, though still impacting most of us in ways large and small, is less raw than the year before.

The amount of effort remaining is huge, but the treasure trove of Patrick’s writings, correspondence, files, and documents will be scanned and posted as time allows.

Continue reading “New Year’s Eve 2018”

John D Dillon, RIP, 28 Years Ago Today

John as a young man handing out gifts

On 22 December 1990, my adopted father John D Dillon passed away. He was Patrick’s first father-in-law, Donna’s dad, the man I called Granddaddy when I was a wee tyke.

After my adoption when I was 12, my new parents and I sat down to discuss naming conventions. I’d been calling him Granddaddy but my mom Willie seemed too young and glamorous to have a name like Grandma and we wanted their names to be of the same pattern. Since I was already calling her Willie (short for Wilma), they became “John and Willie” from that point forward.

Meanwhile, they asked what I’d like to do with my own name. I was originally John Patrick Meador. I gave it some thought and finally suggested tacking on Dillon at the end. (Gretchen, Jennifer, and I were all born “Meador” because we popped out of Mother before Patrick discovered the error on his birth certificate.)

Now that I have a grandson, I asked the kids if I can be “Granddaddy” to baby Max. The term is doubly endearing to me: it’s an expression of love for Max, and for John as well, another one of those “circle of life” moments that will carry me through the coming days and years.

John D Dillon at the Mellon Institute about the time I was born (March 1956)