Hardly a man is now alive…

I went to a funeral on Nantucket yesterday.  The island was cold and deserted, but still beautiful:

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The woman who died was a relative of my wife’s.  I had known her for a long time, but I didn’t know this about her until yesterday: she was present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Her father had been stationed there, and after the attack the Navy brought her family to California, from which they took a cross-country train back to Massachusetts, and home to Nantucket.

It occurred to me that the Second World War is slowly turning from memory to history as men and women like this die.  I work with a woman whose father was present at the first atomic bomb blast at Los Alamos, but he is over 90. How many of those folks are left?

All of which reminds me of the great final scene of From Here to Eternity, when Donna Reed’s character starts turning memory into myth as she stands on the deck of a ship leaving Hawaii after Pearl Harbor — inventing a story about her relationship with Montgomery Clift’s character as the leis float out to sea.  She, like my wife’s relative, will never go back.

My Elin Hilderbrand app

My lovely wife is a big Elin Hilderbrand fan.  She writers novels of life and love on Nantucket — lately two a year, a summer one with a beach cover and a Christmas one with a homey cover of a Nantucket house with Crhstmas decorations.  My wife talked me into reading Hilderbrand’s latest, The Rumor.  The cover is typical:

And here’s a typical paragraph.  The action takes place just after 40-something Grace has started her affair with the hunky landscape architect:

Grace served a cold roast chicken, a fresh head of butter lettuce, a crock of herbed farmer’s cheese, and fat, rosy radishes pulled from the garden.  She cut thick slices of bread from a seeded multigrain loaf with a nice chewy crust, then she went back into the fridge and pulled out sweet butter, a jar of baby gherkins, a stick of summer sausage, and some whole-grain mustard.

This is not a paragraph a man wants to read, although the hunky landscape architect finds the meal absolutely delightful.

Anyway, the novel is perfectly okay-if-you-like-that-sort-of-thing, and Hilderbrand seems to be a perfectly extraordinary human being, who writes two novels a year while raising three kids and battling breast cancer.

Plus, she has an app.  I didn’t know that was a thing, but her publisher, Hachette, seems to think this is a good idea.  It doesn’t seem to be updated a lot — it doesn’t list The Rumor among her novels, for example, and the Recipes section is pretty thin for someone who writes paragraphs like the one I quoted (and she doesn’t seem to know how to spell the word kernel).  But, you know, it’s an app.

I want one.