Monday, June 14, 2004

Remembering Louis

Last month we attended Louis’ memorial service at St. Luke’s. Louis (pronounced the French way, LOO-ey) and his wife Eliane moved across the street twelve years ago. They were Montreal natives who had spent most of their working lives—and raised their children—in the States. After he retired from GTE, Louis and Eliane sold their home in San Mateo and returned to Canada to live their remaining years in well-earned comfort and quiet. But the Bay Area had sunk its hooks into them, and our temperate weather, the cosmopolitan community, and the nearby presence of their children and grandchildren proved an irresistible lure.

Ten years ago Louis bought an Apple Macintosh (68040 processor, I don’t remember the model number), his first computer. Our phone would ring at odd hours, I would hear his anxious voice, and I would run across the street with backup System 7, Quicken 4, and utility disks. He was a regular visitor at the local Apple distributor, typically to ask for a warranty repair or return equipment that didn’t work; more often than not, his complaint was justified. (That distributor is no longer in business.)

Louis looked after our house when we were out of town. He corrected our son’s French essays, undoubtedly helping him win the French award in his senior year. Louis was a familiar sight, with his shock of white hair, strolling with his dog to the grocery store. To his amiable “good morning”, I would shout “bonjour”—the extent of my French—and he would smile. Louis looked younger than his 84 years.

Louis and Eliane kept an immaculate house, both inside and out. Louis would often make friendly suggestions about painting, landscaping, and sundry improvements. Of course, it was his way of telling me that our homestead was looking a little long in the tooth, and my blank expression, I hope, communicated that his hints were sailing right past me.

Well, Louis, finally, we’ve gone to the City to discuss our remodeling project, and we’ve hired the architect. I hope you like the way it turns out.

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