Monday, March 12, 2007

My White Rock Bench, by Fred

Dad, could you tell us how you got your bench?

Well, during my years in White Rock they were offering to let you have a bench of your own along the waterfront. And I was happy to buy my bench. The bench was made of BC cedar and obviously could stand the test of time. So I composed a plaque to go on my bench, thinking ahead to the day when I would be long gone to my great reward. So it was a good sized plaque, capable of being turned over and used as a memorial to me. As it's turned out, the plaque is not capable of taking seven names of my family, so they'll need a new plaque. In the meantime it is serving a useful purpose in that it is offering a wonderful viewpoint of the pier and its activities.

Last fall, you wrote me to ask me to visit the bench. Could you expand on what my "mission" was?

Your mission was to see if it was still there. I was aware of the fact that they had relocated it, but I was sure they did a good job, as it was a prime location for getting a constant flow of use.

I took along my digital camera so I could print out photos to mail and show you the bench, and also have a bit of fun with the project by stringing the images together into a short movie. It was a surprise gift - and a surprise to me how hard it was to find a way of showing you the movie! Finally we put it up on YouTube, and now you don't need any other equipment to play it. How did it go when I showed you the movie up on the internet?

Well I was surprised to find the bench had taken on a new dimension.

We are planning now to make another movie. Please tell us about that one

The latest development is that I am planning to have my cremation "dust" scattered in a small bird sanctuary on the outskirts of White Rock. While living in the area I had visited this bird sanctuary on numerous occasions, finding new flocks of migrating birds enjoying the rest period along the river. They had also built a tower viewpoint overlooking a bend in the river, and it appeared ideal for an all weather spot to scatter my ashes to the winds.

And in that same letter, you had also given me a second mission of finding that spot with the tower, and sent me a map with an "x" marking the spot. It felt like a treasure hunt! I was very glad that you are still around when I discovered a map in the picnic ground that showed not one but three towers! I didn't know if I had found the right one. But I could send you a printout of a photo of that map, so you could identify the right tower! And as it turns out, I was at the wrong one!
Is it useful to be able to see these images of the places that are important to you and to tell us about the meaning?

This is the time to do it, as I approach my 90th birthday. And I have been seriously studying all the aspects of my memorial wishes. First of all I would like our service of remembrance at my church here. However for the actual disposal of my ashes, I wish to have them distributed in the above location near White Rock. I have it on very good authority that it is legal to do this, providing you make sure that the ashes go into the WIND.

So is it useful to be able to plan with us, and work from pictures so that those of us who will be making your last wishes come true can be sure that we doing it right?

Yes. I am very surprised that there are now three towers to choose from! However my original choice is still valid.

And with your help via the photos and video, all seven of us can be feeling like we are sharing your vision of that event. And it is wonderful to be able to talk about this with you, and even have a few laughs. 

Subsequent notes about the video "Fred's Spot"

After Dad confirmed the right tower, I went back to the place and made a small one and a half minute video which I edited in iMovie with a soundtrack of a favorite song off a CD. I loaded it up to YouTube.  I felt that I was a success when both my sisters reported that they cried when they saw it. And my brother, who has accepted the role of "ash scatterer" is relieved.  

I found this an interesting experience with situating myself to the lines between "public" and "private" on YouTube. Initially kept it private and just sent links out to my immediate family. Later, with Dad's permission after his interview for this blog, I changed the permission to "public" so that I could insert it here. a lot of thought, I wrote a rather vague description on YouTube, so that viewers who are uninvolved in my family's story would only know that this is my Dad's favorite spot, but not why. However I am comfortable showing it here, in my blog, where viewers have a context. I would welcome comments and stories about choices made in this regard. 

1 comment:

  1. I think it is so cool that Fred wanted to get his dibs in early and get that good view before anyone else did. I was reading one of his ex-wife's old letters last night, and she was talking about how in 1956 they were really working hard, standing in line and monitoring the radio, to get a chance at a 'view lot' in a place called River Park. It was a land grab in 1956 for places to raise a family. Now it is a land grab for places to be remembered. You beat the boomers on that one!