Friday, October 30, 2015


Maureen sent us all this link the other day

I would rather learn more about John from the man himself, but it's nice to learn more about him anyway, and it's not surprising to read what people thought of him. I especially love reading John's words, reposted by a forum member.
"When confronted with a situations like this (There are rare but they happen!) I have learned the hard way that the investment can tie up resources that could be used for other unforseen opportunities. And after all, almost all buys are unforeseen "pop-ops". The other question I've learned to ask myself is: "If I needed cash real quick, could I sell it/these for this same amount quickly?" If no, it is not worthwhile having multiple copies of the gun, so I pass. 
I discovered long ago that it helps all around (for buyers and sellers) if I pass the opportunity of purchasing the extra rifles onto other collector-friends. In doing so, we derive the benefits goodwill and friendship that come from thoughtfulness like this, and of course, we firm up our own network of contacts. I've found that its also a chance to payback favors done for me. You just never know how friendships based on this kind of consideration will help you...and your collecting the future, but they do. Enough of the soapbox! 
Have a great day!

I also really like what this person wrote about him...
Sadly, I knew John Wall only from his prolific contributions within Gunboards. From his knowledgeable and point-on commentary, early on to realize that he was indeed a mauser ‘expert’s expert’. Yet one matter to be such as an expert. Quite another to be an expert linked with willingness and commitment to share freely of such knowledge base in a community setting. There, giving of his time and efforts to assist both novices and advanced collectors alike. All simply in the spirit of furthering a body of historic information and enhancing the camaraderie of like interests. In this he was outstanding and left a truly high mark! 

Only from his obituary to learn of his wider interests in ‘community’, both local and international. Now to appreciate his contributions in greater context. An Internet link below to this greater perspective. Such offered that others of us who didn’t have the privilege of knowing him well, might better appreciate a truly good man. 

Somewhere above in these ‘In Memoriam’ posts, the suggestion that John’s various forum commentary be accumulated and offered perhaps as a “Sticky” or like presentation. If practicable, I believe it would be particularly fitting and especially useful if sub-topically organized. Yet not to be characterized in the context of memorial. Rather as a competent resource and living body of knowledge yet to offer information and counsel to all. Here the presumption also, that he might well approve of such in the context of ‘continuing education’. And in that perhaps a most fitting resulting memorial in continuing to ‘share of himself'.

Goodbye Mr. John Wall. A belated personal “Thanks” and a prayer for you at Sunday Mass.
Iskra / John Oceanside, Ca.

John's Obituary;
John Joseph Wall, Jr. died in his home in Wakefield surrounded by his family on October 26, 2015, due to complications from brain cancer. He was 73 years old.
Mr. Wall was born on April 12, 1942 in Oak Park, Illinois. He graduated from St. Procopius High School in 1960 and went on to receive a Bachelor's Degree in History from Loyola University in Chicago.
In 1965, Mr. Wall entered the Peace Corps and began a 3 year assignment in Maimana, Afghanistan. It was in Afghanistan that he met and married fellow volunteer, Ada (Creech) Wall. Upon returning to the United States after completing his volunteer work with the Peace Corps, Mr. Wall received his Master's in Education from New York University in 1970 and then took a teaching position in Shiraz, Iran, where he taught for two years.
He returned to the U. S. in 1973 and worked as an ESL teacher in the Chicago public school system. In 1974 Mr. Wall accepted a position with Raytheon Service Company and moved his family to Tehran, Iran, where they remained until 1978, when they were relocated to El Paso, Texas. In 1980 he was again transferred by Raytheon to the Boston area, and chose to settle his family in Wakefield.
Mr. Wall worked for Raytheon for over 35 years, until he retired in 2013.
An avid lover of history, Mr. Wall quickly found Wakefield to be a town that fed his passion for knowledge of the past. He was an active member of the Wakefield Historical Society for over 20 years.
He also enjoyed contributing to his community and was a member of the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association for over 25 years.
He had numerous collections of various historic artifacts and was expertly knowledgeable about most of them. Many thought of him as a brilliant man, for he knew so much about so many things, but for him it was simply a love of the history.
Aside from his intelligence, Mr. Wall was known by many for his wonderful sense of humor. He loved to laugh.
Mr. Wall is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Ada; daughter and son-in-law Jennifer and Patrick Brennan of Peabody; daughter and son-in-law Maureen Wall and Jonathan Crumrine of Natick; four grandchildren; his sister Patricia Wall of San Rafael, California and his brother and sister-in-law, James and Jeanne Wall of Plymouth, Indiana.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate the life of Mr. Wall on Saturday, November 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 326 Main Street, Wakefield. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Wall's family would like to suggest a donation to the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association: P.O. Box 485, Wakefield, MA 01880 or the VNA of Middlesex-East – Home Hospice: Development Office, VNA of Middlesex-East, 607 North Ave., Ste. 17, Wakefield, MA 01880.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My One And Only Dear John Letter

When I was four years old, John and Ada moved next door with their daughter Maureen and Jen. As Maureen, who is two years older than me, tells it, she and I were the first to meet over the fence which separated our homes which share a backyard. Evidently, I sparked up a conversation with her about McDonalds and Burger King. Burger King had better burgers and McDonald's had better fries. I don't know how a four year old would know such things or have enough time in her young life to do the research necessary to make the claim.

Regardless of how we connected, our two families, neither of which had family nearby, became a family. Maureen and I played together. Sometimes all four of us played together. We celebrated holidays together, Christmas dinners and Easter brunches, Thanksgiving meals and every day cook-outs. 

I remember watching John crank the massive handle on the wood ice cream maker. I remember there being a need for salt to be added to the ice. I remember I didn't much like blueberry ice cream (I still don't), but I ate some anyway because ice cream's better when it's homemade, no matter the flavor.

Christopher, Jen, Maureen and I put on performances, too. Most notably was our circus; Christopher was the comic part of the show, dressed like a lady, wearing Jen's training bra over his patriotic t-shirt, and a pair of nylons on his head. Maureen was the acrobat, whirling around the lawn, cartwheeling in a blue leotard. Jen was a ring master, I was a strong man, lifting up over my head in triumph, a barbell made with a stick and one balloon on either end. Except right before I was to come out for my part of the show, one balloon popped. We improvised, as good circus performers do, and stuck the stick into the soft summer earth so I could lift it our like Excalibur's sword from the rock to applause from our small audience of adults.  The finale will go down in the Scott Wall book as one of the most memorable vignettes. All the kids went inside and when we emerged, I was holding a hula hoop and the others were on all fours. Lions! And I the lion tamer. The name of this act? The Ferocious Mildreds! 

I have no memory of this and I tell it from stories which came from others. The story goes that the parents basically lost it completely. Tears rolling down their face at the innocent, possibly unintentional stab we had made. Have I mentioned on this blog before that my very difficult, relatively unpleasant, late-maternal grandmother was named Mildred?  Therine lies the hilarity of the circus act.

We spent a lot of time together. We two families. I had countless dinners at their house and when I got older, John drove Maureen and I to school every morning when our high school careers coincided. Whenever one family went to the others for a meal, party, or celebration, we were always smiling to see each other. There was a long-standing joke that our families could never get through a meal without potty humor coming in to play. John was said to be the source of such humor. He and I bonded over our love of the movie Parenthood. Most notably for the scene when one of the kids sings and entire song about diarrhea. It was not uncommon when I was a kid, for John and I to bust out the diarrhea song for kicks and giggles. We thought it was funny, anyway.  When I would go to the Walls for a visit while living away for so many years, they always seemed happy to see me; all hugs and smiles and "tell us the latest!". 

When my own dad had his heart attacks so many years ago, I thought, who would walk me down the isle if I ever got married and Dad wasn't here? John would, is what I thought. 

Why am I telling these stories about the past? I do that sometimes, but this time, I'm just stalling. Stalling about talking about today, because today, we are one less.

Less than a month ago, John went to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. It wasn't long before they realized he had a massive brain tumor. Geo sarcoma, I believe. In extremely aggressive cancer. The majority of the tumor was removed, but the surgery left him, now 73, extremely weak, mostly blind, and with partially paralyzed vocal cords. He developed a severe case of thrush as he attempted to recover at a rehab center. 

It is the cruelest of things; he loved to laugh and tell jokes, and was barely able to speak. He loved food and was unable to eat because of the pain on his tongue and throat. He loved to learn and research and could no longer see the pages if they were placed in front of him. 

It was nasty. It was unfair. It was shocking, sudden, and fast.

It wasn't a week before it became clear that John would not recover. He was brought home for hospice care on Friday.  On Sunday I went to visit him. Also there were Jen, Lilly, 15, Patrick, Ada, and an attending nurse. We all joined John in the front room where he lay in his hospital bed as the nurse fed him some soup. John was out of it, but knew we were there. He struggled with the carrots in the soup and Jen rushed off to puree it some more. 

Eventually, Patrick said "Grampy, we're gonna head back over to my parents' place where Owen's watching the Pat's Game".  John's eyes shot open at the sound of football "What happened!" he whispered loudly, curious about the status of the game, and we all laughed. Lilly and I looked at each other and there was an unspoken feeling of relief that we saw a smidgen of John. A bit of himself rising out of that limp body on the bed before us. There was a break in the uncomfortable tension and feeling of helplessness and Lilly and I appreciated it together, without words.  

Jen and I stayed with John for a bit. I figured out how to get the football game on the TV for him. After doing so, as Jen gave him a Popsicle, I said to John "I'm sorry, John, I know nothing about football so I can't explain what's going on. There's just a bunch of big guys in tight pants. That's all I know"

He laughed. I was glad he laughed. I have that. As I said goodbye, I gave him a staccato of kisses on the cheek and told him I loved him. He said it back to me. 

I didn't get to say goodbye, or tell him how much I loved knowing him, how grateful I am that he moved in next door along with Ada, Jennifer and Maureen so long ago, how happy I am to have so many memories of his incredible humor, intelligence, and kindness, but I do have the kiss and the "I love you" and that's not too bad.

He died Monday night.

Tuesday morning I went over to the Walls house before my late shift started. Mom and Dad were there and I added a collection of muffins to the breakfast they were already eating. Jen and Maureen were working on what the next steps were. Helping them get an obituary photo ready. We were basically just being together. Keeping each other company. That evening, there would be a lot of food, Jen told me, and I should join them if I could. As I left to go to work, I said goodbye to Lilly who was in the kitchen leaning over a bowl of Ramen and she gave me a distracted but clear "Bye I love you!"

I headed to work and knew I just didn't care what assignment needed to be shot that night. I wanted to be with my family. So I got out of it, and that's what I did. We ate, we chatted, we raised a glass to Grampy, "If Dad were here" Maureen said as we sat down to eat  "he would say 'MM MM MM MM MM!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Wandering Home Depot yesterday talking with my Dad on the phone, I complained "I don't understand why it's so hard to find a lightbulb that has those three different levels to them"

"Oh, you mean the three-way?" he says.
"Yes" and then after a pause, I hear my dad laughing and then telling me "You mother just said to me 'You're talking about three-ways with your daughter?!'"

He reassured her we were discussing lightbulbs. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


You know you're getting old and life's getting real (by ending) when you are invited to another Caring Bridge page and when you sign in there are two previous Caring Bridge pages for two other people in your life who are now gone.

Not really something I like collecting, Caring Bridge pages.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Harlow and Tico Sittin in a Tree

Harlow has a new little gentleman friend. This is Tico and he is Mike's sweet little pup.

Puppy shenanigans from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Magic Lessons

Other thoughts I appreciated;

"What are you willing to give up in order to get what you want?"


"It's important to keep your shadow in front of you."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Podcasts and Creativity

I have an old school nano which I spent some time last night loading music onto so I could play it while I wasn't home for Harlow. I've been playing the same Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me episodes for months. That's gotta get old whether you can speak human or not.

I found some classical music podcast but I also found some new podcasts for myself. On hosted by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, called Magic Lessons. It's a podcast about creativity, how to keep connected to it day to day and how to get back into it when it's fallen from you. I was intrigued obviously.

The first episode was a woman who writes a blog and sort of stopped writing, was struggling with her role of mom, writer, etc and dealing with the guilt of wanting to write while being a parent.

Gilbert read a quote from a woman which was so very interesting to me. "It's the most important thing in my life - making things. Much as I love my husband and my children, I love them only because I am a person who makes things. Who I am is the person who has the project of making a thing. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all the other people"

Sort of a mind-blowing thought, and of course it made me think of my Mom who is in a constant state of creating.

Gilbert said "Martyrs make martyrs and creative people make creative people" and the blogger calling in for advice talked about how creative her kids were. Stuck in traffic on 93 listening to this podcast, I suddenly glimpsed my parallel life and it made me a bit emotional.  In my parallel life, I have a four year old and a seven year old in miss-matched socks because I let them dress themselves. They wear shirts that say things like "Lettuce turnip the beet" and they are endlessly creative.