Home(s)ward Bound

Our family is heading to Boston this weekend on our first leg up to the island in Maine, where we’ll celebrate my father-in-law’s life and legacy. Apropos of Peter’s sense of humor, various family members have suggested that we give Peter a Viking funeral using his 18-ft. Interlake sailboat that we capsized last year in the around-the-island boat race;

BLI Race 2013 058

or bury his ashes with his beloved Mitsubishi convertible;


or send his ashes skyward with a hydrogen-filled balloon. This last one is a nonstarter for two reasons: hydrogen’s propensity to explode

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 5.23.28 PM

and environmental concerns about balloon detritus.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 5.36.08 PM

Balloon misery

And we really don’t want to set fire to the boat, so maybe we’ll create a boat-shaped plot. 

In any event, Peter’s ashes will find their home on the island in the tiny cemetery where other island residents have been buried for many years. 

We’ll spend a little over two weeks in Maine with a stop in Salem, MA, the site of the infamous witch trials

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 5.47.16 PM

Beware of “Dangerous” Women

on our way back to Boston, and then head to Chicago to see a Cubs vs Giants game at Wrigley Field. The way things have been going for the Giants lately, the Cubs may actually stand a chance. Go Cubbies!

Then we’ll visit my family.

All this to say: I’ll be seeing you in September. Please do something wild and crazy while I’m gone! 

Photo: 123RF_ricardo38


32 thoughts on “Home(s)ward Bound

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Sorry to hear about your FIL. I hope all goes well. Maine is a beautiful place. I’ll be there myself for a wedding later this month. Boston is fun, too. I’ve been to Salem as well, but it was hard for me to wrap my head around the touristy atmosphere of a place where so many innocent women were put to death. Is a bit odd but certainly worth visiting. 🙂

        • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

          Just got back. The heat and humidity left me in a puddle. Needed a shower after picking tomatoes in the garden—but the ALS ice water challenge took care of that. Some very impressive thunderstorms delayed our return. Have forgotten just how humidity-free the Bay Area is. Drove by Joliet on the way down and up. A great aunt and uncle used to live there before they moved downstate. Am very glad to be home. There hasn’t been much “vacation” in the vacation.

  2. Lady Fancifull says:

    You will of course be missed Jilanne, if your trip is blogworld free. But, whether outwith these WordPressy shores or not, I hope you and yours have a brilliant August. Just think of all the missed additions to the TBR you’ll be escaping from!

  3. Margarita says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, Jilanne. We had/have a much-loved Peter in our lives and continue to celebrate his essence with an annual Peterfest, bringing together people, foods, conversations he loved. Have a wonderful celebration! xoxoM

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      It was interesting to see how many psychics make Salem their home. There’s a storefront or shingle advertising psychic services on every block. After walking along the waterfront and reading interesting info about Salem’s importance as a port during and before the Revolutionary War, we visited the Peabody museum, instead of going on the over-hyped witch tour. We gave our son an explanation of the Salem Witch trials, most of which happened in 1692-3 and moved on. I chafed at how Salem is a sensational tourist trap when it comes to the subject of witches, when it should simply serve as a cautionary tale against mass hysteria, trial by public opinion, and political “witch hunts.” I was probably muttering something like this under my breath as I walked about and was glad that the year wasn’t 1692!

      • FictionFan says:

        Yes, tourism has a lot to answer for, though I must admit I’m a sucker for all these old jails and torture chambers! But when it becomes so much fun, it’s hard to see the original horror under the trashy glitter. I did enjoy the London Dungeon though – especially when they beheaded a man and we all felt his blood splash over us… 😉

        Welcome back!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      It was a wonderful celebration, complete with mini parachutes dropping candy from a treehouse to represent Peter’s first impression of Americans while living in Berlin at the end of WWII. That’s how he ended up as a foreign exchange student in the years following the war.

  4. Mrs. P says:

    I have to wonder if FIL ever made any special requests regarding his send off. Although I am the type that doesn’t dwell on death, I have strong feeling that a person’s final wishes should be know and to the best of one’s ability, delivered. Even a man on death row is given a final meal of his choosing. The final resting place may be different that what one wants done with their ashes.

    For example, I have a family member who wishes to have her ashes let go in a certain body of water. Her best friend wants to have a place to go and worship. She didn’t want to hurt her friend’s feelings and resigned to do it her friend’s way. I suggested doing half and half which really pleased the family member…win/win.

    Now I am off to sort out what wild and crazy thing I can do over the next few weeks. 😀

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      The celebration included family members donning mustaches and singing one of Peter’s “creations.” An ode to his car and dog that he sang/filmed with his phone while driving his convertible Mitsubishi with his dog in the back seat. It was sung to the tune “O Tannenbaum.” Not a dry eye in the crowd.

  5. Letizia says:

    How wonderful to celebrate his life and legacy with family in Maine. I remember your post about his life and the charming photos of him and all his grandkids. We scattered my grandmother’s ashes last Fall in the Swiss Alps and when I returned this summer , I felt her presence everywhere – in the wild flowers, in the glaciers, in the sunshine. It was lovely to remember her int hat way. I hope you all feel a similar joy and memory.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      One of my brothers-in-law gave a portion of the eulogy, which covered Peter’s science interests as they related to the cosmos. Matter is neither created nor destroyed. Every one of our atoms has existed in various forms since the beginning of time. The cover of Peter’s urn displayed the first digital image of a hydrogen atom’s orbital structure: http://io9.com/the-first-image-ever-of-a-hydrogen-atoms-orbital-struc-509684901

      And yes, we shared many fond memories related to Peter’s atoms. 😀

      • Letizia says:

        I love that his urn had that image on it, so perfect and special. And the idea that matter is never destroyed and every atom has existed since the beginning of time is not only a beautiful statement but so apt for your father-in-law’s eulogy!

      • Lady Fancifull says:

        Hmm, I wan’t to go all fuzzy and think some more about auric fields. Thanks Jilanne, you’ve set my ‘I wonder’ muscles flexing.

        The more you share about Peter the more we can see he was a rather special man. Well, of course we all ARE (except those of us who are rather special women, rather than rather special men) but, you know what a mean – he sounds like someone who really was able to be who he was, rather fully.

  6. Kate Johnston says:

    I’m sorry about your father-in-law, but it sounds like you’re celebrating his life and that’s always a good thing. More and more people seem to be doing that. The weather here in New England has been pretty awesome, so I’m hoping it keeps up for your visit. Enjoy.

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