Homage à Terry James Critchley (1943-2015)

by Alden Cole on February 23, 2015 · 0 comments

1956TerryCritchleySWPTerrance James Critchley – Nov 28, 1943 – Feb 3, 2015 – was one of my two best friends in pre-adolescent childhood, ages 5 – 13; we were buddies throughout grammar school. Though only eight months apart in age, we were a year apart school-wise. Once Terry entered high school at Thornton Academy, our worlds started slowly drifting apart. He went away to Paul Smith College in NY state, studying forestry – wanted to be a forest ranger. After his dad died in the Thresher submarine disaster April 10, 1963, he quit college and returned to Dayton to help his mother adjust to life as a widow, and to his own new life as a fatherless son. He never went back to school, finding instead a job close to home, working for my uncle Robert at Cole Farm Dairy. Eventually he married Martha Morgan his girlfriend of several years, fathering a son Travis and daughter Jennifer, whom I only met as young children. After my departure for NYC and a new life as a gay man, we drifted further apart, loosing track of one another, until the summer of 74 when I returned home to Maine and wound up living in a house just up the road from Terry’s place on River Road in Dayton. I remember searching him out one afternoon shortly after we became temporary neighbors that summer; he’d become pretty taciturn since we’d last spent any time together. During the four month period from June to October when I lived just up the road, he didn’t once take me up on my invitation to stop by for a visit. We never connected again.

Summer of 1956: Above, my favorite snapshot portrait of Terry taken with my trusty Brownie camera, the summer I turned 12, while he faced 13 that November. His palomino horse was named Flicka if I remember correctly (possibly spelled “Flicker”, knowing how we Mainers sometimes drop our Rs). So today Sunday, Feb 22, George Washington’s birthday, my other best friend from pre-adolescence Richard Smith forwarded the obituary of my recently deceased friend from the long-ago. Thanks Richard.

“What can one say of another’s death. What was living is no longer, and the emptiness thus created denies us access to its mystery. We are diminished by death’s magnitude and silenced by its quiet. We are left to mourning, for without mourning, the loneliness is unbearable, and we look into ourselves for the final secret.”


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: