Passages at the New Year

It is the New Year and changes are already heavily in motion. Richard Jameson is leaving his position as editor of the Queen Anne News. Former editor and publisher John Murray died last year. Hideous new townhouses are replacing comfortable, older single family dwellings all across the hill, and one of my favorite relatives, who lived for a time on Queen Anne Hill, my aunt Dorothy Jane Hull, died in December at the age of 90.My first memories of her at the house at 910 Third Avenue North were in the mid-1940s. My cousin Adrienne had died shortly after starting first grade at old John Hay School, after contracting measles from another student. Hers turned into encephalitis, and she never came out of it. My cousin Julie was born to my aunt while they were living with us. This was the old house and had more than enough bedrooms for the group of us. During the night, especially in winter, you could hear the high whine of the old coal furnace come on, sounding something like a ghost should sound. I was never comfortable with that sound.

The Hulls moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1947, and when my Dad, Reg Turner, died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1949. Dorothy immediately flew back down to Seattle, helping my Mom regularly.

By 1955, we had relocated to the house at 1207 Sixth Avenue North, and I spent many happy years there. I do miss its space today, but that will hopefully change this year as I continue to downsize some of the 1500 boxes of books, magazines, and papers which I have carried from place to place for the last 27 years.

2008 brings the same problems as we had in 2007: traffic, disappearing affordable housing, and consumers who don’t believe in global warming as a facet of human production. Another year, and hopes that my friends will manage to stay reasonably healthy, as two more have been diagnosed in terminal condition, and I’m afraid of becoming callous about death and dying. Still, I am at the time in my life where it is a fact that I will continue losing a growing number of friends and acquaintances to death. So I am thinking on the ways in which I can help to slow those losses, and it won’t be easy.

I wish all of you the best that this New Year can bring, and please, stay healthy!