Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Downside of Middle Age

Today, I learned that yet another man who played an important role at my summer camp long ago has died.  Ben Wenglin, who was the camp's mail man, died this week.  He was such a sweet man, who made a big impact despite having a pretty small yet central role.  Since I was a long time camper and one of the few who spent eight weeks (rather than the usual two or four) each summer there, we got to know each other a bit.  I didn't know that he had gotten hurt in World War II as one of Merrill's Marauders (predecessor to the modern Ranger Regiment), but that is something that tends to only be revealed at times like this.

Ben is the third man from that key part of my life to die in the past few years.  The math makes sense--camp was almost forty years ago, so the middle aged men who shaped that place are now departing.  Damn.

I have been lucky since I have lost few people (other than grandparents), but that is changing as I reach 50 soon.  When I talk to my friends, I find that most of them are dealing with sick parents or have recently lost one.  So, we are entering a time frame where losses begin to mount.  I am not looking forward to that part of getting older.

Life has been very good to me.  I am glad that we now have this social media stuff so that I can connect with those who were important to me long ago and find out the fates of those who mad ea difference in my life.  Ben, Mike, and Ed made such an impact not just on me but on generations of boys who went to that camp.  I am sad that they are gone, but glad that they were recognized and appreciated not just by me but by everyone who passed through Thurmont, Maryland in the 1970s-1980s.

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