On May 31, 1987 Wib died from ‘thyroid storm’, a rare complication of hyperthyroidism. Thyroid storm is often precipitated by a physiologically stressful event. Two months shy of his eighty-second birthday.
Cremated, graveside ceremony in New London, Pennsylvania. Set for 1pm, a three-hour drive. I was minutes late, Masako knowing I was coming via the long drive and the sole surviving son; pushed to start without me. Masako took ultimate control with Wib in ashes, if not sooner. I would later learn that I was the ‘drug addict son’ that she urged Wib not to have anything to do with. Seven souls attended, which included the minister and myself. Maybe Masako was the ‘physiologically stressful event.’
After the brief service and the obligatory hello and good byes, the six souls faded, I stood alone, looking down at his headstone crying and swearing to him that I’ d be the father he never was. Jammed with feelings I was.
As instructed, after his death I contacted his lawyer Edgar Hathaway, he told me that there was “absolutely” nothing in the will for me, I was not mentioned.
I told him of the letter…he said there was nothing he could do.
I hired a lawyer in Hathaway’s neck of the woods with a borrowed $250 to further research my pickle. Lawyer concluded the will overruled the letter. I was out of luck.
Masako wouldn’t give me anything…I wrote, called many times “…. maybe the Marine Sword (that I so treasured as a child)…. anything?” Became very good at not understanding English whenever I could reach her. The following year I did a get some of his things… a shoebox of letters and photos that we had exchanged over the years…. including a loose-leaf binder that said on its front; “Please give to my son Michael David Evans…my autobiography”. It certainly was not complete in any sense of the word but it became the foundation of my research and writing on him several years later. Many of the notes from the binder are in Wilburs’ Working I and II, and were the genesis (in part) to this whole project. Little did I know that 15 years later E-bay would come to the rescue…. for a price.
July 1987 came and went, the State continued to drag their feet and I continued to jump (and stumble) through every hoop and over and through every complication they presented. Persisting with my weekend trips; Pawling to Prospect to Pawling to Prospect to Pawling. Six hours of weekend driving. At least four times a month, for months and months.
Tucking them in at night, we’d pray for their mom and her well-being. Staying away from the negativity…hard to do (didn’t last). I learned from Susanna, her slamming of Wib all those years, how awful it was.