Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

An old friend drops by during a dream

There are so many of my friends who I miss now because they have died.

I got to know some people who were 20 to 30 years older than me, and while it was a joy to experience their friendship, knowledge and experience, in the back of my mind there was always the recognition that someday they might be gone.

They still show up in dreams, and recently a friend who I lost in the late 1990s turned up, Allan Rubin. It was nice to “see” him again.

I suppose my first big loss was when my second cousin, Angelo Tagarelli, lost his beloved wife, Veronica. I won’t go into the details but her health began to decline and I still remember the terribly sad day when I sat there at the funeral home and watched Angelo cry about how she was everything to him.

Living on the other side of the state and pursuing my own ambitions and career, I couldn’t be there for Angelo. Losing him was a terrible blow, and I miss him. He and Veronica have turned up in dreams, and it’s always good to see them. I wish I could go back in time to when they lived in their house on Sea Pines Lane in Lantana, where Angelo ruled the garage with the two 1970s-era Buicks, one for him – he called it “Esmerelda” – and one for “the queen.”

In recent dreams, I found Norma and Murray Cossey, who I also miss terribly. Their loss was inevitable, of course, but hit me very hard. They fought and struggled in their lives, and achieved astonishing success that shows the benefit of hard work and a willingness to embrace new technology. I still have their HP scanner-printer and use it occasionally to scan photos, mainly just to remember that they were the greatest people I’ve ever known.

But it’s Allan Rubin, who never sought the limelight, whose recent appearance in a dream caused me the most happiness.

Allan was a Bible expert, though he was an atheist. Culturally, he was Jewish, and he was a liberal but also a hard-nosed businessman who believed in the values of hard work and effort. One time, in the lobby of The Palm Beach Post, he pointed to the Linotype on display and drew a crowd as he explained how it worked, and how he’d used it to start his business making legal forms.

“I hired a guy to work the Lino,” Allan told me one time, “but he was an asshole who wouldn’t do what he was told. So I watched him work for a week, then fired him and sat down to do the work myself.”

It might seem if you listened to Allan that he was racist against African-Americans, but he actively sought to hire people for his business who wanted a chance to work and earn a living. And he was always proud of the fact that during the Newark riots of the late 1960s, his business had survived, he said, because his workers had banded together and defended it against the rioters.

To me, he was a friend and he was always eager to teach me new things. He’d put me to work on his computer, cataloging the countless books he owned on religion and adding new ones to the database. We’d talk about every topic under the sun. One time, he bought a new Lincoln Town Car and described how he’d sold his other car for less than it was worth to someone who needed a car.

We went up the Florida coast to somewhere for an atheist event, and had stayed overnight. The following evening, he tossed me the keys to the Town Car and said, “I’m pretty tired. Drive to your place and I’ll be rested enough to drive myself home.”

What a joy it was driving that Lincoln. That was some car.

Allan helped out groups financially, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation and even gave knowledge and advice to religious groups that sought it. One religious group, little known in our modern world but of moderate size in the Middle East, has as their object of veneration John the Baptist.

He didn’t believe in any religion, but the ways people found to express religious views fascinated Allan. He told me he’d talk for hours with a leader of the John the Baptist group in the U.S., giving advice on how to present their views.

I still remember the day when, after a couple of weeks of not hearing from Allan, his accountant called to tell me Allan had died. His health had been in decline for a while, but I was shocked and saddened, and I failed to go to his memorial service for some reason.

In any case, he turned up in a dream the other night and was pretty friendly. It was good to see him again.

It might sound macabre to be out there talking about how glad you are to see dead friends in dreams, but I find it comforting. They are gone, but live on in my memory and occasionally my brain brings them out when I’m asleep. It is a bit jarring to see someone in a dream who I know is gone but I guess I have to live with it.

I still miss these friends, though, and wish they were still around.

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June 25, 2015 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age | , ,

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