HH MEMORIAL REMEMBRANCE
I want to start by thanking St George’s; this is the perfect place to commemorate my brother Harry who deeply loved this school. Our Dad and all his brothers went here during the Great Depression; our grand-father and great uncle went here when Saint George’s was founded -- just after turn of the last century. So did many of our cousins. Harry’s son Bo graduated from here just recently.
We got great educations, made lifelong friends and accumulated treasured memories right here. So thank you Reverend Humphrey, Patrick Aiken, Chaplain Kirby and all of your colleagues for the incredible opportunity to gather here today to celebrate our brother and our dearest friend.
Harry and I often reminisced about our chapel services here – back then it was once a day and twice on Sundays. After a hard day of studies and sports, we would sit in moments of quiet contemplation as the setting sun fired up these beautiful stained glass windows. With our hair often frozen to our scalps (we did have full heads of hair back then) and dripping down our shirts after the wintry trek from the locker room showers, we were able to raise our off key, cracking, still evolving voices in song and hear it reverberate around these stone walls; it was quite simply the very best time of a very long school day.
Many of you don’t know that Harry was one of eleven siblings, that he had three mothers (one is still living), that he had nine nieces and nephews, twenty-five first cousins on our dad’s side and another twenty-five on mom’s side. We have representatives of all his family here today because we all loved and adored him.
Most of you do know that he formed ebullient rat packs of dear friends wherever he lived – Cincinnati, St George’s, Harvard, Denver, New York, Philly and Palm Beach; you are all here today. He had an extraordinary capacity for friendship; he knew most everything about you and teased and consoled, counseled and caroused -- whichever was called for in that moment.
All of you know that when Harry met Polly, sparks ensued, and they each found their lifelong partner. And Bo, their son is blessed with Polly and Harry’s humor, charm, kindness and wisdom. Just imagine for a moment Harry’s height married to Polly’s golfing prowess. So for all who loved Harry, I assure you all his very best traits are preserved in BO! It is now our collective responsibility to give Polly and Bo all our support, love and affection, as Harry gave to each of us throughout his life.
I’m reasonably sure that I knew him the longest of anyone here – 69 years plus a bit. I remember him in coon skin caps when we were little kids, in hard hats as we jumped horses over fences in our teens, in his top hat as he courted (that was an awesome sight), and finally in his bottomless supply of colorful baseball, tennis and golf caps to cover up his growing bald spots as we aged.
I remember as if yesterday his pterodactyl wing span impenetrable at the tennis net; your only real choice was to aim for his belly button and hope for the best. Then he’d open up that massive wing-span and give you a huge hug.
As young kids, our Dad read good literature to us – books like Hemmingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”, Fennimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans”, Kipling’s “Jungle Book” and Kenneth Roberts’ “Northwest Passage”. The only literature that he left out was “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, but I remember he left it lying around for us as we grew up. As kids, Harry and I read voraciously in our attic hideaways and then discussed everything we read, beginning with Dell and Marvel comics, moving onto the Hardy Boys mysteries and the James Bond thrillers, culminating in Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. In later years, we read lots and lots of biographies together -- Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin. Over the past year, we were reading and discussing histories about FDR, the Great Depression and World War II. He was my book club; I needed no other, and he was that wonderful thought partner for so many of you.
While we were here at Saint George’s, we learned about the Transmigration of Souls; maybe it was in the comparative religion class or reading Emerson and Thoreau in American lit. But I know it stuck with both of us as we later imagined and encountered our grandparents and our father in various guises after each passed.
So now I see Harry everywhere. The tall, long legged, broad shouldered, elegant blue heron on the sand as I paddle my kayak ever closer; it’s Harry the heron. The sleek, playful, joy filled chattering dolphins that some days surround me as I’m deep in reverie about him – its Dolphin H. Wulsin and his life long pal Piper Andrews. The sea lions cuddled together on the rocks discussing the day’s catch and tomorrow’s prospects with the giant, gentle, caring alpha male who warns would be suitors away – it's Harry, the Mayor of his every domain. He’ll be with all of us always and especially in you, his son, Mr. Bo Wulsin.
So many thanks to you, Bo, and to you Polly, for the great joys you brought him over the past twenty-six years. I only wish we could have had him five years longer. I know how much each of us treasured and will forever treasure our times with him over this past year and how much he treasured in return your calls, your e-mails, your visits and your caretaking. So thank you all for being here today, and for everything you meant to him over our years together. It’s not the end; it’s just a new beginning for the “Harry flock”.
JUNE 24, 2017