Atlantis Alumni

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering Ken

We just learned that our friend and Fire Island neighbor Ken Todt died unexpectedly on August 26th.

Dan and I enjoyed many good times with our friends and neighbors Stephen and Ken. Some of the nicest memories I have of times shared with them include the wonderful holiday dinners we attended at their home in Newtown, Pennsylvania. We also entertained Stephen and Ken at our home here on Fire Island, and we were their guests at “Heaven Knows,” their Fire Island home on Surf Walk. We got to know Stephen and Ken as good and kind people and we consider ourselves lucky to be among their friends.

Stephen is a dedicated teacher and a musician. Deeply religious, his kindness and goodness are apparent to everyone who knows him. One could know Ken’s heart through his love of life. I remember how happy and animated he would become while discussing his favorite performer, Lisa Minnelli. He loved Fire Island and his home in Cherry Grove passionately. I think Ken found occasional peace and solace here on the island. He and I shared a love of the beach and the water. Many a day we would sit together on the beach in the late afternoon sun, chatting and simply enjoying the waves lapping at the shore. One time I coaxed Ken to join me in a midnight swim under a full moon. It was probably the first such swim for both of us and we enjoyed it immensely. It’s a fond image of Ken that I will never forget.

In recent years, we watched as Ken fought a battle against his personal demons. During this difficult time it was not possible for us to be as close to Ken and Stephen as we would have preferred. However, Ken was extremely fortunate to have Stephen as his partner. Stephen stood by Ken throughout some very tough times. He was there for Ken and did everything he could to help Ken. He was more steadfast than many others would have been under the circumstances. No one could have done more than Stephen did to help Ken; no one. It’s sad and ironic that Stephen’s efforts to help Ken finally paid off as Ken was doing so much better in the weeks prior to his untimely death.

I do not believe in gods and I’m not religious, but it comforts me to think that, when we lose loved ones, dear friends, and beloved pets, their life force continues on, strengthened especially as we remember them and cherish them in our hearts. I know that in future days when I sit on the beach during sunny summer late afternoons, I will often think of my friend and beach mate Ken. In my mind he’ll be attending a matinee in some great cosmic theater enjoying a Lisa performance. Afterward, he’ll make his way down to the local beach with his chair. Dearest Ken, please save a spot on that beach for me.

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