Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Memory and Mortality

Jerusalem Cross at Western End of Bozeat Church
(Image from Wikipedia)

In one of my recent websearches, a randomly surfacing obituary in the The Dallas Morning News caught my eye:
Leland H. Robinson, Jr.
The name rang a bell and awakened memories. I didn't know Leland Robinson personally, but his younger sister Grace Margaret Robinson was a special friend of mine at Baylor.

According to the obituary, for April 6, 2006:
Leland was born on December 1, 1942 to parents Grace and Leland H. Robinson, Sr. in McKinney, Texas. Leland grew up on a farm in Plano, TX leaving to join the Air Force where he spent 2 years serving overseas in Japan. Leland attended college in Texas, and it was in Dallas where he met his future wife Leah Sue Koortz. They married in 1969 and had two children Tammy and Leland Robinson III.
Margaret once told me that her brother accidentally ran over her in his car as he was backing up. She was only about 3 or 4 and thus very short, too short to be seen standing behind the automobile as he shifted into reverse and looked behind to back up.

Only when he had backed up enough and saw his baby sister lying on the ground in front of his car did he notice her. His first thought was that he had killed his little sister, but when he rushed out to get her, he found her completely unharmed -- and indignant: "Brother hit me!" she accused.

Surprising to me in this obituary is the information that Leland Robinson grew up on a farm. That means ... I guess ... that Margaret grew up on a farm. Somehow, that downhome information never got conveyed to me despite the many long conversations that Margaret and I had, and I've always thought of her as somewhat of a city girl because her town Plano had gotten swallowed up by an expanding Dallas in her adolescence.

Knowing that she was a "farm girl" clarifies some things for me, possibly her ingenuousness, but certainly our easy friendship, for I also came from a rural background.

But one thing that I've never understood is something that I'll leave without inadequate elaboration or inexplicative speculation.

Her mysterious goodness.

As for her brother, Leland Robinson, he died of cancer on Monday, April 24, 2006 at the untimely age of 63, a sad reminder that we're all growing older and more fragile with age.

Requiescat In Pace, Mr. Robinson. We didn't know each other, but I trust that we had a connection.

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At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for those kind words


At 9:24 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Margaret ... you're really here? What a nice surprise!

You are very welcome to my blog, a place that I trust you'll find enjoyable despite its occasional strangeness...

I hope that all is well with you and your family. My family and I are doing well -- though I'm currently seeking a new job as my contract runs out.

Now that all these memories are surging, I may have to blog a bit more about Baylor times...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I am here. Indeed, a nice surprise for me as well.

I printed your blog editorials and musings, and read them ;ast night. I find it easier to curl up with a book v. a computer.

It was nice to get a peak into the Hodges household, and enjoyed the personal snipits, as well as, seeing where your academic path has lead. I found it interesting that you are a Medieval and Renaissance scholar, my husband Mark and oldest daughter Sarah (18) are profoundly interested in those time periods. You would be a good mentor for her, she picks up foreign languages quite easily with an unaffected accent. She studied Farsi in the last few years, and Norwegian, and has an interest in ancient languages and music. Her main instrument is the harp. Her education has been rather eclectic, a mix of private, homeschool, public, private tutors and independent study.

We have one other child, Gabrielle (8). She wants to be a writer. One day when she was a toddler, upon waking up from a nap she declared, "I can write a book." It seems from that day on, she has been creating books. In the beginning, they were only picture books with titles such as "Lamb Chops Opera", and this summer she wrote an amusing play about a French Restaurant that I will have to find and send your way. She attends a private school, Westminster School, near my office that is true to a traditional English education, emphasis on literature, French and Latin, and the arts. Last night we attended the 7th grade play, Shakespeare's The Tempest.

As far as your job searches, Mark commented last night that you should look into UVA and William and Mary. Have you thought about universities in the US? It would be nice to meet your family, we live in the DC area.

Sorry this was so long, but maybe you have a better picture of The Suttons.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Margaret, how did you happen to find my blog?

And once having found it, you printed my blog entries and read them? ALL of them? That's a lot of reading! Perhaps you didn't mean quite all of them?

Your daughter Sarah sounds very intelligent, and far more advanced than I was at her age. Only 18? Actually, insofar as languages go, she's undoubtedly ahead of me even at my current age.

As for my being a Medieval and Renaissance scholar, I'm one only by default ... and might not be one much longer. I'll soon be pounding the pavement, looking for a new position.

If you have any influence over the hiring process at UVA or William and Mary, I'll apply, but my 'educated' guess is that without external influence in my favor, they'd have no interest in me.

Do send me the creative writings by your other daughter, Gabrielle. She sounds like my son En-Uk, who makes up stories.

I don't like to post my snailmail or email address here, but you can find my email address easily enough by Googling (especially if you also add "Milton-L" to the search. I'll then reply to your email and you'll receive my snailmail address.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a rather serendipitous find. My nephew Leland H. Robinson, III was searching for my brother's name on the internet and came across your blog and emailed me on Friday.

I printed what was on the screen, 10/22/06 to present. There's more??

Mark Early former attorney general for the state of VA goes to our church, he was a William and Mary graduate. I needed your permission first to ask, it may be a long shot, but worth a try.

Have an awesome day~

At 4:23 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Margaret, there's a lot more.

If you scroll down my blog roll to the end of the links, you'll find my archives, which begin with February 2005. I've posted every day, so if you do the math (and you're better at math-and-science stuff than I am)...

Your nephew must have been one of the children that you mentioned to me many years ago. The point was about some children's songs that he and his sister were learning ... and their grandmother's reaction. I remember this quite clearly.

Thanks for mentioning my case to Mark Early, who has an interesting name that reminds me that I do indeed have an awesome day ahead -- about 100 essays to be marked, so I'd better start early.

Bad jokes aside, I'm grateful for the mention. It probably is a long shot since departments make their own decisions on these things ... as well they should.

As I see from my inbox, your Google search was successful, so we can continue this conversation in a more appropriate medium.

Jeffery Hodges

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