July 9, 2010

A Farewell Toast to Doug Cartledge

 Doug Cartledge in British navy uniform circa 1943.

When my father, Doug Cartledge, died in February, he was the second-oldest islander (my mother is the oldest) on Middle Bass, Ohio.  My parents bought their house there in 1954 and raised four children there.

Historically, because of the precarious travel conditions in northern Ohio in winter, when someone dies a service of some kind is held the next summer so islanders may pay their respects. Our family discussed how best to do that for a man whose hearty and generous personality combined with a native British reticence and the conviction that nothing should interrupt islanders' work in the summertime.  Then,   too, my father had friends all over the world, some relatives, some acquaintances made after he brought the first computer to the island and used it to reach out to the wide world.  How to encompass so many things?

Being our father's children, we came up with a novel solution. We invite you to join with us in a farewell toast on Saturday, July 17.  Where ever in the world you may be -- England, Italy, Wales, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Virginia, Florida, or the islands -- raise a glass in a farewell toast to Doug Cartledge at four p. m. your local time.

We'll all be at Charlie's cottage from four to six that day. If you happen to be on the island, you're welcome to drop by.  If we can locate Mr. Punch, he'll be the special guest -- but sitting peacefully in a chair rather than throwing the smelly baby out the window.

My father's American Punch & Judy was published in 1979, and for decades he'd don his stove pipe hat and put on Punch and Judy shows for children on the island.  (Between them, he and my mother also did all the carving and costuming of the puppets.)

The dedication on the frontispiece of his book reads as follows:
 "This book is dedicated to our grandchildren, to their grandchildren,
and to anyone who has ever laughed and will continue to laugh
at the age-old antics of Punch and Judy.  To them we leave a legacy of fun and remembrances."

Would that we all might leave such a legacy.

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