Friday, August 10, 2007

An Interesting Gift

My neighbors in Katy lived next door to us until about a year ago, when they moved closer to downtown. Mr. Sunny and Mrs. Barbara Tang were an amazing couple, and a wonderful help to our family. We used to take care of their cats when they went out of town, and they would get our mail when we did. Mr. Sunny had a doctorate in chemistry from MIT, so when it rained and poured, he would come over with his chem set and purify our murky-green pool. They had one son, Eric, who was eight years older than me. I remember when I was little, my bedroom window looked into his, and I would admire his soccer trophies and deltas. He and his friends would play basketball right under my window. As he grew up, he was very politically involved. He traveled the world for a semester on the sea, with UCLA, and had built a library in Africa. Recently he was traveling around Mexico, working at WWOOFers. His goal was to spend only $10 dollars a day, between food, housing, and traveling. When Sunny and Barbara moved, we continued to keep in touch, and they attended our neighborhood going away party. At the party, Mrs. Barbara mentioned that she hadn't heard from Eric for a while. They made plans to come visit us in Calgary shortly after we arrived.

Once we reached Calgary, my mom was able to check her email, and she had gotten one from Mrs. Tang saying that Eric had passed away. He had been at a national park where there was a waterfall, swimming, when he decided to jump off (looking at the pictures from the falls, I have no idea what inspired him to do that. It was horrifically tall). When he jumped, his body rotated, and he landed on his back, breaking his neck. Some girls he had met earlier that day pieced the information he had told them together, and figured out where he had been staying. They notified the Tangs, and they held the funeral a bit ago. However, Eric had met so many people from so many places, so there were memorials for him in California, New York, and even one in the town where he built the library. Both the California and Los Angeles Legislature closed in his honor, one day, reading a brief biography of him.

When the Tangs arrived, we took them out to Chinese food. Once at the restaurant, Mrs. Barbara pulled out two rings, and handed one to me and one to Courtney. Mine is pictured above. Mrs. Barbara had grown up next to a lady who also had no daughters. She had wanted to pass on this ring to a "daughter-figure," and therefore gave it to her. Mrs. Barbara only had Eric, and therefore she gave the ring to me. It's beautiful, and I've gotten in the habit of wearing it already, which wasn't too hard, because it's the finger I used to wear my purity ring on. I have been instructed to give it to a young neighbor girl of mine, one day. By that time it will be nearly 175 years old. It's interesting to think about what other women wore this ring. It's diamond, so it could have been used as an engagement ring at one point or another. In any case, it was a very generous gift.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

That is a tragic story, and it is really touching that you were given a gift with so much meaning.