When such a friend from us departs, we hold forever in our hearts a sweet and hallowed memory…. Hymn # 293
Ten years ago today Norman died of a brain tumor, at the age of 52. He was my husband for 25 years, and the father of my children. There are a lot of things that I could tell you about him, but I’m going to honor his memory today by saying that he was a very special, unique and gentle man, someone who loved the past and cherished the old ways of doing things. He studied, took classes or taught himself traditional handcrafts that most people wouldn’t have the time or patience to attempt. He refinished and re-caned this rocking chair and all of the many antique chairs in our house.
Norman loved to read – he loved books more than anything; the older, more classic and obscure the better. Obscure to me, I should say; not to him! He was fluent in French, growing up in a French-Canadian family in Maine. He was a bookbinder in the conservation lab at the Doe Library, UC Berkeley, but sometimes he was able to work on his own books. He sewed and rebound this vintage copy of Calico Bush, a story that reflects his interest in classic literature and also his French heritage in Maine.
Norman made this box for me one Christmas, in the style of the Shakers. He preferred using antique woodworking tools whenever possible.
We have many material artifacts like this from Norman’s life to keep him close to us in our memories. I know he would be pleased to be remembered as a fine craftsman who treasured the old ways.
Norman Gerard Beaudoin, circa 1975