Michael Blankhartz was a newlywed himself when he married me young. I decided he’d perform the ceremony as we stood on the bridge over Whatcom Falls, built by the WPA, 1939.
He said he was slick, he knew (I remember his phrasing). His options were few and most would leave him feeling shameful. He said he could see himself as a successful used car salesman. But instead of that, a joke of a career that would bring him more money, he fast-talked homeless kids and convinced them to come to just one meeting. Stay just one night. Maybe one more. Until they were no longer homeless.
The responsibility of facilitating a marriage was one he took seriously, almost comically so. He asked for advice on what to wear. Above, he is twenty one, and standing in a renovated cemetery, the location of my wedding (park space is hard to come by in San Diego, in December).
He was God-fearing, though that came later. He fathered three daughters. They are all beautiful. I sent his sister a note to say that I know how it feels to lose a brother.
If you’re of a mind to donate to his surviving family of four — three of whose life will be defined at least in part by their father’s early death — please do.
Catch you on the flip side, Mike.