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dad with saw-

For one pretty amazing dude on Father’s Day, my dad Joseph Reczek, more to follow.


Zoe, Gone

June 7, 2016

zoe one of the first-
From a note today to some friends:

“..Just writing to let you know that our little sweetheart Zoe is no longer with us physically. We felt we needed to put her down a couple of weeks ago, following a deteriorating course over 2-3 months, secondary to either a stroke or a lesion on her brain (or maybe just old age). She was probably about 15, and found it increasingly hard to walk, and when she did just went in tight circles. We had to hold her up to feed her (she loved eating even at the end), and cart her in and out for pee/poop time.

One of my friends said that we were providing her hospice care, and indeed, we probably were, especially in her last month. I am SO SO glad though, that I had four months post retirement for her final stretch here. The work of caring for her was not a burden, even at the end; her spirit and her trust in us made it easy. Even carrying her in and out many times a day, for instance, never got old; it was a great opportunity to hold her close, which she seemed quite OK with.

So, we no longer have the gift of her physical presence, but in her passing, the gift of her memory, and, the gift of time. This is the first time in about 20 years that we are pooch free. The general plan is to stay that way for maybe a year and then jump in again. We’ll see what’s in store… ”

The top photo is from a decade ago, shortly after our mutual adoption, and the one below – the last I took of her – on her final morning here.

zoe last photo-6584

Farewell for now, little mo-mo. We miss you. And our deepest gratitude for being such a wonderful part of our lives.

“Love to stay, gotta go…”


mother's day-6997

For all mothers near and far, for the hard work and sacrifice that allows the love in this universe to flow through you to your children, day in and day out. May there be many gifts received in turn!

In the Buddhist tradition, which recognizes the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death in this existence, it is said: “Of all the beings in samsara (existence), there is not a single one who has not been your own kind mother.” (Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche in Skillful Grace, p 49)

And of course for my Mamusiu, Josephine Reczek (1913-2006), with love and an ever deepening appreciation.


stan katie and kris-

It’s been six years since my oldest brother Stan passed away. It was very much a surprise, as he was only 67 and still employed full time as a special education teacher, which he had been – at the same Florida school – for three decades.

The school had a wonderful memorial service for him, and I was struck with how his colleagues there probably knew him better than I did. I was, after all, 8 years his junior, and only 10 when he went off to college. But over the years, when he came up to visit our parents, and when I visited him in Florida, we spent time together, and got to know each other, as adults. I certainly wish that we had more of that; there is a lot to talk about. *

Looking back on his life, there are three areas that are especially impressive to me, and stand as the measure of the man.

First, he was a soldier who served his country. In his early 20’s following graduation from college and the Reserve Officer Training Core (ROTC), he was commissioned as an officer and served in Vietnam as a Platoon Leader, responsible for 40 men in active combat zones. He was awarded a Bronze Star as well as a Purple Heart during that time, and left the service as a First Lieutenant.

I remember how relieved I was at his return, and how proud I was of him. He was a hero to our family, as well as many in our community, and though the experience was certainly a dark one, and probably scarred him for life, it was not yet complicated by the divisions in our larger society about the war. Those difficulties were yet to come. But there were demons, even from the beginning, and his struggles with them were probably a constant throughout his life.

Second, he was a father to Katie and Kristin, his two wonderful children. He and his wife divorced when Katie – the oldest – was not yet ten, and his wife moved to Florida with them shortly thereafter. Though Stan was a lifelong New Englander, with a deep and rich network of personal and professional connections here, he opted to move to FL, where no one knew him from Adam. He did so to be as actively involved as possible in their lives. I don’t know how easy a decision it was for him, and we never really spoke about it, leading me to believe that he always felt it was the right one, and furthermore, that it was the ONLY one. Katie and Kristin were then, and are now, beautiful human beings, due in no small part to the responsibility that both he and their mother took with them along the way. (And the four grandchildren are equally impressive.)

Third, he was a lifelong educator, and spent the last three decades of his life as a special education teacher in FL. Some of us might fully appreciate the difficulties of teaching a class of 10-15 special needs children, day in and day out. It is a task which requires stamina, creativity and a high level of motivation. It was something he was remarkably gifted at, and, as his supervisor there remarked at the memorial service: “He literally wrote the book on this. Literally, he wrote a book on his methods…”.

The outpouring of emotion and regard at the memorial was an amazing thing to witness and be a part of. Once again, I felt so very proud of him, and how he impacted the lives of those around him, despite the difficulties in his own life.

He was a special man, and I do miss him.

* Including this blog, and photography in general. He was a great photographer, LOVED Flickr, and always supported my own photography, including letting me borrow his cameras whenever I needed to.


willie at the beach-1118

Willie the Wonder Dog (aren’t they all), playing at Hamonassett State Park in 2005. We’d often take him there in the wintertime, and though he loved the wide open spaces, would never wander too far afield.


Jim Reczek, Warren, VT

December 21, 2014

younger bro-5793B

Jim, my younger brother, passed away on 12/13/14, following complications in the treatment of a recently discovered CNS lymphoma. He was (is) an amazing soul, and leaves a HUGE legacy of caring for others.

He came back home after college to live with our parents, and stayed on to care for them following their retirements. He always said that it was an easy decision, and man of few words that he was, would basically just say ” ..well they took care of me..”.

Likewise, I may never forget the care he took, right before his final operation, to arrange continued snow plowing services for his elderly customers, AT THE NOMINAL RATES HE CHARGED.

Family and friends were important to him, and it seems that if you became his friend, you had him, like family, for life.

And he loved the outdoors with a passion, to the extent that he never seriously considered a career track which would have kept him indoors.

The photo above is from a road trip he and I took six years ago – it was the first one I thought of for this post, showing as it does a man comfortable and perhaps at peace with himself.

R.I.P., bro – you were and are loved deeply, by the many whose lives you touched.

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