In Memoriam

Eulogy for the Memorial Service

Most of you here today knew and loved Damon as a splendid man. I knew and loved him as a placid infant, a curious toddler, a high spirited little boy, an irrepressible teenager, and finally as an adult and very good friend.

Baby Damon

Memories abound. I remember the day he fell into the cesspool! We burned every stitch he had been wearing -- and he spent the afternoon in the tub.

I remember the day when stretched out on our tummies under the tree, I read "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" aloud. "Read it again, Mom," he said.

I remember the first cowboy he ever drew. His drawing instrument: a straight pin; his canvas: my mahogany piecrust table.

And I remember the day when we lived in the college housing project when he and a chum opened the spigots of eight 50-gallon drums of heating oil and watched with glee as it trickled down the hill.

I remember Children's Day at Sunday School in Troy, New York. Damon marched onto the stage and loudly proclaimed, "I'm not gonna say my 'pome' loud and clear like those other kids." His muttered performance took about l0 seconds!

And I remember the now legendary watertower incident that brought the Westerville gendarmes to our door. Damon's punishment for painting his class numerals on the tower: a blistering summer in an Ohio cornfield earning $85 to reimburse the town fathers. We ate a lot of corn that summer!

And then suddenly he was l8 and off to Yale, and too many years passed before we reconnected in California. That was the beginning of a kind of collaboration. Damon was Rodgers -- I was Hart -- or vice versa. I edited or wrote the children's books; he illustrated them. Together, with the aid of the incomparable Linda, we collaborated on glorious birthdays, holidays, and vacations. There was the annual February "Games Day," an eight-hour marathon during which we played all the new games for which there had not been time on Christmas Day. I provided the snacks; Damon provided the laughter.

And, of course, our greatest collaboration was on his father's book "Laughter and Tears." It required joint creative efforts, joint decision-making, and joint satisfaction in the knowledge of a project conceived and accomplished with great heart and enthusiasm.

With whom shall I now collaborate? Who will lead me to wonderful books and films? Who will relish sharing the latest jokes and anecdotes? Who will agree with my liberal political views? Who will keep me on my maternal and intellectual toes?

Dear daughter and sons here today, the shoes you are already trying to fill are large indeed. Yet you have already demonstrated that you are willing to try -- with your patience, with your grace, and with your abundant good humor. Damon would say, "Great job, guys," and I will say, "Thank you Courtney, Jason, Matthew, and Timothy from the bottom of a fragile heart."

Betty Lou Kratoville