Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Should You Ever Need To Find Your Way Home

I'm sitting here hoping for a sign from my friend Hank about what to write. After all, he died four year ago on this very day, and he was a writer and I'm hoping he's got some pull so that he can come down here and do some abracadraba stuff or at the very least, make the lights flicker. Instead of writing a moving eulogy, I'm feeling like it might be a good idea to assuage my grief by eating an entire carton of ice-cream for breakfast except that it would require me to leave the house and that's too hard. On the day that he died, I found myself in the exact same position -- unable to think of anything to write so I went to the gym and then to the now defunct F&M and bought him an Easter present -- a basket with a Tazmanian Devil doll. When I returned home, I checked my e-mail and there was a message to call our mutual friend Amy. I knew then and there that he had died. I stared at the Tazmanian Devil doll for a long time before getting on the phone and confirming what I already knew in my bones and then getting a list of people who would need to know and calling them.
Four years have passed since that grim Friday morning. I find myself missing him more these days -- it's hard to navigate the world without his sense of humor and energy. I'm notorious for getting lost and one of his last gifts to me was a compass with a message written in magic marker on the packaging -- Should you ever need to find your way home. The fact of the matter is that the compass doesn't work at all. The arrow goes all over the place and won't stay still long enough to for anyone to read it. Hank didn't realize this, of course, being almost completely blind. We had a good laugh over it -- could there be a more perfect present? My compass was just like me! Hank often wore hats and was fond of saying that wherever he laid his hat, that was his home. I don't know what the hereafter is like, but I hope he's got a hat, and I hope he's home.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I have lost you my brother/ and the springtime of my happiness/ There are no thoughts of love or poetry in my home." Catullus
Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: "We'll Meet Again Someday" Johnny Cash
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday to all!
36 days until The Sopranos airs!


Tony Blundetto said...

For quality food(including ice cream)delivered right to your front door in the Detroit area call Schwan's Food Delivery Service.

Chico Marx said...

Getta your Tootsi-frootsi ice-a-cream!

Rodney Dangerfield said...

I'd like to see Michelle's snow cones if you know what I mean. Now Appearing! If you know what I mean! No compass needed! If you know what I mean!

Martin Scorsese said...

Covered in Godiva chocolate ice cream.

James Gandolfini said...

I wouldn't mind having a sundae with her. With lots of that oreo cookie stuff sprinkled on with the aeorsol whipped cream.

Michael Imperioli said...

She can break my balls anytime, anywhere.

Cheri said...

Aww Michelle, that made me absolutely teary-eyed.

Furio said...

Misses her shrink.

the walking man said...

I wouldn't mind meeting the first eight posters (tony blundetto excepted) in an ice cream shop. Cheri and I could have a fine old time teaching you the finer arts of respect while we shoved five gallon tubs of ice cream up your asses, which i am sure would fit because that is about as big as your assholes are. Would you talk about your mother or your sister or your wives this way? Then why a woman, if you know or even if you don't know would you? and do it anonymously which shows a complete lack of masculinity...if you know what I mean?

Abraham Maslow said...

Seek self-actualization.

the walking man said...

Michele I know how much you loved this man and you already said how close his death was time wise to your mothers and for that i have to mirror the comment of the night nurse at your mom's ICU: you are the grounded strong one.

I honestly think I would have been able to be friends with Hank, the comment about wherever he laid his hat, so true. Wherever I lay my head is my home.

A compass with no direction look at it today and see if it has found a place yet, probably not north but it is pointing somewhere.

My dear friend you may feel direction less and unable to navigate but that's bullshit you keep telling yourself because if were the truth you never would be able to point all of the people you have pointed in the right direction.

Today do what you need to do, cry, tear up your perfectly neat house in rage, go have a cup of whipped cream with an ounce of coffee in it. Listen to all of your Johnny Cash music starting with folsom prison to his last one.

Do whatever you need to do, not because you'll feel better because that's to much to ask for but because it will bring you peace and when you have that you can go and safely walk among the dead and see your friend Hank and know this, that as you walk you are not walking alone.

today is a day for much love and you have mine, my friend.


Charles Gramlich said...

A moving piece, Michelle.

paul said...


Tim said...

My thoughts are with you Michelle.
Today is the thirteenth anniversary of my father's passing and I, too, often wish he'd send me a sign, just so I know he's ok. Maybe he does, and maybe Hank sends you signs too, but they aren't exactly the kind we're looking for.
Take care,

realbigwings said...

Maybe it's a poetic compass trying to say home is all around you?
not to be cheezy, I swear.......

May you feel blessed.


Jason said...


John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle
a tragic story and all my prayers go to you today, my favorite Catholic girl. I think I recognize that backdrop and wish you Mary's mercy, champagne salutes, caviar dreams and a sad Bravo. Lovely view and post as always. Loving you just the way you are as always, J.R.

JR's Thumbprints said...

A broken compass and a "now appearing" poster--we all seem to find are way back to the one's we love.

Susan Miller said...

A nice tribute to your relationship, Michelle. My heart goes out to you.

Robert Gaut said...

It's so hard to believe that four years has passed. Why is it that something this tragic seems so far away and so close at the same time?

To this day I have those "what would Hank do?" moments and find myself compelled to reach for the phone only to realize that he's gone and I can't talk to him anymore.

I know it's a part of "growing up" that causes one to not have as many close friends as in youth. Hank was my last true friend. He was my brother. He was my conscience. He was my compass.

As I mentioned to you before, I always felt he was the glue that held all of us together. He was always the "center," the reason for getting together, the entertaining, comforting, annoying voice we all needed to hear from time-to-time. I miss him more and more these days and I especially miss the adhesion he provided to my other friends. I am grateful, though, that we have been able to stick together despite the distance, the loss of Hank, and the fact that I'm your ex-husband and we're supposed to hate eachother.

So, my dear, you're in my thoughts and prayers. And thank you for always being there for me and know that I'm always here for you.

- Robert

Anonymous said...


I somehow stumbled across your page and was very moved by your memories of Hank. I was fortunate to have known Hank for what would turn out to be the last two years of his life. I believe you've seen the video clip I posted of him on YouTube. I was the camerman, and there's a lot more footage where that came from--I just haven't had the strength to look through it all.

I recall Hank often speaking of Detroit Michelle very fondly, so it was nice for me to put a name with a face. I think about him every day and, like you, still have moments where I want to tell him about the movie I just saw, or the flaky musicians I had to meet, or the book that infuriated me.

Your blog has brought back a lot of memories. Thank you.

-Mike Salerno (

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