July 10, 2021

Ken and Joe Rowden
Buzz and Blue

FAMILY FATHERS AND SONS

Joe, Tootsie’s middle son, and Buzz, Easy’s older son, are close to the same age and when the cousins would gather in Athens, they enjoyed being together.  After they married, both of them lived in North Carolina for some years—Buzz in Hickory and Joe in Asheville.  Each of them had one son.  

Ken and his older sister Missy were happy, well-loved children.  Joe and Joyce seemed really to enjoy having them and their friends around their home.  There were games and laughter and long conversations in their back yard. Heather, Patrick and I sometimes spent summer weekends visiting them and having fun together.

Buzz, Becce and Blue spent occasional weekends visiting us in Columbia.  Becce was an advocate of Montessori education and liked to come to South Carolina for conferences and workshops. On several of their visits, Mother was also there and we enjoyed spending time with young Blue.  They were visiting one Halloween and Heather and Patrick took him around the neighborhood “trick or treating.”  His first little costume frightened him!

The photo of Joe and Ken was taken when they came to Athens for Monte’s funeral. They had a strikingly similar appearance!  Ken always stayed in the Asheville area. He had several failed marriages and no children. He was kind and loving, cared deeply for animals and the mountains he called home, and his family and friends were always there for him.  He died from liver disease two years ago and his loved ones continue to grieve his loss.

The photo of Buzz and Blue was taken at Jesse’s wedding rehearsal dinner.  Their relationship has sometimes been complicated and Blue went through several very difficult years during high school and college. He married his longtime sweetheart Nancy, has a successful business career, and they and their children live in New York state near her family. 

I enjoyed reading essays by James Morrow in the 1990s.  This is a quote from his “Fathers and Sons” in Civilization, January/February 1996:

“If a continuum runs from the role of the father to that of son, then in an individual man’s life, he also proceeds (assuming he has children) from being a son to being a father. The imperfectly filled pitcher of himself must tilt in turn toward his sons. I have often thought that raising children is the most civilizing exercise in life…’

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