Privilege Blog

For The Daughters Of Win, Or, Saturday Morning At 9:20am In Hyannis

I’m at the Anchor In, in Hyannis, on Cape Cod. A few weeks ago, or perhaps it was a month, my mother’s big brother died. Today is the memorial service. My mother, her sister, and my uncle’s wife and children will go out on a boat this morning to scatter his ashes. The rest of the extended family convenes at 3pm for the service.

My uncle was called Win, short for Edwin, son of Goodwin. He had four daughters, three wives, and a boat, on which he lived off and on for much of his adult life. I didn’t know him well, he didn’t fly, we lived far apart, I was the oldest cousin and out and about early in life. But since his death, in the family conversations, we’ve talked about how he loved Jimmy Buffet, as old sailors do, and with his white hair and big laugh was often mistaken for Santa Claus.

My daughter is here with me, as are my sisters. Our brother needed to stay in San Francisco with his new wife. We understand. Today we’ll go to lunch at the Hyannis Yacht Club. Then spend some time with family. Then to the service, and finally a lobster fest somewhere by the sea. Maybe we’ll be able to hear the waves, maybe there will be mosquitoes, maybe the night sky will turn bluer before it gets dark.

The cousins who arrived early enough last night all got together. I look forward to my cousin time today because extended family is an absolute joy. My daughter and I were still driving up from Newark last night, but apparently the cousins discussed what to wear. As one does. One cousin, one of Win’s daughters, upon a review of her packing, said, “Oh I forgot shoes! I will have to wear flipflops! Can I wear flipflops to a funeral?” She answered her own question. To Win’s funeral, yes. There is protocol, and there is remembrance.

So, daughter, sisters, aunts, wife, and daughters of Win, this afternoon I plan to show up in a navy linen shirtdress, pearls, and seersucker Sperry wedges. Navy for our culture, pearls for respect, and nautical shoes for your dad. I just noticed that right now, unplanned, I’m wearing black Havaianas with a little skull and bones decoration.

Let’s imagine it’s a gesture from the pirate universe.

41 Responses

  1. A perfect send off for your Uncle Winn. As always you will be dressed completely appropriately for the occasion.


    Art by Karena

  2. Protocol and remembrance — what a lovely balancing act. The funerals of our elders (at least those who have died relatively expected and comfortable deaths) are so often also opportunities for extended families to gather and renew the strands. It sounds as if this will be the (happy) case for you — building memories already — (Remember the flip-flops I wore to Uncle Win’s funeral?)

  3. This is so beautifully written, Lisa. Yes, that balance of protocol and remembrance, as much for those who remember as the deceased. I’m so glad to hear you’ll be having some “cousin time.”

  4. May Win’s soul rest in peace. He is missing a good party which no doubt from your warm description of him, he would have enjoyed very much.

    Your navy, nautical theme is fitting.


  5. I read something once that said in your life you should always try to keep someone in your life who knew you as a small child. I regret for a sad occasion but reuniting with cousins and generations to celebrate a loved ones life can be a huge gift to the spirit.
    Be well and enjoy the time with your family in one of the most beautiful and captivating spots in the USA.

  6. Lisa this is so beautifully written.

    The image of your family gathered together to honour and remember the passing of your Uncle Win and scattering of the ashes at sea brings a tear to my eye.
    Goodbyes, like this, tug at the heartstrings.
    Hold tight to those happy memories….

    Take care,

  7. What a lovely compliment to Uncle Win, Lisa.
    You are one of a very few women who just get everything exactly right. Hug your mother for me.
    Sending a big hug, my wonderful friend….

  8. Such a perfect post, what a lovely description of everything and everyone involved, I can almost see everyone at the Yacht Club raising a glass to your dear Win. I am sorry for your loss, enchanted by the notion of “There is protocol, and there is remembrance.”

    Sending you a hug,

  9. Poor you. The Anchor Inn is one of the main reasons we no longer rent a house on Nantucket. Ferry reservations became such an extraordinary hassle that, after getting on the telephone reservation line the minute they opened summer car reservations and then waiting an hour or more on hold, I still seemed to always end up with a ferry time which required that we spend the night before in that horrid no-tell motel. Things may have improved since the early 1990’s, but it was rough, really rough back then.

  10. We should always dress for those we’re honoring/remembering, right? Love the perspective. I, too, love cousin time. Sadly, it doesn’t happen often enough. Hope your weekend is one of celebration and joy. XOXO

  11. Will you please write my eulogy?

    That was a lovely read of a man you didn’t know well, but obviously lived a life he loved.

    xo Jane

  12. Beautiful tribute to your uncle. You had a perfect New England day if the weather there was anything like the weather in Providence. Why is it so difficult to get extended family together except for funerals?

  13. I am sorry for you loss. I am glad you are having cousin time, and learning more about your Uncle Win (great name!) I also think it is wonderful that you are wearing Sperry flip flops in his honor. Your post was very moving, and beautifully written. It meant a lot to me personally, as I just went to my best friend’s memorial service, and all 200 people in attendance wore her favorite color-RED. It is so important for the living to honor their loved ones in a way that connects us to each other.

  14. I’m always curious to learn how families handle funerals as the customs are very different. And the older I grow, funerals often become inadvertent family reunions that I strangely look forward too. I’m sure Win would appreciate the synchronicity of the flip-flops.

  15. Family -immediate and extended- is so important to me ( my dad’s up from the country now and my Mum flies back from Europe tomorrow, I spent time with my cousins and Uncle the other day) and I just want to say I love love love how you write about your own family. This is a beautiful tribute to your Uncle. Vale. x

  16. Perfectly said, as always!! As sad an occasion as it is, it doesn’t get much better than scattering ashes from a boat off the Cape with close family that you love. I remember your posting about the seersucker Sperry wedges – the perfect, appropriate nautical nod!

  17. Your post and family memorial are a beautiful way to honor Win’s life and memory. I am sorry for your loss.

  18. Lisa, a very well-written tribute to your uncle! Proper attire is a suitable accompaniment. My sympathies on his passing.

  19. It is nice to dress for remembrance. For a friend’s wake we were all asked to wear our brightest colors or Hawaiian shirts. Upbeat music played at what was more like a luau. It made it easier for everyone and somehow I believe it rendered the ultimate respect and thoughtfulness. I’m sure your uncle would have loved your tribute both the written word and the gathering. Thoughts your way. xoxo

  20. I know that view and the view from the HYC very well. We set the ashes of my mother’s best friend adrift a year ago, this early autumn, from the other side of the Cape. Perhaps Mary and Win will meet up around Ptown and float together for a while.

  21. Sounds like the perfect final send off for Win. You described the atmosphere of his life so perfectly, that I feel as if I knew him (just a little) as well.
    Blessings to his daughters and your family…how nice that you all were all able to be together to celebrate his life.
    xo J~

  22. Karena – I thank you.

    K-Line – Thank you very much.

    mater – Yes, it was the case. Thank you.

    une femme – Thank you so much.

    Helen – Yes! Exactly. I feel you understand.

    Dana – Thank you. It was beautiful, and so evocative.

  23. Hostess – Thank you. I know you are nautical too. Perhaps this has some personal meaning.

    Marsha – Aw, you are SO nice! Thank you.

    TPP – Thanks. We raised glasses indeed, to happiness.

    HHH – Aaack! No! It’s been renovated! It was perfectly nice. Charming even. And the people who run it are fantastic. Helped me get online, helped us find supermarkets, they were wonderful. No complaints whatsoever, and right next to Hyannis Main Street, which is fun.

    Preppy 101 – It was a lovely weekend, and I thank you. Cousins are a real gift.

    Susan – My pleasure. Thank you.

  24. flwrjane – May you live long and prosper. With dahlias always to hand.

    Sandra – Thank you.

    DocP – The high clouds came in, but it was so lovely, the sky stippled with white.

    Lori – Thank you very much.

    Madeline – Oh, that must have been amazing, 200 people in red. So sorry you have lost your best friend.

    Kathy – It was a fortunate life indeed. We had a great time. Thank you.

  25. Terri – I think Win would have laughed, loudly, at the flip flops:).

    FF – Aw. Means a lot. Hail and farewell to Win.

    Legallyblondemel – Thank you very much.

    Quintessence – Sometimes all we can do is nod, and use whatever skills we have in tribute, right? Hope for the best.

    BarbaraG – Thank you very much.

    Stephanie – I meant it for his daughters. I wish them all the best. Thanks.

  26. Mardel – Ah, we are getting older, as people do.

    Nellie – Thank you very much.

    Lily – Thank you. The concept of peace is so beautiful.

    Marilyn – It must have helped his/her loved ones so much to see the turnout.

    Patsy – Oh that makes me almost cry – floating together for a while. One could take that image very far.

    Jessica – Thank you. How wonderful if one more person has a sense of him, and his daughters can feel that.

  27. I discovered your blog just the other day so I’ve been reading and reading and sneaking back to read some more when I should be working. I love the way you write. You make me want to blog again. I’ve lived adjacent to privilege rather than amid so I have a great, guilty, uneasy, irresistible attraction to WASP culture. Hence the fascination and the sheer greediness which compelled me to click and click on the “Older Posts” link at the bottom of each page. Then I arrived here and, lo.

    I met Win many years ago. I believe I experienced my first oyster as his guest on Cape Cod. This makes you a cousin of my dear Smith chum, Laura (aka Lolo) one of the daughters of Win. She is an Artsy Cousin through and through, is she not?

    1. Yes! You do know know Laura. How fun to meet you here. And thank you for the kind words about my writing. Laura is exactly the Artsy Cousin, the prototype almost:). Thank you for reading, and very nice to meet you.

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