By Kay Conklin
Whenever I answered the phone, and it was my nephew David, he would say, “WATSON HERE!”
He was my nephew who had been in my life since he was born when I was in junior high. His mother (my sister, Marilyn) had to stay in bed for the first week after his birth, and I had gone to her home and helped her get through that period of time. (Mostly doing all the running up and down the stairs.)
Having him for a nephew has kept our lives interesting. He was stationed in Germany while in the U.S. Army. I remember the day he came home because that’s when our dad died, and we were all at the funeral home that evening. And while I was standing up front, he walked in the room. To me, he looked exactly like Tony Orlando. He had matured a lot during his time in the service.
After George and I were retired, he often called us and wanted us to go somewhere with him. He would pick us up in his shiny black car and when we left, I never knew exactly when we would be getting back home. Last fall, on the last nice day of the season, he appeared at our door one morning and said, “Come on, let’s go. The leaves are beautiful, and we need to go out and see them.” Eventually, he drove us to where George had built a cabin that someone destroyed. It was the first time we got out of a car and walked along the road to see the creek, as well as what was left of our 3 acres of beauty we had called our “Cabin in the Woods.”
I should be writing about the trip we took to Florida when we stopped to eat at a Cracker Barrel, and I was looking around at their stuff, and out he stepped from behind the other aisle and said, “I think you should buy that, Kay!” I was shocked to see him there. I didn’t know he was in Florida, let alone in the same place we had picked for supper. He and our daughter, Cathy, had arranged that big surprise.
While recently reading an old journal, I ran onto the time he rented a small bus and took all his aunts and uncles to see all of the houses we had moved into and out of in our growing up years. Before lunch, we saw the four houses where the oldest four of us had been born. They were all in the area of Johnstown, Centerburg and Sunbury. After lunch, we found the houses where we lived when the remaining three were born in hospitals.
I have lots of other stories of my nephew but need to have some closure and write about the phone call I got in the very early morning on this past May 11. That’s when I was told that David had died. They found him sitting in his chair in his home.
There had been no warning, that I know of, that this would happen to him. I guess it was his heart. Just six months before that, his son had died. His name was Nick, the same Nick I wrote an article about on Nov. 30, 2022.
The following were some words that were written about David in a handout at his funeral.
“He believed that every morning was a gift from God of a brand new unused day that we needed to make the most of, knowing that we have more yesterdays than we have tomorrows.”
I know I am going to miss my nephew, David. Especially when the phone rings and I know I will never again hear his words: “WATSON HERE!”
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.