Yesterday Edison Hill passed away in Asheville, North Carolina.
The Hills lived next door to me when I was a child, and for as long as I can remember they were my second family. Melissa babysat for me and taught me to tie my shoes. Michael was the big brother I never had – I remember him pushing me in a cart when I was three or four, and teaching me to jump over the gap in the stone wall that ran along the back of the yard when I was a little older. Marcus was so much older that I didn't know him as well, but I remember my mom going out to pick him up in the middle of the night, and being so worried about him.
I remember Helen tying the sash on my dress, and her Mississippi Mud Cake, and the wonderful holiday parties every year. And I remember Edison swinging me upside-down and laughing. When I was older, I remember sitting with him and just talking, about everything – politics, science, books, law, the present and the future. He was always kind, always caring, but also funny and entertaining and just plain good company.
I grow okra now in my garden here in Pittsburgh, a southern oddity in this northern place, and I remember that I learned to eat it, and cook it, and grow it, from the Hills. I watch my children climbing the trees in our yard, and I remember climbing the big tree above the little playhouse, and Edison helping me down when I got stuck. The tree is gone, many years ago, and now Edison Hill is gone too, but in my memory they are both big and strong and welcoming.
The world is a better place because Edison Hill was a part of it. He will be missed.