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Harold Kepnes still lives and I am thrilled…

Harold and I have been friends for over 50 years, now, and it’s that kind of friendship that goes on whether we see each other regularly or not. We can go several years without speaking with each other, then one of us will pick up the phone and it is like no time has passed. I’m sure everyone has at least one friend like that.

Harold and his Daughter Caroline (the Reel Girl on E!)

Harold and his wife Monica own a furniture store in Hyannis, MA (his big story is that he sold furniture to Teddy Kennedy). As young teens I spent half my Cape Cod summers over at Harold’s house where his parents treated me like another son. It was a great time.

Last year, however, Harold called me telling me he had cancer and was given about 18 months to live… meanwhile he was undergoing chemo and had lost weight (close to 100 lbs… and Harold started out as a chunky like me.)

Sunday, Harold called me to say he was 11 months into the chemo and was in partial remission. They were stopping the chemo because it was no longer working, but he was feeling pretty good. He’s pretty sure he’ll make it past the eighteen month point… I sure hope he does… and we had our regular phone call and discussion about families, basketball, the move Elly and I are making into “farming” (why does everyone say “Green Acres” to me when I talk about it?).

I don’t know what the situation will be the next time we talk, but I sure hope Harold continues to move ahead.

A disturbing afternoon…

I learned, in a long phonecall with him, that my oldest and best friend, Harold, is dying from a combination of bladder and spinal cancers. Harold and I are the kind of friends who can go a decade without contacting each other, then pick up where we left off as if nothing had gone by.

Harold and I met at prep school on our first day in 1960 and have been friends ever since. He spent his life living on Cape Cod and working in Hyannis, while I traveled all over the place pursuing theatre, then non-profit, then photography then computer careers. For a few years we were both living on the Cape and, for some time, we could get together for lunch almost every day. You know the kind of friend.

Now Harold is undergoing chemo and other medications and, like me, is retired and looking back on his life. We had a great talk about our kids and grandkids, our parents both living and dead, our wives and sisters and all the things we have done for the last 51 years.

I won’t sleep well tonight, however. There are things I can’t get out of my mind.