Arlen was a friend from my Green Party days. He was one of the bright lights of the San Mateo County Green Party. He brought many good ideas to our region, including making buttons and T shirts to sell for not much while we were out tabling. He had a great touch with people and I was sad to learn that he had died. His memorial service was a "must do" event for me. All the moreso because it was in Palo Alto, an easy place to get to.


The first speaker was Arlen's daughter Naomi. She wanted us all to help ourselves to cookies and ice cream, which the church ladies had worked to provide plenty of for everybody. She asked us to visit the memorial table, and please fill out a memory card so the family can assemble our thoughts into a scrapbook.

That picture was taken at their 60th Wedding Anniversary party. My understanding is that it was most of Arlen's descendants.

There was an air of conversation brewing. Many were talking to old friends and stuff like that. I ended up sitting with Gerry and Dana, the other two from the local greens that showed up. Gerry has a new eBike. The three of us filled out memory cards.


Dana is also a talented gardener, so that's high praise.

Once we were listening Jean listed off the major groups that were represented. Arlens coworkers from Ampex. His neighborhood softball team. Friends from raising kids and their friends families.

Her son talked about how his father had always been there when he was needed. When he was a kid the guy drove him and his friends everywhere. Later when Dan needed something to be fixed at his own house he'd call his father to brainstorm what to do about it. There was that time he was in San Diego and his softball team needed a pitcher because the usual guy had an accident or something. Arlen had driven down, getting there just in time to do the job. It was awesome. So many memories he was grateful for.

The mood was quiet and respectful. It felt like everybody was in the moment.


That daughter gave an overview of Arlen's life. He was born in Kansas. They moved to Idaho not too long after that. He grew up in what is now the basement of someone's house. There was no indoor plumbing. The family took a vacation to the area in 2017 (or 2019?). They knocked on the door of the people that live there now. The homeowners had invited all 17 them in to check out the basement where Arlen grew up. He showed everybody where the beds had been and everything else.

The lady at the back knew Arlen from the neighborhood softball team. Arlen had been the one that made it happen. He'd gone around the neighborhood knocking on doors looking for volunteers to make a team. It had been great fun for a lot of years, and really served the neighborhood well.

I talked about how Arlen had been the backbone of the San Mateo County Green Party's tabling efforts. He'd gotten a button maker and made buttons for many Green Party positions so people could support the party by making the positions they agreed with conversation starters on their outfits. I got to know the Comforts going over to their house to make buttons for the Green Party of Santa Clara County. It had worked out really well for us.


They were married sixty years. Don't know anybody else that can say that.