REMEMBERING ED NEWMAN
My good friend Ed Newman went from flesh to Spirit on October 2, 1990. I still think about him often after all these years. I especially think about the time he made me feel so special.
I first met Ed at work many years before he died. I liked Ed and he liked me. Of course being real men we could not say this. It’s uncomfortable for a real man to say to another real man, “I like you.” As real men, we expressed our affection for each other through joking and harmless insults. Ed had a quick wit. His jokes and insults were always funnier than mine.
Back in the day before political correctness hijacked harmless humor, Ed made funny comments and insults about my color. I knew Ed wasn’t a racist and his words were all in fun.
I got even with Ed in another way since his wit was greater than mine. I looked up Ed’s home address, and then paid for a six-month subscription to Contrast, a newspaper serving the black community. Ed admitted that I got him good. His jokes about my color soon stopped after he started receiving Contrast.
About five years before he died, Ed was off sick from work. He had a tumor on his spine. Doctors removed the tumor, but Ed lost the use of his legs.
I would visit Ed at his home after the hospital released him. I would offer to take him out in his wheelchair. He refused because he felt ashamed over not being able to walk. Many places back then were not wheelchair accessible as much as they are now. For five years Ed stayed in his apartment, mostly in his bed.
Ed was always cheerful when I went to see him. Never once did he complain about his situation. He always had something funny to say. I knew that behind that smiling face was a deep, dark depression, but he never mentioned it and neither did I.
Ed used to have me pick up books for him, mostly biographies. He loved reading biographies. We would discuss the various books he was reading. In doing so I learned a lot about Ed’s life.
There was one thing that Ed did to me that made me feel special when he did it, and still makes me feel special to this day. Tears come when I think about it.
Ed was born in Liverpool, England, and came to Canada after finishing school. He loved soccer. He played soccer while growing up in England, and played after he came to Canada. He also loved watching soccer.
One time I visited Ed and he was watching a World Cup soccer game. England was one of the teams playing. The instant I walked into his bedroom, he reached for the remote control and turned off the television.
“Ed,” I said, “what are you doing? You love soccer. You don’t have to turn the game off because of me.”
And Ed said, “Johnston, you’re more important than a soccer game.”
Thanks Ed, wherever you are, thank you.