Captain Robin Walbridge
As this year draws to a close, I want to use the occasion to honor the memory of two men,
father and son.
The father is Howard E. Walbridge (1917-2008). A bomber pilot and veteran of World War II, he became a counselor with people who were blind and visually handicapped; it
was in that capacity that he was my colleague and my first mentor as a counselor. He was the first counselor to allow me to sit in on his sessions and learn by observing. I appreciated his wisdom and experience, and his willingness to share what he knew. I
learned a lot from this decent and thoughtful man.
The son is Robin Walbridge (1949-2012); I knew him, briefly, as “Robert”, when he was 20 years old. We worked side-by-side during my brief career as a snowplow operator, working for his father through the post-Christmas Great Snowstorm of 1969 in Vermont. He told his father afterward (correctly, I believe) that if I continued to plow snow
for him, I would soon burn out the clutch on Howard’s jeep.
As I learned from the news this year, Robert/Robin went on to become a sailor and, eventually, captain of the replica ship HMS Bounty, originally built for the movie Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando. It was Captain Walbridge who made the fateful decision to take the Bounty out to sea in the face of Hurricane Sandy, thinking that this course of action gave a better chance of riding out the storm. By all accounts a good man
and a devoted captain, he deserved a long life and a far better fate than going down with his ship.
Father and son, both courageous and self-effacing men. May they rest in peace.
Today’s puzzle answer is something Howard Walbridge often said about his advice.