A Presummer’s Night Dream

A plush memorial-garden setting sets off a  barrage of heavenly imagery

Here’s the dream note from 6/1/16:

Godwithin7Williams [an engineering firm I worked for 35 years ago] has a memorial garden measuring 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile inside a full square mile grounds including the Michigan design and production facility. And I run into some of my engineering buddies nearby. Men whom I only knew remotely are speaking of my work for the company as splendid and caring, showing integrity. I feel poorly that I haven’t been more friendly to these men who obviously think exceptionally highly of me; though when we worked together, I was always courteous and complimentary. The garden is this amazing natural retreat, complete with a raging river with rapids into the corner of it, all so beautiful and full of life. It reminds me of heaven—a living heaven. There’s a spirit to it, yes of Sam [Sam Williams, the company founder], but also of everyone who chose to take part in his journey. I feel fulfilled and worth something far more than I customarily regard myself. I want Rose [former wife] to share this with me, and I also see on reflection just how beautiful my own soul is, how utterly amazing—despite the rough edges and early addictions—my creative work has been.


Gerry_HermanIt happens that one of the finer persons I ever met at Williams was a tall, bright Kansan[1] named Gerry. When I first arrived at Williams back in 1977, I went to work for the accessories group—lube pumps, fuel controls, start cartridges, electronics. There were only four of us at the outset; Gerry was the head ramrod of the electronics… and anything else that required more than simple arithmetic. He was, shall we say, the brains of the outfit… and without peer in that quality for most of his career at the company.

I left Williams early, in 1983, for reasons that were both idealistic and dissipative. Gerry was more of a stolid presence, rising through special payroll—where theoretically, as a technical wizard, you could make as much money as you would by rising through the managerial chain of command. He retired from the Rocket Shop ~2010, yet kept a successful private consulting practice solving unique engineering problems touching on theoretical physics.

We were close as coworkers, but he had much more structured political preferences than my libertarian anarchy. In later years, on occasion, I’d run into him when one of our mutual friends he had mentored rolled into town from California. Gerry had risen to questioning the official story of the 9/11 attacks—he agreed with me (quietly) that World Trade Center, Building 7, certainly seemed to disintegrate as a controlled demolition. But ultimately he came to his senses after NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology), in 2008, published its report that routine office fires were responsible… triggering executives in the building demolition business to scurry to discover how to duplicate the process, and thus undercut the competition’s bids by millions of dollars. 🙂

Hey, let he who is without “fear of disapproval bordering on ostracism” throw the first stone. The last time I saw Gerry I may have raised my voice slightly, but I never lowered my assay of his sterling character. He was a gentle giant with a million dollar mind. Gerry and his wife, Anita, have been on my Christmas card list, so on the 2015 rundown she assembled I got the blow by blow of what seemed like several highly important organs being reconfigured or removed altogether thanks to a cancer. That can’t be good, I said to myself. Then on a visit to his daughter and grandkids in early May 2016, Gerry quietly goes off to the Great Spirit. RIP and VIP.

So what’s the tie in to the dream?

Is Gerry speaking to and through me from the world where the good spirits go? When I awoke that morning to start writing down the dream, I immediately felt, “Am I imagining my heaven?” Then the rational in me said no, this is Gerry imagining his… and sharing it with me. With us. So I ask you to reread the dream narrative and for the ‘I’ think of Gerry doing all the work, saying his final farewells to the many who thought the world of him and he would have liked to have responded to, and so beknighted, every one. [Also when it comes my time, I can’t help but feel the comforting imagery will apply in my case as well.]

[1] West Kansas. This is serious Kansas: Seems Gerry told me when he was growing up they used buffalo chips in the wood-burning stove to stay warm at night.

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