Today would have been Roger’s 69 birthday but he passed away Nov 09, 2012 at the age of 61. It is hard to believe that it was only eight years ago we were celebrating his 61st birthday with his family and a friend from across the street. Since his daughter’s friend across the street also had the same birth date, we did a joint celebration with a cake for both of them. Initially, we were not sure to have the cake on the 19th or not, since Roger’s mother in law passed away a little after 5pm the day before, so no one felt too ‘happy’ enough to be having a birthday party (What would Miss Manners say, or the protocol be, about having a birthday party the day after a relative has passed away?); but since the friend had been invited days before we didn’t think we should delay having the cake for her also since it was still her birthday so we went ahead with the joint birthday cake for both of them.
As it turned out, it is a very good thing we went ahead since Roger passed away only 21 days later. If we had delayed having a cake for him for something like a month, he would have missed it.
I do miss past years, especially Thanksgiving Day 2011. On that day eight years ago, was one of the best Thanksgivings I was ever at; it was at my friend Roger’s new house and it just happened to be the one and only holiday that he had in that house since he passed away Nov 2012 before Thanksgiving that year.
However, as I listen to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program
I find it alarming that the first segment’s discussion is if people are going
to talk about politics or not for the holiday! Citizens of the most powerful
nation on the face of the Earth are now unable or unwilling to talk about
politics. I view this as a sign of decline since allegedly people who are
adults are unable, unwilling or prohibited from talking about politics because
most of the adult population are emotionally unable to handle such discussions
or simply do not want to talk about such things because, apparently, it distributes
their view of the reality.
The most recent caller, as I type this, suggested ‘just forget politics and enjoy the holiday’; I will remember that as I spend most of this holiday working as much as possible to finish a project that is late and remember that most of the people simply coasting along in life seem to think that everything is fine, which it is not.
In any case, after a pause in writing this, I just returned from a friends house, visiting before dinner with other friends, and we talked about politics for over an hour!
November 09, 2019, it will be seven years since I got word that Roger Anderson
had passed away at 1:47pm and what I expect will be a sad day for everyone that
I got the call from a friend of the family, Ing, and was told “Roger
died”. It was a Friday. I was at a customer site at that moment and not
sure what was going on. The person delivering the message was not a native
English speaker, so I was hoping that I had misheard her or somehow it was a
miss translation. (Of course, how much off could two simple words be?) So I
rushed around my customer site telling the controller and human resources
person that ‘everything was fine, but I had to go immediately to Shrewsbury to check on
something.’ On the way their I called one of my classmates, who was an attorney
in Massachusetts at the time, and put him on standby in case a lawyer would be
When I got
to his house at about 2:30pm, it turned out, Roger really had died. Roger did
not get up for the day, like he normally would, even in the worst of neck or
back pain to at least have a coffee and talk with his family in the morning
like he normally would. So they went to check on him around 11am, found they
couldn’t get him up, and ‘he was gone’. We had always feared that in Roger’s
declining health days that he was going to end up in a nursing home that would
take up all of his assets but never, ever expected that when the end came, he
would just simply ‘be gone’ and nothing possible to be done. The day before
Roger seemed fine. While he was recovering from something like the flu, he was
generally ok. I even spent time helping to get his van running with the
expectation that Roger would go to the store for several hours and be open for
customers getting their comics from the weekly shipment. I remember leaving
Roger’s house at 10:15pm the evening prior to Roger passing away, and outside
of his family, I was the last person to see Roger.
problem with the van was somewhat amusing. Roger, for whatever reason, had a habit
of letting the gas run down in any vehicle he was driving. Normally, this was
not a problem but in the one he had at the time, a GMC suburban I think, if you
let the gas run down to about 1/8 of a tank or less, and the weather got cold,
I think frost would form on the gas filter in the tank, and then you would have
trouble starting the van. The same thing happened about a year earlier where I
helped Roger with the exact same problem, until I realized what was probably
wrong and fixed it (get more gas, then jump the battery and then the van was
fine). The problem is that by the time I figured out what was wrong we would
have spent so much time trying to start the van that the battery would need to
be jumped, after a few more gallons were put into the gas tank. So on this
evening, just like months prior, after trying to start the van for a while,
with it seeming it was going to start, I ran the battery down. Then I realized
what the problem was, had to make a few trips to the gas station to put in a
few gallons, jump the van battery from my car, and then finally could get the
van started, recharge its battery. Since I had to run the van for a while, I took
it over to a car wash and cleaned it up a little. That all took about 90
minutes or so, but at least then the van was ok for the next day.
It is hard to believe that so much time has passed and how things have changed. While everyone had some hope that maybe Roger’s comic book store, Musicquest, would somehow be able to stay open, that was not be to and now the space is currently vacant. I have thought about maybe trying to reopen the store, once I was in retirement, but realize that without Roger there can be no Musicquest and is something that I mentioned about the whole comic book store thing. As long as the owner is still around, it is possible for a store to keep going. Even if all of the inventory is gone, the owner can just setup with a stack of comics, a table, chair and phone and ‘he is in business and the store still alive’; but if the owner is not around anymore, then even with a mountain of inventory is it not possible for the store to keep going. While there maybe some kind of business there, it will not be the old store plus after a period of time many of the old customers will have gone elsewhere.
I have been
fortunate in that I have been able to stay in contact with a few of Roger’s
friends and customers, even after all of these years, and hope to continue to
do so in the future.
first few years after Roger was gone, I had keys to the store space and would
go there for a few minutes on November 09 every year, get some Chinese food
from the restaurant next door and read some of the latest issue of Knights of
The Diner Table comic. (I was even able to do this one last time after the
building was sold in 2014 since nothing was being done with the space with the
new owners.) In recent years, I will stop over and take a few pictures of the
building front, even if it is just from the window of my car, like I did one
year since it was night out and raining and wanted to get ‘my memorial’ of this
knew back then, that things eventually change, somehow I always felt that ‘the
fun would never end’ and that somehow Roger would always be around. Now it is
the later, am not really sure what to expect in the future, do miss how things
use to be and know that it is all an era gone by forever. Once in a while when
I am at the laundry mat or Chinese food take out place, that are still open next
to what was Roger’s store, I run into someone that remembers the store and
maybe even Roger, so at least I know that people still remember Roger and the
Link to uploaded video of Roger on the Worcester Community
Cable channel in 1984. Roger Anderson appearing on Greater Media
Cable in Worcester,
MA WCCTV-13 show Entertainment Showcase in 1984. This digital copy is from a
VHS tape that was found as part of the Roger Anderson estate and saved by his