|"Yank" Norman Barry Albers
||[Mar. 7th, 2010|11:21 am]
Nico Van Allen
He had three names and your preference to the one you used all depended on the time of his life in which you played a part. Norman Barry “Yank” Albers having been born in the bosom of a reasoning and intellectual community he displayed early in life a measure of practical intelligence and a character of cold and persevering energy that stood out from the rest of his peers. He marched from childhood onto the adolescence stage, crossing a threshold where competition became his ultimate thrill and the source of excitement throughout his adult life. With his angular muscles and long thin arms and legs he was hooked by the soccer game and became a champion in College. After graduation he realized that he could use the same sport as a tool to shape and reshape young minds into competitive competent players. Instilling in them a drive and great passions sufficient to conquer a continent and remake a nation into their own image and establish a place for themselves. For those who enjoyed the enriched experience of his training are surely a privileged group of people, but those who followed at the University of South Carolina at Aiken after April 2002 indeed were short changed by his sudden absence to be inspired by a man who knew how to shape great minds.
For most of us, our mind from day to day is largely focused on living and achieving our goals and meeting our responsibilities for the sole reason to survive and thrive on this planet and of course to do what humans do naturally. But consider the fact that our minds are filled with thoughts and rich memories of all types. So when you think about our relationship between our real existence and those having departed from here, there are three distinguishing categories of human existence, primary of course being “the living” and then “the living dead” and a later stage of “the dead and gone”. The fact that we are here is self-explanatory. The second category is somewhat more complex. These are people who have moved on to another place, but are not truly gone from this world as long as there is one person still alive that remembers their voice and can picture their smile and tell their story. As long as there is still one person remaining that has touched that individual’s eye in a very personal way, then there is still something left to hold on to.
The last category is, people who have moved on from this world to the next, a place in time we all are destined to arrive. No longer are there any personal connections that exist that link us to them. Their very essence has been completely moved from this world. Although we may hold on to them through a spiritual understanding, they are quite simply no longer a part of our world.
My good friend "Yank" Barry, Norman Albers of nearly half century ago still holds a strong place in this world. Discovering only recently of his passing eight years earlier and not having any association these many years, I still can hear his voice, visualize his smile, and tell stories of our teen-age adventures. I want to do that every chance I get. There are grandchildren that have no memory of this wonderful man who played a pivotal role in my young life. I want to keep him and others like him as real as I possibly can, because I want him to touch their lives as much as he touched mine. Memories are so important to families and friends because so much of what we know never gets written and all that we have left are the memories we’ve tucked away in our hearts.
Nico van Allen