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What do You, Me and Mr. Paul K. Miller have in Common?

Jan 9, 2008
You might know Paul. I do not. But through fate I came to know some things about him; enough to have some questions. But interestingly I found out that Mr. Miller and you and I have something very much in common. But first a bit of background on Paul.

Paul grew up on a farm. He had an older brother and a younger sister. His father was a generic farmer doing a bit of this and a bit of that. He had some cows and several horses. And a big tractor. Paul knew about the farm and how to work it. He grew up on one.

Mama came from a German family and was tough as nails. But had a laugh that would not quit. Not the one to shy away, she would mount her horse in her dress. Like most German mothers she grew in girth as she aged. She managed to work all day on her farm and eat lots of her very delicious country cooking.

Paul's favorite aunt was Sallie. Sallie most likely was born around 1890 and dressed it. She had the clearest of German eyes and a face showing a heart of gold.

Ma and pa prospered and eventually bought a brick house in town; probably sold the farm to a subdivision. Paul's dad traded in his horse for a bicycle and when Old Spot died they bought a French poodle. The family grew but older brother and younger sister mysteriously faded from Paul's life.

Paul was a piano player and moved to the big city. San Francisco? One can only imagine what it must have been like. Country Mouse going to the Big City. Paul was young and Paul was handsome and Paul could play that piano. Paul was not going back to any farm.

And Paul was charismatic. Customers loved his charm and funny hats that he wore with his tuxedo. And he was good looking. He had a series of promo portraits taken; some were composites of his portrait with his hands on the piano keys.

Paul loved to party but it was unclear if he liked the ladies. Therein lies part of his mystique. On scattered photos we searched for rings but it was unclear; Paul wore a ring on his wedding finger but it did not appear to be a common type of male wedding ring.

Paul became better known and was invited to play at swankier clubs and parties. Always a fun guy, Paul started to drink and was such fun when tipsy. He could play and drink all night. The party hosts loved him.

Financially times were good. There was the retreat house in the mountains...sort of a Mediterranean villa in the hills. A small river ran nearby and Paul loved to come and spend time relaxing and drinking. Hard to tell just how much a problem for him drinking was...he probably didn't admit to much.

As the years went buy he became more famous and took some updated promotional shots. The years were not so kind but then again Paul stayed up most nights working and drinking so what could one expect?

And then, it's as if time stopped. It abruptly ended right then and there. All that was left was the picture of a burnt piano in what looks like to be a burned out nightclub. Was Paul burned to death? Did he die at his piano? Where did his brother and sister go?

It most likely appears that Paul is now dead. I can't be sure and a Google of his name turned up nothing of significance other than there are lots of Paul Millers in the world. Perhaps I will never know if he died a natural death or burned up in a nightclub tragedy.

The man I bought the photo album from didn't know either. He said it was odd, especially the picture of the burnt piano. Five bucks. For five bucks I'll take a chance and see what I could find out. But it came to a dead end.

I doubt Paul would have ever imagined his faded blue photograph album would be bought by a total stranger at a swap meet for five bucks. Therein lies the connection between you, me and him.

One day you and I will die...or at least you will, ha. And when we do, what will become of our stuff? Will our descendents treasure the pictures from their ancestors or see them as junk? Will they take your pictures and your stuff down to the local swap meet and sell them to total strangers like many people do?

Probably so, is my conclusion. There's no guarantee what kind of progeny you will have if in fact you do have children. If you don't have kids, rest assured your stuff will end up at the flea market and thrift store.

So you might want to make some simple plans and simplify your stuff in advance. If you go suddenly odds are your surviving relatives will divvy up what they want and Goodwill what they don't.

And somebody like me will be going through your pictures trying to connect the dots...
About the Author
Jack D. Deal has too much stuff and is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articles may be found at http://www.jddeal.com and http://www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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