Islander's Blog

Yesterday and Today

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I found a photo of my pal Del Wynn at the dump. Del has been dead now for too many years and is someone I miss with great frequency. He would have liked the idea that I just happened to look down as I was tossing my trash into a bin and there it was, protected in a plastic jacket. I think it was something that was made up for a fundraiser we threw at the Muse when he was battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease a few years ago.

The photo shows him after one of the road races that he loved so much. In all the time I knew him, Del never told me whether he was a good runner or not. He could talk for a long time about the fun he had rubbing shoulders with the likes of Billy Rogers and Joan Benoit Samuelson. He had more than a few stories about our mutual friend, running guru and legendary Boston bartender Tommy Leonard.
Del liked two things about running. He liked the actual physical feeling of running and he liked the fellowship he found at races. In the late 1970s, road running was a very laid back affair. And he would often shake his head at today’s running world.

Del’s photo showed up just as the people from a group called the Urban Land Institute arrived on island. They are the guests of ReMain Nantucket, here to help them focus their mission. They are gathering input to try and put together a strategy to shore up a sense of community along Main Street. They should all be given this photo of Del Wynn.

That is not because I think the hippie days of the early 1970s are any sort of ideal. I do not. It is to remind them that the only reason to chase community is the desire for fellowship. It is a word that seems out of place these days, like something you might hear in church, but it is at the center of this thing we call community.

The problem with ideas like fellowship and community is that their meaning depends on whom you ask. The tides wash over this place and change our perceptions, until we are not sure whose hazy past we should keep in mind as we try to go forward.
– By John Stanton

3 Responses to “Yesterday and Today”

  1. Laura Suttell Says:

    Good Morning, John,
    I would love to see the photo of Del. One of my fondest memories of Del and his family was when I spent Christmas Eve at the Wynn home with Tom McGlinn.

  2. Nancy Burns-Fusaro Says:

    Wow! is this an astonishing blog to come upon — i didn’t even realize it existed until I went to search for info about the memorial service for my old friend Paul Madden, God rest his soul. And now memories of dear, dear Del! Wow! My husband, Sam, ran many a race with Del and now the memory floodgates have opened. I met my husband at a Columbus Day Road Race, back in the era when I was working for the I&M and covering the race for the paper. Shelly Hull was the race director and I was standing with Lynn Johnson who was married to Fred at that time. Fred was running in his first road race ever and I remember thinking i was happy to be standing with Lynn for such a big event and then a very handsome man ran by and waved at us. It was Sam Fusaro, running in his first Columbus Day race. The rest, as they say, is history.
    Thanks John! Ah for those good old days of laid back running and old Nantucket. ha ha! “The hippie days of the early 1970s” that’s great!

  3. tom t-bub marsden Says:

    I remember a crowded main st. sidewalk in mid summer and suiddenly hearing Del sreaming something about someone being a crook and some other choice phrases. Then has the crowd on the sidewalk parted to let the target of his verbal assault pass. There he was Richard Nixon with an entourage of friends and security. This was the late 70’s and I can’t remember if Del got busted or anything but he was one of the resident hippies. Last saw Del in mid 80’s at a friends wedding on the cape. I was sorry to hear of his passing I have afriend who is in the final stages of ALS he’s lasted 4yrs longer than they said he would, terrible disease

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