The last letter I received from my British friend Trevor said: “Am going with my wife to the States soon for a few days to see Caroline’s new house. She’s bought a place in Menifee, south of Los Angeles.”
Then his email messages went dark.
So as 2020 prepares to morph into 2021, I often wonder where Trevor is now. We worked together on the same expat newspaper in Tokyo in the 1990s and he taught most of what I know now about newspapering. Smart man, friendly man, a man for all seasons in Japan: winter spring winter or fall. All you had to do was call.
* * *
Trevor was born in 1938 in Harrow, England, the son of Warren Heisman, who later dropped the name Heisman after World War I because of the German sounding name. Trevor was in London during the Blitz but moved at at early age to Slough, where he was educated. Later, he joined the General Post Office as a Youth-in-Training until he was called up to serve in the armed forces. He then spent two years in the Royal Signals, nine months in Catterick in Yorkshire and the rest in Germany. After demobilization Trevor emigrated to New Zealand and after two years there, he journeyed up to Asia by ship, where he eventually landed in Japan and met my wife, marrying her in 1964.They later celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in Japan. The couple’s two daughters were born and educated in Japan, and now both are married to Americans and have become American citizens.
“It was my youngest daughter who interested me in finding out more about my paternal grandmother, Dorothy Virginia Brown.” Trevor once told me via email before he passed away. “I have obtained my father’s birth certificate in which it named his father as John William Heisman, the famed American football coach who gave his name to the Heisman Trophy. I have doubts whether Dorothy and Heisman actually married. She must have been about three months pregnant with my father when she left the USA in 1897. She gave birth to my father in Mistley, Essex, England on September. 13, 1897. She used various names in her travels.”
A good man like Trevor is hard to find. Those who knew him counted him to be both a friend and a great storyteller. For all his travels, and travails, he saw a lot. God bless the jolly old man, now in another plane of existence and most probably still wrestling with misplaced telephone polls up there.
I miss him.