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Bowen Alpern

Bowen Alpern

Bowen died in the early evening of Wednesday, October 4, after a year-long journey with a malignant brain tumor that had culminated in twelve weeks of hospice care. His oldest daughter, Juli, was with him. I had stepped out of the room for a minute.

Our CaringBridge site is here. There are some good pictures on it and an amazing quote from Bowen about what he was looking at.

Bowen loved the annual meetings of The Mailer Society. The world of academics and literature was a brave, new one for him. He was used to mathematicians, programmers, and Association for Computing Machinery conferences. And he was fascinated by everyone and everything. He had hoped to present a paper in 2024 on Mailer's left conservatism. I found a folder on his computer with sources he was assembling. In the last weeks of his life Juli was reading Pride and Prejudice to him. Shortly after his brain surgery last September, he threw himself into intensive study of Paradise Lost and watched scores of lectures about Milton on YouTube. Bowen was the epitome of “Please do not understand me too quickly.”

We’re working on finding a date for a hybrid Memorial Meeting for Worship at Gwynedd Friends Meeting here in suburban Philadelphia. It may not be until January or even late March. (Quakers take their time doing almost everything.)

I am asking for contributions in his honor to the Democratic Socialists of America, of which he was a founding member; to Powell House, a Quaker conference center in upstate New York; and to The Norman Mailer Society.

I'm doing well. I've learned a new word (which I'm sure Norman would have loathed): Grelief. It's been a brutal year.

I'm looking forward to being with you again in 2024.

Carol Holmes Alpern