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a centenarian’s data recovery

some friends of mine called me to help with a failed all-in-one dell that had failed with someone they help to keep track of. and he turned 100 this past year.

some friends of mine called me to help with a failed all-in-one dell that had failed with someone they help to keep track of. it’s one of their friends who helps teach at their dance academy on a regular basis. and he turned 100 this past year. born in 1919. and yes, he still teaches dance.

i met him at his home and found that he has been working on his memoirs and they were all on that failed computer! he was very nimble, kind – seemed to prefer the heat – which is tough in mississippi, but i think he has lived in south america at one point in his life. his environment is very simple, sparse and frugal and found out that he has been a vegetarian since around his 50th birthday. it seems to me that he had placed more emphasis on experiences rather than things. a lifetime of experiences. and those memories on that computer were at risk of being lost, forever.

i immediately took the computer with me and began to work on it. in my mind, i tried to place myself in his shoes. technology is not normal for him. but he is able to still navigate a computer and keep in touch with the world around him and from what i understand, he has personally traveled most of it. i thought as i fixed it, that if i was 100 years old, i would be aware that any time i was living was actually a gift. and i would not want to waste any of those days, especially if i was working on compiling my life’s story. the time it could take to fix a computer could be quite some time. 5 days could be a lifetime, much less any longer.

i had it back to him the next day, with a new hard drive, the data recovered. multiple copies just in case of a future failure. one copy for him to stash away, with his work also back onto his computer. and i think i made a 3rd copy for his friends to hold as well. i can’t remember. i did the repair back in 2018 – 2 years ago this october and felt that i should write about it and tell my story.

i called his friends today to check on him and he is doing fine. at 101 and a half years old. i hope he has many more years. he’s lived through many historical events.

UPDATE! i wrote this a few years back and just now realized i had only saved it as a draft, never publishing it. mr. henry danton passed away on feb 9th 2022 at 102 years of age. before his passing, he made an agreement for his memoirs that i had saved for him, to be published. from what i understand, he had divided them up with 2 authors as 2 books. one was to be regarding his personal story, while the other was to be a guide on his philosophy of dance.

i remember having a conversation with him while i was setting up his computer and he brought up a serious question. he had asked me what i thought about heaven. i remember taking a breath, pausing a moment, to think about what to say. i said a few things that had come to mind, then asked him if he thought that he would go to heaven. he quickly said something to the effect of “no, i’m too old.” i took a minute to process this, and while i thought about what he said, i saw this drawing laying on his desk.

here danton attaches kay ambrose’s sketches from the covent garden april 1946 dress rehearsal of frederick ashton’s “symphonic variations”. at the top, he is showing in the grand jeté . below, aambrose shows (as seen from the side) pamela may, margot fonteyn, and moira shearer in the women’s opening dance of “symphonic variations”. danton had never danced an important solo role at covent garden, but these three women were the three ballerinas dancing aurora in the company’s new production of “the sleeping beauty” there.

i told him that we were promised to have a new body in heaven. i motioned to the sketch (shown above), and said, “imagine this.” “what if you went to sleep, and woke up in this body in heaven.” pointing to the photo. “having your body at this age, full of strength at the prime of your life.” i paused to let the moment sink in, …and for a pointed moment, it seemed to resonate. i finished by encouraging him to continue talking with God.

just recently, i found the photo online. and while looking at it, i like to imagine that this is him, right now, dancing in heaven.

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