The streets of Heaven got a brand new angel on Saturday. My pediatrician and Highland Park neighbor, Dr. Mark F. “Doc” Canmann passed away at nearly 100.
Doc and his wife, Margie were so special to all the neighborhood kids. Their yard was the one where all the kids gathered every evening to play. Margie served lemonade, Doc put together toys, and both played with all of us.
It was Doc who came by in his convertible Bonneville to gather us up to go to the Good Humor man for ice cream on a hot summer night.
When I came home for the first time from college, I had been exposed to chicken pox. They emerged the day after Christmas. Although my father was a physician, Mom asked Doc to stop by on his way home. I will never forget that this was the sickest I had ever been. I remember Doc walking in, washing his hands in the powder room, then turning to me, lying on the couch in the my most pathetic pose and saying to me laughingly, “Chicken pox!” The way he said it is imprinted in my mine.
Doc was extra special to my sisters and me, as our father did not live at home. Doc paid extra attention to us. We had a father figure and role model only two doors down.
I last saw Doc in October of 2004. My hip was fractured, and I was about to go back to work. My cousin, Barbara, was getting married, so I took a trip of freedom. Earl did not go with me, as it was the weekend of the CSU-Wyoming football game.
I spent a day roaming around the North Shore visiting the former neighbors. I stopped in on my friend Linda’s parents. They lived next door to me while we were growing up. Stan and Janet told me Doc and Margie lived just around the corner. I called, and Margie said to come on over.
Doc looked great for being in his 90s, but he was deaf, and didn’t participate in the conversation much. It was so good to see my beloved friend.
Doc married Margie late in his life. She was 20 years younger than he. She was the pretty young mother on the block. They had two great kids, Mac and Lisa, for whom I babysat. Tragically, Mac was on a business trip to Rio de Janeiro, and tried to help a woman being mugged on the beach. He was shot in the head and died instantly. Since this was only a year after my sister was killed in a car accident, it hit home too hard. Natalie was 27, Mac was 26.
I don’t know what plans there are to honor Doc’s life yet, but I don’t think there is any house of worship large enough to fit in all of “Doc’s Kids.”