Of all the various anniversaries and holidays without Ez, his birthday is consistently the most difficult for me. Don’t get me wrong, the anniversary of his death is always a doozy – days if not weeks of traumatic memories that I compulsively relive. But I’ve gradually learned to live with those memories and to make my peace with them. And it’s not that birthdays mattered so much to Ez, because they really didn’t (though he always prepared a beautiful Greek feast for mine, and we threw a hell of a party for his last). Even Thanksgiving, which was his most favorite day, our most favorite day, has gotten a little less painful. But whereas other holidays and anniversaries bring memories and feelings that become distilled and more familiar with each passing year, his birthday brings up ambivalence and apparently unresolved feelings. I want to celebrate his life, but I still have so much rage over his death. I want to think about him and the time we had together, but instead I spend the day ruminating in his absence from my life and in my own grief. Continue reading “45”


Ezra at his last birthday party, in his wedding suit, taking portraits of all his guests (Dec. 18th, 2013) Photo by Caroline Samponaro.
Ezra at his last birthday party, in his wedding suit, taking portraits of all his guests (Dec. 18th, 2013), Photo by Caroline Samponaro

Ez should be 44 today. He made it to 40, which was longer than anyone expected at the time, and yet way too short by any calculation. Ok, so he got to the top of the hill without having to go over, as they say we do after 40. But the thing is, Ez couldn’t wait to get older.

Continue reading “44”


Today would have been Ezra’s 43rd birthday.  The weather in NYC is the kind he liked the least- wet and unseasonably warm, yesterday’s snow melting into gray city slush.  I imagine he would have spent the day in his shop, determined to make something beautiful out of it.  In imagining this, I feel his distance.  Not his absence, as I have felt so intensely over the last two and half years, but the space-time between then and now, him and me, us and this.  I suppose that’s what happens after some number of moons and trips around the sun, especially in relation to a traveller like Ez.  But I have struggled to make sense of this particular flavor of pain, much less move through it with any grace.

Continue reading “43”


Photo by Megan Ann Rucker, taken on December 18, 2011 at Ezra’s 38th birthday party
Photo by Megan Ann Rucker, taken on December 18, 2011 at Ezra’s 38th birthday party

Today I found Ez’s 40th birthday card, the last card I gave him.  In it I admitted that I was having a hard time celebrating his birthday, that for me it felt more bitter than sweet.  But that I had no trouble celebrating him or us, and wanted to do that…

Today Ez should be 42 and still I feel more bitter than sweet.  I don’t want to memorialize him, I want him back.  It has been a little more than a year and a half since he died, but my sadness, rage, and disorientation only grow.  I become only more aware of how much I loved him, how much I’ve lost, how lost I feel.  But when I found this card today, it brought me back, if just for a moment, and made me want to celebrate him.  Here’s what I wrote, which still feels right:

Continue reading “42”



A year ago today, on his 40th birthday, Ezra posted this “lonely photo.”  It came at the end of a blog post that recalled a long list of things he’d been able to do that year, despite his grim prognosis, and probably due in part to his choice to refuse chemo and to embrace palliative care.  He also described feeling untethered, given that his birthday and the end of 2013 had seemed like it would be his last horizon.  Ez lived five more months, during which he made many more objects and dinners, and took many more photos.

Continue reading “41”

Photo Equipment

ezra with camera

Dear “gang,” as Ez used to say,

Thank you for your interest and patience as we’ve felt our way through the process of finding new homes for Ezra’s tools and machines – a process that took a course of its own after starting off here.

After years of watching Ez carefully and passionately set up and use his shop, it has been extremely sad, to say the least, to see it taken apart.  But, with lots of help (especially from Sam and Rosko), parts of it are now being or are soon be used in the brilliant shops of Seth Rosko, Dale Lord (of Recycle-A-Bicycle and Crooked Hill Cycles, coming soon), Eric Monasterio (builder of beautiful custom racks and more), Jamie Swan, Benjamin, Harlem Built, Samuel D. Newman, Caldwell Sport, and others.  Contents from the bike room, for those of you who knew of it, have also been spread far and wide, mostly via Recycle-A-Bicycle, and with help from Eric, Dale, Caroline Samponaro, and Todd Miller.

For anyone still interested in wood, metal, and bike stuff, please stay tuned.  A good deal is gone or spoken for, but plenty remains, which we’ll try to post here soon.  If you’ve written to Sam or me about particular items and haven’t heard back, please forgive and try again if you like. I’m sorry we aren’t better organized, but it’s a lot to keep track of.

For anyone interested in photo equipment, please see below for a list of items and prices (big thanks to Sam and Matthew for your help with this). If you have any questions or are ready to purchase, please email me at hillcaldwell@gmail.com. Arrangements for payment can be made in person or via Paypal. .

Thank you again to everyone who has helped (including Megan Ann, web-maven) and followed along.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Pentax K1000 SE$130An updated version of the camera Ez learned to shoot film on high school
Hasselblad 500C/M$340 A classic, used for camera Ezra's return to the square format
Hasselblad XPAN$1,200 One of Ez's late favorites, inspired by Jeff Bridges
Nikon F100$225Ezra's favorite AF film SLR
Nikon D800$1,600Ezra's favorite digital camera, used to take many photos and videos
Canon EOS 20D$120 
Contax TVSII$200 
Polaroid Joycam$10 
Hasselblad Distagon 60mm f3.5$400 
Hasselbald Planar 80mm f2.8$399 
Hasselblad 45mm f4 (XPAN)$450 
Nikkor AF 35-70mm f2.8$200Used for many Nova Scotia wedding photos
Nikkor AF 28mm f2.8D$150One of Ezra's original Nikon AF lenses and a favorite focal length
Nikkor AF 35mm f2D>$250 
Nikkor AF 24mm f2.8D>$275 
Nikkor AF 60mm F2.8D Micro$250 
Nikkor AF 85mm F1.8D$280 
Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.4G$367 
Vivitar 28-210mm F3.5-5.6$35 
Pentax K 50mm F2$30Ezra used a Pentax 50mm when learning to shoot B&W film in high school
Canon AF 17-85mm F4-5.6$180 
Hasselblad 120 Film Back$125 
Printer - Epson Stylus Pro 3880$500What Ezra used to produce prints
Scanner - Epson Perfection V700 $300  
Monitor- NEC Multi Sync PA271 $600