I met Paul Moeller when he came to my writer’s workshop in 1979. I talked him into taking one of my daughter’s baby cats home. Then later, in 1980, I joined his classes in video taping. He was determined to get public access programing into Calaveras County. He was so dedicated and so hardworking, you couldn’t say “no” to Paul. He’s had some tough years, with two broken femurs, strokes and other injuries. Here he is with his caretaker, Pam. He seems to be kind of wondering why everyone is making such a fuss over his birthday.
After his wife died, Marilyn Pyle has taken care of his bookkeeping and his mail and most of the things Martha took care of. Indispensable to him and he feels bereft when she is missing. She quickly organized his birthday party. Just some balloons, friends and cheesecake.
Paul certainly has aging issues; he speaks very slowly but he said of his good friend and neighbor, Bill with his wife Linda, “If you want trouble, you call Bill. Then you get more trouble.” It tickled me he could make a joke.
Paul is like family and Marilyn’s husband Vern, and his son, Mitch came by. They do the heavy hauling, moving furniture, dump runs-you name it, they show up.
Marilyn thought it would be nice to take a group picture, which includes Karen Phillips, his long time driver after his first accident, and on the right Audry, Marilyn’s mother. I’m in the middle.
Then about that time, Sue showed up. But, we took a lot of pictures anyway.
Karen has a lot of memories of Paul and faithfully visits him every week.
Marilyn decided to put a candle on his favorite cake. Cheesecake at his request.
After we sang Happy Birthday…
He blew out the candle and we spent an hour or more just visiting. He has difficulty hearing on the phone. He rarely has his hearing aids in. But he had calls from friends and relatives in Germany. He has good days and bad days and this one was a good day. He could remember stories and bring up names from the past.
He asked me to take a picture of him with all of his cards. Many of them have cats on them. He lost his cat recently and a stray was hanging around Bill and Linda’s house. They suggested he feed the cat. It is feral and now hangs around Paul’s big sliding glass window. And though he can’t pet it, he enjoys seeing the cat come and eat. He named her/him Roosevelt or Rosie. “I go both ways,” he joshed.
I worked on 85 shows with Paul, as his anchor. It amazed me how he could remember names of past friends while I struggled. Paul is a legend in our county. The Board of Supervisor’s named the studio after him as an honor. And his legacy of over 4,000 productions is an everlasting part of our county’s history. A productive, generous life, well lived.