Sunday, October 24, 2010

My friend, BOB

The top photo is my favorite of Bob.  It was in our hey-day, when everyone was young & beautiful.  The bottom pics are of Bob dancing & Bob with Richie & Joe Butler.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm in Asheville now & got two messages that my oldest friend died yesterday.  Bob was 80 & he's been my friend since I was 12 years old.  What a chunk of my life.  He was my memory keeper.  He was there when I would sneak out the back door to get away from my father.  He was there when he, my mother & I would go to Dr. Monto, the diet pill pusher....we'd get weighed in, get our pills, then head to the donut shop to celebrate the lost pounds.

He was the only one brave enough to go on all the Coney Island rides with me....but discovered that we could only do so on a full stomach.  

He was so handsome.  People were always stopping us & asking who he was...Harry Belefonte?  They always assumed he was someone famous. 

Bob was there for my wedding, my parents funerals.  He took my brother Mike in when MIke was down & out & not too long after he was holding me up at Michael's funeral.  There were periods that we were not in touch, but then we were again.  He was a constant in my life.  We both knew we could call on each other at any time.  We had the same telephone numbers since the phones in Great Neck were dialed by operators and the number started with a name - ours was "Hunter".

I used to pick him up to go to the concerts at Steppingstone Park.  His favorite was always when Joe Butler, our friend, would come back to town to perform with "The Lovin' Spoonful".  A few seasons ago, Joe looked out at the audience, pointed to Bob & credited him as being the one who taught him to dance.  I guess he was the one who instilled the love of dance within me.  He was absolutely JOYFUL when there was music & the opportunity to dance.

I would also pick him up, stop at Howard Johnson's for food, then go to visit my Aunt Paul at her nursing home.  They absolutely loved to eat & talk & laugh together.  In fact, I'm almost positive that I've never had a conversation with Bob that did not eventually lead to a discussion about food.  Food that was presently being eaten, food that was already eaten and food that was dreamed of being eaten.....usually all the above.   He was sad, when in the last few years, his appetite was diminished.

Bob was also sad when I began to speak of moving.  He feared that he would never see me again although I promised I would return often & always come to see him.  He tried to convince me not to move by warning me of the danger of snakes in the mountains.  He could not stand the thought of snakes....could hardly say the word "snake".

May God Bless you, Bob. I will write more & post photos when I return home.

Friday, October 8, 2010

OMG, I'm moving!  I know - this is not news, but somehow this week it's visibly happening.  I actually just packed my first carton two days ago. 

I started with my books.  My books are like friends.  I know exactly which one to reach for to get what I need.  Their absence from the shelves makes me feel lonely.  I've had some books for a very long time.  One book, "The Prophet", I've had since I was 19.  I remember just how it was introduced to me.  I had just moved into the City.  My friend, Johnny Z... called and told me I had better sit down...'cause he was going to read something to me that would knock me on my butt if I wasn't already on it.  It did. Ahh, love at first listen.  "There are men to gentle to live among wolves" by James Kavanaugh was also an instant love.  I couldn't stop buying everything else he wrote. 

I have many books that I've loved for years.  Books, unlike people, are never jealous of each other.  They are secure and confident in their status.  Although there may be long periods that I am engaged with other literary loves, I will always return to them.

Eric Butterworth's book literally fell on my head when I was sitting on the library floor searching for answers in the Spirituality Section. I flipped through the pages and came to the chapter that told me my brother Mike didn't "come to stay, he came to pass". 

I just thought of how Susan H....& I  loved to read "Winnie the Pooh" to each other.  One of us would be in the bath, while the other would be reading.  We would get hysterical laughing....we were 19. Seems that 19 was a good year for new books.  

A few years later John bought a Pooh book for me.  He also bought me a stuffed Piglet, hand-made by Agnes Bush, then the other characters followed.  Years later, I read from the very same book to my children.  Joshua, Ben & Barret  would all gather on my bed after their baths to have  me read Pooh stories to them.  Timeless, fabulous humor...we would also crack up laughing.

There is consolation in knowing that when I finally do move to our new home, my old friends will be there waiting for me.  They will have brought my history, my memories, consolation, hopes, dreams, adventures and my escape routes to.....everywhere I have been and anywhere I may need to go.

Monday, October 4, 2010


How weird is this?  Yesterday I thought of the letters & got a bit nervous that they may not have been delivered, as I have not heard from Michael. 

 Ten minutes ago, I looked for & found my Post Office Delivery Confirmation Receipt and accessed the site on the computer I wanted to make sure they did indeed, arrive.  As I was that very moment about to type in my id number the phone rang.  (I wish I could print the sound of "Twilight Zone" music".  It was Mike, wanting me to know that he did receive the letters, apologized for not letting me know sooner, but was not able to actually start to read them - yet.  He said he had to emotionally prepare himself & find the right time in which he could slowly savor the experience.

Ok - I rest easy now. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Barrett's letter to the tooth fairy

Ah, treasures everywhere.  This one I found on the attic floor yesterday morning when I was digging/cleaning.  What is not visible is Barrett's signature - "Love, Barrett".  This is one in a series of "Tooth Fairy" letters. 

I absolutely love - like hugely love - our family rituals.  We made really big deals out of events that could have sadly been simply passed by.  Loosing teeth & writing to the tooth fairy was a family affair, as was writing to Santa Clause.  Perhaps even more memorable was writing to Aunt Paul.  I will blog more about this later.