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.