Portraits & Passages

Chapter 21

blue Joseph cautionary tale

Thomas Gibson - "The White Man’s Burden"    1984

Four Page Spread, "New Criterion", December 1983 issue

If you live with mice, the cat claws will get you.    - Rumi


One day in the early spring of 1984 I was standing outside an antique store on Madison and 72nd Street concentrating on window dressing when Thomas Gibson  crossed my path. Thomas had become a very successful dealer to the richest collectors in the world. We had only twice seen each other since 1964 in Pittsburgh  where Thomas started his gallery career as salesman at the Carnegie International. In the evenings "Sir Thomas", as we called him, would be seen at the Fine Arts  Building at Tech often in the company of actresses in the Drama Department.

Self Portrait  (detail), 1983

Before I turned around, I knew it was Thomas' very British accent exclaiming: "Richard Rapport!” "Thomas!" "What are you doing here; you've just had a show. I  saw your advertisement with your self-portrait.”

It seems a colleague in London, without knowing he knew me, had shown him my self-portrait reproduced in black and white in the 1983 December issue of “The  New  Criterion" it was one of the four pages of painting's announcing my first exhibition at Blue Mountain Gallery in Soho.

That self-portrait was painted at a moment of vulnerability left completely exposed to the viewer. Almost everybody who saw the reproduction in black and white  seemed touched by it. Perhaps the reproduction had more power than the original in color. Like taking candy from a baby, a woman whom I had been seeing made a  definitive last visit. I hate it when they leave me. It was a punitive strike. Bloody Scorpio girl; they’re the worst. After she left I looked in the mirror and said: “HM!” And painted it right then and there. One, two, three.

Thomas proceeded to invite me to have a drink with him and his wife later in the day in his suite at the Carlyle. He was in New York on business. I learned that the  day before he had seen Si Newhouse, and just that morning had consecutive breakfasts with important clients. After one meeting he would force himself to  throw up before sharing breakfast with the next. Poor Thomas. He really was so silly. Maybe he should have been the ringmaster for the circus. But I guess he made a lot of money for his troubles.

When I arrived Athena was attending him. It seemed that he was a regular victim of migraines. He was having clients over as well and instructed me to behave and not eat up all the hors d’oeuvres. Being a head taller than I and rather red faced, Thomas loved playing the headmaster to my truancy. He was always scolding and shaking  his finger in the air at my sorry plight. He too had started off in art school but gave it up. He did’t have the stuff, and the odds were against one. He had no intention of  struggling in poverty. I really did’t mind; I enjoyed his swagger and delight in telling stories. He was Ichabod Crane dressed impeccably.

Detail of Portrait of Jackie Lima, 1983

Thomas was raised on his father’s ranch in the Argentine, Which may explain his seemingly apparent attitude suggesting a not so disguised trace of lingering racial  concern, whereby he chose to identify those of Jewish ancestry for my benefit. These statements always had a degree of undue emphasis and exaggerated  intonation that to me seemed to imply something uncomfortable in his view on Jews. Curious, but I’m sure that most of his clients are Jewish.

 He always addressed me as “You Jew”, and I would remind him that his ancestors ran naked stained blue in the forest while mine wrote the Bible. Strangely enough, I  still had affection for him, and perhaps he felt some for me.

Once his other guests, arrived, a very chic couple, he amused himself by telling them how I took my painting out of Si Newhouse's. That must have confirmed their  suspicions on first seeing my shabbiness. Then he told them of my squandering a small inheritance on multiple pages in "Art in America". Before I left he told me that he wanted to help, but it was hollow talk as usual.

pieta face ashes in wind text copy 28

November 15, 2006

Yesterday Thomas Gibson called me from London. Hours before, I had been thinking of him. I must be telepathic. So when his secretary handed the phone over  to him I said: “What a surprise! I’ve been wishing to get a hold of you.”

And to that he unloaded a barrage:

“And I’d like to get a hold of you and thrash you for what you’ve written about me. I want to go over there and bash you for all the rubbish you’ve written. Do you  know what you have cost me! A client Googled me and found your website saying I’m an anti-Semite along with incredible stories of me throwing up between  breakfasts with clients. I’d be over there right now to get my hands on you, but my barrister proposed a law suit instead, which is what we’re going to do.”

With this threat of one form of reprisal or another, just as he was saying he’d give me one last chance, I made the expedient suggestion of his giving me forty-eight  hours to expel the disputed chapter from my website. He immediately accepted my offer saying that in forty-eight hours he would check the site and ended our conversation.

But on reviewing what I wrote, I concluded that perhaps my first statement contained only too definitive a term by which I had expressed my understanding of  the cultural context of Thomas’s habitual addressing me as “You Jew” whenever we spoke privately. After all, Jews have always been considered “other” in England. It is imbedded in the history of their cultural milieu.

That awareness of difference will most likely never go away, but it is incumbent for all of us to refrain from allowing that inclination to overpower our sense of  responsible courtesy towards others we perceive as different from ourselves. I believe it is in that context that Thomas Gibson forgot himself. For even friends must understand boundaries.   

What I am addressing here is a heightened degree of contemptuous invective that Thomas felt free not to hide from me, and which went well beyond the normal  teasing between friends from different backgrounds. I have had other Christian friends, who on occasion when the context of our conversation warranted its  possible inclusion, speak gently and affectionately of me as a “nice Jewish boy” mimicking the tone of a Jewish mother looking for a match with a “nice Jewish girl”.  That’s very common. One doesn’t speak that way to a complete stranger, but established friends do take such liberties with each other in good fun, but carefully in a manner more like a caress, and certainly not as a taunt.

Perhaps Thomas at times also meant that affectionately, to which I had on occasion responded playfully, though not happily, in order to maintain a degree of equality  between us. In this matter I was following the example of Benjamin Disraeli from a hundred and fifty years ago, who stood his ground before the English aristocracy  and affirmed the dignity of his tribe that brought to the world the Bible and who had every reason to feel worthy of respect and admiration before those who ruled the world.  

My response was a defense against being bullied. I was not brought up to disparage others for their differences. I judge people individually on their unique  merits and not because of the tribe from which they descend. That is what I had wished from Thomas. And perhaps Thomas just got himself going in his lording  over me so that his racial addressing me sounded more abusive and ugly than what was his intention. But it happened with too much vehemence in his voice and too often.      
So my original assumption has not changed. However, I
retract the labeling to which Thomas has objected; though to me it still seems reasonably valid an interpretation considering what I had personally experienced.  But as I am not a specialist in determining what qualifies for an exact definition of racial prejudicial behavior, I realize that that may have to be decided by professional opinion.  

Otherwise, I am must leave intact my recollections and observations to which I’ll let the reader make his own conclusions. After all, if someone addressed you to your  face by your ethnic identity using a tone of voice with a clearly derogatory inflection and sneer, maybe you too would come to a similar understanding. 

Thomas, I can only suppose, considered me his willing whipping boy that he could with impunity address as he pleased. After all, I was nobody.

So, you may ask why I put up with such an attitude. Well, I would have to say that I found Thomas a curious attraction, and he is in his own way very entertaining. He  is a master showman: he spouts, he pontificates and hams before his audience. His pompous and abundant delivery approaches the ridiculous, and he knows it. I’m  sure he enjoys watching himself perform, but then he forgets himself and goes beyond what’s acceptable to the person whom he’s speaking to; he did so with me.

For in my case he taunted me shamelessly. It definitely had an aggressive aspect to it that was unpleasant and repulsive. It went far beyond the slapstick comedy  routine that otherwise we enjoyed, for he gave himself undue license by taking advantage of my vulnerability as a struggling artist having no patron or protector.  Towards me he showed a side to him that he carefully guarded from the world at large; it went beyond bad taste.

But I was intrigued by “the beast in the bullying”. I imagine he enjoyed flaunting his arrogance before me to impress upon me how utterly lowly I am in his eyes.  Fortunately, I was comfortable in my own self and looked upon his making himself a spectacle as an education into the workings of class and ethnic consciousness  operating at the lowest level. Obviously he is still blind to the repugnant nature of his behavior towards me.

So though I can not prove that he spoke to me in that manner, if he wishes to take me to court, he may find that in so doing he brings more credence and attention to  my testimony than if he ignored it. If he wishes to chance quicksand, he may find that all he gets from his thrashing me is to go deeper into his own undoing. That shall be his choice.  

Nor can I explain why he was indiscrete in telling me about his antics if it were important to keep them private. Possibly he assumed that I owed him loyalty while  he enjoyed himself at my expense before his guests. Was I supposed to be his court freak that he could abuse at whim? It seems there is a double standard  operating here: The dealers in the art world feel free to speak about all aspects of an artist’s private conduct but are outraged if the tables are turned. If one is  allowed; then the other should be as well. But the art world is a feudal system of lords and underlings.

I do find it a curious reversal that for all the years of my self-publishing on the advertisement pages of international art magazines, everyone in authority said that  without their approval those pages might as well not exist. There are something like fifty issues starting with those already mentioned in “Art in America” followed by  “Flash Art”, “The New Criterion”, “Artforum”, “Modern Painters”, and “Bomb” that have been thoroughly ignored except for the one time when Judd Tully tried to acknowledge them and paid dearly for his mistake.

When I began my website, it was intended as a sort of archive to conveniently hold my life’s work with my own commentary to give its diversity a context and  coherence. I suspected it would go unnoticed among the millions of sites out there. I looked upon it as a time capsule that might eventually be unearthed long after all  parties were retired if not dead. I always have taken the long view.

So, I was refreshingly startled by Thomas’s telephone call for the unexpected notice that the site attracted despite his threats. Now I’m being told that my words  have weight when for decades everyone pronounced everything I did as of no account. I was just a crazy artist. No one listened to me before; why now, unless  there is something already in the air about Mr. Thomas Gibson.       

Consequently, I have tried in these recollections to be as scrupulous as possible. And I categorically testify before God that to the best of my memory there was  never a time when Thomas and I were in private conversation that he didn’t address me as “You Jew”, and that all my other stories about Thomas came from  him directly. I have only reflected the image that Thomas chose to project towards me. I am a portraitist, not a cartoonist. If I have mirrored an image that he doesn’t  like, it was Thomas who created it. I’m not that imaginative. I can write a memoir, but I’m not a novelist.

I would also testify in the same manner about every other story that I have written in “Portraits & Passages” about my encounters with others. My goal as I had  stated earlier is just to tell my story. Fortunately the stories may prove interesting simply because most of the characters who roam the art world have a great need to  express their singular importance. So it is that sometimes they create a picture of themselves that later on reflection they wish to be forgotten. But it was not I who invented it.

If I am critical, analytical, metaphorically descriptive or speculative in my interpretations of my observations, I am not trying to be vindictive. It is not for me  to administer justice. That’s an allusive business at best. I’m just reporting what I had witnessed and how I had been treated.

My principle aim was to describe the behind the scenes social context of my artistic career, and for art historical purposes, to establish that I was on the scene and my  work visible in various venues and to some of the most influential players in the art world. I have told about our exchanges to make absolutely clear that their neglect  was a very certain choice on their parts. I wanted it on record.

In doing that I may have broken confidences of those who were once friends and who chose to turn their backs on me. In all these instances their choice was  determined by a desire to break me. They were not satisfied to leave me struggling; they needed to mock me to my face, to let me know their disdain for my daring adventure, to dispirit me while I was already down.

Whether consciously or not their desire to knock me from my perch was not innocence on their parts. They were punishing me for their own, perhaps, lack of  self worth or their own failure of nerve, and more likely, their own mediocrity. Once they decided it was too much work to dispel my belief in myself, they broke  from me completely. Before that, it was they who felt free to ply stories of my misadventures to amuse their own sense of superiority and make clear that I was their thrall. Again, I was working against a double standard.  

Nonetheless, these are delicate choices, but I could not have told my story otherwise, and as it is becoming an autobiography, I am faced with how to proceed  justly. However an artist whether in paint or word, when searching for truth, does not censor his work for fear of being seen as mean. The standard we live by  demands one value above all, and that is the truth expressed as honestly as possible. In that I may be cruel, but not unfair.

To make my story come alive I have given descriptions that may not always have been charitable. Accordingly, upon reflection, I have gone back and removed  details that went over the line and which were not central to my story. Sometimes I’ve been slow to realize how insensitive I have been and made subsequent  corrections. But to those who had chosen to be brutal towards me, I have not turned the other cheek. I am certainly not a saint; I’m not pretending to be.     

And to be fair, in my writing I have tried to give the reader a view of what a catalytic personality I must be to have brought out so much antagonism from others  and what an imperfect character I am as well. I have failed others. I have my regrets. There were many times I could have been kinder and gentler. I am far from  the ideal. But I do not lie, not even to myself. I’m just telling my story.

Thomas Gibson and I had met in early adulthood at a very enthusiastic period for the both of us promising a rewarding future. Because of that adventurous happiness , we embraced a consciousness of the other in our memories though decades would pass by without contact for we were placed at the extreme opposite poles in  the art world. Even though I would have wished Thomas could have helped me, his career had nothing to do with bringing recognition to emerging artists. That’s not his  expertise. I wish it were; we could have had fun as artist and dealer.
And though I felt disappointment in Thomas’s need to bring up the disparity of our  ethnic backgrounds, I forgave his distasteful racial address to me as the product of a preposterously flamboyant peacock. I really did think he was as silly as he was  arrogant. I could only laugh at his pretense and his posturing. But though his darker attitudes could be forgiven, they could not be swept under the carpet nor left out of the woven fabric of our story.

Perhaps there is something else bothering Thomas. I had grown up being the younger brother, so there was in my psyche comfort and affection towards older  brother types. Thomas assumed that role as others have. They had gotten accustomed to my letting them do the leading. They had read in my openness the  compliancy and adaptability of my astrological signs of Moon in Gemini and Libra Rising, along with in the playful sign of The Monkey, my willingness to follow.

They had assumed they would always dominate. They had gotten used to it. They may have at first just started out playing the more worldly, but even a little sense of  authority can lead to abuse. They were not prepared for Scorpio/Sekhmett. They felt betrayed. They could not believe that I would say that they were wrong, that I would hold them accountable.

I believe, however, that there is hardness in that approach to which I need be wary. One must guard oneself from the arrogance of self-righteousness. Often it’s best to  step away from judgments and reflect upon one’s own confusions. We are all children taking a lifetime to learn how to treat one another with kindness.

So this is just a cautionary tale for all of us. I had believed it worth telling. We are all recycling disdain and injury round and round. It is time for all of us to grow up  and become fully human.     

Now that we are approaching the descending slope into old age and recognize our mortality, and as I write my memoirs, I see all our actions as a shadow play of  insignificant melodrama. Win or lose, it’s all the same; it will all vanish. The only thing that matters is sharing love and friendship and trying for some nobility of  conduct. To this I say to Thomas Gibson: Review in your mind your attitude as you expressed it to me, and if you are honest with yourself, you may find that it was less than noble.


A Class Act


My friend Gus Brown remembers Thomas Gibson very well indeed. That was a surprise. I don’t believe he said much about Thomas Gibson when I first wrote the  original chapter well over a year ago. I think Gus just said something like: “Oh, I remember him hanging around school. He always seemed very impressed with himself.”

So telling Gus my decision concerning Thomas’s recent telephone call, I was a little taken aback by the deadly seriousness as Gus came to the same conclusion and said in support:

“Richard, you have no choice. If you don’t stand for something; then you stand for nothing... Then, everything that you had sacrificed to make your art and everything  that your humble parents managed to do to let you be an artist and all the belief in your work that your mother stood behind and supported all those years was for not . You would be denying the integrity of your work on the Holocaust and everything you believe in. There’s nothing you can do but stand your ground.”

Gus Brown understands prejudice. He was not born to privilege, but he was born to know virtue.

Early in childhood he started drawing. Then Fortune smiled, and he was selected to attend the Tam O’Shanter Art Class at the Carnegie for interested youngsters. A world opened to him at eleven years old.

Some lessons are best learned at appropriate ages. In the three years of Saturday morning classes, the conventions of pictorial structure presented would become the  grounding of a broadly based understanding of tradition.

Whatever the path eventually taken; that grasp of design and concept, however deployed according to the individual’s inclinations and skill, and whether later  restructured, or abandoned entirely, would be done with knowledge, and not blindly in accordance to fashion. It is the foundation that supports a young artist growing towards self-realization and artistic integrity.

Equally important, that early grounding remains available for reconsideration. What may have been missed at twenty-one may be profoundly influential at thirty, put  aside at forty, and deeply inspiring at fifty. It is the source from which everything springs, and from that comes a deep respect for innate talent and the dedication needed in its development.  

The classes, consequently, were not a free for all, but designed thematically with attention to conceptual goals by which to acquaint pre-teens in the elements of  visual composition while they drew from direct observation in the Hall of Architecture and the Natural History Museum with its great collection of dinosaur fossils, all under the same roof with the Art Museum.    

That started in fifth grade. Gus became an initiate to one of the great treasures of sharable experience. First arrived by shire wonder, then slowly, joyfully earned  with years of patient practice and study, its rewards are spiritually ennobling, as any way is that leads to mastery.

For most people an understanding of that world doesn’t even register and pass it by unless fashion has insisted that they pay it attention. Then they spout the lines  given them and imagine they understand. Art isn’t for everybody. About that Gus is very certain.  

Just because one is born to a more privileged station doesn’t guarantee entitlement to superior comprehension. One has to earn it! Somebody’s prancing around pretending so doesn’t prove it; certainly not to Gus.

Gus’s memory of Thomas Gibson is very vivid. His skepticism of Thomas’s merits at the time is an indictment of a system whereby the old boy’s network awarded a  position of authority by virtue of the recipient’s social standing that gave weight to the holder’s incredible belief in his own undisputable expertise.
Thomas himself admitted back in 1963 to only a brief attempt in art school before realizing his limitations. Yet Thomas’s posturing was so convincingly intimidating to  the art students in Pittsburgh, as it must also have been for the nouveau riche businessmen obviously impressed by aristocratic intonation, that it catapulted  Thomas into the role of super salesman of already established world class art. All he needed was to be acquainted with the authorized opinions. Though to be fair,  after decades surrounded by serious art, we can only suppose that something authentic has rubbed off.

However, when we first encountered Thomas, there seemed to be before us a master in prattle and bluff, his expertise more swagger than substance. Nonetheless , I was amazed by Gus’s judgment of Thomas presiding, as if in state, at a table in the student center at Carnegie Tech to an attentive group of painters almost all of whom were much younger than Thomas.

Back then in the autumn of 1963, Gus was willing to listen to various points of view and persuasion. He spoke to people on campus from all quarters. It was a period in his life when he took in everything he could and considered advice from all sources. But when Thomas started pontificating about some such precept, then current, whereby lines should not be evident where shapes abut, Gus, who has since earned his Ph.D. in art history, had enough as he told me recently:

“I said to myself: This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The patches on my father’s [janitor’s] britches make more sense than the nonsense coming from Thomas Gibson’s mouth.”


01d-Ovens_Womb 85

A Reflection

What’s to be done! What can be done! I’ve already been disenfranchised. I’m not a company man. I’m not obedient. They said I was difficult. They couldn’t control  me; no one could, so I wasn’t bought or sold. I have no market value whatsoever. Now I face being thrown out into the cold. Well. I’ve been out in the cold! Perhaps I should be grateful.  

Now, let’s consider the real story. While all the Jewish collectors were buying Anselm Kiefer, it never occurred to them that they had bankrolled the image maker  and standard bearer for the new German nationalism to rally around.

All the while Kiefer’s message was promoted; any image other than the most ephemeral expression of sorrow was sternly rejected by the Jewish establishment  embarrassed by any nave representation of the Holocaust. Consequently, there are few images equal to Kiefer that were supported by the Jewish community preferring tasteful abstraction.

These same standards were not applied to Kiefer, and as I say elsewhere, he was wise enough to shy away from figures in his wastelands. Still, the tangible emptiness  in Kiefer is fully recognizable to a broad audience, his message clearly audible.

In reality he has made great theatrical stage-sets, for these Wagnerian wastelands are the stuff of legend: Germany was martyred, and the fatherland is awaiting the  coming of new heroes. At issue is whether old wrongs are to be righted, or whether the new Germany will keep these broken landscapes to remember the dreadful consequences of national hubris.   

Ignoring their complicity and blind to the significance of imagery, Jewish collectors were on the investment bandwagon. Their being Jewish hasn’t gotten in their way buying Kiefer. Talk about misplaced support!

Wasn’t it Sonnabend money that established almost single-handedly the international market for Kiefer! What a strange play of irony is at work here when  forty years before she and her husband abandoned Paris in the wake of the German takeover.     

Now some collectors want to get indignant over Thomas Gibson’s way of addressing me. Let’s stop pussyfooting around: I don’t believe this is an occasion  for moral indignation. They are all complicit in making art strictly an investment scheme, partners in the global syndicate that operates as an exclusive trust using art as a medium of exchange.  

Thomas Gibson is a broker of that particular commodity. It is business as usual. Morality has nothing to do with it, unless one sees the speculating at the auction  houses as curiously vulgar. When now a handful of works equal the entire budget of the National Endowment of the Arts, one has to suspect that all has been lost.

These works are worth in forty years ten thousand times what was paid the artist. Adjusted for inflation, and it is still a thousand times more; however one figures it: not even a half-penny on the dollar.   

Best not pollute business with desire for spiritual respect. Leave well alone the pretence in the cordiality of the lucrative transaction. Everyone is happily smacking  their lips while enjoying breakfast. What! You wanted something heartfelt? Were you born yesterday!

Besides, Thomas Gibson is only being true to class and origins as we are. Chauvinism begins at home. Everybody does it. So why be surprised!

Read Shakespeare! “The Merchant of Venice” is a realist’s take on the dynamics of class and ethnic incomprehension of the other and forthright in showing the  damage we do in seeing ourselves as victim. The victim then becomes twice victimized by the poison compounding in his bloodstream.      

My sole view of Thomas Gibson is of his rudeness. I didn’t expect him to be any more enamored with my origins any more than I was with his. His singular misstep  was in vulgarity addressed to another person. Yet spending time with Thomas was like going to the zoo to see some animal that would eat you if it could. One doesn’t  get mad at the animal. It’s just being its own species. In that I’m not sure whether his distaste was for my being Jewish or because I’m an artist.

Having no stake in the art market is very refreshing; one doesn’t have to pretend. Just as dealers and collectors have stables of artists; I have my collection of them.  What infuriates is my enjoyment of their foibles, the acceptance of them for being truly themselves.
Contempt towards artists is a commonplace event coming from dealers. Mostly  we’re a nuisance in their way; at best, we’re regarded as children needing guidance and as little allowance as possible while they take over the goods. Remember  Francis Bacon, not to mention what was left for Rothko’s children!  

Though I’m not suggesting any suspicion of wrongdoing whatsoever on his part; Thomas, after he left Pittsburgh, started his career at Marlborough Gallery in New  York. We have since learned how artists or their estates were treated in that corporate climate. Certainly that business culture has had a distinctive opportunistic attitude towards artists.

But if it is his rudeness that Fortuna is calling him on; I’m just the narrator, not the playwright orchestrating his destiny. Remember hubris has always brought on the  Furies. They always wait till their target reaches worldly satisfaction before bringing them to reality. Thomas Gibson just forgot, and now he is being reminded.     

With the internet, what would have been a lost story never to see the light of day is now possibly poking its fingers out from the mud of indifference in which Thomas  was well content to leave me buried. He was happy to gloat to my face. Worse, he is not smitten by remorse, but only by the fear of lost business.

If he would have called me saying I mistook his meaning, that he was sorry that I took him so seriously, but no.     

I’m not asking for anybody to make judgments. Tell them don’t take my word for it. If they need some excuse in proving themselves righteous, tell them find it elsewhere.

That it is out there is enough. Nothing more need be done. Let Thomas Gibson reflect in silence.  


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Captain Hook

On a lighter, more hopeful note, maybe the abuse aimed at me was only part of Thomas’s real ambition to play Cecil Richard’s role of Captain Hook to my Peter  Pan. Don’t laugh. I’m serious! That gives the best picture to date to reconcile a friendship gone astray. Thomas would make such a agreeable villain.

Imagine Thomas playing to the grandstands, so solicitous in his demonstrations of injury to his honorable intentions by that rascal Richard Rappaport, oops: Peter Pan. (It’s so real I forgot where I am.)

Then, after confiding his underserved humiliation and other indispositions to digestion and hateful migraines, for which he has to take out his hanky to blow his  nose with a good honk; he springs back to exuberance with a glowing image in his eye explaining to one and sundry how he will luxuriate in the pleasure of slowly  boiling the maligning, loud-mouth brat down to the bones and feeding the tender flesh to his pet crocodile.

I love it. It’s so choice.

This is so very apt. It is easier to blame me.


Augustus with hand  privilege30

December 14, 2006

In that I am reminded of Barbara Schwartz, who plays such a large role in my stories. Three nights ago someone from her class at Carnegie Tech phoned me  assuming I had known that Barbara had died seven months before. That was sobering.

I had been writing about her right around the time of her death.

                      All of a sudden everybody in one’s life is indispensable.


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