It’s been nice to see a few comments from people about our mutual friend Bob Liddell after his passing a couple weeks ago. It’s good to know that I wasn’t alone in my remembrances of him, or the time we all shared. I want to share another email I received from a friend of Bob’s, as well. This is from Ellen Honey, who is an associate publisher for Chesapeake Bay Magazine:
“I started to write all this on the blog and then it became so intensely personal I was not sure it was appropriate. I remember that Nor’easter time you are describing very well-it was a powerful time in the marine industry for all of us. Ira and I had been friends for years and he introduced me to Donna. She and I worked together so often and so well that advertisers asked if we were related or if our publications were owned by the same company! In those days, I always felt welcome in the Nor’easter offices and looked forward to seeing all of you.
It was Bob who, at the Bay Bridge boat show, told me of Donna’s relapse . I sat at the Nor’easter booth and cried my heart out. Bob was obviously feeling very useless but he stood bravely beside me until I finished and then apologized for upsetting me. That moment cemented our friendship forever. Donna’s gift to me was Barbara who has become one of my most cherished friends and then Bob and Barbara led me to Carolyn, another dear friend. You can see how entangled our lives became and how one friendship led to another.
Bob was a kind and caring gentleman who loved his wife and was a good friend. I will miss him.”
I think this is perfectly appropriate, Ellen. Thank you for sending it to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about those days lately, and attending Bob’s funeral and seeing so many of the people I was around back then collected in one place again was a strange feeling. It’s a shame that it took something like Bob’s passing for that to happen. I would very much have liked to sit down and have a drink and a conversation with Bob, too. A lot has happened in the past few years that have given me an acute sense of the temporary nature of things. What seems so crucial today is actually fleeting in a lot of ways. It’s given me a new appreciation for the things I’ve done (and the people I did them with), the things that I have today and a more positive view of what’s yet to come.
Yesterday, I was reading this rather detailed lament from older journalists about the death of the old-time newsroom. Time and circumstance have changed things; some for the better, some for the worse; but the conditions that created the places full of energy, strife and mission they describe no longer exist. It made me kind of sad to read it, thinking not only of what we as an industry have lost in that boundless spirit of the past, but also some of my own connections to part of that. I couldn’t help but parallel the feelings of freedom, effort and common goals in those newsroom days with how I recall the first few years of Nor’easter being. It is special to have had such an experience. If all things truly are fleeting, it makes those times that we recall that much more valuable.