For the May 24, 2021 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour hosted by Mark Gross and Peggy Berryhill in Gualala, California, we are asked to freewrite based on this quote – “I’m UNMASKED. I’m OUTSIDE. I’m THINKING of you!”
Thinking of Him
He was a magnet. Throughout his life he was the one others gravitated towards. I was in his orbit, even inner circle-ish, and had a front row seat to a lifetime friendship.
In sixth grade, we were the shooting guards on the Knicks, a Radburn (New Jersey) Rec team. Ball hogs to the max, and not very accurate shooters to boot, we shot twenty times a game and hoped to hit five.
In eighth grade, he was the first of our group with a girlfriend. As we all watched West Side Story in the theater, his girlfriend cried on his chest as he comforted her. He was the Man and we were still Wannabes.
We played together on the high school tennis team. He had no business making the team, but through perseverance and a confidence he always seemed to have, he became a valuable doubles player as a part of our starting seven.
While I taught during the day, he was living the dream as a travel writer who focused on skiing and traveled the world to snowy venues.
And then leukemia found it’s way into his blood system, just about the time he and I were mapping a retirement of golfing together on courses near his home in New Jersey or mine in Maine.
I’m 73. He died at 61. I longed for more, but so appreciate the many years I had with my lifelong friend, Mitch Kaplan.
His wife Penny sent me these pictures of Mitch.