Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Flag Day!

In the late summer before my freshman year in high school, I went to Band Camp. Not the kind from American Pie - this was the week before school started when the marching band would get its shit together. Learn choreography, music, commands, etc. I wasn't going to march the clarinet (which is what I played during concert season) - oh, no. I was talked into marching the xylophone. Carrying it and everything. I was such a dolt.

The fun part about lugging around 75 lbs of bars you hit with sticks was that I got to be in the drum section. With the cool people. All of the weird-yet-fun woodwind folks (oboe, bassoon, etc) played the cymbals, and the drummers were total studs. It was there, in the drum section, that I met my Very First Boyfriend, Rob Brese. He was a Junior, and I was smitten.

I remember only strange, random things. He loved The Smiths. He wore a trenchcoat all the time. He wanted a black rose for his lapel at homecoming. His birthday was on Flag Day. It went the way all young high school romances go - after close to a year it just wasn't working, and we were both still growing into who we would become. It didn't end well.

Many years later, I'm living in NY with my wonderful husband. Sometimes, when I can't sleep, I'll just poke around on the internets for nothing in particular. View odd youtube videos, look up random people I went to school with, look at satellite photos of various old neighborhoods, etc. One night I looked up Rob. I thought, "what the hell," and sent him an email. And he wrote back.

Remarkably enough, we had both grown into pretty similar people. There were no bad feelings - how can there be once you've matured enough to realize that the younger you just didn't know what was going on. It was fun to get to know him as an adult, and we became IM friends.

Then, one evening back in 2004, his mother posted a message to his IM list of addresses that he'd been in a motorcycle accident. After some time in the ICU, it looked like he was beginning to recover from his massive, horrible injuries. And then he passed away. I remember my friend Pam leaving a voice mail message that I retrieved when Joe and I returned from a Memorial Day camping trip. I called her, and we talked for a while - it was odd and very, very sad.

I didn't know the details surrounding the accident, so I searched for his name. And I found Snark. She and her friends provided me with wonderful stories about Rob and his life. And then I started poking around her site a bit. Then a bit more. I finally met Lorena in person last year, and it was as if we'd always known each other. This fall, I'm looking forward to a house packed full of knitting, drinking, laughing ladies (and so is Joe, I might add).

Thanks to the web of people who loved Rob, I have come in contact with so many wonderful, lovely souls. Tonight I raise a glass to Rob, who touched my life in ways I'd never imagine when we met over twenty years ago.

Here's to you, Rob. Happy Birthday.


Eric K. said...
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Lorena said...


Here's to you, Rob!

Pam said...

A nice tribute to Rob. Thanks for sharing.

idyllicchick said...

I always forget that I met you through Rob, because he didn't introduce us himself. Heh, and sometimes I forget that I haven't actually met you! =) Can't wait to! And thanks for giving me the 'drinking' link! =)

jacquieblackman said...

It's strange that a story with a sad ending can fill one with such warmth. But I guess that's how life is, huh?

Here's to you, Rob! :raises glass::