Having gotten in touch with some old friends today, I find my mind harkening back to the past. It is so hard to believe how time passes so quickly, and the older you get, the more tangible this concept is. I have heard of friends who have passed on, and this is especially hard to believe. David was a friend of mine from J.F. Kennedy High School. I first knew his sister Diane, who was once at my family's home in Plainview for something related to the Plainview-Old Bethpage's METMUNC (model United Nations). I recall my mother asking her for some college advice for me. David was also a close friend of my friend Joy Remuzzi.
I wasn't surprised when David ended up going to the University of Virginia where I went to college. I had been guided there by Daniel Mendelsohn, who was a year ahead of me at JFK, and David was a close friend of Daniel's brother Matthew. I was in my senior year there when he came for a visit, and I recall meeting up with him at on campus. My next memory of David is going to a drive-in movie with him in the winter a few years later. The movie was "Starman" with Jeff Bridges, and it was 1984. I was in graduate school at Cornell for an MFA in Creative Writing. I remember it being very cold, and I was glad David had had the great idea of bringing a blanket. I don't recall anything about that movie, but I do remember what good company David was.
The years passed, and the next time I met up with David was after one of Daniel's readings at a Barnes and Noble, where Matt had given me David's information (not sure if I had email at the time, or actually--in old-school fashion--called him on the phone). We ended up going to another one of Daniel's readings in Manhattan, and then soon after we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I was shocked to hear of his celiac condition and how it restricted his diet so much--he couldn't even have soy sauce! I also found out what a loving caretaker David was of his parents who were in declining health. I know he spent many weekends in their house in Old Bethpage, spending time with them and putting things in order.
Another time David came out to have dinner with me in Astoria, and he was very enthusiastic about my neighborhood. I didn't exactly feel that way about it, having lived there for over a decade at the time. He was really excited when he saw the street art that was on the walls of the Amtrak overpass on 33rd Street. David was so impressed by it, that he was taking pictures with his phone and planning to post them on a blog that he had.
When I think of David, I think of someone who was unique. Clearly, he had a great appreciation of the arts, and I know his job involved writing reviews. He wrote about new plays and books, and not surprisingly, he was not paid a lot to do so--but he truly did what he loved. He had arcane interests in writers and film, and he had a great sense of humor. In my memory of David, I see him leaning back in that easy way he had and smiling at yet another thing that tickled him, his warm brown eyes crinkling at the corners. It was like he just couldn't get over the funniness of whatever it was that he was thinking at that moment. I'm glad I got the chance to reconnect with him.