My biggest fan, my brother, my friend

Greetings old friends. I haven’t taken the time to keep up with you, to ask how you are doing, or to share my view of the world with you. In fact, earlier this week I mulled over whether I should shut down my blog since I have not kept it up-to-date. But yesterday, I learned that one of my most avid readers passed away. He read my posts religiously when I was in Ankara. He took the time to comment on them. We even shared a lot of personal messages between us. This post is for him.

I most likely met Artie as a toddler. I don’t recall. But I know he was a friend of my older brother Billy and a friend of my brother-in-law. So he probably came around the house. My first memories of him are from when he started dating my sister. I was just a kid in grade school then.

Me & Big Brother Billy

When I think of Artie, certain things always come to mind.  There was his love of cars and that big orange van he drove. I think about how hard he worked servicing typewriters. I think about his love of Tae Kwon Do and how he would tell me he was only a brown belt because he could be held responsible for his actions if he was a black belt! I remember how handsome he was, so buff back in the day, built like a brick!  Yet he was kind and gentle with me, always respectful towards me and considerate.

I was still in grade school when he married my sister. I was a junior bridesmaid and in awe of them both. Like other in-laws and significant others of my older siblings, Artie offered me bright moments in time that I otherwise would not have had as I often felt lost in my big family. He gave me one-on-one time. He picked me up in that van and took me for rides. He talked with me and listened to me. Once he even took me to a toy store and let me get what ever I wanted! Seriously, I don’t think I had ever been to a toy store. He let me get two things that day. One was a slide projector with a kit to make your own slides. When I think about it, that must have delighted him because he was super into photography. The other was the “Magic Window.” Do you remember that? It was an oval shaped plastic window filled with blue and white sand. It provided decades of fun for family members. I think it still may be laying around mom’s house!

Eventually, Artie’s relationship with my sister ended and with that, our relationship faded. But luckily, it was renewed after I became an attorney and moved to the city. Artie was a dear friend of one of my family’s old friends. That “old friend” lived nearby – and is now a brother to me. So Artie and I met again and again via our mutual friend.  Somewhere I have a photo of the “convention of my ex-brother-in-laws,”  a photo I took when visiting our mutual friend.  Both Artie and my other ex-brother-in-law Barry were there!  What a fun day that was!

Shortly before moving to Turkey, I found Artie on Facebook and our relationship blossomed. We messaged back and forth about my Minolta Maxxum 7000 – a film camera that I wasn’t going to take with me. That camera found a home with him. I bet it is still sitting on one of his shelves. He was fascinated by what I was doing at the time: selling a house; taking classes to become a certified ESL teacher; packing up, etc. We wrote of history, architecture, technology, and world views.

The last time I recall seeing Artie was on one of my first visits back to the States.  It was a brief visit, but we truly enjoyed our time together.

One of my Faithful Readers

As the years passed, he followed every piece I wrote on this blog. He messaged me to ask questions and ask for more! He was keenly interested in everything I did from photography to food to people and to adventures. Once again, Artie made me feel loved.

Shortly after my return to the US in 2016, we continued our chats with a focus on my typewriter collection. I did everything in my power to convince him he should get back into servicing typewriters (he could make a mint!) I highly suggested he start with mine! (Tee Hee – a private joke between us.) Our messages turned to emails and then to telephone calls. I learned a few tips about typewriters and also about his collection of clocks! Who knew?!

Yesterday when I learned of his illness, I tried to text him. I had accidentally texted a house phone number and it popped back. Later in the day I learned that he had passed before I had even sent that message. I know he has so much to do today, getting signed up for all the fun stuff in the Heavens. But I hope he is looking down and checking out all of my typewriters!

My sincere condolences go out to his wife of many years, his daughter Chanel, and his dearly loved ones – both family and friends – including “our mutual friend.”

Artie, yesterday our friend said you always loved me. I loved you too, brother. You will be missed.

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