Thursday, January 08, 2015

Earl Nelson Rich

Around this time of year I often think of my dear friend Earl, who died in 1997, in a motorcycle accident. Motorcycles are the devil. But his death was in September, I think of him this time of year because I persuaded him in the winter to let me take photos of him during our lunch break in Valley Forge Park which was near where we worked together at old PTS Learning Systems in King of Prussia PA.

So that would have been January 1995, twenty years ago. Wow. I took the photo on the left during that session, I planned to do a painting of him from the photos but never did. The closest I got was a pencil drawing and a magic marker sketch, which I drew both from life, and which you can see on this essay I wrote about him A Long Essay on a Brief Life - which I started in 2001 and still haven't completed.

Everybody was in love with Earl, he was so beautiful and sweet, but our manager Lisa was completely crazy about him and she was very possessive of him too, which was insane since he was married. She was so jealous that when she saw the magic marker sketch hanging on my cubicle wall, which I drew with Earl's full permission - he posed for it - she reported me to HR for sexual harassment. People are just unbelievable sometimes. But Earl had that kind of charm, he could just drive you crazy with wanting him. I certainly wasn't immune to that myself, but I never forgot for a moment that he was married. I later commiserated with his wife after he died, but I haven't heard from her in a long time. I hope she was able to find a new guy in her life, but very few men could compare to Earl. What an awful loss.

3 comments:

  1. I just randomly surfed to your blog and randomly landed on this entry and the "Who Is a Genius" one. Quite touching, the Earl Rich story. Though I would think I know you well from our time way back when, I missed most all of your adult life. Fun to get a glimpse of you from the "mystery period" of the past 35 years!

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  2. Oh, now I get it-- I'm waiting for approval. I tried to remember my first comment verbatim--it disappeared and I assumed it had evaporated. How's my memory?

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  3. Sorry for the delayed approval Matt - you posted these at 3AM NYC time - I was sleeping.

    Thanks for your thoughts about Earl. Yeah, it's weird isn't it? Thanks to things like blogging and Facebook, people who moved out of our lives are still in it, sort of. I think about that with my old high school friends who are now my friends on Facebook - I missed most of their adult lives.

    Life is weird...

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