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Sunday, May 27, 2012
A Friend I’ll Never Meet
He was a veteran of life. He was a lover of books. He was, by his own account, a shy man who had trouble meeting strangers. Not a party animal, he touched many people through his blog, “Collecting Children’s Books,” and through his Facebook postings, many of them stories about his boyhood and other family members. I don’t remember the first time I visited Peter’s blog, but it quickly became one of my favorites, and we commented on each other’s postings and e-mailed once in a while.
Last year (was it only last year?) he bought a house and moved his parents into it, along with his beloved library of children’s books, many first and signed editions. He planted flowers and vegetables, baked pies, painted with watercolors to illustrate his stories, and photographed wild ducks visiting his pond. All of these quiet adventures he shared online, with writing that was honest and direct, engaged and engaging. Two weeks ago he posted about Maurice Sendak. Always, he jogged memories of everyone’s favorite childhood books, reminding us of characters we loved long ago.
It seems like only three days ago (but I can’t tell for sure, because older Facebook posts on Peter’s wall seem to have vanished—at least, I can’t call them up) that Peter wrote of a fall and a broken ankle. Now today I checked in, not looking for any big news but wondering how things were going, and to my shock I see that a family member has posted in Peter’s place, that he has passed away, and friends are offering condolences. I can’t believe it.
Others knew Peter personally, from childhood or from work. I only knew him online and never even knew his age, but I can’t believe this friend I hadn’t met is now someone I will never meet—and that I miss him so much.
Peter, there was no one else like you, and no one can take your place. Others thought so, too. Here's one other of many.