A Lot of Goodbyes
My world lost a lot of good people this weekend:
- Aldo Moroni, who taught me not to be afraid of clay. Everyy time I went to see an exhibit of his or we hung out I was a richer person for it. I especially remember Patrick, Beatrix, my dad and myself making towers in his studio together one Saturday morning. They still sit on my mantle. He was always thankful that we would lend him the truck when needed and kept on saying we should come pick out a tower in trade; I wish we had.
- Michal Daniel, a true magician with the camera, who caught every theater in town on film. He moved to Prague about 5 years ago, and now I am doubly sad he did not make it back for the Theatre de la Jeune Lune show at FilmNorth, which featured so many of his amazing images.
But the one that hurts the most is losing Kevin O'Brien.
I didn't know Kevin when I first moved into the neighborhood. His late sister, Marianne, was ... umm ... well, a force ... and Kevin preferred to stay out of the limelight. I didn't really get to know him until she died and we took her 3 cats (the "jewels," - Ruby, Pearl, and Emerald), for which he was forever grateful (because I think he thought he might get stuck with them otherwise). I still remember the Ramsey Hill holiday party where he ran into us and presented us with 3 knit cat stockings that he had carefully washed in woolite and air dried and wrapped up in a check box. "It's not a present for them. I don't like those cats. These belong to them, I'm just returning them." But every time he came over he would greet the cats. And dogs — the last time he was at our house, Brutus settled into his lap and just sat there snuggling the whole time.
I remember when he left his job and said "Well, what I think Ramsey Hill needs is another realtor." And became the best damn realtor I've known. He became our realtor on call (doesn't everyone need one of those?). He sold Patrick's house, he helped us negotiate the craziness of the Winter Street house, he helped us get Hague, and not 30 days ago magically got the closure on Sheridan to happen. In between, he took us through god knows how many other houses we wanted to see and was always up for the adventure and never laughed at us (well, to our face at least). A while after we bought Winter Street we went though a house on Summit that they were asking 750K for but we thought we could get for 500K (which is indeed what it sold for). Someone in his office asked if he showed us a lot of houses in that price range and he laughed and said "No, the last one they bought was $7,200." He understood our dreams and how we wanted to make the world a better place. I don't know where we'll find that kind of partnership again.
He knew Saint Paul like the back of his hand, but he could sell houses anywhere. He had a unique way of finding just the right buyer (and reminding us you only needed one).
He always got us our Christmas tree. I don't know where we'll get our tree now.
But Kevin was more than our realtor, he was our friend. He would bake us things and drop them off. We would meet up for a drink (usually rum and diet coke). He had an incredible drive to connect people and help them make things better, of which we were often part of said connection. He always had a lot to say about people, without ever being gossipy. He was curious about things — I remember going to Chipotle in Highland Village with him right after it opened and he was fascinated about this new trend in "fast casual."
This one cuts deep.