Memorial, New York City, October 29, 2006
Housing Works Used Book Café
In remembering Sarah, many images and memories come to mind, because Sarah and I were close and constant friends from when her family moved next door in our 5th grade.
In fact, our houses being next door wasn’t close enough. Since our bedrooms faced each other, we tried all variations of strings, wires and walkie talkies so that we could be talking anytime – especially when we were supposed to be off the phone or asleep.
I have fond memories of being with Sarah at her house on 25 Ford Lane. We spent many an afternoon and evening sitting around the kitchen table – It’s the white marble table that you may have seen in Sarah’s apartment. We chatted about all the neighborhood goings-on, had a snack or two, and maybe did some homework there. We also spent a lot of time in Sarah’s room – for sleepovers and, well, just generally being adolescents. We played lots of music and also went through a phase of comedy records. We had every single word of the Smothers Brothers album memorized, and incessantly repeated every joke.
Also, I clearly picture Sarah, myself, and other friends spending many hours on the small roof outside my bedroom -- reading Seventeen and other magazines about our teenage idols, such as Fabian, Paul Anka, and other names from way back.
Our houses were in a wonderful place for kids to grow up and I have great memories of how we enjoyed the area. In the summers – sailing around the Sound in little boats, skinny dipping at night with trails of beautiful phosphorescent, and often with their dog Haywire chasing us and wanting to join. We walked around the neighborhood late at night, laughing ourselves to tears at every kind of silliness.
During our high school years, I remember our carpool. Sarah and I competed on who could sleep the longest – not getting out of bed until the car came up the driveway. In the car, we finished dressing and tied our ties (yes, we wore ties as part of our uniform.)
In high school, we spent many, many hours at the library doing research. Actually, many of those “library” hours were really spent driving every conceivable route between home and the library. As we meandered through the curvy, back streets of town, we loved being able to drive, and, as we did, we loved dreaming about our futures.
Our senior year, we had to do a large research paper on an American author. Sarah chose e.e. cummings – an individualistic writer, and a choice reflecting Sarah’s growing into her own distinct individualism.
Overall, when I think of Sarah, one phrase comes to mind – “Dare to be Different”. In her college days, she dared to be quite different – coming home from college with purple hair. And one day, riding home on her own huge motorcycle!! Can’t you picture Sarah, at about 5 feet tall, driving a full-size motorcycle?
Over the years, the purple hair, motorcycles and other unique decisions faded. But Sarah still “dared” to be herself. Nor was she concerned whether she was “different” or not. There were never any “airs” about Sarah. Just down-to-earth Sarah. She was self-confident, knew what she liked and didn’t, and wasn’t timid about her opinions and principles. In fact, I suspect that for each of us here, who all became friends with Sarah through different avenues -- like through her work, walking her dog, her art, or as family – that through all these different ways, we always knew exactly where she stood on various subjects. We knew her strong opinions on national politics, on New York issues, on art and artists, and many other topics.
Remembering Sarah, I think of her best qualities: her strong individualism, her cheerfulness in spite of all her adversity, her persistent caring for others, her sense of humor, and her just good fun nature!
For the past couple years, I remember Sarah with her beloved dog Luna. She adored dogs, and Sparky, and then Luna were true joys in her life. I will always remember Luna bounding in to her after being taken for a walk, and Sarah receiving her with a beaming, radiant smile, and yelling “Incoming”. An imaginative phrase, exactly describing the picture of Luna leaping enthusiastically toward her.
And now, very sadly, I have to imagine St. Peter receiving Sarah, such a strong and distinctive person, and he’ll have a beaming, radiant smile and be saying “Incoming”.
Sarah, I miss you.