Sunday, August 9, 2009

post 35th reunion reflections

I found the trib site a few nights ago. Like Schrodinger's cat experiment, discovery brought certainty to the unknown, alive just moments ago. And it seemed like just moments ago....

He sat next to me in home room. His gift for art was off the scale, and our senses of humor fed each other. I was honored to be credited with some of the ideas that got 'inked, writ, drawed' as he'd say. But between home room and Latin classes, we'd mix it up pretty good, test our Marx brothers repartee, and banter with Eugene. It was either the summer of '74 or '75, I wanted to commission him to draw the fellowship characters from the LOTR. I had been reading it again and again each August in the 70's, and if ANYONE could capture and cast the characters correctly, he could. He said he hadn't read it, but describe them, and he'd give it a shot. It was pen and simple paper, but it rocked, of course. Captured out of thin air, and my weak descriptions of the characters, but they appeared powerful on paper.

I saw him once more a few years later, he was pretty excited, to the effect of: 'you have no idea what came after that simple drawing. I was intrigued enough to read the LOTR. I was hooked, man. It was all I could draw. And that turned into my own drawings. I turned that into a job, there's a real demand for this stuff, its just snowballed beyond the imagination.' I don't know what I mustered up in response, something lame like 'great, glad you had fun with it'. He'd have gotten there anyway, one way or another - the talent was too great, and his cartooning path had been pointed there for a long time, but I think we often can't see a paths direction while we're still on the journey. I didn't give it another thought, regrettably, until the other night - a classmate I wish we had connected with. I was thinking that after the 35th reunion. It had been too long - and we had indeed laughed hard and often back then. That's so for a lot of our old friends and acquaintances. We don't have to stay disconnected, and the energy required to reach out has never been lower - given the internet.

So last week I went looking for him, wanting to commission a cartoon. I wanted to ask if he would do a caricature of our class, like he used to do in the Mirror. And I found Dennis Mize on the web. He'd been very busy all of these years, and his tribute site is clearly a testament to that. I'm very sorry we never re-connected, and hope sharing this helps us bridge other connections that we can still make. We have several of his Mirror-published drawings from 70-74, on the site,I hope we can get some more. Peace to Dennis.....

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