Friday I attended the memorial of a man I had worked with for 15 years. We didn't work in the same department. I am in music. He was in art. But I saw Bob most everyday and more than once over the years we would laugh and visit together in the art department's office. We often would grumble and gross about the latest administrative foolishness that was going on and how it would effect the staff. The old trickle down effect, you know.
It's sad to think that I worked near him for 15 years and yet knew so little about him. In the art department, it is a given that the technicians are artists in their own right. They are the ones who make the equipment work - the kilns, the silk screens, the myriad tools of the trade and the mediums that we use to make ART.
It wasn't until his memorial service that I knew that Bob was a glass artist and wood crafter. It wasn't until his memorial service that I knew that he had three children (not the two I thought) and there were grandchildren.
I always thought Bob was younger than I am. He looked younger. Bob was 61 when he died, two years OLDER than I.
I feel sad that I know more about him in death than in life. Not guilty. I know I didn't do anything wrong. But I feel sad that I never asked him about his own creations. It almost feels like an oversight since my closest friends know that if I want to know about something, I generally don't hesitate to ask. For some reason, that all eluded me with Bob.
But Bob was a modest and quiet person. It makes sense that I wouldn't necessarily know details of his life. But there are a few things I DID know about Bob.
He loved his family. He loved working around the students. He was always there to help and problem-solve. He was deeply thoughtful, always thinking things through carefully rather than giving a careless and incomplete answer.
Not a bad legacy to leave behind Bob. We will miss you.
All glasswork by Robert "Bob" Varin.