Monday, December 28, 2015

My Pal .... Andy

Sorrow doesn’t begin to express the way I feel about the death of my dear dear friend Andy Stein.  He always described us as the same person but he had male attributes, which I did not. At the very least, we were soul mates.  As with so many political friends, I can’t even remember when we met because it always felt like forever.  Our meeting was probably around 1976, 77, or 78.  Who knows.  Once we connected,  time didn’t matter. 
Andy lived in a two bedroom apartment Santa Monica, three blocks from the beach.  He probably paid $2.00 a month for it.  OK not $2.00 but something close to it because people like us look until we find something we want and then we negotiate a price.  At some point in the last few years, when he was feeling a financial pinch, he got a roommate, who probably paid $1.50 of the $2.00. 

He was very active until some years ago when he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, which slowed him down but did not stop him from living his life.  Whenever we were together in LA We had a ritual. We would have breakfast in at Cora’s, a little cafe in Santa Monica.  We ate until we were sick at which time we would go for a walk on the beach.  It gave us a chance to catch up without the distraction of food.  Last winter when we were visiting and we were on the walk part of the ritual he told me that if he ever felt like he no longer had control of his life, he was out of here.  “Don’t be an idiot” I said and let it go.  That night, like whenever Jordan performed, he was there.  He never missed a performance even though most were in the evening and it wasn’t easy for him to get there.  He never missed an opportunity to have a laugh and make a friend happy.

A few months ago, when we were meeting at Cora’s he was late. Andy was never late.   After a half hour or so he called to apologize and say that he wasn’t going to make it because he had a stroke and was in the hospital  He did not want company.  Ordinarily I would have ignored what he wanted,  but this time he sounded serious, so I didn’t go to the hospital. We talked a few times before I travelled east and always kept in touch. Sometimes he sounded upbeat but sometimes he sounded really down in the dumps.  The last time we spoke I told him I was coming to LA for there months and I wanted him to come and speak to the class I was going to teach.  Yesterday I sent him the syllabus and asked him to comment.  He didn’t return my call.  This morning Dennis called me to say Andy had committed suicide.  After I could see through my tears I opened his text which said,

So long as the subject, and went on
So long it’s been good to know yuh” sung to the tune of the old Woody Guthrie song.
So long it’s been good to know yuh,
This tired kidney of mine refuses to work,
And I gotta be moving along.

Sleep peacefully  my friend. I wish it had been possible for the people who adored you to make these past few years less painful for you

We're just sayin'.... Iris

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While I never had the privilege to meet Andy in person, I knew him online, as we would converse about basketball in a forum from time to time. Our acquaintance goes back maybe a dozen years, and I had come to admire his intelligence and warm even-tempered spirit. The news of his passing is incredibly saddening, and the fact that he had been going through challenging times make me wish I had known and had the chance to help. Thank you for this kind blog remembrance about someone I had come to admire. He will be missed. - David from RealGM