Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Last week, a partner walked into my office and offered me 4 tickets to that night's Celtics game that he couldn't attend. I called Josh, and with my favorite work friend, BigSlowGirl (I did not pen the name, it is what she calls herself), and her husband, Mr. FancyCancerDoctor, we headed out to enjoy the basketball game. I was a little bored, and BigSlowGirl and Mr. FancyCancerDoctor and I began regaling each other with stories of interesting characters or famous people we either knew or had met at some point in our lives. In the course of the conversation, I told them about one of my favorite law school classmates, a man that had been in my first year small group of about 15 people. He had come into law school as a second career, which we subsequently discovered had been as a multiple Tony-winning Broadway director.

He was a real character. Interesting, funny, with just the right amount of cynicism about law school and its importance in the world. He also loved dogs, and we bonded over his new puppy. He invited Josh and I to his apartment, where we admired pictures of him with assorted celebrities and played with his three pound pooch. He decided before the end of our first year that law school wasn't the place for him, but I emailed occasionally to keep up with his busy life.

In one of those rare and strange coincidences, on the recommendation of a couple of my favorite bloggers, I've been reading articles by Wendy Wasserstein and found her heartwrenching description of her daughter's birth and eventual homecoming. Halfway through the article, Wendy Wasserstein mentioned the name of one of her friends. Her friend happened to be my old classmate, Gerald Gutierrez, the famous director. It became clear that they'd been exceptionally close. Wendy Wasserstein even referred to him as one of her "husbands" in interviews.

I haven't spoken to Gerry since law school, so more than 3 years ago, but I decided that I would write to him to extend my sympathies. We'd once talked about how hard it had been for him when his mother passed away not long before his enrollment in law school, and even though it had been a while, I wanted him to know that I was sorry that he'd lost such a special friend. So I googled him, and found out that he died. A year ago, from complications from the flu.

I'm shocked, of course, a little disbelieving, but most of all, I'm so sorry to hear that the world lost this wonderful person. And I'm just sad that I hadn't talked to him in so long and that I didn't know. I'm so sorry for his family and friends, as well.


Nancy said...

Wow. Sometimes the world is a very small place.

It's very strange when you hear about the passing of someone who was once a fairly regular feature in your life. I recently lost a friend that I hadn't spoken to in several months -- it was one of those things where I'd been meaning to check in with her, and she died unexpectedly from an accident. I still feel a bit disconnected from it all, like she'll still turn up again here and there, like she used to.

Phantom Scribbler said...

I'm so sorry, Halloweenlover. What a shock for you.

mc said...

Oh, HL, that is terrible -- what a shock. I just read that NYer piece yesterday; he sounds like an amazing man.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I saw your comment on Phantom's page, too. I'm so sorry, HL.

Maribeth said...

I'm so sorry. It is strange how these things happen. WHen I had my car accident a friend of mine was working doing the news at a local radio station. He started reading the coipy and got all choked up because he recognized our names. He said it was the worst moment of his proffessional life. But he did recover and kept going.

Piece of Work said...

Small, small world. I'm so sorry.

Jennifer said...

what a very sad coincidence. i'm so sorry.

thank you for the link to wendy wasserstein's piece about the birth. there is something so poignant about new life in the face of death, as she so perfectly described in the article.

Connie and Rob said...

I am so sorry for your loss of your friend.

Even though you hadn't seen him for a while you still go through a grieving process. You have very special memories and it is hard to let that person go. The same thing happened to me when I heard a policeman died on duty that I went to school with and lived very close. Your mind just can't except it. It helped me to visit his grave all by myself.

I hope you are able to work through this.


Jill said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend. He sounds like an interesting and talented individual, and I can tell that you were fond of him.

Ninotchka said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry! That is really sad. I agree with the first poster. What a small world!

Beth said...

hmm. what a sad coincidence.

i always feel at a loss in those situations.

a long time ago, i dated a guy for a long time very seriously, talk of marriage, purchasing of a ring, etc. but we had a messy break-up, because I was just too young at the time to go ahead with it. i haven't seen or spoken to him for over ten years now - which is fine. Last year, I saw that his father had died. and I didn't know what to do. I wanted to express my sympathy, but I didn't really want to open the lines of communication again. so I did nothing. i always feel a little bad about that.

i hope you can find some closure and enjoy your memories of what sounds like an amazing man.