Letter from Frank Handelman


         I drove into town for Gary's funeral with my daughters Perry and Leah on Patriot's Day, while the Boston marathon was being run, and realized I had met him exactly 23 years earlier, the evening after the 1977  marathon.  That weekend I had traveled to the race with my friends Marnie and Fritz, and with their friend Bonnie Bellow.  Between our meeting on the Saturday 
before the race, and the drive back to New York on Monday night, I had fallen deeply in love and begun the next, great phase of my life.  Gary was there from the first moment, looking at me that Monday evening across a restaurant booth in Cambridge,  giving Bonnie quizzical looks if to ask, Who is this guy? 

        From that first evening emerged a deep and ever-changing friendship, through countless dinners and weekends, weddings and bar and bat mitzvah's and yes, funerals. We chewed over and debated endlessly the merits and black holes of law practice,  the Red Sox and Yankees and my long hopeless ( but not any more) Cleveland Indians, the logic and folly of the American left, the right way to raise our kids.  I miss him all the time - last night Perry and I went to a preview of  "Steal This Movie", on Abbie Hoffman's life, and I would give anything to be able to dissect it with Gary. 

     I spent the afternoon with Gary in Jamaica Plain on the last Sunday in March, and he talked about Douglas and Courtney, David's new school, his plans for his spring classes and the house he and Jeanne were building on the 
Cape, all the while keeping an eye on the NCAA turnament game on the kitchen TV.   I told him about my new career move, taking on a coaching position.  While acknowedging my love for track and field, he raised tough issues, questioning my motivation and the clarity of my planning.   When I think now about how Gary regarded me, I sense a common thread in my own memory and others I have read on this website - Gary always accepted me for who I was, yet never stopped challenging me to be better at it.  I would guess he did that for all of us, another aspect of his particular genius. 
 

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