Monday, December 29, 2014

RIP: Richard English - July 25, 1942 - December 23, 2014

This is a re-posting of a tribute I made to my friend; he was found dead in his Provincetown apartment on Dec. 23, 2014. I posted a version of this on Facebook in announcing his death and am stunned at the huge number of wonderful comments that have been made by those who knew him, respected him, and loved him.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Richard English

On a dark and snowy evening in February 1961, at an Army post in Germany, I'd gone to the Mess Hall office I worked in to use the government-issued typewriter to compose a long letter about a trip I'd just made to Zurich, Florence, and Rome, with my friend Henry Bradbury Coons III. There was a rap at the window. I looked up. It was a soldier I'd seen around; he was sort of new to the base. I unlocked a door to let him in. I'm glad I did. We became friends. I have not had, over these many years, a more loyal friend.

One time (before the 1965 picture above was taken near Saugatuck, Michigan) he told me he wanted to be a painter but he didn't think his imagination could be confined within the boundaries of frames. 

After stints as a merchant seaman on the Great Lakes, Richard would arrive at my Ann Arbor apartment with fat wads of cash; he was the first person I knew to buy an entire pound of weed at once. He dumped it on a spread-newspaper on the floor for sorting; it was an astonishing volume of contraband to one like me who was accustomed to nickel bags, dime bags. (The newspaper on the floor would have been The Ann Arbor News -- a good newspaper; it printed its last issue just the other day.)

Several of my Michigan friends migrated to Provincetown, a fishing village/artists colony at the tip of Cape Cod. Richard, hopping onto a Greyhound bus with another of those wads of cash in his pocket, was the first of us to do so. He wanted to become "a simple fisherman" as he'd heard John Lennon say he sometimes longed to be. In Provincetown, as evidenced above, Richard came to accept the boundaries of frames. He also caught a good many fish. I've had mako shark just once ... it was at Richard's table. I love fish, and I've had some amazingly good fish, but that mako shark was the best ever.

Happy Birthday my friend!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear of Richards passing. I know he meant a lot you.