The chapters have been rewritten, wordsmithed, de-filtered, slashed and finally prepared for final editing. Years of writing real-life characters I once knew so well have brought me back into their lives through social networks and in-person meetings. Thanks to all of you as characters in Rollin’ on the Riviera for being on Facebook or at least easy to find.
Except for you, Mitchy.
Six years went by with an occasional name search including Escondido, California, without a hit. I would need to find you for the book launch, I would need you there as such a huge character at the top of the book. I’d give it another try, this time with new search parameters and looking even harder. It was easy for Google to find your obituary, and the hardest words I’ve ever had to read.
It’s been decades on the calendar; only minutes since I’ve been hanging out with you on the train to Munich, out front of the Von Steuben, skiing the Zugspitze or shopping for rollerskating gear at Sport Scheck. I read your lines in the book, living the dialog for several years and laughing every time at the things you’d say. It’s like we’ve been hanging out for years, do the same thing over and over, enjoying it more each time. As tears flowed over my hands where my head rested, I regret that these are the last memories I’ll make with you.
The obituary did leave a family trail where I was able to find you, once again climbing Zugspitze with your beautiful daughters and passing on the magic of Illusions by Richard Bach to your wife — and how she recites the same words I said to you when I gave this magical book to you in Germany.
I may have been in your life somehow over these unconnected years, and I only wish you could have read this book and understand what an enormous part of my life and family you have been all these years. You will never be forgotten.