Those of you who are into the political scene may remember John Orman as the man who challenged Senator Joseph Lieberman for the 2006 Democratic Senate nomination. Others may remember John as the author of numerous books about politics, music, poetry, pop culture. . . . his play Helen Keller Speaks was performed only last March.
Those who knew John personally knew much, much more.
We knew that John did stand-up comedy, and played basketball. He entered rap contests. We knew he had a penchant for Coca Cola. We knew that he was hilarious, and kind, and generous. We knew that he loved his wife and children above all else in his life. We knew that he was a loyal friend, a faithful husband, a loving father, an excellent teacher, an astute politician, a gifted writer, and a fantastic conversationalist, and much, much more. John was interested in everything and everyone. He always made me feel that whatever I said was important. He made me feel that I was important. He had this effect on everyone, young and old.
John’s wife Irene is one of my dearest friends. We’ve loved each other over the miles for over thirty years. Our daughters were college roommates. I could go for years without seeing Irene, and then when we did, nothing had changed. Nothing ever will. Irene will always and forever be dearer to me than words could ever convey. I’m not all that good at saying such things, so I hope you read this, Irene dear.
This shabby excuse of “I’m not all that good at saying such things” is one that we all need to rid ourselves of, and not tomorrow, either. Now. Tomorrow might be too late for someone we love.
My memories of John are not political in any way. I will remember John as a friend.
We’ve been friends since we were young. That’s a long time, my dears.
Most of the pictures I’ve seen in the many, many memorials have been recent. Therefore, let me share with you some of MY memories of John. This is and will always be the way I remember him.
Summer of 1978 – we were packing up John and Irene’s trailer in Orleans, Indiana because he had finished his PhD and had gotten a new job at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Same hot summer July day. Our babies were just a few weeks old – the babies who were, a “few” years later, college roommates at Indiana University. This picture has been on my Flickr account for years, and above it I wrote, “John Orman, one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.” True, that. Always and forever, true.
Irene and me, in my front yard, a few weeks previous to the above pictures. See how nicely mown the grass is? I did that. I was overdue and frantic to GET THAT BABY OUT. It worked. Just a few hours later, I had the baby. A week after that, Irene had hers.
Our babies. BEFORE they were college roommates.
This is how I remember John Orman. I know he was a great professor, a strong and positive mentor to his students, a shining political star, a widely-read author, etc., but to me, John Orman was a friend.
A good, true, awesome friend.
I love you, Irene. Call me.