Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Allan Schreiber


I had put this story  in my very long attempt at a memorial and did not mean to leave it out of the tighter version I submitted to memorial blog. So I will send it to you now because I like recalling it.

When George was in his second year at the Art Institute and trying to manipulate his way through the conflicts there as well as balance the Mary Moulton/Melinda conflict in his personal life, my parents came to visit me. My mother was not yet showing signs of dementia but did have congestive heart disease and tired very easily. It was my mothers birthday and this was my dads rationale for taking a trip. We had lunch at the US Cafe on Columbus Ave, a now-gone North Beach institution, very old-school Italian. My dad loved it because the waitress wrote down no part of our orders but when we went to the register to pay could tell what each of us had ordered and total it. This impressed my father. My mother was tired from walking up a somewhat steep sidewalk to the car, but I wanted to show them my place of work before returning them to their motel. At the Art Institute I gave them a short tour of the galleries and looked at the view of the Bay and then to the deans office. I took them in and introduced them to George.

He was in the middle of some kind of dean-like chore when we entered. I told him we were celebrating my mothers birthday. George brightened. Well, in that case, he said, I have to take you for a drink to celebrate. My mothers fatigue disappeared. George thought we should go to the Cliff House. We got a table with the spectacular ocean view and George ordered champagne. Mom was flattered and very cheery. I think George could see how she thrived on it. He told her that his mother was named Margaret too. He charmed her, he was funny, he said nice things about me. My mom responded with her own brand of mirth. My dad looked on quietly but with a big smile. We finished the champagne, George returned to work and I took the folks to their motel before I also went to work. My mother was pleased at having received the attention and talked about how clever George was, wonderful to talk to, charming. Dad kept smiling. Neither noticed my eyes rolling.

When I was writing about George at the Institute and the conflict there, and the tension, and the alcohol consumption, every once in a while I would flash on the image I had of sitting at the table at the Cliff House, looking at my mom and George chatting and chuckling with the ocean behind them, and I would think of how George enjoyed winning people over, how easy it could be for him. And how it was a pleasure to watch him relaxed and working only at conversation. In the memorial I wrote mostly about other aspects of George but I think we might want to remember this part too. I wouldnt mind a glass of champagne at the Cliff House right now. Particularly if George was there as well.

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