“…Those school boy days of telling tales? and biting nails are gone?. Yet in my mind I know? they will still live on and on.
But how do you thank someone? Who has taken you from baseball to perfume?? It isn’t easy, but I’ll try…”

A true friend is one that not only always has your back, but just as consistently, holds a mirror to your face. For five-plus decades my friend Robert George has been just that blessing.

—From Rowland through Greenview through Brush through Columbus.
—From Excels, (the sixth-grade club we were forced to disband) through R.E.N., through Shiloh AZA, (the chapter they too stripped away).
—From bowlin balls on the east at Cedar Center to basketballs out west at Cudell Recreation.
—From dancing at the Chagrin Armory to dancing at Brush reunions.
—From eating Geraci’s Pizza often at a restaurant on Warrensville, to devouring Angelo’s Pizza once on a ball diamond at Edgewater Park.
—From hearing WHK growing up to broadcasting WHK decades later (still growing up).
—From dates to weddings to births through divorces….

Life after high school began at Michigan State. Steadfast in disapproval of my venture, Bob (with Stu) went to the trouble of making and mailing an 8-track tape to East Lansing. Beginning with “Ain’t No Mountain High”, the assembly of songs was interspersed with loving insults — warnings of how lonely I’d be. “Come home,” said Stuart. “Don’t be a wussy,” urged Bob.
Life after college meant army: Fort Polk. Family wrote often and friends wrote sometimes. Bobby? Bad handwriting and all, he wrote weekly. It was the thing a Jew stuck in 1972 Louisiana could never forget. (Especially this innocent abroad—away from home for the first time).
Times changed, but not Bob’s game—
Life after marriage came decades later. These were the Radio Days and well…not my prettiest. Still Bob was there, steadfast—-speaking to me on the air and listening to me off. Teasing o’er the airwaves ‘cause it made “good radio”, comforting in the green room, as it made good friendship.

Yeah, there was “on-the-air” Bob and “off-the-air” Bob. I’m grateful to know them both.

Flashback: We were broadcasting on a Tuesday evening, summer of ’93. The conversation with our listeners turned to current movies…
“You know B,” he shot, “Fenton and I were going to let you come with us but we thought you’d be afraid.”
Contrast that with:
“Do you have somewhere to go for The Holidays?” he would ask privately. Always.

Times changed; we changed (maybe); but not our bond—

In some ways he’d forged the path. The 90’s were ugly for me and Bob knew it. Sensing my status, seeing the disrepair, feeling my loneliness, he’d still openly fret watching me look for love in all the wrong places. “She’s not for you,” he would say though I didn’t want to hear it. “She’s not for you.”

A dynamic exists and thrives to this day. Bourne by confidence of concurrent pasts, sustained by overlaps in boyish presents, it brings pure zeal to our futures. It is a friendship from here…to eternity.
Flash forward: It is a Wednesday morning, and as matters go, Bob sits to my left in Corky’s back corner. The boys, busy solving problems of the world, may or may not be listening.

“Why’d you say that to so-and-so?” he’ll whisper, smacking my shoulder. “What happened to your diet?” he’ll ask, smacking again. Yet still, when guys give me sh#t, perhaps about not playing poker like I used to or whatever, my friend from Wrenford will cut it off. “Leave the B alone,” he says, (as if to say “It’s all good.”).
—–65 this week…he turned… my friend Bob—
Still the world’s oldest teenager and well-proud of it.
Still moving, still grooving with his on-air persona and off-air warmth
Still a special blessing in my life.

“…A friend who taught me right from wrong? And weak from strong. ?That’s a lot to learn, what?can I give you in return?
If you wanted the sky?I would write across the sky in letters?That would soar a thousand feet high?: “To Bob, with love….”.


3 Responses to “TO BOB, WITH LOVE”

  1. Stuart says:

    Absolutely spot on about the off-air warmth. Sensitive and fiercely loyal. Hard to believe he’s 65. Happy Birthday…Peter Pan.

  2. bob says:

    Thanks B, you know I always will treasure our very special friendship.

  3. Aunt Helen says:

    Who is this “Bob” / “Bobby” that you are writing about?

    Does he like to shop at Marc’s or eat at Jack’s Deli?

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