Remember doing jigsaw puzzles? They’d tell you to form the borders first and work from the outside, in. A mosaic of my life would be the same. There’d be four sides: birth, family, friends, and rebirth. There’d be a boatload of oddly shaped pieces to fit; and there’d be Bobby, the synapse to it all. Sixty-three this week, he remains, to this day, a link to my every yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I close my eyes.

It is 1962: In the breakthrough year of junior high and a world outside Rowland, no one had Bob’s game. As young and innocent as we were, Bobby feigned street smarts. Wied and I shot hoops in the cocoon of his garage; Snyder, meanwhile, was the shooting star, and talked to girls.

It is ’72: There’s Bob, with Stuart in New York. Sharing a half-house in Queens, they’re selling magazines for my Dad, banking money for impending marriages. The transition from frat boy couldn’t have been easy. Bobby thrived.

And ’82. It’s the doorstep of my mother’s home. There he stood. We’d had an issue in the years just past; he could have opted out. Still, there stood Bob; in the middle of the day, middle of the week he’d come alone…to pay respects.

I picture yet the bowling days on Cedar and trophy days of Sol’s Boys. He was there. I’ll admit now, for the first time ever, that my first new car was due to Bob. As much as Al Bogart revered Chrysler products, in summer ’69 I pushed back. If Snyder had a Mustang, I’d drive one too. ‘Couldn’t tell my Dad, though—not that. Nothing against Bob, but the old man would have shot right back “If your friend Bobby would jump off a bridge, would you do it too?” (after which he’d have purchased a Plymouth).

The pieces of my life wouldn’t quite fit without my friend. 

It’s 1992, the fall. Clinton has just been elected and late one Saturday afternoon we’ve convened in Fenton’s basement.

“Get over here,” Stuart had called me. “Snyder has an idea.”
(This was seen, no doubt, as a seminal event).

“The baby boomers are taking over the world,” Bob announced.
(This was his idea?)
“We can do a radio show!”

And then he got it done. Within weeks he’d marched us into meetings with decision-makers at Cleveland’s three talk stations, guiding us to broadcast. “The Fabulous Boomer Boys” would debut Tuesdays at 7 and run two-plus years. When kicked to the curb in ’95 it was airing drive-time, five mornings per week. (Note: Historians point to our longevity as further proof that AM radio has died).

These were by now my ugly days. Isolating in a world growing smaller, I feared the phone and, but for calls from Stuart, rarely answered.

“Bob’s worried about you,” he’d say, time and again. “Bob’s worried about you.”

Time passed. By the century’s turn I’d been sober a few years. Bobby, who like others, had seen me at my worst, championed my recovery. His concern, though, remained.

Answering calls now, I’d hear his voice:

“You OK, B? Don’t bullshit me now.” Over time he noticed the BS was gone. Indeed, I heard the difference in his voice as he saw a difference in me. Maybe it was 2002—I don’t know. Somewhere along the way he stopped asking; he knew.

Somewhere along the line, further, Stuey moved south. Perhaps it was then—I don’t know—but my bond with Bob grew stronger.

Perhaps it was then—I don’t know—that I realized another common thread between us. We’re both, in our own ways, dreamers. Bobby’s passion was radio. He left it professionally in the 80’s and I sense he still breathes it. Me? I love the arts. Once a Theater major in Columbus, sometimes I too look back…and wonder.

This week I had health issues, all of which resolved. Bobby called, like others. Suddenly, though, it was déjà vue all over again, (only without the middle man).

“B, I’m worried about you. You gotta lose weight.”
“I know.”
“Don’t just tell me that. You have to do it.”

It wasn’t long ago, perhaps a year: Alan and I were talking ‘bout Bob.
“You like him,” mused Wied, “You really like him.” Speaking to the apparent depth of my feelings, perhaps he understated.

I love my friend Robert George. Truly…and with good reason:

He is one of my core friends, a part of my yesterday, today, and tomorrow


  1. Stuart says:

    We do really love Bob. And we cherish our yesterdays and appreciate today and will continue to grow younger together. Happy Birthday Bob!

  2. alan wieder says:

    Yes you do love him and he loves you. Happy Birthday Robert George Snyder — many, many future ones too

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