Thursday, November 15, 2018

Bidding farewell to a fine man and respected friend

Yesterday I had the honor of attending the memorial service for Christopher Lehmann-Haupt. I knew him from his stint as an editor when he bought a book from me.  Most people at the service knew him far longer and far better than I did; I confess to feeling envy that they had that kind of time with him.

He was  a gentleman of the old school. He did not tout himself; if he told you stories of his life, it was up to you realize what you were hearing.  I still remember putting down my butter knife at the Carlyle Hotel Cafe and saying "wait, you were in Germany and met who?" as he told me a story from his youth.

He did things sort of casually, and mentioned them like it was no big deal.

I made him do all the talking when we met; I hung on his every word.

As things so inevitably do, years passed, and we both got older.
He left the world last week, and we are the poorer for it.

His memorial service drew actors, musicians, writers, lawyers, doctors, and
even a shark; all a testament to his amazing capacity for friendship.

I'm glad I had the chance to know him; I wish we'd had more time.






14 comments:

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am sorry for your loss. No, there's never enough time in life when a hundred years is a drop in the bucket. I am glad you knew this man. He sounds like a wonderful person.

Megan V said...

Condolences for your loss QOTKU.

RosannaM said...

He sounds like a wonderful man who lived a life that touched people. I am sorry for your loss.

Claire Bobrow said...

So sorry to hear of his passing, Janet. He clearly had a positive impact on many - what a wonderful gift.

nightsmusic said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. The book world is a little darker today.

CynthiaMc said...

My condolences. He sounds like a wonderful man.

Theresa said...

Deepest condolences on the loss of your friend.

John Davis Frain said...

Just from reading about his life now, I can see he would have been a fascinating person to sit with for a conversation. We should all lift our heads from screens and do that more often these days.

You're fortunate to have known him as you did.

Cynthia Paige Aaron said...

My condolences on your loss.

Amy Johnson said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Janet.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I love this quote about some of his writing: “The wonder of these dozen pieces is that they offer a lesson in the art of living. Or, more exactly, in the art of getting outside yourself, which is essential to sane living.”

Sounds like Mr. Lehmann-Haupt's was a life well lived.

Timothy Lowe said...

This is a beautiful eulogy. Death sucks.

Jen said...

I'm sorry for your loss but grateful you shared his story with us. The time we have on this planet is so precious, and easy to waste. I needed this reminder today.

Julie Weathers said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, but what a joy to have known such a man as this. There are far too few we feel this kinship to.