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Jerry Krakowski
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Date Posted: 12:05:30 01/02/02 Wed

Fegy letter

I want to thank Brantley for calling me and Anita for informing me that this message board exists.

I met Dick 15-20 years ago when he first came out to California in his black Volvo 122. When it died, he then bought a series of Saabs and I have done all his mechanical repairs, resurrections, since then. Our friendship naturally flourished. In a way he was very shy, but given the right opportunity to speak, you couldn't very well stop the flow. His knowledge was more of a walking Encyclopedia. I am/was a sociologist and was interested in classical issues. I once gave him Max Weber's Sociology of Music to translate for me. He understood it, but didn't want to bother to explain it because it was just too technical. Our interests weren't limited to cars. When he played locally, before working for Clearing house, he worked as a musician and traveled extensively to do his "gigs". He would be paid in cash and whenever he paid his bills, the cash had a moldy smell to it. More recently, he would pick up his car after a repair and I would get paid a week later ... once he had the chance to go to the bank. I kept him "rolling along." He always wanted to own a car that was built in the same decade ... he was considering buying a new car and thought that the BMW Z-3 was appealing. It didn't happen!

One the of the things we did on almost a weekly basis was shoot pool. There was a long period of time where we shot pool 3-4 times a week. Then he was introduced to the Elk's club, that happened to be near work, and took up Billiards. He even got an award for being the most promising player of the year. There wasn't a time that we didn't get together that he didn't brag, yes he actually is capable of bragging, about the great shot he had made in billiards. Try to imagine what it is like to hear about 3 balls colliding and making sense of what took place! It's like describing the movement of notes on some sheet music with a score of three instruments playing simultaneously. Of course I politely listened. I play better than he did, but he would make the most spectacular shots. I would often comment: "You can go home now" as a way of complimenting him on a shot so good, that nothing else he would do that evening would top that shot. He was the only one I could count on to shoot pool with. I love the game and he loved the game. It was here that our friendship really flourished. It was here that I would learn of his periodical frustrations at work with computers that were supposed to work but didn't work, needing to do research at the public library, the anticipation and the rewards of getting a raise. I remember when he first got the job, he told me that his mother was finally happy that he got steady work. One main reason for getting the job was that he developed carpal tunnel in his elbow and was afraid that he wouldn't be able to play. But he did play. I once went to San Francisco to watch him play with Dave Bromberg. But I am getting astray from the pool stories. I mentioned that I played better than him. One problem is that when players are unevenly matched what you do is give a handicap. He wouldn't accept. Often in the middle of a match when the spread was too great he would take his cue and move a ball ... this is a foul. He did it as if a conductor was moving a baton. This was his way of signaling that we should start again. I tried to create some competitive edge by placing a small wager. He wouldn't hear of it. I finally twisted his arm (figuratively of course) to bet a quarter. He finally agreed. But I saw that his mood was glum and never did it again. What seems ironic, although consistent with his being "knowledgeable about anything and everything" is that in spite of the fact that I would beat him consistently (almost all the time) he nevertheless, with great spiritedness would give me advice on how I should have shot things differently. He would get on the table and reconstruct a shot and show me, but it never thwarted him that his version almost never worked.

I have more stories: his discussion about writing styles (I write in psychology and have asked him to help me edit my work ... he refused because it was too badly written),the time I asked him to stand guard in the street while I was pushing out a car ... he dropped his guard, the time he couldn't decide about buying a cue and cue case(when I told him I would buy it if he didn't, that broke the ice and he snatched it up and was happy ever since), but the idea is to show a side of Dick that most of you on this message board would not know anything about.

We are really writing to one-another. The more we write and the more we read the more real he becomes to all of us, and the better we feel that what we appreciated in him was appreciated by all of us. The worst part of it is that what will be missing is a spirit of Dick's that is within all of us that knew him and not so much the practical loss. What feels bad is that something has been wrenched out of us that we were/are not willing to give up.

It still hurts!

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