Dear Eddy, Kirsten and Mr. and Mrs. Patterson,
Today I was shocked and saddened to learn of Bobby's passing. Thank you for this website and guestbook. I appreciate this chance to tell you how terrific a person I think Bobby was, and how sorry I am for your loss.
I lost touch with Bobby--as I did with all of my "Lubbock life"--in 1985, upon graduating from Lubbock High and moving away from Texas. But, over the course of my many moves since then (in fact, probably, because of those moves), my memories of Lubbock have grown increasingly precious to me, and many of those memories--one way or another--involve Bobby.
I don't remember precisely when Bobby and I met, but it would have been in 1 of several venues where Lubbock kids who enjoyed the performing arts all were meeting each other back then: Cindy [last name?'s] "Young Actor's Workshop" at Texas Tech, one of Enid Racz's dance productions, or my mom's "Shake Hands With Your Future" summer camp.
Actually, now that I think about it, I believe that I met Bobby as a fellow actor in Cindy's second musical review at Tech, in which Bobby sang ... something. I can't remember the song. But I remember his voice. Booming, wide-ranging, and full of character. That skinny kid didn't just have a great pair of lungs. He had a 3-octave range, and I can see his face now, from the side, as he looked out at the audience: serious, for once, and falling right into his role. I think that it was in that musical that Bobby and I first became friends, and got a glimpse of Bobby's many talents.
My friendship with Bobby grew substantially the (next?) summer when Bobby and I attended "Shake Hands With Your Future." Bobby was the most popular kid there, needless to say. And, having gotten to know each other in Cindy's musical, we decided to put together an act for the Shake Hands talent show. Our choice: "Baba O'Reilly" by The Who. I think that Baba O'Reilly must be a tough song to perform even for Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend, and in those days (I think Bobby had just finished 9th grade), Bobby and I didn't even have any musical instruments, much less knowledge of how to play instruments (and there were only 2 of us), but that didn't stop our plans.
My friend from Christ The King Junior High School, John Filippone, was in town from Deerfield, and while at CTK, John and I had discovered a common interest in guitar, thus starting a 4-year process of planning for and occasionally even practicing to be in a band--the "Vomiting Lizards," I think--during summers when John was in town.
I suggested to Bobby that we draft John (who had attended Shake Hands previously) to play guitar with us in the show. Someone else played the drums, I played keyboards, Bobby Sang--and voila! It was awful!!! But it was one of the most fun 7 minutes of my life!!!!! And it had the effect of introducing Bobby and John to one another and getting them together on stage for the first time ever.
The next year Bobby and I enrolled in Cindy's weekly acting classes at Tech (now part of "Shake Hands'" new "Super Saturdays" program), but I didn't learn much acting there. I think poor Cindy didn't quite know what to do with this skinny, funny blonde kid named Bobby who clearly was the best actor in the class, but who also was developing a talent in the area of "girls" to compete with his focus on thespianism. Even when Bobby and I weren't skipping acting class to play pinball downstairs in the student union at Tech, we mostly spent our time in class honing harmonic versions of "Sandman" and "Let's Go to the Lobby" and performing for the girls. (We were the only 2 boys.) The thing is: Bobby didn't NEED to practice like everyone else. He was and always would be better than everyone else, practice or not.
During my senior year at LHS, Bobby joined the school as a sophomore and starred opposite Deanna Shoemaker in the school's production of "The Fantastiks." I played piano. David Baron and Adam Harvey played really terrific acting roles. And Deanna and Bobby started dating.
As a loving tribute to her, that spring in LHS's own talent show, Bobby and I decided to perform Led Zeppelin's "Tangerine" and dedicate it "To Deanna Shoe and Sweet Jaleen (my girlfriend), you are our dreams, love Tangerine." The school's Vice Principal Mr Umstot was incensed that we had said something unplanned on stage, but unlike our earlier Who rendition, "Tangerine" actually wasn't terrible, and so that summer--my last in Lubbock--Bobby and I did put together a set of about 15 songs ranging from old Stones ballads to Jimmy Buffet that we finally played -- exactly once -- in a small bar on Broadway right before I moved away.
It's a testament to how little I knew Bobby, even with so many memories, that I just learned on this website that he and I share the same birthday. I think that's revealing. Many, many people probably have lists as long as mine of Bobby memories, and yet I don't know about most of them. 20 years later, my time with him remains extremely fun and rewarding to me, and his presence--however distant--still fills a big space in my heart, but I know that for every minute I spent with Bobby, there were 100 more that he spent elsewhere, and obviously there were many parts of his life that I never got to discover.
That is my loss, but I don't feel disappointed at all, for even in the brief period of time that it was my luck to know and be friends with Bobby at all, he touched me deeply and in a way that I always will always treasure and enjoy.
I barely knew Eddy directly. But I have strong and very positive impressions of you from Bobby, all of which reflected a closeness and respect that I found unusual between two brothers of such a young age.
I also have never met you Kirsten, but I know that if Bobby loved you that you must be a really great person and that Bobby must have been practically, embarassingly giddy around you.
I'm very sorry for you Mr and Mrs Patterson, who raised 2 great sons. Great kids almost always come from great parents, and I know that Bobby loved you a lot.
I apologize for taking up so much space in this guest book, but I want all of you to know how much Bobby meant to me and how much I know you meant to him.
With Peace and Love.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005, 7:47 a.m.