Thursday, May 20, 2010

By Mimi (Aldrich) West

I lit a candle in memory of Raymond in a church adjacent to Piazza Navona in early May. This seemed appropriate as it was Raymond who insisted I go there on my first visit to Rome over 25 years ago to eat Nocciola ice cream at Tre Scalini. He often 'instructed' me in the finer things in life, and as usual, he was right. There isn't any finer ice cream.

Indeed, his enthusiasm for travel and European countries was infectious. As was his mastery of the New York Times' crossword puzzles, or his love of any book by Jane Austen or Willa Cather, these, too, rubbed off on those of us who spent time with him. Eventually, I had time to do the crossword and to read Willa Cather, and again he was right. And I told him so.

Raymond never was one to accept the pat response or give a polite evasion. He saw you as you were, not as you wanted to be seen. He gave me the courage to see that difference, not only in myself but in others.

I'm a richer and more genuine person for having known and loved him.

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