Barbara Livesey

Mid 1960’s: On a hot summer evening in Brooklyn Heights. Everyone who lived on the lane was outside hoping for a cool breeze. Someone was projecting a movie onto the side of one of the carriage houses, another had set up a badmitton net. A friend joined us and introduced his guest as Alan Rich. They came again for dinner and then Alan came again and again for the rest of his life. My family and I moved to a town north of The City and later Alan moved to Grandview on the Hudson, not very far away. Friends would often call to ask if I was cooking and what was the menu. Alan phoned about 10am on a Sunday – I knew by that time he had finished the (NYTimes) crossword (in ink) and he, no doubt, knew that I had not finished (in pencil). “Yes, I’m cooking. Chinese. Bring something if you want. But, I heard this Bach piece that sounds like a it was written for a calliope and do you have it and could you bring it?” He arrived at dinnertime and I asked if he brought the music. He told me that it was in the car. I went out to fetch it and found that his station wagon was packed full of vinyl records. I was to do something useful with them, for his library was now converted to cd’s. I did my best, but I kept some and still have a turntable to play not Bach but Schubert this week.

A decade ago, I moved back home to Indiana and Alan came to visit more than once. He cc’d me on an email earlier this year:

February 27, 2010: “….You talk of Indiana, which is a magic place for me, most of all Brown County and the area around Columbus (IN)and Nashville. (IN) My friend Barbara has a farm there, and it fills up with local kids with guitars. There’s a Bluegrass Festival near a town called Beanblossom, where you get to eat home-made pies and stuff on the grass, and that sort of cleans out your brain for the next few months. Sorry to get going on like this, but mentioning Indiana does this to me. Barbara also has Great Pyrenees dogs, huge, hairy things, and she gives classes to local folk in Nashville about how to turn that hair into sweaters. That can bring you close to Schubert. Alan”

I enjoyed sharing his life also.