Catching up and Remembering our Dead –

One from an early part of my life, and the other from later.I first met Paul DiNolo when I was thirteen in the basement of Richie Salvucci”s house, two houses up from my parents’ little  postwar tract house North Easton, 2o miles south of Boston. He was auditioning to play electric organ- he had brought his own, a cheesy little Farfisa  that was what we all thought would let us play “Midnight  hour” and other powerful songs  with authority. (It couldn’t, but  Paul played it well. He was VERY Italian, even in a world of Salvuccis and Bodios- -his parents in Stoughton never learned any English  (not rare in those days at all, really. My grandparents were considered odd for  deciding to speak only English around the house, but I think it helped develop my father’s love for reading). He was also very short – at the time only four feet– and at times was referred to as”Topo Gigio”after the famous Italian mouse puppet on the Ed Sullivan show.

More puzzling was his desire to virtually BE Bill Russell, ie, seven feet tall, black, and a pro basketball player with  intellectual pretensions. I believe he had  advanced degree in something too.  Paul never wavered in his desire to emulate Russell, but never figured out how to do ALL OF it..

  • I lost track of  Paul for a while, but he went to Northeastern where he met and dated my ex- wife Bronwen on and off for years, from before I met her to after our divorce . We all mostly get along better as friends than lovers, anyway. Paul had by then developed a serious interest in tiny  flies and native trout, and his specialty had become tying flies and  making rods for them.

(I find it  wonderful  that there is a population of colorful native brook trout that has survived and even thrived in what everyone thinks of as a non- trout habitat,  hidden in the impenetrable cedar bogs of eastern Massachusetts, between and right in the wet undeveloped  places just in back of the big old back yard, where you might have expected only a semi- aquatic turtle or a horn pout as we  used to call ’em (black bullhead) or even a small sunny, but a NATIVE TROUT ? And yet– these cool water refuges exist- we just don’t SEE them . Paul did)

In his later years Paul became an award- winning science and math teacher, but his heart was always with the trout. I regret to say I snapped  my Dinolo trout rod, a 6 1/2 footer for a no. 2 line, the smallest I have ever used, when I fell on it (I fall a lot if I don’t exercise enough; I fall  baroquely, spinning around, yelling, then stopping and smashing to the ground or floor- Yikes !!) I  know that, more and more, there will be only memories. And those will be of gossamer…

Paul  died  last month after a (mercifully  brief ) spell of  Alzheimers. We must  now remember him, and for him.

Tom McIntyre, well covered by Sea Run a few posts back, might be considered Paul’s opposite in many ways. He was huge, often fat (John Barsness used to call him the fittest fat man he ever saw.) He was a product of LA and in some ways THAT was more important than his later (appropriate) move to E Wyoming. He was loud. Impossibly erudite (I know of few or no academics with his breadth of knowledge, displayed before everyone in his monster of a last book Thunder Without Rain. He was rich enough to spend mossy of hjs later August in Africa to use another book title. He also had the last safari in Kenya as a birthday present. He was larger than life in may ways, which made his devotion to old friends like Carey Caruso all the more  touching. And that does not even touch on his travels in Asia (which produced the remarkable Snow Leopard’s tale, his oddest  (and in some ways I think his best) book, utterly timeless-though now it has to compete with Thunder Without Rain ) an in  Europe, and the Americas. His “informal erudition” was formidable, ,superior to that of any formal academic or professional scholar I have known — I mean yes, he read more than they they ever did. (Never mind that he also LIVED more than they did!  ) A lot of his friends write about him as though this is some supernatural feat. I disagree. After all, I read everything too! But what did was make Tom my go-  to  person for all literary and historical matters; on those, he was infallible, and did indeed seem to  know everything..

He was the best friend I never got to see for a million reasons. And now I can’t. I considered him to be an intimate friend and one of my closest friends even though I never saw him and though he once called me (in the middle of as compliment } “The most annoying person in the world.” !

But he was always there for  conversation and now he isn’t and I am desolated and frustrated. Dammit, Tom, not even a warning. But then   there never is,  and it is ALWAYS too late He died in bed at his home on Sheridan, WY, at  only 70. He is survived by his loyal wife Elaine, his son Bryan, and an incredible number of friends and corespondents. . I will doubtless have more to say.


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