Memories

Helping me remember…

bobpony.jpg

Memories… from the darkest corners of my mind…Here is the thing, if you have seen Finding Nemo, you will realize that the Blue Fish “Dory”, voiced by Ellen Degeneres, is so similar to myself it is frightening (and I am not just talking about the fact that we both speak whale with homosexual voices). She can’t remember anything beyond the last few minutes. I am lucky if I can remember what I had for breakfast and often find myself wondering who chose my outfit for the day, because there is no way I chose it myself. This was all brought to my attention last fall when I was visiting my friend in Chicago and she was referencing all of these fun things that we once did. My response of course was, “I have never even been there!” (thinking she was the insane one). So to prove me wrong, she dug out pictures, and sure enough, there I was, feeding a giraffe at Marine World (how could I forget that?) with a hair don’t I didn’t recognize (when was my hair long and auburn?),. This is only one example of many in this past year (like telling Erik how much fun we had in boy scouts only to have him tell me he was never in Boy Scouts and then having Matt tell me how much fun we had in Boy Scouts and me not remembering Matt in Boy Scouts…. oh yes, my Alzheimer’s list goes on and on).

So here is what I have done… for months, I have had you all emailing your memories, which in turn have been my memories. Think of this as my mini-autobiography. I will be in the retirement center reading this, probably wondering what a Caboodle is and what NSYNC means…

Thanks for the memories and thank you for having indulged my insanity!

xoxo

B

(if you would like to add your own, just fill in the box at the bottom of the page)

From my first friend in Los Angeles, Erin Matthews…

I knew Bob and I would be friends the minute I laid eyes on him. (cue the Bette Midler!) He was temping at an agency where I was attending a party. We started to chat between phone calls and him being hollered at by Louis Ambrosio. (KENNY!) He told me he had just moved to LA and had no friends, so I immediately asked him to come out with us that night. Suddenly “no friends” became friends that he kind of had plans with that night…but he cancelled and came with us! The next time I saw Bob was at our Halloween party, done up as the new Jan Brady. Naturally, everyone else fell in love with him too, and the next thing I know, he’s calling me from the gutter of Santa Monica Blvd, having moved on from the party with a bunch of my old friends, now his new friends. I loved the birthday party at Ed Debevic’s, but that may have been due to the cheese fries… And the first weekend we spent in the snow up at Lake Arrowhead, when I never got out of my pajamas, and Bob never stopped drinking champagne. In fact, I believe we only left the house once to watch Bob careen down the hill on the sled. I also recall a certain birthday party of mine, during which Bob insisted that all of the drunken guests join him in the Hokey Pokey. After that, Bob and I regaled my neighbors with a four am 50 decibel rendition of Patsy and Edina. But the time that I remember the most was a more subdued evening, downstairs at Penang on the Upper West side in NY. It’s the first time I remember really having a heart to heart. No Party Bob, just my friend Bob who is so very dear to me.

The original Mrs. Potato Head, Sari Smith…

It was 1990, and I don’t know WHO gave Bob the phone number to the Caboodles Hotline, but I was soon to regret it. Let me digress. The first four facts you need to know are this:

Fact 1: Bob has been a fan of Debbie Gibson for ages

Fact 2: During the ’90’s Debbie was affiliated with a particular line of make-up and accessory boxes called Caboodles.

Fact 3: There was a promotion running, where 2 lucky callers could win a trip to NY to see Debbie in concert and meet her back stage.

Perhaps the most frightening of all, Fact 4: There was no limit to how many times you could enter.

Although we were in high school at the time, I don’t think Bob slept for a week. Every waking moment, he was calling the line, listening to Debbie’s voicemail “Hi, this is Debbie Gibson and you’ve reached the Caboodles Concert hotline….” (It still haunts me.) When his finger was tired of dialing, he would put me on dial duty. In the morning, he called repeatedly to the Caboodle hotline. During lunch, it was time to find a pay phone (sorry, no cell phones yet!) to make sure we reached the Caboodles hotline and in the evening, when we had much too much spare time, we would take turns handing the phone back and forth, while chatting and entering the Caboodles contest. I am frightened to admit how many times we must’ve entered to win that contest! We just KNEW we would win. The deadline passed. We waited by the phone. Nobody called. We didn’t win.

Bob was crushed and I was relieved to no longer be a part of the Caboodles madness. I didn’t think I could handle that answering machine one more time! Bob felt bad for losing, and wanted to make sure that my participation was appreciated.

So, he bought me…my very own Caboodle!!!

One of my oldest and dearest, Connie Gerster…

Dear Bob … I remember back to January of 1990. You and your mom had just moved back to the Bay Area. Paul and I had just moved into our new house on Alsace Lorraine in Half Moon Bay. You two came over to visit – the first time we had seen either of you in years. You were very quiet, just kind of looking around while we talked. For some reason, you and I went into the kitchen… I was probably getting some food because I opened the silverware drawer. (Now, keep in mind that we had just moved… things were still kind of messy.) My big silverware drawer was totally messy, with no little plastic divider to separate the knives, forks, etc. You started laughing so hard… you said it was just so funny because the rest of the house was already so neat … and here was my secret messy drawer!

We saw an ad for a Billy Joel concert … we went to it with Paul. I think you said it was the only concert you sat through … and didn’t dance. (Remember being way up in the stands??) Then we decided to go to the Janet Jackson concert in June. My nephew, Keith, was coming from Minnesota. The three of us went to the concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre … BOY did you dance! Poor Keith had never seen dancing quite like that in Minnesota! You made me laugh out loud… such joy.

My suddenly grown up and mature cousin, Sarah…

Bob came to live with us when I was beginning high school. (Aunt Carol is my mom, and Bob is 6 years older than me) Needless to say I was a little uptight back then, and while I did enjoy his company I couldn’t understand his exuberance for life. One specific instance was Bob bursting through the door and brandishing a pair of green size 13 Birkenstocks and exclaiming “Aren’t they just cute and a half?” while a friend and I looked on in shock. While I wasn’t always smiling then, when I look back on it now, I always smile and remember that if times are bad – you don’t have to acknowledge that. You can still smile and make the best of it. Thank you Bob, who knows what a jerk I would be these days if I didn’t have your example.

Around that same time Bob took me to Great America and wanted me to sing “Groove is in the Heart” with him in one of those studios. Once again I tried to stifle Bob, and refused. I regret that to this day, and I hope it’s one of the things you have forgotten.

Visiting Bob in LA has always been a blast. Whether he was sneaking us into Universal Studios (Bob: Go! Join that back-stage tour!) or picking up strangers at the grocery store for us to party with, I can count on good times.

Oh – yeah, and when Bob would visit us he’d bring a whole slew of friends – it was like LA was camped out in our living room. Many of which worked on the Simpsons. They doodled on my white board, and being a die-hard Simpson fan, I kept it for many, many years. And he got me a tour of the Simpson’s animation studios. I am the envy of a great many Simpsons fans that I have shared that story with.

Yikes! And the time I e-mailed Bob and told him I married a Mormon and was pregnant with twins, only to go on and say it wasn’t true. But Bob didn’t read on – he panicked and called my mom with accusations of with-holding information. Gotcha!

And last – Bob did you realize that your party coincides with the Gay Pride Party in San Francisco? See how much I’ve grown? I went last year and had a blast! I ‘m proud of my gay friends and family! Love to all!

Ken could never be lucky enough to marry this Barbie…

Since every Baub interaction is in fact memorable, I decided to go with the first time. Paddy and I had gotten very close and periodically, she could not agree to plans with Bob because she was already seeing me. Bob’s curiosity was piqued… who is this Barbie? Why is she taking my Paddy away? What does she have that I don’t?

When Bob and I finally met, the answer was obvious: Very large Breasts. Alas, Bob and I had a mutual love society going before we even exchanged names. There was no room for hate… only an indescribable love that transcends the fact that he doesn’t love women… that way. And yet his fascination with my breasts has persisted. I fear if I got a reduction that things might not be the same between us. At the end of the day, Baub is not just a person, but a presence… a feeling you get when things are fun and uncensored and completely out of control… he’s the box of Triscuits after you’ve smoked a joint, the popcorn at the movies, the punch line at the end of a joke and the hug at the end of a bad week. And I love him… always and forever.

Happy Birthday Bobby.

Love & kisses, The other B.

The forgetful leading the forgetful, Gabi Guetzkow…

AHHH…. the memories. Well, Bob knows he’s asking the wrong person for info from the memory banks, but here goes my best shot:

It all started waaaaay back in high school, when Bob came to Westmont. One of my favorite memories is when Bob choreographed a lip sync extravaganza to Madonna’s VOGUE. I was Madonna, and Bob was one of my backup dancers/singers. He worked us to the bone, until every gesture, every move was PERFECT! Can anyone say Debbie Allen? But his hard work, and his talent paid off. We were invited to perform an encore of our performance at a fashion show. We became instant legends at Westmont, we had a cult following after that. But my favorite memory of this time, is that Bob had himself and everyone around him convinced that he was straight. No offense to his ex girlfriends. But c’mon, Vogue? REALLY!!!

My second favorite memory of Bob is of driving him to and from school. Apparently I didn’t let him speak, which I blocked out of my memory bank, but Bob has never let me forget it since our little reunion. Quickly though, the memories flooded back, “okay Bob, I’ll give you a ride, but you are not allowed to speak! Driving is my personal time. So get in and shut up.” The way I remember it, though, is that he was mesmerized by my capabilities of singing every word of Moni Love, and Queen Latifah’s tapes. I mean, really, I thought he was so impressed by my little white girl skills, that it rendered him speechless. Oh well! So much for selective memories.

My next favorite memory of Bob, is 9 years after high school, him hunting me down on the Internet. He came over to meet me for dinner, and I told him to look for my car. He said, “Gabi I don’t know what kind of car you drive.” So I said, sure you do Bob, it’s the Volvo.” “THE Volvo.” “Yes, THE Volvo,” I said laughing. I didn’t realize it held such traumatic memories for Bob. Sorry. Bob, you know I love you!! One thing I know about hanging out with Bob, is that it will be an adventure, so pack a bag!

My Australian family, the Purcells…

I remember what you were wearing when we first met (do you remember what I was wearing? – I’m sure you don’t, so next time I’ll choose the green sequined vest and red shoes…). But we both know the moment we first bonded – it was in that fabulous laundry room at the fabulous Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver – March 2002! I folded your laundry as a sweet surprise – and for a week you had to wear very creased clothes!!!! Then I really threw you in the deep end with a little surprise babysitting job at the Aquarium with my precious Joe (I know what you’re thinking – he can’t be that precious if you left him with Bob…) NO – Aussie jokes aside, Bob has been a great Bobfather to my kids and his days are not over, as young Gus comes into his own (why has he never bonded with the girls quite so strongly??). Anyway the whole Purcell clan loves Bob. Except don’t invite him over at Easter! I know he will remember forever what $200 worth of chocolate does to young children… and won’t make that mistake again! Anyway, all the Purcell family loves Bob. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Lots of love, Bec, Dom, Joe, Audrey, Gus & Lily!!!!!

I bow to the Emperor, Tim Gullicksen…

Ah, sweet memories. I met Bob back in the bad old days when we both lived in the sleepy suburbs of the South Bay. San Jose, as you may know, is the so-called “capital” of Silicon Valley – which is a polite way of saying it has the highest concentration of techno-geeks on Earth. So, picture it, downtown San Jose – 1994. I’m at a party filled with overpaid engineer nerds who think their modest success makes them hot. I feel so lonely, awash in a sea of dorkdom and then I hear it; a cackling roar of laughter that pierces the dullness in which I’m drowning. It was Bob, lovely Bob, screeching at some dweeb at the top of his lungs. I remember thinking “Wow! He’s loud and obnoxious. Finally, somebody I can relate too!!!”

Kisses, Bob-a-loo! All the best on your birthday!

My Madge, my Ed Mc Mahon, my Rhoda, my Ethel, my Shirley, my sidekick, my friend, Eric Johnson…

I met Bob when he was “straight”. He was dating my boyfriend’s new best friend, Julie. The night we met, he seemed really uncomfortable around me. I guess I represented the femmie fags he was afraid of. I commented to my boyfriend that “Bob was cute”, and he responded with “Yeah, but he’s straight.” We both had a little laugh.

Years later, who knew that Bob would force me to move down to Los Angeles, and (with the help of his plucky aunt) force me to “get a fucking job”?

Who knew that he would win “Best Dressed” at Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion?

Who knew that we would be daisies for Halloween and someone would forcefully water his face?

Who knew that he would throw me a surprise 80’s-themed roller-skating birthday party?

Who knew that both of us would eventually stop seeing or speaking to the people who introduced us?

Who knew that he would kick me out of his car, in front of the Beverly Center and scream “ASSHOLE!” as he drove away? And that this would become a tradition, as we passed each other on the street?

Who knew that we would take a cruise to the Bahamas and he would fight the strong temptation to push me overboard? Even when he discovered that the Bahamas are the only Caribbean nation that still outlaws homosexuality? Even on the night I couldn’t stop crying and my face was blotchy?

Who knew that he would introduce me to a ton of great people who like me better than he does?

Who knew that he would like talking about sex to my little brother, because he knows it makes me uncomfortable?

Who knew that he would ask Mink Stole to call me a Cock Sucker- Mother-Fucker, in front of everybody?

Who knew that we would spend hours on an Easter Sunday in a car of screaming and puking Australians?

Who knew that he would expose my embarrassing list of medications to strangers in line at the Laugh Factory?

Who knew that he would be the anti-histamine to my allergy to happiness?

The wordy Michael Garrity…

eight words…bob’s drunken food fight at Mimi’s thanksgiving party!

The lovely Wendy Crewson…

Did we meet on What Lies Beneath? think so…you wore a red beret and looked quite dashing, and obviously you were a good time waiting to happen. Did we dance the night away with Samara? Crash into a waiter and break his tray of drinks? …possibly. Did I then see you in Mimi’s office when I auditioned for The Beast? Did we not spend many long hours on set…singing?…screaming?! (it’s all coming back to me) Was it you in Toronto during K19? Were you on a boat with me, watching fireworks in Vancouver??? Drinking more- (always drinking…) Hope this helps, but as you can see, I too have severe memory loss as well… much love -Wendy…(I think….)

Hollywood’s most attractive couple, Christina and Johnathon…

EXT. SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2004 – HILLSIDE – DAY

 

Bob, Bill, Johnathon, Christina, Lance, Jesse and several others cascade down the hill on professionally modified inner tubes…Above all the LAUGHTER and CHEER…a single high pitched SHRIEK can be heard…Bob, unlike the others, is holding onto his tube for dear life.

 

Bob’s inner monologue should go something like this.

 

Dear God:

 

If I make it down the hill in one piece. I promise I will never sing a bad note in KARAOKE REVOLUTION.

 

Love with all my heart,

 

Bob

 

Bob lands at the bottom of the hill, unlike everyone else who are running to do it again…Bob lingers in his tube hoping to be spared the next round.

 

The end.

The ginkgo baloba behind my memory, Erin Friedman…

Let’s see… Bob cooking and consuming Costco burger during a camping trip at New Brighton Beach… Bob sunburned… Martinis and Cosmos…The Dinner That No One Remembers at our house in Cottonwood… Bob sleeping peacefully sprawled between the living room and the dining room… Bob body surfing with the kids at Zuma Beach… Olive Bread…. White Chocolate Brownies… Going to rescue Dinah the Barfing Dog from the Animal Shelter… Shopping at Mervyn’s with Bob, where things jump off of shelves and into his waiting arms…Glamourpuss… Karaoke at the NavTech Halloween Party…”Can You Feel IT??!!!”… Meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes… sharing books… buying each other the SAME books… Joe’s birth…

The hills are alive, with the sound of my Uncle George…

It was the summer of 1986 and Bob was 12 when he came for a visit with me while I was living in Colorado. His visit coincided with an annual camping trip near Steamboat Springs, in the Rocky Mountains. One afternoon I decided it was time for a true nature hike so that Bob and some of the others could come face to face with some of Mother Nature’s mountain beauty and serenity. This idea was not well accepted by Bob. He stated he had no interest in hiking or walking in the great outdoors. Since everyone else was game, Bob reluctantly decided to go along. An initial observation led me to believe his earlier comments were most assuredly sincere. He had no hiking boots, no walking shoes, not even the proverbial tennis shoes. He was outfitted with inexpensive rubber flip-flops. We began the hike through the forest and not long into it, one of the flip-flops gave way and broke beyond repair. Bob’s disposition was now about the same, cursing his decision to go along at all. Never one to be outdone by nature, I removed the dog’s leash and lashed it to what was left of the flip-flop and Bob’s ankle. As we began moving on, he was even more displeased with the adventure. As we came upon a beautiful mountain meadow, which seemed a miracle to Bob since he was convinced we were completely lost, I decided to add some levity, and as we entered the meadow broke into a rendition of ” The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Griswald” (Movie: European Vacation with Chevy Chase, not Julie Andrews). A few others helped sing along and while Bob did not, I think secretly he did have a good laugh. His dislike for long walks, hikes, etc. is still intact as he turns 30 years old. I expect his memory of this event is still quite vivid and he would be happy to tell you about his Rocky Mountain adventure. He did manage to catch some trout in the river and had mostly a good time. So much for the great outdoors and Bob.

Lessons learned:

1) Bob is never likely to be the “outdoorsy” type, still has no hiking boots

2) Don’t tell him you are lost, even if you are

3) Laugh when your uncle tries to be funny

The curvaceous Brooke Bennett

My fondest memory, ok, not the fondest, but one of the funniest (how do you choose a Baub funny memory and call it a favorite…they all are great!) It was New Years at Lance’s casa and the night was nearing an end. Jesse noticed something a little shady when Benjamin McKenzie (of Fox’s hit show The OC) entered Lance’s pantry with a lovely little blonde who seemed rather intoxicated. Jesse took it upon himself to investigate and discovered that she was giving him a blowjob and there was a window for us all to watch. So, he grabbed about 8 of us (Baub being one) to view it…what a sight! Well, Baub was on the mic trying to get all the stragglers to leave when out walks Ben & his lady friend, or “Hoover” as I would like to call her… Baub announced to the party for everyone to leave, “unless you were from the OC getting a blowjob in the backroom”…oh yes, Baub announced it. The poor star just stood there with his usual brooding face and couldn’t make his exit fast enough. Oh how I LOVE this memory!! xoxo…love you BGB

The one who has known me so long that I used to be short and thin, Paula Van Dalen…

The first time I met Bob was at a German Club function during high school at my house. He was about 5 feet tall and barely a 100 pounds. He brought a cake that was so awful! He told us that he was very nervous and wanted to make a good impression. Well, he made an impression all right. The cake was supposed to be a Rum Cake. He had been running late, so instead of the usual baking time, he turned up the heat so it would cook faster. Also, when he couldn’t find any rum in his house, he decided to make it special and put all his mom’s booze in I that he could find. He made it look pretty by covering it with powdered sugar. Then we cut into it. The sides were burnt and the taste was something that couldn’t be believed. NO ONE ate it. Well, that’s not true. The faculty advisor Frau Harvey proceeded to eat most of it. You had to know Frau. I don’t think she missed many meals. Ah, the cake…15 years later and we still talk about it. You succeeded in making an impression Bob!

My little piece of sanity, Amanda Moye

Holy Moly! Where do I even begin? I think I must start by describing what a vision you were the first night we met…it was at Planet Hollywood in Orlando, FL. We were at Johnny Wright’s surprise birthday party. I arrived at the party thinking, “well, it’s a work thing and I will show up, say hi to everyone and go home and be in my jammies by 10pm for sure!” ENTER BOB…knee high tube socks, tight yellow coaching shorts and an afro wig. Needless to say, I would never make it home that evening. On my way out to the parking lot to get in my car to go home he successfully convinced me that getting into an awaiting Limo full of drunken strangers was a much better idea! Slightly terrified but definitely curious, I arrived at “The Island of Tuwanga” where I would promptly be thrown in a pool fully clothed and wake up in a house full of new friends the next day. We were bonded for life. The next day, I called for help from a friend to come and rescue me…. I ran down the street barefoot with wet clothes in hand, jumped into the car and sped away knowing that I would see Bob again. Fast forward 3 years of my promising that I was moving to LA and voila! Finally I am here. And now, thanks to you I have a place to live, a job AND a HARVARD friend! While most of my memories of you are fun and silly, it is so important that you know what a blessing you have been in my life and especially these past few months, I don’t know what I would have done without you friend! You are my Angel of Happiness!! (If you run into the boy from the O.C. again, give him my number…he’s kinda small but still cute)

Ned Letterman’s alter ego, Guyton Thorne

I used to work with Bob at Navtech too. We had a fellow named Dang who worked there as well. I anxiously awaited the moment when the two of them would pass by together and I could go into my 50’s style song routine and start singing, “bob di da bob a dang a dang dang”.

At one point they both stood in front of my office and I was so pre-occupied that I missed my cue! Bob looked on with anticipation but I never came through. The opportunity never presented itself again and I may never feel totally fulfilled as a result 😉

It was however, a great honor to present the top ten reasons Bob should not move to LA at his going away party under my pseudonym “Ned Lettermen” (Dave’s long lost brother).

My first exposure to this unique entity was also when he was in the form of Wonder Women. Quality comes in all forms!!

The dangerous Asher Hung…

How about the time I sent you and Barry Dale to some gay teeny 18+ club but got the place wrong and you two almost got gay bashed outside Hollywood Athletic Club? No. Wait. Even better. Like the time I made you go to the “Are You Hot?” taping and it lasted forever. I don’t think you even said good-bye to me at the end of the evening. In fact, I don’t think you even turned around when I said goodbye.

My Dad, Chuck Buettner…

My most profound memory – I don’t know if it was shock, surprise, or total shyness (yes you were shy at one time!), but the look on your face when I opened the door and we met for the first time, at least the first time you remember. I always knew this would happen, that someday the doorbell would ring and you would be standing there. Then it did happen, I think we were both kind of nervous, not knowing what to do or say (again you speechless?!?!?). Then later that day when we went to Davenport to watch the whales and seeing you play with Amy, the look of joy on your face knowing that now you had a sister and eventually another Family. I’m really sorry it took so long Bob. But I am very glad we are a Family (as disjointed as we seem to be sometimes).

The quiet and subtle Jim Balboni

I’ll never forget the beautiful burgundy Chrysler New Yorker 4dr that you thumbed your nose at for a beat up VW Fox. I know that u now regret, whole-heartedly, ever making that choice.

My favorite Earthtone, Erica Frauman…

I know I don’t have to remind you of this, but I miss The Tomato on 6th Ave. in NYC. But what I miss even more, is you, filled with emotion (read: drunk, LYING DOWN on the sidewalk outside of that uptown club Wilson’s, where Gavin De Graw first blew us away with “Hallelujah”.

My boricchio, Margo

When I almost fell asleep in my spaghetti at Enzo’s and you laughed so hard, you nearly cried! The waiter told you, “It must have been the sausage”.

My daffodil in Spring, Joy Daffern…

To pick one special memory about Bob is like trying to find the one definitive characteristic that makes him so special. Is it the way he yells “Daffodil” when he summons me? May be it’s the way he dances and sings “Like A Virgin” in his car in a way that would even put Madame M to shame? Or it could be the look of frustration that only Bob could immortalize – hands on hip, foot tapping and then the quick turn of the head that only the likes of Bette Davis could do it justice. No. I think it’s the look on his face when my kids yell with excitement “Uncle Bob.” It’s the way he listens when you can’t speak. It’s the hug that tells you that you are friends for life. One memory? I’m blessed with many.

Feels like I’ve known her forever, Farah Afnan…

My favorite memory of you “Bob Fly!” is when I was walking out of the A building (at EHS) and there you were…tall, skinny, great smile and your big smile made me smile big! We talked about our love for Richard Greico as we walked and crossed the street!

The keeper of my notebook, Paddy Carson…

Wow, this is tough. I have thought and thought and realized that there isn’t just one defining moment of my relationship with Bob. There are so many great stories but mentioning one wouldn’t do justice to our time together. In thinking about it I’ve decided our relationship cannot be labeled. It is freakishly unique. Sometimes it makes perfect sense, sometimes it makes none. Sometimes I want to smack him (in a kind and loving way); sometimes the word love just doesn’t seem big enough. But above everything and in spite of everything, Bob makes me smile with my heart. And that is a truly amazing gift to give another person. I love him to death.

The original Xena, Buffi Gibbons…

Well, Bob, I’d have to say that most of my favorite RECENT memories involve watching my daughter Gracie interact with her Fairy Godfather Baub. However, my favorite “reaching-far-back-into-my-memory-bank-memories” revolves around the recurrent dinner parties you used to have for a small group of us in San Jose to watch “Melrose Place”. The most infamous of these dinners was the one in which both Dan and I managed to nearly simultaneously break two of your pretty cobalt blue wine glasses which were–of course–filled to the brim with red wine. Didn’t the broken blue glass and deep red wine look pretty on your light carpet for a split second before the horror of the situation sunk in and we all ran for the paper towels? You’ll never know the months I spent looking for replacement glasses. Alas, my quest was in vain…. Luckily you seem to have forgiven us at this point. You have, haven’t you?! Forgiven us, that is. Maybe I shouldn’t have written this episode down…. Maybe you’d forgotten it like you said…. Damn. Stupid, stupid, stupid….

Attention! Lieutenant Captain something-or-other Todd Breasseale

Oh, my, when I think back on the lifetime of good times spent with one Mr. Bob Merrick, my heart is quite literally flooded with sweet remembrances and yes, more than a little heartache.

Hell, I was just a kid when we first met. I was fresh off the train here in the land of dreams and broken promises, looking for my first big break in the biz when a certain icon of late night talk shows, Mr. Johnny Carson, spotted me on “The Love Boat” when that show was just in its infancy. In my signature role – one that defined a generation – I was playing opposite guest stars Charo and The Beverly Hillbillies’ Max Baer. So any who, Mr. Carson’s folks had me on the show and after a rather heated debate with Ms. Helen Gurley Brown on the role of women and her “magazine,” I retired to the green room for a cocktail before Mr. Doc Severenson charged up the band because lady, tonight Ms. Edie Gourmet was singin’ and if things aren’t cooking in the band, she gets hotter than a two dollar pistol! But I digress. In this green room were arrayed your typical lot of hangers on that one sees all too often in this town. The hair people – sure. The astrologer – of course. But over in the corner was a sweet young man with a flash of auburn hair and smile that would outshine all of Broadway. I said, “come here, young man. Who are you and what you do?” He said, “well, Mr. Breasseale, I’m Bob Merrick and I’m a fluffer for Mr. Severenson. He likes to make sure that package he’s carrying is all perked up before he starts tootin’ that horn and I’m the only man in town he’ll have fluff it.”

Of course, there’s also the time when years later, my partner and I had just moved into our house and, after a lot of pain and some not-too-cooperative contractors, we decided to invite Bob and Wendy over to be the first folks we entertained in our new place. Bob showed me the way to best shine a new set of hardwoods is not with Johnson’s Floor Wax – but with Stilton Cheese. And, despite my asking – no pleading – “Stop, Bob, really, I can handle the floors,” he insisted on rubbing more and more of that cheese into our floors. Well, the shine remains and so does our friendship. A friendship I hope continues to develop and to flourish – much like the stench that will forever permeate even the smallest crevices of our kitchen floors.

The memory bending Chris Lohr…

I have two fond memories. While shooting “Three Kings’ and we had that little water fight and I squirted you in the crotch with my bottle of water and your boss Greg Goodman called you over to him with your “area” soaked. And when we were shooting the border scene on “the day from Hell” during “Three Kings” and the cameras were rolling as you were ever so quietly trying to crawl up the “cheese grader” hillside. I was trying to focus on the scene at hand and I kept watching you trying ever so desperately to hang on and not slide down or make any noise to get anyone’s attention. Wahlberg and I were taking bets on when you would fall! Don’t you still have the scar from the 13 stitches?

Someone thinks she is funny, Shea Butler…

THE BEAUTIFICATION OF “THREE KINGS”

In the year of our Lord 2000 A.D., there came to be an hour episodic series entitled “The Beast.” And into the midst of those gathered to do the bidding of the ABC network, came Bob. And it came to pass that Bob, in all his wisdom, brought forth a movie poster for “Three Kings” to enhance his office.

And three others, Shea Butler, Melody Fox and Geeta Patel, all who toiled laboriously and unceasingly on “The Beast,” came to worship the “Three Kings.” But when they gazed upon the visages of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube, a great bolt of lightning split the sky and the voice of temptation boomed forth to seduce them with honeyed words. “Go forth and adorn Bob’s poster,” they were told. And so, like all infidels in Hollywierd, they created images of themselves and affixed those images upon the faces of the “Three Kings.”

And so it came to pass that George became Shea and Mark became Melody and Ice became Geeta. And forever after, all those who came to pay homage and bestow offerings upon the “Three Kings” now worshipped new icons . . . the “Three Queens.”

Even my childhood has memories, Kim Walker…

One of my earliest memories of you, Bob, is when we were little kids, maybe around 6 or 7, and we used to play Barbie’s together. I would come over with my mom (and maybe Nick) to the duplex (I think it was a duplex) you lived in with your mom and Russell. I supplied the Barbie’s of course, as I had a much more extensive collection than you, at least back then anyway. We would go outside and play Barbie’s on the grass. Sometimes you would collect objects from your bedroom to use as Barbie furniture. If you are having any trouble recalling these Barbie dates, it was around the same time you had that pet bunny rabbit, Thumper. I think you buried him in the backyard at the same house.

Fast-forward about 10 years to…. The Junior Prom. Tee hee hee! You look great in a tux, by the way, and you were the best dancer there! Didn’t I send you some pictures? Enough said.

Mr. Electric Youth, Ray Allen…

I have two fun memories of Bob, and they both involve Olivia Newton-John.

Bob and I met for the first time on Olivia’s 50th birthday, Sept. 26th 1998. Bob and my roommate Chris had been working on Wild Wild West when Chris invited him to a party at our place which just happened to be on that date. Bob, of course well aware of that bit of Olivia trivia, happened to mention it, to which Chris replied, “I bet my roommate knows that, too.” He had a feeling Bob & I had quite a bit in common, and because Bob was so much more… outgoing than I, he figured Bob might be the perfect person to pull me out of my shell.

The party was going along splendidly, and I was more than tipsy on cheap red wine. Suddenly I heard this chipper, exuberant voice proclaiming, “Oh. My. God. Whose Debbie Gibson postcard is this on the refrigerator!?!”

I turned away from whoever I was talking to and spent the next while swapping DGIF stories and discovering that Bob’s last name and Debbie’s hometown were one and the same. “Merrick, could you die?” A few hours later I became rather ill from all the cheap red wine & resorted to my bathroom, which was only accessible from my bedroom – way in the back of the apartment. Before long, Bob and his friend (Sari – I sort of choose to think of her as Shiri Appleby of the tv show Roswell and the movie Swimfan, because they have similar names and they look alike, at least in my drunk memories of her) came into my room to entertain me while dragging me out of the closet (literally).

While perusing my cd collection Bob sang “Love or Lust” and declared, “this bitch has everything!” Sari noticed all 2 of my Chris Isaak cds and immediately concluded that everyone was right about the gay thing. Then Bob found my Ellen Degeneres My Point and I Do Have One paperback, from which he read aloud the entire story of Ellen getting caught trying on her friend’s bathing suit, laughing hysterically the entire time.

People kept coming in to check on me and to ask if I was gay. I just remember lying face down on the plush blue bathroom rug, too puked out to answer, but realizing the evidence was quickly adding up against me. Bob made each of them leave me alone, but all the while he managed to keep me laughing.

Ultimately he did facilitate the outing of me to my roommates. Fast forward a few years… whereas I haven’t spoken to the roommates in ages, Bob has become one of my favorite friends ever. Because we really did have a lot in common!

About a year after that party, I was on my way to Olivia Newton-John’s concert at the Greek theatre. I lived fairly close, so I just walked up Vermont Avenue. Suddenly, I heard that spirited voice exclaiming “Raaaay!!! Oh my God! Get in!” So I ran to his car & hopped in. The only problem was there was this weird guy who had begun walking up Vermont alongside me, seeking a certain section of Griffith Park. I told him which direction to go, hoping he’d take off & leave me alone. With Bob driving by, it seemed the perfect opportunity to ditch the guy & take off. We were literally only yards from the parking area anyway. But, weird guy took off running too, leading Bob to believe he was with me. Bob had no qualms about telling him to “hop in!” The guy didn’t realize we were so close to where we were headed that a ride wasn’t really necessary. And I’m much too Southern mannered to say, “HEY, you filthy freak, I don’t know you, get outta here!” It wasn’t long before Bob gathered that the stranger was just that – an invading filthy freak – and the look on his face was priceless – very Rosie O’Donnell in Another Stakeout. His good karma rewarded him in the end, though. My seat, purchased the moment tickets were on sale, was way back in bumfuck. His, purchased the day of the show, was in the front row! And she touched his hand. Bob’s just lucky that way. And I feel lucky to just know him. 🙂

Hollywood’s premiere masochist, Barry Jay (of Barry’s Boot Camp)…

I remember when Bob came to his first Boot camp class and had more attitude than Bette Davis on a B movie. He hurled. He never returned. Somehow we became friends. I know in my heart, no matter what he says…one day….soon….he’ll be back.

A creatively directed memory from Mimi Leder…

I will never forget the time when Bob was working with me and Hugh Jackman came to meet me in our offices at Warner Bros. Hugh walked in and I was most intrigued with his handsome looks, his smile, his eyes, ok, his arms… now what Bob was most intrigued with was that it appeared he wore absolutely NO UNDERWEAR….Ah Bob, I miss the good old days..xoxoxoxoxoMIMI

The freakishly clean Monica Gellar-Bing, I mean, Barrydale Johnson…

I think the most poignant memory I have is neither poignant nor something to cherish OUTSIDE of the fact that it was a nice laugh for Bob and me. It was actually at the worst hotel of all time in Palm Springs, the weekend of Barry Jay’s 40th birthday Party in 2003. Bob has all of the experience marked on his website, but what I will always remember, aside from the mist machine shower, the trashcan for an ice bucket, the potholders for pillows, and the fan with one blade, is that we still managed to laugh our asses off, have a great time, and be so happy to get the hell out of Palm Springs aka The Money Pit. I was just waiting for the turkey to shoot out of the oven…

Once I was a wee lad… Aunt Carol…

When you were about 2 or 3, your mom and I took you on one of our cross-country trips. I think we were in her VW BUG. While visiting Jeff Hotchkiss in Washington for 4th of July, I met my future husband Mike G.A. In fact I was holding you when he first put his arm around me. Ahhh!! We went on to Colorado to visit your relatives and we were running low on $ and down to the last of the liverwurst and rye krisp crackers (one of my concoctions). After 2 days of that, you started throwing them back at me (so did Sharon). We guessed you had enough. Up to that point you were pretty good-natured. So we splurged at A & W. You gulped everything down so fast and started choking on something. I remember feeling stunned and helpless. Sharon’s face panicked. She was talking on the phone with your aunt I think. Then with one arm she swooped you up and gave you a few quick tummy squeezes and out it flew. That really scared us all.

A real grand dame, Deedee Rickets…

The fondest memories I have are from the making of THREE QUEENS and you lusting over Billy Summers.

I also have a pretty fun memory of having cocktails with you by Mimi’s pool – talking about ‘boys’…

Then there is a gay pride parade day…but that one’s not as clear…oh dear, I’m getting older too.

A woman who knows how to talk, Sprague Grayden…

Bob was one of the first friendly faces I found on my first big job. I was in Canada, separated from family and friends on my birthday when Bob and Gabi found me and took me for tequila and chit-chat. Thanks for saving me that night and watching out for me ever since!

Once on a trip to Memphis, I met a cool lady named Kristin Day…

OK. So. About Bob. About Bob in May of 2000. Well, I met Bob (Fabulous Bob, to you!) while he was with the Cast Away crew filming in lil’ ol’ Memphis, TN. That’s right, Bob has been to the Land of Elvis, BBQ and the not-so-beautiful-but-still-mighty-Mississippi. I was a sales manager at the Memphis Marriott Downtown and my group was the crew and cast members of Cast Away. Which means I spent 6 glorious weeks being middle man between Cast Away crew (now who would want to say “no” to such a cool constituency?) and my boss (“They want WHAT for nothing? Well, darn it. FINE. But, er, could they get my picture with Tom????”) But each morning, I was greeted by Bob’s smiling face and he ALWAYS made me laugh, no matter the circumstance. He’d tell me the previous night’s escapades, how few hours sleep he got, what # cup of coffee he was on and then tell me gently that 1/2 the crew was checking out early. So many little details I remember… NSYNC was also at our hotel for a weekend. Now THERE were some great stories! Good God I had to protect myself once Bob knew they were coming! More snippets…How Tom (as in Hanks, the all time classiest actor) went to the NSYNC concert with him… the juke joint night where he had to pretend to be Judy’s husband… watching ER with him and the crew when I had to work late on a Thursday night… thinking I was glad George Clooney knows Bob as they both seem to have humor in common…. mostly cheap humor, but a good belly laugh cheap humor… getting a pass to go watch filming of the garage scene in the Convention Center. COOL. But mostly how Bob would make me laugh and how much we loved talking about food! …And that’s what I know About Bob.

The always-sexual Jonas Farr…

I think the thing I most remember about you is how mean you were to me when we first met. I guess Clara told you all the awful stories about the way I treated her when we dated. Of course she left out the great sex, which most certainly would have made you melt in front of me.

As for a story. I remember when Clara was throwing up in the laundry room sink at Jo and Peter’s home. She was very ill and had no thought of every pulling her head out of it and going home. You thought you had the control to get her out, and you tried. You even went as far as to tell me that she would never leave the sink with me standing by her. After about 30 minutes of work you gave up and allowed me to work the magic that I only can. I had her out of the sink in 5 minutes. Poor Bob, he just didn’t understand that the gay man does not understand how the straight woman operates.

I also believe that was the night when we were all in the hanging window room in Jo’s backyard and Clara laughed, tossing her head back and catching her hair on fire. Since I was the only one standing by her I quickly put the fire out with some short blows to her head with my hand. You and I were the only ones that had seen it. We laughed and others just stared.

Clara has given you and I quite a bit of joy. She took two men from different backgrounds and showed us the common thing running through all men. SEX.

For a good martini and a cigarette, there is no one greater than Lee Rose…

Bob…you are the wind beneath my wings… shit sorry… wrong Bob. I would say being on the back of a boat in Vancouver with you July 1, 2002 Canada day… with Crewson… but I think she can only remember one thing… how bout my house a few months later when you unexpectedly became Kiefer’s keeper?

My pink princess, Wendy Thorlakson…

I flew to New York to play with Baub just cuz I could. He took me to the Pay it Forward junket and I took him to see NSYNC on Good Morning. Sounds fun right? Not!!!!!! What happened in between is where it gets tricky. See we had no place to stay and we were both poor. Baub decides that we can stay at his friend Christian and Erin’s house. Did I mention that this house was a country mile away (as the crow flies) and that it was 20 degrees out and we had to walk? So we decided we must get drunk in order to deal with our fate. We found a bar with a Pink neon sign that said bar and set to the task………………..

Never mind, that one is boring

Ok so the first time I met my Space Cowboy, I kidnapped him, got him drunk and made him perform naked, except for a grass skirt, for a bunch of celebrities on The Island of Tuanga! He was so great, I decided not to vote him off but to keep him there and make him do synchronized swimming routines with me in our underwear to Madonna’s “Beautiful Stranger”! I then kept him for a whole weekend and made him dress up like Juan Epstien in 70’s P.E. clothes and took him to a party where he ended up onstage dancing with The Sugar Hill Gang and Wild Orchid with NSYNC as his audience. He seemed to be having fun so I kept him for another day before I finally gave him a map on a pizza box with directions how to get off the island!

I love you forever,
Lucky

The newly married, Elizabeth Walther…

I knew Bob was a keeper the first time I met him. My friend Elizabeth (and I write this on her behalf as well since she’s off somewhere getting married – I mean, come on, let’s prioritize) and I were blowing off more than a little steam at Don Cucos with buckets of margaritas, when my boss called with an urgent errand. We were in no shape to drive and Elizabeth suggested calling her friend, you guessed it, Bob. He rescued us from Don Cucos, drove us to my boss’s house so I could pick up whatever and do whatever with it, then he delivered us safely home. Along the way, some might say a little too much information (Paul – you know what I mean) and Britney worship was shared; however I’ve come to learn that’s just life with Bob. And if I haven’t’ said it enough Bob, Thank you!!!!!!!

The age-defying, Mel Salvadore…

SHOUT! SHOUT! SHOUT AT THE DEVIL!

Vince Neil, featuring Nikki Sixx (my future ex-husband), Traci Gunns, and of course a drunk and stumbling Shauna Sands as an arm piece for Vince, begins the memory that makes me smile most! Apple Martini’s, hanging over the railing, remarking about the moth-eaten acid wash sea of jeans, and the best mullets to hit the Strip since 1987! This evening was full of laughter, happy drunkenness, good friends, and Bob becoming a true metal head! PRICELESS!

She makes me dance an Irish jig, Kelly Dougherty…

I think the craziest I ever saw was the year NavTech had a Halloween Party instead of a Christmas Party. Remember? It was at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose. I’m not sure what year. I don’t remember a lot of costumes. Hawkins came as Kool-Aid. Billy and his wife were Dorothy and the Scarecrow. And you? You were Wonder Woman-complete with tights, bustier, and tiara. You had the height, but that hourglass figure is hard for a man to attain. After your grand entrance and tour of the rooms to make sure you’d “been seen”, you spent the rest of the night singing karaoke.

Someone whose memory is more discombobulated than mine, Barry Hawkins…

How could you forget New Orleans 2025 when we turned into werewolves and bit Anne Rice in the ass… but I’m getting ahead of myself. It was 1974 and we were playing Bionic Woman in your back yard. As usual, we were both running around bare-assed. Your mom had made her famous beans and rice for lunch and we started farting up a storm. Suddenly, we both let one rip! The simultaneous gas release caused a temporal rift and we were sucked right in and wound up on the English moors. It was a full moon (we were still both naked) and that’s when we were bitten by what we both thought was a rabid Shitsu. It all gets kind of fuzzy for me after that, so I’m not sure how we ended up in New Orleans where Anne Rice was at the book signing of her 57th vampire novel. (Don’t those characters ever die?) Anyway, that’s when she started throwing macadamia nuts at us and you got mad and bit her bottom. I didn’t want you to have all the fun so I grabbed the other cheek. We must have farted again because the next thing you know, we were back in your backyard, each with a piece of Rice in our mouths. I still have mine sitting on the bookshelf next to my signed copy of Incontinence of a Vampire. Why don’t we do stuff like that any more?

A memory worse than mine, Amy Cohen…

I remember you in tidbits, because I suck at this, but always remember liking you very much and always wanting to know you. You make me laugh. Luckily our friends (GEORGE AND WALDO) MADE SURE WE’D BE GOOD FRIENDS. THAT’S IMPORTANT. (MICHAEL GARRITY TOO, I GUESS)

LOVE, YOUR memory-less friend…Italian Amy

My most surprising friendship in my recent memory, Greg Coleman…

WHISTLE-HONK!!!

Thanks for being a great friend and giving me so much to laugh about. My funniest Baub story comes from the parking structure at Revolution a little over a year ago:

EXT- Lunchtime at Revolution Studios.

 

Shana, Diane, Bob, and Greg all pile into Baub’s car. The car is filled with gum wrappers, CD cases, loose papers, receipts, and movie schwag.

 

Greg:

 

Hey Bob, I thought gay people had clean cars.

 

Laughter.

 

Baub:

 

I’M NOT GAY! Why does everybody always think I’m gay? Gay, gay, gay. I’m not GAY!

 

Diane:

 

Wow Bob, don’t take it so personal.

 

Baub starts the car. The stereo immediately starts blaring the Go-Go’s singing “…Johnny are you queer boy?”

My other favorite Baub story comes from making my little sister’s teenaged dreams come true by introducing her to a member of her favorite band, N’Sync. It means a lot to me that you have included my family and I in your amazingly fun life. I know you’ll continue to be blessed with great friends and tremendously exciting times. You’re a great friend and I’m glad to celebrate your birthday with you.

The multi-talented Anthony Barnao…

In the spring of 2001, I was casting a show called The Beast and had the great pleasure of meeting the charismatic, funny, bright and ballsy Bob Merrick. My assistant at the time was a lovable wise-ass named John Dvi Vardhana. He loved to tease and took particular pleasure in messing with you though his intentions were always for fun and never mean. One day you walked by my office while John and I were talking and said something. John looked at me, grinned, and ran into the hallway after you. I heard him say something. A moment later he came bounding back into my office with you in graceful pursuit. Your eyebrows were raised as were your tail feathers and you were ready to have John for lunch. You slowly backed him against the wall and challenged him to say something back to you. He was laughing though he was a bit nervous and a bit embarrassed. I got a kick out of seeing the big, blonde (at that time) bad boy Bob Merrick make my little wise-ass assistant squirm with virtually no effort. Thanks for the laughs.

My little Aussie boy, Matt Williamson…

I’ve only had one week to get to know Bob. He guided me through my first LA experience.

Here I was, an innocent, wide eyed Australian – just off the plane and still jetlagged – arrive at Marix Tex-Mex cafe’. Being from outside the country and not having had exposure to American culture I thought that this Cafe’ represented a true cross section of American society (that just happened to be mostly gay)…. Bob showed me the way.

Bob wanted me to get a broad range of experience while in LA. So the next night we went to a kind of ranch place with a mechanical bull (the Saddle Ranch on Sunset)- the food they served me lasted me the rest of the week. Bob ordered a bucket of Margarita…

I also remember Bob singing Chicago songs in the car as we drove through a siege. There were two dozen police cars…. (It might have been a fire.) Bob advised me to lock the car door. I was scared…he thought it would be funny to pretend that everyone in LA had a handgun in their glove box…. offered to show it to me his as he reached into his own glove box…. the door was locked so I couldn’t bail out… lucky because we were traveling at speeds approaching the land speed record (’cause that’s how Bob travels).

Bob calmly guided me, though it what was a nerve-wracking week and I will be forever grateful…. he may be forever scarred.

Bound by contract as my little sister, Stephanie Jones-Gunn…

The annual Bob and Shaunessy fights that always made my birthday a day to remember… red underwear on a stick… photo shoot at the beach a la the Cherish video… driving around in your crappy blue car with the fleck tone ceiling, windows down in the hot san jose summer, singing at the top of our lungs (and I still couldn’t hear myself over you)… that endless afternoon spent hand delivering your going away party invitations… here’s your one chance fancy, don’t let me down… slutty whore, slutty whore… daphne shirt… the phone call when my grandma was sick… silliness and laughter – always…

My Little Quizno, Jayne Brooke…

Vancouver, Spring, 2003…or, uh, was it Fall ’02? Must have been Fall ’02, ‘cause it was when you were still with Mimi. Hmmmm, was it as early as September, then, when Mimi was directing the pilot and Episode 1 of John Doe? Maybe you can help me on this. I remember eating Subway subs – you had Turkey, I had Tuna; you had FLAVORED chips, I had PLAIN JANE chips – one night at that location that Jim Cameron built for Dark Angel in the middle of Vancouver’s Red Light district near that great Gourmet Warehouse shop that you probably never had a chance to visit and aren’t you a little sad about that now?

We were in the little side room, all by our lonesome, late at night, unwilling to accept just any Crafts Service meal and you had valiantly, chivalrously, and unselfishly offered to go and fetch us two some food. It was that sandwich sharing that led to our making plans to do it again in LA.

And so we did about two weeks ago.

And so we will again.

Temporary employee, forever friend, Tiffany Shuttleworth…

I remember I met Baub when I temped for Marit for Margaret French-Isaac at Yak Yak in, I think 2001.

What I mostly remember is him yelling and laughing loudly, and his autographed poster of the GoGo’s in his “office”. I was honored when called to cover for him for Mimi when he was summoned by the tour manager to Madonna’s concert in New York, and to hang out backstage, as he was quick to point out.

Truly Baub is larger than life, and an amazing person. Never has the word “unique” been more apropos. It is my gift to call him a friend.

She knows me better than I know myself, Shaunessy Jones…

I remember working with him at Baskin-Robbins before we started dating (yes, folks, this is the first ever girlfriend of Bob’s and no, I didn’t think he was gay back then. I fooled myself into believing he was “theatrical.”) No one wanted to work with Bob because he would subject them to Debbie Gibson and Madonna the entire shift (similar music tastes were very important to scheduling employees together I found out). As the scheduler, I would get stuck with Bob since everyone else complained to me about working with him. . . the singing, the dancing, the over-the-top outbursts. It was on one particular shift that Bob and I hit a pivotal moment in our relationship. He was irritating me or I was irritating him, and I said something to him snappy-like and he retorted: “Shaunessy, you are causing friction between us.”

Who knows really how we came to fall in love (yes, it was love, the best kind, first love). He went away during the summer and when he returned, I ran up to hug him. Something shifted and it wasn’t too long after that that we had our first date. I remember him in my room, nervous, waiting for my friends Jeff and Cindy to arrive so we could all go see a movie (Air America with Robert Downey Jr.) I don’t remember the movie (it was not good, even in retrospect) but I recall Bob throwing his long legs over the seat in front of him, scooching down in his seat until he was comfortable, but then realizing that he was stuck! He literally had to propel himself into the aisle to dislodge his body from the seat. I tried not to laugh but it was so funny. He was trying to impress me so much that I think it mortified him.

We would fight about tomatoes and who controlled the radio and who loved the other more. . . one time after a fight, you followed me in the car, driving slowly along the street playing Madonna’s “This Used to be My Playground” all the while telling me to get into the car. We did naughty things in the hot tub and pretended you “fell asleep on accident” in my bedroom just so you could stay the night in my bedroom.

I remember you at my bedside reading me “Freddy the Leaf” as struggled with grief and fear while my father was dying. You were the person who held me when I got the call that my dad had passed. You were the one who sat with me, allowing me to feel safe in our silence. You have always been my safe place.

Random memories with Bob: The Bon Jovi concert and that man with the horrible farts in front of us… Red underpants at the beach… The police tapping on the window when we were making out in my car at the park… Driving with you when you moved down to Los Angeles… Drunk dialing me at 3 am with the boys from N’Sync to prove that we used to have sex… Trusting you to highlight my hair and ending up looking like a calico cat… Teaching you to drive a stick shift… You at my high school graduation, my college graduation, my sister’s wedding, every Christmas, every birthday- every important event in my life, you have been there. No wonder I love you so damn much.

My own little dolly, Stephanie Coleman…

I have only known you for about a year, and I love you more than you’ll ever know! From the first day I met you; hiking to the Hollywood sign, and making plans to go to Dollywood, I knew you were my favorite of Greg’s friends. Finally, I had someone to check out Crosby with! It’s hard to pick a favorite memory…but the premiere of ’13 Going On 30′ was one of the best nights of my life! It was all because of my beautiful Bob that I was able to meet Victor Garber. Perhaps a better question is, “What will your favorite memory with Bob be?”, because I have lifelong plans with you. There’s no escaping me now – I am hopelessly in love with you! I hope you have the best birthday, and that all your wishes come true. You’ve certainly granted a few of mine!

My long lost friend in Orlando, Sallyann Bell…

I am pretty certain you may not remember me, Sally-Ann, used to work at WEG, one of Lance’s friends. I actually first met you with Bob Reese and Brent. Bob who used to have crazy parties at ‘the island” over here in Winter Park. I first met you with my roommate Amanda when you were in Orlando working on Jodie Foster’s movie, the name of it escapes me, and I’m pretty sure the movie never got finished being made… ANYHOW, we joined you and the other Bob for dinner at Icheban on Orange Ave, where we sat at a large round table and you drank lots of Sake and entertained us all with your Britney Spears impressions of “She’s so lucky, she’s a star”. You must have made an impression because I remembered. I seem to remember less these days as the years go by…. not enough elixir tea I’m sure… Also you hooked me up with a potential position at Rod Stewart’s management office, which I would have taken but couldn’t get out to LA in the time they needed me too. However it was a fab hook up, and has been one of the best situations in someone helping me job hunt at the time. Most people talk out of their ass when they say they have “connections” and “can help you out”. So that’s it from me…hope this helps your memories!

This one kills me because I only remember getting my driver’s license; the rest is foreign to me, Jenny Bailey…

It was 10/96 and I had just come back from my honeymoon. Bob accompanied me to the Burbank DMV because both of us needed driver’s licenses. I needed one with my new name and Bob was getting his first, official LA driver’s license. Bob was ecstatic! This was a big moment for him and he was over-the-moon with excitement, after all this was the moment that he would get to show himself and the world that he was finally a honest-to-God resident of Los Angeles and that he was moving toward making his dreams come true.

I’ve no idea how long we had to wait in line (but since it was the DMV, I’m sure we were there quite awhile). But I do remember that Bob made the ordeal of waiting in line at the DMV a fun and amusing experience for not only myself, but also anyone else within earshot… I think we laughed the whole time we were there. The funniest part of the whole day was when it came time to take the all-important license photo. Bob had practiced his “photo face” while standing in line, but now it was time for the real thing. Would he look ok? Would the hair look right? Good God, what about a double chin?! There was so much to think about, so much pressure. I thought he’d burst. All too quickly the flashbulb went off and in an instant Bob rushed the poor, harried DMV drone and excitedly asked to see the photo. Explaining what a big deal this was to him, he begged her to show it to him. I was shocked to watch this woman–a DMV employee, mind you–acquiesce and turn the monitor towards Bob. He shrieked in horror at his own photo and begged the woman to take another. Standing in amazement I watched as this woman melted and told him she could do another one real quickly for him. Not only did she take another picture, but she even directed him to lower his head a tad to make it look better. After the photo was taken she showed it to him and he loved it. A few people around us actually cheered him, for they had caught his excitement as well.

Then we left the DMV, aware that both of us had passed our own personal milestones together. It’s true that we would both get new licenses, but Bob taught me that day that excitement is catching and it never hurts to ask for something you really want no matter what you think the other person might say. Since then I have been back to the DMV many times and I always think about Bob, probably the only person alive who could make going to the DMV an enjoyable experience!

My mom of mom’s, Mary Kay Jones…

What I said to Bob while he dated my daughter….

“Who is drinking all the orange juice?” High School Junior and Senior year.

“Ok he can set up his room in the garage for the rest of senior year.”

“You were so great in the musical Little Shop of Horrors” High School.

“Don’t throw Emmitt in the pool like that even if you want him to learn to swim!”

“How many trips to Great America to see Richard Marx does this make?”

“That is the best Vogue to Madonna I have seen, you should be a dancer!”

“Oh what cute matching PJ’s you and Kory have on for Christmas”, sometime in ‘95?

“While mashing the potatoes for Thanksgiving please keep the mixer IN the bowl! I love the garlic!”

“I believe it was you running down the street, in front of the San Jose Arena, while a game was getting out, in a Wonder Woman outfit?” No, it was Wonder Woman!

“Thank you for the beautiful card and sentiment, you always know the right thing to say even at a sad time like this” March ‘93

“OK let’s get out of here and put the stupid Christmas tree in the car. Don’t look back. We’re taking it!”

“We’ll all miss you here in Campbell but know that great things will happen for you once you leave town, I mean, arrive in LA”

“How much money do you need?”

That’s all for now, I think?

Arms that would make Mark Wahlberg green with envy, Joel Schaller…

Well unlike most of your friends, I have not had the privilege of knowing the greatness that is Bob, as long as the rest. But I can say that in the short time that I have known you… you are nothing but the BEST!!! I may not have a long story to tell my memories… but I can sum up one of them with one word… HOLLA!!! To hear that word uttered throughout Vegas was by far the funniest thing I think I’ve ever heard… and it’s mostly the way you said it!!! Vegas had a lot of great memories for me…and I’m glad that my memories of you, Bob, are a huge part of that experience!!!… plus, never before had my biceps been named… so for that… on behalf of myself, Tom, and Felicia… Thank You!!!… and Happy 30th Birthday!!! We only wish we could be there in person to help you celebrate and have a group hug… with the 4 of us!! Hahaha!!!

“There is a world of endless resources. There is a mind full of outrageous dreams. There is a place where the two meet. Anything is possible…” –that’s our gal!!!

Leaves, leaves and Tiffany Spencer…

Though I know we met at some point back in high school, I don’t remember meeting Bob. It seems like he has always just been there. Like a Remora.

If you don’t know what a Remora is, don’t worry. I googled it to make sure I knew how to spell it right. (I did.) The short answer is that a Remora is a fish that swims along the side of sharks. (Please don’t look too deeply into the analogy-it’s a pretty simple one. I am not trying to say that Bob’s friends are sharks, or that Bob eats the scraps of their prey. And, I am certainly not saying that Bob is known for the oval sucking disk on the top of his head! However, I should make it clear that my friendship with Bob means enough to me that I could overlook that sort of shocking physical deformity. Or easily hide it with a sporty cap or very dashing beret.)

Like a Remora, Bob is an easy comforting presence that just seems to make life more enjoyable. (I would specify that he makes MY life more enjoyable, but I suspect that Bob has this impact on everyone.) He is the perfect accessory for almost any occasion. (In that sense, I would compare him to a Prada bag or a vodka tonic, but then I would lose the impact of my analogy. And at this point, I am already in too deep.) Like a Remora, Bob can keep up with just about anyone. He is always the life of the party. Armed with a witty anecdote, a cool new dance move, a wicked piece of gossip, (and more often than not a cocktail) Bob finds friends wherever he goes. He has an uncanny ability to connect with everyone he meets. (Ed. Note: Maybe that’s where I can somehow tie in the sucker disk?) He can find commonalities in even the most divergent personalities and he can bring them together through the power of his Electric Slide. But most importantly, Bob is an incredibly generous and understanding friend. Like the relationship between the remora and its host, a friendship with Bob is easy. It’s a pleasant and enjoyable experience, with a rhythm of its own. A relationship you just sort of fall into rather than those that you find yourself working to establish and maintain. One day, you just look over, and you notice that Bob is just swimming along beside you and things just feel better.

The shoe loving Lia Markakis…

My favorite Bob memory- hmmmm… That’s a tough one. I’ve only known Bob for a few years, but in that time all Bob moments have been very memorable… I’m going to have to go with his going away/house warming party at his new apartment. He performed various Debbie Gibson (pre-Deborah) songs for us complete with choreography and back up dancers! Songs included, but were not limited to, “Only in My Dreams” and “Shake Your Love”… I’m hoping that we get more of this kind of good times at his 30th! Can’t wait to celebrate!

The original Goddess, Persephone Crittenden…

My beautiful Bobby! I only wish that I had the time in this late hour to recount many of the vast memories of you. For now, the one that never leaves my mind… You’re working in New Mexico, I believe on “Wild Wild West”. You would write to us these lovely (& lengthy) accounts of your days. Your description of the skies – the colors, the clouds, the lightning, the vastness – it was all so beautiful, so moving, so intriguing. I was wonderfully reminded of your eloquence and your grand life! ; ) Even though I have yet to venture there myself, your descriptions are painted solid in my mind, always reminding me that I must visit. Oh, and then the fact that George Clooney got you into basketball during Three Kings. This always makes me giddy as I tell my friends over a King’s game! xoxox

My Little Drummer Boy, Matt Siek…

I know this story is old and has been told many-a-time, but, it’s a damned fond memory of mine.

It must have been about 10 years ago at Joe Nowak’s cabin in Arnold, CA. We were there to celebrate his high school graduation. Joe had brought his girlfriend at the time, whose name escapes me. I just remember she was some rich broad from Menlo-Atherton. Her dad owned Nabisco or something like that. A girl named Karen (who’s story of this trip is also a good one, right Zach and Tommy?) was also along with us. For some reason or another, Karen and the lil rich girl had gone somewhere and just Bob, Joe and myself were left at the cabin. We decided to start drinking. I think after some tequila, Bob wanted to start up with the bottle of rum he was so excited about bringing. Joe and I looked at each other and saw an opportunity to “fuck with Bob” arise. You had stated your love for rum so adamantly that Joe and I offered you 2 dollars and a new bottle of rum if you could finish what was left in the bottle you had (about 2/3 full) by 3PM. I think it was about 1PM at the time we offered this to you. Bob said “No problem” (or something to that effect). After a few swigs, Bob was obviously a little tipsy, thusly, a little louder and more rambunctious. Joe and I then proceeded to turn every clock in the house forward by a half an hour about every five minutes. So, by about 1:45 real time (3pm on the clocks we had changed), the bottle was finished and Bob was on a rampage. At one point I remember Bob with a box of Captain Crunch spinning in circles with the cereal flying everywhere and Bob yelling something like “Cap’n Cap’n Cap’n!”.

Then you needed to go upstairs to rest your head. That was the problem. Stairs. Joe and I were both a bit tipsy and as giggly as school-girls watching your various antics, we couldn’t help you up the stairs. Stairs were a bit problematic for this over grown school-girl full of rum (Bob). Bob decided to take a few running starts at the stairs, each time getting up about 3 or 4 steps, promptly falling to his knees and sliding back down to the bottom. Bob’s knees did not like this. After about 6 or attempts at this, Joe and I finally got the gumption to help you to the upstairs bathroom. Bob then, bloody kneed and all, decided to take a shower, with his clothes on. For about 45 minutes. I went in to check on Bob and he was near passed out while standing up in the shower. I then told Bob he should take his clothes off. Remember, this was before Bob officially “came out”, so, he called me “a gay homosexual” for wanting to see him naked. Ahhh, irony, eh Bob?

Eventually, Bob finished his shower, got some dry clothes on and passed out until about 3 AM, to which he was woken up by the ecstatic groans of a young woman being pleasured by a long, Jewish finger or two or three (Zach’s). Bob was a bit confused and scared, He froze. He wouldn’t move. Who was this couple engaged in digital stimulation in the dark, on Bob’s bedroom floor? Finally, Joe and I asked the amorous couple to stop (they were keeping the whole bloody house awake!) and helped Bob move downstairs.

I can’t remember when we finally admitted that we changed the clocks. It may have been during the Cap’n Crunch dance or the failed stair climbing. I can’t recall. All I know is that Joe and I created a monster that day. I think it was YEARS before Bob could drink rum again. He may still have some left over effects from that day. Do you drink rum still, Bob? Though I have MANY MANY more memories of Bob, this one sticks out the most for me.

Other memories like losing Bob in a conga line that stretched about 4 city blocks and making him hold my hand afterwards or taking him to his first gay bar as I was drooling over the beautiful lesbians (Hamburger Mary’s) are quite fun memories, too. Maybe at your next birthday bash, I will tell those stories, too.

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to stroll down memory lane and I look forward to making more memories at your BIG BASH!!!!!

She can cry on camera better than any other gum lover I know, Romy Rosemont…

All I want to say is that Bob is a true friend and makes all our lives a little more kick ass. I love you.

I don’t know who this is. Some fan from my website? She included a photo and it reminded me of Axel Rose. Jennifer Trent…

What I remember most about Bob is that he NEVER remembered me!!! EVER!! Even now I bet he is saying, Jennifer……. who?

A memory longer than mine, Laura Pepper-Burns-Wood…

I met Bob in September of 1995. The summer Jerry Garcia died and the beginning to the end of working for attorneys. If you are an attorney or work for one, or have the awful luck of falling in love with one, I am terribly sorry and hope your health insurance pays for ongoing counseling you will need for years to come. Oh but I digress…

I worked with Bob at a little company called NavTech in Sunnyvale, California. I worked in the far east corner of the building with my attorney and the Director of Finance, Scott, an easy going man who was my check point when I thought I had completely lost my mind or was on the verge of screaming obscenities at above mentioned attorney. In that hallway of cubes nearest the door to the parking lot were two goofy, sweet adorable young men. Joe Noonan Jr. and Tomato Bob. Joe and I clicked, we are both Deadheads, loved the music of the Grateful Dead and Bob loved to make fun of us for it. But then again the boy was listening to Madonna and I am sure had never really listened to the words of The Wheel or Stella. I looked past his Madonna needs and we became friends. The three of us working in the hall of cubes making remarks out loud for our own personal enjoyment. Chatted, had coffee and lunch together almost every day and were involved in each others lives more than most casual colleagues.

Let me stop right her and ask you, the reader, to think for one minute of Bob’s laugh. It is LOUD, it is infectious, and it is delightful like children screaming in the summer sun! While that sound is still ringing in your ears think of what a joker he is, how he loves a great gag and how with all his might he is your friend, regardless of when was the last time you saw him or spoke to him.

Now with that in mind let me tell you my story of Bob. Wonderful, loud Bob, who dressed as Wonder Woman for Halloween. Bob, who would cover for me when I went out back to do the “bad thing” with Colleen and Lynn and would open the door and say something like “No, I can’t see her out here” which meant, “put out that cigarette and get you butt back in here”.

I decided to have dessert party on Christmas Eve. I had invited all my single friends who were in town to a Christmas at midnight party. I had invited about 20 people and been baking for several days…

During this time, my brother had gone missing. There were search teams looking for him near his home and his travel route to and from work, which was in the southern outskirts of Colorado. My sister was there and working with my sister-in-law and the police, media crews and search parties trying to locate him. He was missing for 7 days and on Christmas Eve he was found – he was gone. I called three people when my brother died, Bob, Joe and E. Joe and Bob called everyone and told them the party was off. They called the attorney and told him I was leaving for Colorado in the morning to bury my brother. Then they came over to my house, not bearing yummy cakes and cookies for the party, but for support. We sat around and played dead tunes, smoked, drank wine. Someone thought we should eat, so we went to Italian food. Pasta always makes you feel better and the wine helps too. We spent hours in the restaurant talking about the hallway and silly things to keep me going. Then we came back to my place and they stayed and helped me pack for the trip. Hours of what should I wear? Who has a coat warm enough that I can borrow? Do you have gloves? Silly take my mind of this questions resounding through my house as if that was all anyone had to do on Christmas. They stayed past three in the morning and when they left I never felt so alone in my life. Someone would feed the cats; some one would bring in the mail. How long would I be gone? I had no idea maybe a week?

I called work on the day before New Years Eve, I talked to Bob and Joe asked them to get my paycheck sent to me. Could one of them call my Doctor – I had gotten an infection and needed meds. I came back to work on January 20, 1996, an entire month after my brother first disappeared. My cats had been taken care of; my Christmas tree, the ornaments, the stockings, the cards and even the gifts had all been repacked and placed where they belonged. I had forgotten that Christmas had even happened and I was lucky enough to have someone put those reminders away before my return. That by far was the best gift ever given to me that year. My questions still unanswered, still shaky on my feet, afraid of the attorney and what I might say. Everyone stayed very clear of me – no one wanted to talk to the girl whose brother had died in such a mysterious way. Well, no one but Bob and Joe. It was such a nice feeling to come back to my loud hallway and that silly childish laughter with songs by Madonna and Jerry.

I still don’t know what happened to my brother. I left the attorney for a friendlier boss, who I had met that same month of my brother’s death. When I got married and had my son, Bob was in town for some movie opening he had worked on and invited me to lunch. I never felt more at ease than to say yes and bring my little guy Jared to meet my friend who made me laugh when I thought I would never laugh again. Jared was in awe of Bob, and every time that loud booming laugh came out of Bob, he stared as if he had never had heard anything like it. He might not see him again for a while, but I know he will remember it.

Spoken like a true Mule, Clara Martinez…

I hate to sound like a yearbook entry but Bob and I have been through so much together….

Madonna cancelled on us TWICE!… The Broken Clock… Paddy getting us drunk playing the dice game… Remember us hiking at the Hollywood sign and me falling face first down the hill when I saw you?… My mom still calls you The Rooster… We were together that fateful morning at 6a.m on 9/11… Me being the only one with mosquito bites?… Remember when Paddy and I sent you postcards from Fiji everyday and continued sending them from L.A… And you didn’t notice the difference?????

My memory is as bad as yours, Nag… but you are always completely memorable.

Love, Mulie

My backbone, my heart, my conscience, my guide, Aunt Heidi

Bob then… let’s see… first impression… tall… blond… giddy… angry… lost.. silly.. smart… unsure… funny… different!… Turns out those were all good things… he was still heterosexual and had a girlfriend (that was the first thing I needed to take care of)… In the ensuing years, we have shared many tears of laughter (red cowboy boots indeed) and of sadness (Aunt Bernie)… we are close, we love each other (don’t tell)… we talk… and talk… and talk… and talk some more… never at a loss for words… we are family! We are proud… supportive… grateful… we are along for the ride, can’t wait to see where it goes & happy we have each other (ain’t I?)… some things just fit (pink dress)… that’s us!!!!!

Baub now… let’s see… tall… blond… giddy… popular… funny… confident…. smart… talented…

Still different… (you think?) And that’s a good thing!

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Responses

  1. Bob–
    It’s Jill from Westmont High School. My critters asked to see my yearbook and I told some fun stories of YOU!! So, I’ve been thinking about you and I miss you! Looking at your site it looks like you’re doing Very well! I have old gossip and no gossip. Let me know if you want to catch up!
    That’s about it – Miss You!! Hugs and Kisses.
    Jill

  2. Bob, this is your former Navtech colleague Martha. I got your invitation to connect on LinkedIn over the weekend, and I don’t know if you were connecting to me because you remember me personally, or because you were reconnecting with anyone who ever worked at Navtech. Well, I do remember you. I ended a friendship over you. I was friends at NT with a girl named Jennifer Ewing. She was a nice girl, but a real religious fundie. One day, we were hanging out and she made some….well, shall we say, not very nice comments about homosexuality that were specifically aimed at you. I told her how offensive she was to me, and I never spoke to her again. I have no tolerance for anyone like her. I remember that you were totally hilarious and completely nuts (this is a good thing), and that your ultimate goal was to be entrenched in the world Hollywood as a personal/production assistant. I see you acheived that goal, and that makes me very happy. I see you’re still just as fabulous as ever, and I love it. LOL!

    By the way, love Shannon but I’m a Kristi fan. She’s a hometown girl (I live in Fremont, CA) and her partner Mark is so frickin’ adorable (although so is Derek Hough) so I have to vote for her. But Shannon is probably my second favorite. Do you know her? Why the Shannon love?

    Take care, and hit me up if you want. I’m on Facebook under Martha Leeson Garcia, if you ever go there.


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