Monday, March 31, 2008

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul and Bertha--his first wife--almost 30 years ago through my painting professor, Patricia Walsh, about house-sitting for them while they made their journey back to Germany to visit old friends and relatives. I spent perhaps a month with them at their house in Calistoga before they left and experienced a summer I will always remember, a summer of music, art, swimming, table tennis, picking plums, pollinating cherry tomatoes with a brush, and dogs (Tiffy and Terry). And of course, conversations about the world, politics, art, Brazilian food, TV soap operas, science--everything under the sun was a topic. I will always remember how Paul would rehearse his viola and he would wear his tuxedo before a performance--his tux was probably not new, but that did not matter; he looked fantastic! They had two cars, one was a large domestic sedan, and the other was a very old Ford T-Bird, which probably burned a quart of oil just to get to St. Helena, a few miles away! It was the only car at that time in which he could fit! We bought food at the 7th Day Adventists co-op, vegetarian, when we could, and they eagerly introduced me to the world of pressure cooking.

I gladly repeated the house-sitting for them the following summer so they could return to Brazil.

I will always remember Paul for his intelligence, his humor, his insight, and his quick thinking. He was kind, and generous, and always genuinely glad to see friends. I will greatly miss him and his unmistakable voice. He taught me so much....

Thank you, Paul.

Stuart Nakamura

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