I kept trying to figure out why it took so long for me to post the news that Oakland’s Harold Lawrence, who is formally known as a classical music legend, but for me, is “Harold, who’s married to Mary Morris Lawrence,” and “Harold and Mary,” and “friend”, and “critic of Zennie,” and “video blogger before computers” takes me back, first, to this blog post I wrote on August 29, 2009, which started like this:
As I write this I’m sitting here watching the funeral for Senator Ted Kennedy and preparing myself to attend the memorial service for Mary Morris Lawrence.
This is a hard day. To start, it’s a day that marks the passing of two incredible people; one I never got to personally know, the other I did personally know. Both changed the society they were in.
The “other person” was Ted Kennedy.
And then I continued:
It’s hard for me to accept the passing of Mary because her spirit was so powerful I can’t see her as anything but here and alive. I suppose that’s why it took me so long to write anything about this moment. Aside from the fact that this has been my sixth memorial or funeral this year, it’s just something that’s plain hard to acknowledge.
So, learning of Harold’s passing means that both of them are gone. And what’s so hard, folks, is that I can remember a day, not too long ago, when Mary Morris Lawrence, Harold, and Richard Winnie (who some Oaklanders know as the Alameda County Council), and I, and a lot of other friends, some I now call family, were all in the same room.
And then I remember Harold and Richard and I in the same room when Mary died. Mary Warren – who for a long time, represented the Oakland Coliseum on its board of directors – was there too. That was at Libby Schaaf’s place. Libby’s now Oakland’s District Four Councilmember.
And now, Richard and Harold are gone.
See, they are part of my circle. And that circle changes when a person passes on. Especially someone like Harold. We talked a lot, but were never quite as close as I was with Mary, but then not so distant that Harold never offered advice.
See, Harold was an old school video maker. Earlier, I referred to him as video blogger, but that’s not right at all. Harold didn’t blog – he crafted videos. He was from the time that video equipment was expensive and there was a clear method of making films. Each way – video blogging and video making – has its charms. Harold was quick to remind me that video making was better “I think I make better videos that you do, Zennie,” he once said.
And while I bristled at the remark. Well,that’s a lie; Harold pissed me off. Let’s just be honest about that!
But, you know, from the standpoint of video-making, he’s right. He offered to show me how he does it, but sadly, we never got there. But I never forgot what he told me. And it’s one reason why I’m basically relearning video – to be more than a video-blogger. But really a better video-blogger. (Sorry Harold. I love video-blogging too much to turn away from it.)
There are any number of times I remember seeing Harold, but what I kick myself for is not seeing him more often after Mary passed on. Plus, that’s something I told the man I was going to do. But between flying back and forth, and work, and everything else, well, then this. Happened.
There was that time, at a party – a birthday party for Mary – where it was just Harold, Mary, Oakland KTOP Station Manager Ashley James and his wife, Bob Schwartz and his wife, a woman who plays the piano at so many Oakland parties I’ve attended (and who’s name escapes me for the moment), and myself. Just talking and drinking.
In that order.
I think that was around Christmas time, 2008. Yep – two weeks before Christmas Day. Because at that party, Ashley said “You know. I’m going to call you and talk about those YouTube videos you do.” Right. Still never heard from the dude.
Now, one-fourth of the people in that room are in Heaven.
Ashley. Hurry up, dude. Time’s flying!
Harold. I’ll miss you.