Celebration of David - New York - September 16, 2002 - Anna's Tribute
Those of you who came to our wedding know how David and I met. What you may not know is that we started living together after our third date - that is, David moved in with me because, as he put it when he first walked into my apartment; "Oh, you have a home!"
One evening, not long after that, we came home and while I was searching for my keys, his attention was caught by the mezuzah on the frame of the front door. He looked at it quizzically and exclaimed: "It's all lies you know, she eats ham!" I fell about laughing.
[We moved into David's 10 Downing Street studio after about 18 months when it became apparent that there wasn't enough room for my business and the two of us in my studio].
David and I were happy, we had fun, we had many things in common and were a great comfort to one another. We created a life together that gave us each the space to follow our passions - for David, his work, playing tennis and music, and for me, my business, photography, and music.
We shared a great passion for music, particularly chamber music and opera, but we listened to it quite differently. For David, the only way to listen to music, including at home, was to sit down and give it one's complete, undivided attention. I love to be surrounded by music all the time and not just classical. This conflict almost ruined our relationship until I discovered wireless earphones. They were wonderful. I could listen to anything I wanted, at any time, at any volume, leaving David happy in a silent world. The only problem was that I did look a bit like a Martian when wearing the earphones - they had a little red light on each large ear cup.
People have wondered (some out loud) how it was we managed to live together in a studio apartment for eight years. Well, I'd say, being British certainly helped: quite simply, we were courteous and considerate of one another in a way that British people are brought up to be.
[As you heard] David was an avid tennis player, with a preference for mixed doubles. 'So many women, so little time!' Soon after we met he discovered a social tennis group that met on Friday evenings on Roosevelt Island. They served supper and played tennis from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Initially, I questioned whether this was a Singles scene which he emphatically denied - mainly men he said. After a while, it became apparent that there were plenty of ladies there and after tennis they would go out drinking until 2:00 in the morning!
Well, one night David came home a little earlier to discover that I had turned the apartment into a photographic studio for a project I was working on. The Murphy bed doors were open to form a cyclorama backdrop. This was hung with reflective silver Mylar to create a distorted reflection; my bike was on a table in front of it and the whole thing was lit by a battery of lights. It was an awesome sight to come home to but when David realized what I was doing, he joined in. He made suggestions for alternative shots which were really good. Then, as the adhesive holding up the Mylar began to melt in the heat, he held it up and I captured his reflection in some of the pictures. It was great - but pretty late by the time we got to bed.
Donald has told you how he met David at the Bleecker Street Café as it was then called. Through Donald we met our delightful friends and whiled away many Saturday mornings talking about everything under the sun.
David made the difficult things in my life much easier:
When I met him, I was 49 ¾ and understandably dreading being 50. David was 72 and whenever I mentioned my age, he teased me about being a kid. A kid I wasn't but seeing his incredible vitality at 72, I stopped worrying and started really enjoying myself. My 50th birthday was the best!
He encouraged me to start my business and each time it seemed to fall apart, he told me I could fix it. And I did. When Polygram pulled out of our joint venture, I had glorious packaging designed for 5 CDs but nothing to put inside them. David said "make your own." And I did.
For their launch at the Atlanta Trade Show that summer, we turned David's then unoccupied studio into a CD packaging factory. I hired some students and David, ever the engineer, made the forms we needed to "automate" the process.
He claimed that he knew nothing about business yet when we talked over problems, he had excellent insight. He could even do break-even analysis in his head, while I struggled to do it on paper with a calculator!
We had so much fun together - we traveled to Munich, Florence, Venice, Vicenza, Verona, Paris, London, Hungary, Puerto Rico. He came with me to South Africa twice, and of course, we went to California.
But much of our fun was at home. As you can imagine, we laughed a lot. We ate together almost every night, and as our neighbors will attest, we always ate by candle light. They could see us from the street as our table was next to the window. What they didn't know was that we made up stories about them and other passers-bye which kept us amused for hours.
In 1999, our landlord decided to improve the building by installing better windows. One day in April, I went to work and discovered they were putting up scaffolding around our building. I was horrified thinking it would make it so easy for burglars to get into our apartment. When I came home from work, I went straight to the window and opened it. I could step onto the window sill and out onto the scaffolding and so I did. Wow! I had an enormous balcony, a terrace which we referred to as "Le Balcon" or "Le Terrace". Well, that scaffolding was up through October and I made a garden patio out of it. It was Paradise as the many photos I took will attest. We ate out there every evening and invited friends to join us. David put up shelves for my window boxes and I was in heaven.
There are many other David stories to tell you but not enough time. Let me just add that when David was admitted to the Cabrini Hospice, they gave me a folder of information but drew my attention to one leaflet in particular. It had as its title a quotation from a poem by George Meredith:
May David's song last forever.