|"Big Bob" and "The Cajun" - 2009|
Just one of Bob's many friends
I continue to be surprised by my emotional reaction to the passing of my longtime dear friend Bob McCamley. I don't usually get this emotional over deaths, even family members or friends. But I guess I didn't realize how much Bob was part of my life.
|Bob and my brother John (the pastor) - 2007|
This morning I was making phone calls to try and find out what arrangements are being made for Bob. I called the nursing and rehabilitation center where Bob spent his last days. They told me they couldn't even tell me he passed, only his nephew could tell me that.
|Bob and one of his two nephews the day Bob entered assisted care - 2013|
I called his nephew who has been taking care of Bob's affairs. No answer. I left a message.
I called the assisted care facility where Bob and his longtime partner Jim lived until last earlier this year when Jim had to move Bob to a full care facility. They said Jim was there and put me on hold. I finally hung up when no one came to the phone.
|Bob's friend from Metropolitan Community Church Miles and Tim - 2010|
Then I decided to call Bob's nephew's wife. She answered on the second ring. I told her who I was. I had met her two years ago when she and her husband and his brother and the brother's wife put Bob at the assisted care facility on Bob's birthday, December 10th, 2013. She immediately said "Oh I am so sorry for your loss honey."
|Bob and my Mother - both died in September (9-16-2013 for my Mother) - 2007|
When she said that I lost it. I couldn't talk. There was silence. I tried to talk but I had the biggest frog ever in my throat trying to get out. Tears started to well in my face.
|Bob and Jim at their home - 2009|
I COULDN'T TALK.
So embarrassing. Finally I manage to squeak out "Thank you. Do you know of Bob's arrangements yet." Of course all I got out clear was "thank you" before I started to bawl again like a little girl. I don't know if she even understood the last "do you know of Bob's arrangements." More silence from me.
|Bob and his dog Bonnie - 1987 - they're together again|
Finally I got myself together . . . . somewhat . . . and said "I'm am so sorry." She said "Don't worry honey, I understand. We'll let you know when the arrangements are made. Glenn (Bob's nephew) will call you."
|Bob and Bill - this is the last time Bob had a meal at our house - 2009|
So embarrassing. And to think this morning I was going to ask if I can speak at his service. I've never spoken at any funeral service before but I feel a strong need to speak at Bob's service. I have so many stories to tell of our times together that I know those who were privileged to know him and love him would like to hear. But after this morning I don't think I can do it. If I did I would be one of those sobbing messes who draws more attention to himself than the person they are there to honor. At my Mother's funeral I solved this problem by asking my brother, who is a pastor and speaks at funeral services for a living, to read my written words. Perhaps I will do the same at Bob's service. I wish I could speak but after this morning's embarrassing episode I doubt I can.
This is hard folks, very hard.
Below are pictures of better times:
|Bob in front of John Wanamaker's where he used to work - 1980|
When we both used to work in Center City Philly, I would meet Bob for lunch. He worked at John Wanamakers and I worked at Girard Bank, only a block away. Oh those were the days. Bob hated that job but we had good lunches together.
|Bart, Jim and Bob - 2012|
Every time I take a picture with Bart in it he sticks his finger up his nose which ceased to be funny about ten years ago
This is Bart, Jim's former partner who Jim urged to move to Delaware from his home in New York state because he couldn't afford to pay the taxes any more. Jim told Bart "We'll look after you." Bart is 94 years old now and still living by himself in his house and doing fine, or as well as can be for a 94 year old. Bob is gone and Jim is in assisted care which just goes to show you, things don't always go as planned. Bill and I plan to visit Bart this Friday to see how he is doing.
|Bob at his home - 2012|
|No longer a home - the love is gone|
One year I met Bob in Provincetown for a really crazy vacation. We both had button down, corporate type jobs in the city (Philadelphia). Oh boy, did we ever let go when we vacationed in P-Town. I took this picture of Bob and his then current boyfriend Gino (who has also passed). A black lesbian heard our merriment and asked to join. And the kind of person Bob is he said "Come on and join!" She did and this is the resulting picture which I always said I was going to blackmail him with. Never did of course.
|Gino, Bob and ? in Provincetown, Mass - 1978|
Women were always drawn to Bob. He had that kind of personality. Bob didn't mind unless they started to think a "step further" which he wasn't willing to go or, even more drastic, matrimony. Bob was 100%, no bisexual was he. Here is another threatened blackmail picture (that I never used) that was taken during one of the not infrequent bacchanals at The Ranch.
|Bob and ? - how did she get in his doublewide? - 1980|
As you can see, I have a TON of pictures of Bob. I hope you don't mind me sharing some of them with you. He was my friend and I will miss him . . . . a lot. These are the memories I have and will cherish as long as I live.
|I believe this was Bob's last visit to our home - he didn't drive any more after this visit - 2012|