I wasn’t sure if this would be the right subject for this entry, but I seem to have centralized mostly on this theme, and someone told that yes, I should, so here we are, talking again about Russ. Before I continue, however, I would like to say that “R” is also for realizations, and yesterday, while reading through my entry on questionnaires, I had a really big realization. Last October, I had an interview with Macy’s for a temporary job during the Christmas season; they had said they would call me in a couple of days to discuss when I would start working. Well, they never called, and though I was disappointed, it wasn’t so bad… Well, yesterday, I realized that had they actually called me, I would most likely have been working when Russ had his heart attack/ stroke and he would have been dead when I got home. I’m so glad I didn’t get that job, and could say good-bye while he was still alive.
So, about Russ. Russ was probably one of the most intelligent people I ever met, and I have met some intelligent people through the years. Although we had basically the same IQ, he was so much more intelligent than I, because he had what is often called a photographic memory, which I do NOT have. He thought in pictures. When someone asked a question, he closed his eyes for a moment and visualized the subject, and this is why he was generally able to give such good answers. He knew so many things, that I was shocked when he DIDN’T know the answer, as were most of his close friends and family members. I got him a few times, but those were more the exceptions that made the rule.
Russ was also one of the most caring people that I know. He would stay up through the wee hours of the night lending a shoulder and an ear to those who needed it. It didn’t matter to him if he knew you well or not—he got to know you as you spoke to him. And he would do what he could to comfort those who cried—it never mattered what time of the day—he would listen; and for the record, he never betrayed a word of what anyone said in secret; he sealed it in his heart and there it stayed, known only to him and to the person who told him.
Russ was respectful of me and my beliefs and feelings. He grew up in Brooklyn and could cuss up a storm, but as a general rule he didn’t use really bad language in front of me. Or at least he tried not to. He only got angry with me once, and I deserved it, to tell the truth. We went grocery shopping and were already with the cashier when I realized that I had left the grocery money at home. Oops! I was still on crutches at the time, so he went home alone, got the money, and came back to the store. He cussed me out all the way home and back, but by the time he handed the money to the cashier he was no longer angry, and was nice enough to admit it could happen to anyone.
He loved his family and would talk endlessly about his sisters, his mother, his father and his step-mother, whom he loved as though she were his real mother. He was so happy the day I found his sisters on Facebook, and regretted that we couldn’t find his older sister (She found me while he was in the hospital). He liked to tell me about the times he would babysit his younger sisters and their friends. One other familial regret was that he lost track of his son, Kevin, and his grandson, Joey. I tried to find them for him, but there were too many of them in the area he lived in.
There are so many other things I’d like to say, but I would need to write a book to get everything out. He’s the one who convinced me to write a blog, so it’s only fitting that I dedicate “R” is for… to Russ Kelly, my friend, my chief cheerleader and fan, my beloved companion.
Photograph at left, Russ with one of his “fans”
©Copyright Mary Purpari April 21, 2014 “R” is for Russ