Tuesday, May 10, 2022

What Would Wally Do?

My friend Wally died last week. You've seen his work -- the beautiful images of Paris that hang above my mantel are by Wally. And my personal collection holds many favorites from this well-loved and respected photographer who focused on European images.

 

And, as you might expect, it takes a chunk out of a person to know there will be no more lunches, photo shoots, good talks about photography or travel with someone you just plain like and have known for a very long time. 


We read it in the obituaries on Sunday. Rick found it first and said, "You're not going to like this." I didn't. Later in the day I heard from friends who were doing the notification thing with information about the service. The calls and emails you need to get, that you hate to get.

 

Yesterday, the day after, I was in such a funk. A glorious day, low 70s, blue sky, sun blazing. And I couldn't get that first bit of mojo going. "What would Wally do?" I asked myself. And I thought about it.


He would say, "Go take pictures."


And so I did. I went over to Michigan State's gardens, a place I'd often done photography with Wally and other photo friends. Those are the photos you see here. The tulips and daffs were going full strength, the magnolias still laden with blooms.


And everywhere, gaggles of geese, seemingly oblivious to those passing by. They are no doubt used to a crowd -- and who is going to crowd Mother Goose? 


I saw at least six families. There may have been more closer to the water, where the view was blocked. You could tell by the sizes they were from various hatchings, some clearly older than the others. 


I thought about Wally and camera club field trips. There was a notable one to Traverse City where we stayed in world's worst motel. The rooms were small and, as one of our group of four said, "It smells like someone died in here." Another noted the rooms were so badly designed that "only one person can watch TV at a time." 


There was a camera club field trip to Boston where we hunkered down at a seafood restaurant after a day of shooting. Loads of visits to Wally's studio, especially during his annual holiday open house, where his wife, Carolyn, and my dad would sit at the treat table as the rest of us shopped. There were Christmas dinners at my house. And parties for my cover photographer friends.


I met Wally when I started working at WKAR, where he often did covers for our monthly magazine (though I was familiar with his work from before, as well as the art fairs that took him around the country). He probably held the record for "Fine Tuning" covers. We tried to select an image that fit a program airing that month -- and PBS aired a lot of programs set in Europe!


Wally invited me to speak to his photography classes at the community college and through that I met our friend Cheryl, who started the Cork Poppers. He was generous in his introductions. He was no "cover hog." I probably met 90 percent of our cover artists through Wally or his classes.


He was one of the most steady and constant visitors to my annual art sale and a wonderful buyer as well. I don't think they were "mercy buys" either. He seemed to genuinely like what I did, and when I got a compliment from Wally on photography, especially, I was over the moon. That's like Julia praising your boeuf bourguginon.

 

Wally's death was no surprise -- only the timing. We knew he had cancer, that he had it for some time and that it had metastasized. He'd answer questions about it if asked but he didn't dwell on his health. In fact, if you didn't know, you wouldn't know about his illness from Wally. Upbeat, positive, patient, interested in the world and other people. That was Wally. And, it is one reason why it was a shock to hear that news.


Covid kept us apart in recent months. Just the other day, on my way to Kate's, I passed by the street that leads by Wally's house. I even said aloud, "Gotta call Wally so we can go get lunch!" Little did I know it was already too late.


All the flowers in the garden have their seasons. They bloom, bringing wild bursts of color, energy and life into the world, boosting our spirits, lifting our hearts and giving us joy. And then, the petals fall and we are left with beautiful memories.


Wally was one of the grandest of these blooms -- and I will hold close to those many memories that will make me smile.

Sharing with:      Pink Saturday  

65 comments:

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend, and no better way to honor the memory of a photographer than to take some wonderful pictures. So sorry for your loss.

My name is Erika. said...

So sorry to read of your loss Jeanie. Wally sounds like a man I would enjoy knowing. And you did the right thing, taking your camera to the gardens and taking photos. That is something that is very healing, and something it sounds like Wally would approve of. Hugs-Erika

Steve Reed said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It's great that you have such fond memories of him and have that creative outlet to help you experience new life amid the sadness.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...


Friendships like yours and Wally's are so hard to lose. Your tribute to what he meant to you is heartfelt and fitting. My condolences to you and Rick.

Anvilcloud said...

You did a great job of remembering and describing. What a great idea to go out and take photos, like he would do.

NGS said...

What a lovely tribute to Wally. I know you'll continue to keep him in your thoughts and actions and there's no better legacy for Wally than that. Thank you for sharing your memories of him with us.

Bunuzzer said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Deet. This is a lovely tribute to your friend and to your friendship.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Jeanie,
I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend.....Prayers...I know how you feel as i am still in shock over the loss of my friend and neighbor Debby who passed away suddenly right before Christmas....Thanks so much for always taking the time to stop by!!! I truly appreciate you doing so!!
Hugs,
Deb

bobbie said...

He would have loved his 'memorial' photos ~ sending you hugs of comfort and strength.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Your photos from the university garden are really beautiful. I hope the garden helped you with your funk. I've lost good friends over the years. I hold them in my heart and cherish my memories. It seems in the last few years, I've lost more and more. That's the "gift" when you live to a certain age. I spend too much time remembering now a days.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. I'm so sorry for your loss. Cancer is just so awful. He would have been happy with how you spent your day, though. I hope you can come together to celebrate his life in some way. The lack of gatherings to celebrate the passing of someone was one of the hardest parts about covid. I feel like that is an important part of the grieving process.

Sandi said...

Oh no...oh no. My condolences, Jeanie.

Red Rose Alley said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your dear friend passing, Jeanie. Wally sounds like a wonderful man, and the photos you took are a nice gesture to remember the friendship you two shared. So nice that you visited the gardens, and it gave you a chance to be in a place where you walked with your beloved friend. The pink blossoms are so pretty this time of year. And those geese are always a delight to see. The last photo spoke to me. It's wonderful, and I think it should be framed so you can always remember your very special friend when you look at it. Thinking of you, Jeanie, and sending comfort and love.

~Sheri

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. You have many happy memories and photos, a lovely tribute to Wayy!

Yvonne said...

To loose a great friend is difficult, and your post is a loving memorial to all those years of friendship. Take care, dear lady. (Hugs)

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Lovely tribute, Jeanie. It sure puts things into perspective. How nice that you had that special friendship. - Jenn

Karen said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a wonderful, talented man. I love how you were inspired to take some beautiful pictures of blooms to remember. Sending hugs your way ~

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Sympathies and prayers for Wally's passing. Your tribute to him is beautiful.

Valerie-Jael said...

So syorry that you have lost a good and long time friend, he sounds like a great guy. He will be taking photos of the angels. Hugs, Valerie

gigi-hawaii said...

What a beautiful tribute to a great man! My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Best wishes from Hawaii.

Joanne Huffman said...

A lovely and loving tribute to your friend. I'm very sorry for your loss.

DUTA said...

Death comes always as a surprise when it takes away someone dear to us. Altough we may know his condition, we hope till the last moment, he's gonna make it.
Have my sincerest condolences, Jeanie!

Mary Rose's said...

Oh Jeanie ... that last image of the magnolia petals! How truly lovely to have had a friend like Wally. I know you'll keep him in your heart. Hugs from the Blue Ridge, Maryanne.

anno said...

Dear Jeanie, I'm so sorry. It's hard to lose people we have known for so long as friends and colleagues, and it sounds like Wally was a very good friend. Thanks for sharing the beautiful stories and pictures -- I can't imagine a more fitting tribute. Sending love, hugs, sympathy.

Bill said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your good friend. What a wonderful tribute that wrote. Every time you take photos you will remember your friend and that is a wonderful thought to have.

Prims By The Water said...

So sorry to hear about Wally. The pics are beautiful and those goslings are getting big. Take care and always remember what would Wally do. Janice

Linda said...

A beautiful post for a talented artist and, so it seems, a fine human. Much love to you and the others who loved him.

William Kendall said...

I'm very sorry.

GretchenJoanna said...

Every person who dies takes a whole world with him. What a good friend you had in Wally! Your photo outing was a good way to grieve. <3

Pam said...

Sorry for the loss of your friend, it sucks losing anyone we love and care about. Holding you close in my heart.

Cindy said...

What a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss. I can tell he had a huge impact on your life.

Iris Flavia said...

I sure have teary eyes.
That darn cancer.
So sorry you lost this wonderful friend, I bet he would´ve loved this post, this tribute with all the wonderful pics of happy times and beautiful, strong flowers.
He sure left a wonderful trace.

Jacqui Brown said...

What a lovely and moving tribute to Wally. May you continue to see him in your photos. Sending you love and RIP to your friend.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

We are getting to that age when calls of this nature are going to become more frequent unfortunately. We don't take a daily newspaper and even when we did I never read the obituaries, so I never found out this way. Recently, I was leading a bird walk and a woman who always came with her husband reserved a spot for herself and then cancelled at the last minute. It was only then that I found out that her husband has an inoperable brain tumour and was admitted to a hospice. We all have to die, don't we?

acorn hollow said...

so sorry for the loss of your great friend. What a loving tribute to him
Cathy

shoreacres said...

Such a lovely tribute. I was visiting with a friend last weekend who dearly loves jigsaw puzzles. She had a completed one on her dining table, and I remembered Oh!'s story of the losing pieces of their traditional Christmas jigsaw. The friends move on, but the memories -- and the way they shaped our lives-- remain.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Wally sounds like an amazingly talented man, Jeanie. You've paid a nice tribute to him. I'm sorry for your loss and void.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about your friend's passing, Jeanie. You've written a beautiful tribute. I'm sure he'd praise your recent "What would Wally do?" photos.

R's Rue said...

My condolences my friend.

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

I am so sorry about the loss of your friend, Wally. To lose a great friend is like losing a part of you. HUGS!!

Arti said...

So sorry for your loss of a dear friend, Jeanie. From your post here, taking beautiful pictures and continuing to live life in the fullest will indeed be the best tribute to Wally. Thanks for sharing with us.

La Table De Nana said...

Sorry for your loss JeanieπŸ™

Divers and Sundry said...

My heart goes out to you in this time of loss. This post is a beautiful memorial tribute to your friend.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

So sorry for the loss of your dear friend Wally. Such a special message telling you to go take some photos. Indeed you did. They are lovely. A lovely tribute to Wally.

Sami said...

So sorry about the loss of your friend Wally. He seemed a special friend.
Love your photos of the flowers, magnolias are just so beautiful.

Sharon in Las Cruces NM said...

So sorry to hear that you lost a dear precious friend. Your words convey the feelings of your heart and soul. He will be so proud that you went out and "took pictures"; he wanted your heart to be light and happy. Wonderful memories that you will recall so very often for encouragement. Hugs and love, Sharon

Rita said...

He sounds like a wonderful, interesting, and talented but humble man who will be sorely missed.

Polly said...

I'm sorry you've lost a dear friend Jeanie. Your beautiful flowers would definitely get ones mojo going.

Pat said...

A beautiful tribute to Wally. I was so sadden by his passing. I loved his photography but even better Wally, what a nice kind talented person. I first met him back in 1978 or 1979 when Carolyn started working in the pharmacy where I worked.
A wonderful couple. Cheryl and I would go together to see his latest work. What fun.
I wish I could have attended his service. Cheryl said your tribute was so beautiful and moving.
Hugs and love to you dear Jeanie πŸ’•πŸ₯°πŸ’•.



DVArtist said...

I'm sorry for your loss. He looks like a very nice man.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Oh Jeanie, I'm so sorry to hear your sad news. Wally sounds like an incredible person that clearly lived life to the fullest. What a beautiful memorial you have written. Take care of your heart, my friend.

Sandra Cox said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend. Heartfelt condolences.

Priscilla King said...

Sorry to read of your loss; at least it prompted you to take some gorgeous pictures!

Marilyn Miller said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your Wally. He sounds like a dear friend that will definitely be missed. You make me wish I had known him and now I do just a tiny bit.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, I am so sorry about the passing of your dear friend, Wally. It is so hard to lose a friend. Sending love and hugs.

Carolyn Marnon said...

I'm so sorry, Jeannie, on the lost of your friend Wally. Your photo of the magnolia tree is a beautiful tribute to him.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

What a wonderful tribute to a good friend. Your last photo is perfect.

The French Hutch said...

I am so sorry for your loss Jeanie. Wally sounds like the perfect friend and I know you miss him. I love the way you pay tribute to Wally in this post. Yes, wonderful memories are left after a special person leaves us. What a treasure he must have been in your life. I think it's wonderful you have so many of his art pieces. Look at them and remember your special friendship. Blessings to you.....

thepaintedapron.com said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Jeanie, it's wonderful you have his art and so many fond memories to fill the void...your post is a lovely tribute to a great friend...
Jenna

Sandra Cox said...

Hope you have a peaceful weekend.

Pamela said...

I’m sorry to read about your friend. You have wonderful memories.

Lowcarb team member said...

I am so sorry to read about the loss of your friend, this post is a wonderful tribute to him.

All the best Jan

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss Jeanie. Beautiful tribute to your friend. May he RIP. πŸ’”

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

A loving, lovely tribute to your friend. Your homage to him was exceptional and your photos show how much he meant to you. I am so sorry for your loss, dear Jeanie.

Victoria Zigler said...

Sorry for your loss. R.I.P. Wally.

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