Had a great fam friend – “Stu” whose bday we could never forget, bc he was born on July 4th. He’s unfortunately no longer w us, & it hurts, but for me & my fam, this day now always reminds us of this larger than life personality, I’d love to pay tribute to: especially bc his story relates to MH.
Here’s the history: growing up in, in grade school, my fam would go to upstate NY, during the 2nd break in the spring semester. We didn’t go to places like the Bahamas or Aruba & that was ok – we went to this spot we could drive to a few hrs away, called Kutchers. The same fams would go the same time each yr. It was the type of spot where you didn’t ever leave the premise – food, snacks, games, all on “campus.”
Early on in our trips there (late 80s/early 90s), I’d be able to spend the time w my cousin, & my little brother, & we’d feel like we were away at a camp for a wk. We made some great friends & looked forward to it each yr.
Early on in our trips there, the man you see pictured here, “Stu,” who was quite a bit older, would follow us arnd to every spot we’d go – ping pong, basketball, pool, etc. At first my parents were skeptical – what’s an older man doing, hanging out w kids so much younger than him?
But, it didn’t take long for them to completely embrace him. See, we weren’t sure what Stu’s “situation” was. Despite being much older, he had the carefree personality of a pre-teen. He’d laugh at every joke we told. He’d tell us he loved us & we were so impt to him. He was a savant – we’d name any day of any yr, & in 2 secs he could tell us what day of the wk it landed on. That level of genius, yet socially, someone who fit in w us “kids.”
This was before I knew anything abt MH. We didn’t know what Stu “had” – but we didn’t care. He had a big heart of gold. (Old songs but he’d sing: “I, O, let’s go!” over & over, & would recite the famous grocery jingle: “Have you shopped strawberries today?”). Quirky, but loveable. Don’t think there was a mean bone in his body.
As we got older, we stopped going to Kutchers, but Stu was invited to all our fam gatherings. And fam he became. We loved him. And he would say to us: “You guys make me feel like a million bucks.” To this day, after tragically losing Stu to a heart attack (3 yrs ago, alone in his apt ), we don’t exactly know what Stu “suffered” from. He had a little “Rain Man” in him, so he was likely on the autism spectrum. But to us, it didn’t feel like he “suffered” w anything. In fact, he was a perfect human being.
He had a heart we wish everyone had. This world would be a better place if it was filled w more Stu’s. When he passed I was still in the throes of my own mess, & never got a chance to fully pay tribute to him. I’m glad I get to do that now, for me & my entire fam. Love you Stu!