Though it took some doing I was able to get into Dick Hathaway’s office just before leaving the spring residency. I actually visited twice. My first visit was in the morning to scope things out before a meeting. My goal was to find the memorial photographs that Charlotte had promised to copy.
Sarah Hooker from Goddard College, had been in charge of the memorial photographs and had explained that they were in a brown hamper in Dick’s office. I was ecstatic when we found them and now I had to come back to be alone with these photographs. I also brought my digital camera to take some photographs of things that were Dicks.
“A first edition of pilgrims progress,” my friend who brought the scanner proclaimed. I was in awe at all of these old things. They seem to carry so much emotion and a special presence, but my infatuation was with Dick. She asked if I would be all right in the office by myself. I am not sure why she was concerned. I was ecstatic to spend time alone in the room.
After she left I took a picture of the Christmas lights that were hanging from the book shelves. Other students had told me stories about these lights. I wandered through, looking at books, and taking pictures of the bookshelves. Though the collection of Dick’s books had been sold, and I am sure much had been removed, Dick was still there. I marveled at the collection of things. It made me long for more time with him while he was on this earth, or to have had the honor of having been one of Dick’s students.
I was unable to get permission to remove the pictures so a friend had loaned me her scanner. The scanner was slow, so scanning the memorial photographs took a long time. It felt funny to have this Macintosh, scanner and digital camera amongst all of those historical things.
While alone in the room something did fall or was moved. Most people would have jumped, I did not even flinch, although now I wish I would have noted what was moved or had fallen but I was too enthralled with the photographs.
There were photographs of Dick at all angles, some full figure, some just a face. I was glad for everything I could find. No matter how many references I have, I will never have enough. Halfway through the box I came upon another picture of Charlotte. It was at a commencement of sorts and all of the instructors were standing together. Oddly enough, everyone was looking off camera except for Charlotte who stared right at the camera and in turn at me. “I know honey, I’m working on it, thanks for helping get into the office,” I said. To me another simple confirmation that Charlotte was watching.
The last photograph that I came upon once again startled me. It was not of Dick at all, but of Charlotte. She was with Ruth, just like she had been the last time we had seen each other. Touching the picture I cried.