In Memory

Louis Joseph

Louis Joseph

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

07/07/17 05:00 PM #1    

Mark Goldhamer (Weiss)

FROM:  Mark Weiss (Goldhamer):   I was sorry to see Louie listed as in-memory.  David Lehman and I and Louie were friends, but more David & Louie.  I don't think the in-memory page should be empty.  Louie was a lot of fun.  Between he and David there was just so much comedy.  I sound so much "like a girl" saying something like that.  Truth be told, it has always troubled me that such an aspect in a guy -- the proverbial, "he makes me laugh" -- is so important to many a female.  Yet, here I am, virtually saying the very thing.  So much for "substantive" me.  Of course that was back in high school.  But many of us enhanced each others' lives in all sorts of ways back then.  I won't go on to philosophical musings on that topic for Louie's memorial page.  Maybe David will add something.  But, regardless -- "like a girl" or not -- Louie did make me laugh.  More broadly put Louie was a wonderful spice to have mixed into your life.  Not only by way of explanation, but as an example Louie might like, you'll probably love the example of a vivid memory.  I'm not being flippant (treating with levity that which is serious) because Louie himself would probably love the "flavor" of my example.  All the more so because flavor is meant both literally and metaphorically.  And that example is what Louie called a particular kind of chewing gum.  One with a liquid center.  I won't say here.  But talk spice, flavor, what-have-you -- really it was Louie's good-natured being funny.  Say something nicer than I have David -- unless you think Louie would object.  Or maybe just say, didn't that put a smile on your face too -- about that gum with the liquid center?  I'm smiling now even thinking about it.  That's what I remember about Louie: not hurting anyone but still bringing big smiles into your high school times.

04/21/20 05:59 PM #2    

Joel Sokolsky

I had only found out about Louis' passing recently (early in 2020)... my holiday card to him came back marked "return to sender" and, not knowing why, I emailed David Lehman to get a new address. David replied with the sad news, telling me that he thought he had let me know years ago when it happened. I have no recollection of that (although it is certainly possible that he tried to contact me and, for some reason, I never received the news.)

I can count the number of high school friends with whom I spent time outside of school, on one hand (I was a terribly shy and introverted adolescent,) but, with the exception of David, I believe I spent more time with Louis than any other peer I remember from that time. He was an incredibly funny person and we would laugh about anything and everything. I recall that we would spend a lot of time recording strange, silly, audio skits with equally strange and silly characters, on our old cassette recorders, and would have to pause and stop and rewind and re-record, otherwise, the entire tape would be predominantly laughter. For years, he referred to me as "Mules" ("Joel" became, for a short-time, "Jules", which morphed into "Mules".) His father called me that as well, and, eventually, David did as well. I recall spending much time at Louis' home, and I especially remember his dachshund "Siggy" (short for "Sigfried".) I distinctly recall my mother and I going to the auditorium to see our senior class play, and looking at each other, mouths agape, as we heard Louis bust into song on stage, never before knowing that he could sing.

About a year ago, I was cleaning up a cabinet in our living room and I came upon a collection of old music cassettes that I hadn't seen or heard in quite a while (obviously, with a music collection that was overwhelmingly on CD, there was little reason to even remember the cassettes existed.) But within that bunch of cassettes were some old Maxell and TDK cassettes with no markings as to what they were. After reconnecting an old deck I still had stored away, I listened to them to determine what they were, and, to my surprise, some of them containted the aforementioned audio skits that Louis and I had recorded all those years ago. What a shock that was, to hear his booming voice and laughter, along with this higher pitched voice of the guy who was making the tape with him (was that voice really me???) That really took me back, and, now that I am aware that Louis is gone, I am especially glad that I still have those recordings.

All truly good friends leave a mark on our lives, and Louis was no exception. I smile when I think of him, I'm happy we spent those years together, and it saddens me to know he is gone.

04/22/20 07:44 AM #3    

Mark Goldhamer (Weiss)

Nice writing, Joel.   Gregory Marcopolus did sensationally evocative writing about he and Roger.  I'm not a writer, just a hobby, but I took a The Great Courses (formerly The Teaching Company) course on writing and Gregory would have gotten an A or A+ from the prof who gave that course.  Not that there is a contest or anything.  What you wrote about Louis was great too.  You know?  I think us Pittsburgh folks are the best.  Everybody that was in highschool (all over the country) of course has their own memories and sentiments, yet somehow I still think our experiences and reflections on them are so genuine and pure.  Which I think in part is due to the character of Pittsburgh.  My mother once said of Pgh how it's "small town" .  Yes, it is the world's biggest small town, Pittsburgh.  Curiously, in a book called Cities (all OVER the world), Pittsburgh was in there and a comment was quite interesting:  if Pittsburgh were somewhere in Europe, the author argued, then people would travel 500 miles out of their way to see it.  So world's biggest small town PLUS with a lot of culture too.  But the former I think contributes to the genuineness and saliency and indeed the poignancy of our high school experiences and reflections on them even years later.  Thanks for writing about your experiences with Louis.  It was good to hear from you.  -- Mark A. Weiss (Goldhamer)

04/22/20 08:38 AM #4    

Robert Fidel

Very well said! I wish I had known him better.

go to top 
  Post Comment