Jabberwocky for 2004 March 23 (entry 1)

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: Today when I got to work, the news was waiting that Robert Knowlton's wife had died. She's been on a waiting list for a liver transplant for several years, and I guess she just ran out of time. Robert has a lot of friends at work, and they are taking up a collection to help him with her final expenses. I donated $20.

Robert was a student of mine many, many years ago when he first came back to school. It was the semester I did the California story project, in which I asked students to write the story about how they and/or their family came to California. Robert's story was fascinating. He had been working in the oilfields in Wyoming and lost his job. They were flat broke, but they heard there were oil jobs in California, so Robert, his wife, and all their little boys went out and stood on I-15 with their thumbs up. They were picked up by a club of Hell's Angeles who were returning to California from the annual Harley rally in Sturges, South Dakota. Robert and the kids each rode to San Diego behind a biker, and one of the bikes had a sidecar so his wife got to ride in that. They came here with only the clothes on their backs.

Now Robert works for the college, and his boys are no longer small, but he still has that sunny personality. I am very sad for him.


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