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Dave's Not Here:( - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Dave's Not Here:(

I moved here for law school 35 years ago this coming August.  I should've been among the hotter shit in the class- Ivy League diploma and all- but I was still pretty awkward and anxious enough to make the whole thing less than a no-brainer.

Before arriving on this new Swamp of a campus in August 1981 most of what I knew about the law school culture came from Scott Turow's first book, a non-fiction account of his first year at the Private University of Massachusetts at Cambridge, called One_L. (That then was Harvard Law's designation for first year students, and it's now the universal, if shortened to 1L, reference to first-years at virtually all US law schools.) Among its cautionary tales- about the stress, the late hours, the Socratic method of professors and the all-or-nothing anonymous grading of exams- was my introduction to the discipline's system of "study groups."

This wasn't second grade, where everybody gets a trophy and is guaranteed a basket full of Valentines. You had to learn, on your own, the need to coordinate with your cohorts, and you had to organize yourselves into these groups.  Most of my self-selection experience before this came from junior high sports teams, and I was so used to being picked last, after a while I rarely even went out for them.

But this was to be my life.  I'd passed up a part-time but promising journalism gig for the chance to write for a living and eat at the same time, and damned if I was going to go it alone.

Despite being on what a later friend referred to as the "fast track from kindergarten" (i.e., one of the youngest students in the class), I gravitated, from the first week's beer parties at Rootie's, to some of the older students in our class.  There was Laura, a commuter from Rochester (who would do such a thing?!?;)  There was Sue, wife of a local dentist (he later did my first root canals) who wanted to get out of the house. But organizing the whole thing was Dave. He was ex-military (often referring to that part of his life as "playing Army"), he owned his own home in North Buffalo, and he took either a liking to or some pity on the geeky kid from Cornell.  I was "in."  We did what study groups do- each focusing on the first-year subject we seemed to "get" the most (mine was, and still is, Civil Procedure), and acted as point man/woman for that course among the five full-year first-year courses that would determine our fates.

Dave had a wife, two kids, and a Volvo station wagon.  I got a work-study job sorting government documents in the law library; his was around the corner in Audio-Visual, home of bar review tapes and the Super Regulated LEXIS terminal.  We grew closer, and laughed at many movies and tropes in those three years. My path then diverged to Rochester, while his led him to Elmira, in the Southern Tier of his upbringing.

For years, we were Christmas-Card close. At some point, Eleanor met his whole fam; not long after, we learned of his marriage breaking up.  That wasn't the cause of the loss of connection, but it was one less thing we had in common.  By the turn of the last century, we'd lost touch. It wasn't a breakup so much as a breakdown, as has happened with any number of old friends from high school to college to Rochester practice to AOL to, well, this very blog site.  Many have randomly reconnected with me, mainly through Facebook; others, I keep in a fairly far but still-gravitational orbit and feel I can get back in touch with at any time.

Alas, Dave is no longer one of them.


It was another law school friend who pointed me to this post today.  I was similarly close with her, although not from that first-year study group, but she, also, kept in touch after graduation, and became friends with Eleanor in time; we attended her wedding the year before our own and our engagement occurred the day after her nuptials.  Mary randomly messaged me today because her sister, also a friend of mine, needed a lawyer in or near Elmira to update her mother-in-law's will. My first thought was of Dave.  Every time I've passed through Elmira in the probably 15 years since our last contact, I've thought of him.  Years  before, I'd stayed at his home in travels, met him for lunch once or twice, but for literally no reason hadn't had any reason to Google him or call the last number for him that's still in my 30-year-old handwritten personal phone directory.

But Facebook found him in a jiffy- not a personal entry, but one of its internet-scraped "pages" that it uses to direct traffic. It linked to an avvo page for him (Yelp for lawyers, essentially). I sent Mary that link.  She, quickly enough, did more Googling of her own, and found something more relevant:

Age 60, passed away Friday, May 8, 2015 at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center after an extended illness. David was born in Bath NY on February 26, 1955, son of the late David B. and Jean (Davis) Rynders. He was also predeceased by his sister Deborah Hurd; father-in-law and mother-in-law Irving and Louise Templar; brother-in-law Robert Templar. David is survived by his loving wife Mary (Templar) Rynders; sons and daughters-in-law, Jerrod and Becky Rynders of Maryland, Jason Rynders of Elmira, William and Jennifer Donaldson of Horseheads; daughters and son-in-law, Jennifer Templar of Arizona, Kathy Templar of Elmira, Angela and Christopher Aderhold of Elmira, and Bobbi Belloma of Elmira. David was "Papa" to 14 grandchildren and several "special" grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters and brothers-in-law, Rebecca and David Schaad of Missouri, Sharon and Peter Klontz of Washington; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Michael and Teri Templar, Paul and Kristi Templar, Linda and Melvin Donaldson; aunt June Berardi; several nieces, nephews and cousins. David was a veteran of the US Army. He was employed for many years by the National Security Agency. He attended Buffalo Law School, where he earned his Law Degree and passed the New York State Bar. David was an attorney in Chemung County for over 30 years, where he served in the Chemung Court System and as a law guardian in the Family Court. David was a life member of the Golden Glow Volunteer Fire Company where he served as President and EMS Captain. In his free time he enjoyed scuba diving, going to Yankee and Elmira Pioneer games, and spending time with loved ones. Family and friends are invited to McInerny Funeral Home, 502 W. Water Street, Elmira, on Monday, May 11, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. A funeral service and military honors will follow at 7:00 p.m. Donations in David's memory may be directed to GGVFC, P.O. Box 3045, Elmira NY 14905.

Jerrod and Jason were little kids last time I saw them.  I never knew of his remarriage, or of his later children or grandchildren, of his misguided support of the Bronx Cheers, or of his passing.

It was never a falling-out; it was a falling-off. Just as I'd done for decades with my oldest friend in the world Janice, who I reconnected with as quickly and easily as pie in 2009, only to have the pie turn carcinogenic and lose her this month six years ago. Just as I do every year with the best man from my wedding. Just as I could do with any number of other guests at our wedding who I've more dropped out of contact rather than deliberately lost touch with.  Just as I've done with dozens of onetime regular contributors to this site, who I occasionally see some sign of and wish, Gee I wonder how they are.

If you're one of them, and you're reading this? I'm wondering more than ever.  I still care for you. I hope you're well and stay well. Let us know how you're doing. Because dialog is better than donations, no matter how worthy the cause.

3 comments or Leave a comment
mac_arthur_park From: mac_arthur_park Date: February 18th, 2016 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so sorry for your loss. :(
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: February 18th, 2016 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Alicia.

(See? I had to look up your name in your profile. I should know everybody's here.)

Apparently, though, I can call you Al. One more thing learned:)
greenquotebook From: greenquotebook Date: February 19th, 2016 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
3 comments or Leave a comment