Wednesday, September 8, 2010

From Jody Raphael, USA

If I am correct, I met Rhonda and her roommate the very first evening at dinner in our dorm as freshmen. That would be September 1962. The conversation began and lasted, with some interruptions, for almost 50 years. We really bonded in a class on the French Revolution taught by the charismatic Alain Silvera. It's funny now, but then we all were Anais Nin clones. Rhonda was quite the style leader, with her long black hair up to an elaborate French twist and I slavishly followed. (I think we also wore capes.) Last year, I had to e-mail Rhonda with the news that our mentor had died and she was predictably distressed. The class, she told me, was "thrilling."

Then Rhonda departed for junior year abroad but she wrote me and I secured a room for her senior year around the corner from me. Then began our joint quest to gain entrance to law school, Rhonda to Yale and I to the University of Chicago. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. Rhonda had the habit of waiting around for the mail and noticed that I had a fat envelope from the University of Chicago law school. She tore up the campus looking for me, to no avail, and was there to greet me when I finally showed up for lunch (I was in class), throwing her arms around me and thrusting the letter into my hands. This anecdote shows Rhonda's essential sweetness and caring nature that supported me throughout our years in college.

How amazing that we both ended up working in the same field, and amazing, but not surprising, that our deep link was able to survive over all the years of geographic separation. About two years ago we met in New York for breakfast, that turned (almost) into lunch. Rhonda told me later she thought we could have talked all day.
I am enormously grateful for Rhonda's team and for all they did for her in the last days.