Today April 26th, it would have been Joe's birthday.
While he is gone, dear Joe is not forgotten.
I met Joe when I was 18 years old, back from an almost one year long stint as an Au-Pair girl in the french speaking part of Switzerland. I got my life back on track after an earlier fiasco, got serious and got a position in a lawyer's office, vaguely wanting to do good and meaningful work. (Gosh, was I naive!) On my lunch break, I would take strolls down the lake side and there I met Joe selling, it was the early seventies, his hand crafted wire jewelry. I loved his attitude, decidedly non-commercial. He would attempt to discourage his potential buyers from acquiring one more useless item, even if it was his and would go on about consumerism and such favorites of the sixties, and seventies, not just in Switzerland. He did move on and made more useful items, such as the Chilets depicted above, the epitome as he said of his craft. Such pieces of wearable art, long lasting, but not forever, as he would readily point out, hand dyed and - crafted in every single aspect that included the search of materials, at first found as throw-aways on the streets and later from second hand stores. Joe was an artist through and through, a man with a highly developed sensitivity. In his youth he was an actor and late in his life he returned back to his first love, painting. On my last visit I found his home filled with primed canvases stacked and stored neatly all around his living room, ready for use any time he would fancy. His room mate was a cat he adored, his life was simple, sweet, and not without pain.
Dear Joe had given me a way out from the friction with my parents when he invited me to share his space while I was still in school and worked only part time at the law office. We have shared countless coffee breaks that included ruminations about life, god, art and friends. I miss my best buddy, his special spirit and not least his lovely creations! Is it coincidence that two of the most important men in my life share one birth day?