Friday, July 23, 2010

Brock Comes To Town: Champaign 1992

The last time I had seen Brock was after Fru's and my wedding in '89, in Seattle. Before that, I'd seen him in '87 when Matt and I lived with him in Seattle. I'd met Brock in the late 70s in Iowa City, where he'd come out from the Seattle area to attend school at the University of Iowa. I'd always found it strange that he--a Pacific Northwest Westerner--would come all the way to the midwest to attend school, and choose Iowa on top of that, but that's what he did. Usually it's the other way around (midwesterners are notorious for escaping their region). But, Brock has always done things differently.
Anyway. I was established in Champaign by then. Fru was working at a bank, I was working part time at a place south of town called Agriseed. Fru and I had our baby and a house and--a while later--another baby on the way. We had a friend--Margaret--who was my friend from Iowa City (she had been the roommate of Cin, my girlfriend for a few years and had become my friend as well as friend of my friends like, say, Brock). Anyway, Margaret had moved to Champaign after graduating from Iowa--moved there because her older brother was living there and why he was living there is beyond me--and Margaret got a job at the bank where Fru worked and they became friends. In fact, it was Margaret who introduced Fru to me and me to her and that is another story. But Margaret had always had a thing for Brock and eventually Brock had a thing for Margaret. So, one winter I find out that Brock is moving to Champaign.
He's coming from Seattle to Champaign.
Washington to Illinois.
In the winter.
I was happy to hear the news. I mean, I was very busy with a baby, with my little world of Fru and I and First Daughter, and I did have some friends in Champaign--not close friends but nice people (I'll say this about Champaign, the town had some of the nicest people I've ever met)--but I didn't really have a close friend outside of my spouse. So, Brock drove into town.
And it was good to see him. He and Margaret set up house together and ended up renting a nice place just a block or two from us. He and I could walk up to Hubers and have a beer or six. But before that, they lived in a house closer to downtown. I remember that now--I went over and we put up a croquet set and played croquet one day. Brock hung out at a bar called the Ice House. I went there a few times but not much--like I said, I had a wife and kid.
But things were also different. In Seattle, in 87, I think we got sick of each other a bit, Brock and Matt and I. Yet, I saw Brock in Montana and back in Seattle and enjoyed his company. Just as I enjoyed his company when he came out to Champaign in the early 90s. But somewhere in the 90s we became distant. It was before Fru and I moved down to Florida . . . Ah, it happens. The best of friends move on.
So, Brock had come to town to see and live with Margaret. He had come in winter, in February as a matter of fact. He arrived in town on Valentine's Day, I learned. A very romantic thing to do. Except, one night at Hubers over a few beers, I asked him about that.
"You really showed up on Valentine's Day?"
"I did."
"But I didn't even know it was Valentine's Day."
Ah. That sounded more like Brock. An accidental romantic.
He and Margaret have been married for a long while. They have two kids--boys. They live outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I hope they are doing well.

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