Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Letter to Julie


Dear Julie,

I will never forget my first encounter with you at Lawrence. It was my freshman or sophomore year, and I didn't know you or Johnie. I had seen you around and was very intimidated by how cool you looked. Not to mention that everyone always told me you guys were the best art professors to work with - Lawrence celebrities, if you will. I was very shy in the art building, and felt out of place because I wasn't an art major at that point. One day, out of nowhere, I saw you and Johnie approaching me, and my first reaction was to try very, very hard to avoid your gaze, thinking that there was no way I was cool enough to say anything to you. Instead, you looked straight at me, and said, "Hi," with that simple, direct, and unassuming grin that I would come to know so well.

Although I have many memories of you and Johnie that I developed later on, this moment undoubtedly stands out to me. It's because this moment is a perfect example of who you were: The person that was never afraid to say exactly what she was thinking. The person that was always bold. The person that was always the leader. The person that cared about and was interested in everyone, no matter who they were.

In years to come, you supported me endlessly, despite the fact that you were going through a tremendous ordeal in your own life. You helped me with my senior project even when you were too sick to get out of bed. You calmed me down when I was waiting to hear back from an internship I applied for. You talked with me about projects that I wanted to pursue, letting me know whether or not they were doable. You followed my blog and writings, and encouraged me to keep writing. I know that you would not only do these things for me, but for all your students, friends, and colleagues.

You weren't just an artist and this is the reason it is so hard to lose you. You were a good person, and a huge personality. You left an impression on every person you met. Despite your own success, you always made time for the ambitions of others.  I know that I am lucky to have known you on several different levels; as your student, collaborator, friend, and mentee. My life will surely be lacking without you.

Love always,
Rachele

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