A friend who works there sent me a quick email from The Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County today. It was a notice to the staff about a retiree who had passed away. She has sent me a few, from time to time, and occasionally I kind of remember the person. This time, I knew.
Robert Hudzik (most of us called him Bob) was the Manager of the Films & Recordings Department for many years. Now that department no longer exists and, frankly, neither does he. Harsh? Not really. While many of us use these euphemisms such as ‘passed away,’ the truth of the matter is: Bob Hudzik is dead.
I remember, before I retired in 2006, that Bob had been very ill with some sort of cancer, I don’t recall details. But he rallied forth and came back to work. I was glad to read — in the terse quotation of facts and dates that the Library Administration releases at times like these — that he had retired. Doing the quick math, I note that he had 2 1/2 years away from his 33 years of working at the library. I wonder how his last years were? Was he ill or did he get to enjoy the freedom and peace that retirement with a pension brings?
Bob and I didn’t know each other well. Before I got my library degree, I worked as a lowly assistant in an administrative office. I dealt mainly with department managers on behalf of their boss. Bob was always nice to me. When I think of Bob I remember the easy laugh he was quick to share. Bob and I had some things in common: he was a poet, in fact, was published several places. He coordinated Poetry in the Garden at the library each spring. I believe Bob would be supportive of my ‘poem a day for 108 days’ experience. I remember being informed once that he and his wife had gotten bamboo floors in some rooms of their house. It seemed so chic, so interesting, so, well, Eastern. I felt a kinship with Bob — library, poetry, bamboo. It wasn’t until I read that memorials could be sent to The Animal Welfare League of Cincinnati that I realized we also shared a love of animals. You’ll be missed, Bob.
this one’s for you
you love words, too
Are you writing where you are?