One of a kind – by Jon Ruth
I met Evelyn in the summer of 1987. I had recently left a high-demand group – a cult – and I was told that Evelyn would be a good person to talk to. I had already spoken with many experts, all highly qualified to comment – one hour at a time – on what I had gone through and what I could expect in the future. Evelyn could see me for more than an hour, and I was told I would find her first-hand experiences helpful.
I arrived at Evelyn’s apartment on Hopkins Street late in the morning and I did not leave until the sun was going down. It is not that Evelyn had to do a lot of work, I wasn’t that messed up, but talking with Evelyn was a revelation and a joy. Time flew by. So much of what the experts had been telling me finally made sense when she explained it. She understood exactly what I had gone through. Not only that, I enjoy listening to her. I had found an ally and a friend.
My friendship with Evelyn was always long distance. I soon returned to Colorado to finish graduate school. Next, I was off to Washington, D.C. and then to Ohio, where I now live. There were many, many phone calls over the years. Mostly we would just catch up, but sometimes she would have to cheer me up and sometimes I would have to cheer her up. What I loved most about talking with Evelyn was that she would get excited about what I was excited about, even if it was my physics research and she didn’t understand exactly what I was doing.
When I could, I would visit Evelyn if I was in the Bay Area to see my family. Mostly, we would sit in her apartment and talk. But we would also go out and hit a favorite restaurant of hers, which usually turned out to be Marin Joe’s. Not that I am complaining.
Living far from California, I regret that I didn’t get to meet and know more of Evelyn’s friends. I know my name is familiar to many of you. Many of your names are familiar to me too, since Evelyn mentioned you often when we spoke. Also, I regret that I could not assist her in a more hands-on way these last years as Evelyn’s health failed. I wish to thank all of you who were able to help. Since she prided herself on being self-reliant, it was very frustrating for her to need help from others. Still, she always told me how glad she was to have the help.
It is an overused phrase, but Evelyn was one of a kind. I don’t think I will see her likes again.
I am very grateful for the time I knew her.