Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Craig Froehlich: 1971-2008


If ever a situation required a laugh, Craig Froehlich was the man to provide it. Whether he was addressing a calamity of international proportions, celebrity news fodder or a personality that was at-odds with his own, Craig cut it down to its essence with his acerbic wit and insight. Whenever I hear something that makes me throw my arms in the air in disbelief, I think "I can't wait to hear what Craig has to say about this!"

As long as the world spins on with its foibles, ironies and outrages, that thought will no doubt reverberate in my head. But it breaks my heart that I will no longer have the pleasure of finding out. Craig died Monday morning after a long battle against alcoholism and depression. He left behind many devastated friends and family members who still remember him in his most happy and inspired moments. They include sister Carmen Watkins and her three daughters, brother Kevin Froehlich, mother Gertrud Anderson and father Darryl Froehlich.

Craig moved to Salt Lake City from Detroit in 1994, and completed his BA in Mass Communications at the University of Utah in 2002. We met when he came to the Daily Utah Chronicle and RED Magazine to pursue his love of writing. There, I had the pleasure of working with him and reading his material on a regular basis.

Craig was a ferocious reader, a lover of literature, history, humor, music and film. It was rare to find a topic on which he wasn't knowledgeable, and rarer still to find one from which he couldn't yank laughs. His drive to know everything spilled into his writing. Even the breeziest of his comedic gems entailed a great deal of research—he wanted to know his target before he lambasted it, to ensure his jokes were spot on.

Once, when I was his editor at the University of Utah's RED Magazine, he called a local burger joint near campus because he wanted to make a joke about the "World-Famous Pastrami Burger" sign outside their restaurant. Nevermind that his piece was about John Kerry, he needed to make sure he quoted the sign correctly. Unfortunately, the employee who worked there wasn't so aware of his surroundings, and didn't even know the sign even existed. Much to Craig's dismay, the minimum-wage-earning mope wouldn't go outside and check, and since we were on deadline, we couldn't check it ourselves. I suggested an alternative to the gag, but he remained bemused that this employee wouldn't aid his mischievous comedic scheme.


I've been going over the writing Craig left behind since receiving the news, and reading it is the best way to lift my spirits after. It doesn't replace having him here in person—the charming banter, the off-the-cuff remarks so clever you're not sure you really heard them, the hilarious storytelling and excited declarations—but it certainly reminds us of his unmistakable spirit. He was able to find the perfect way to cut down his subject with the wrong end of his axe, whether commenting on the shortcomings of ethnic nomenclature ("Many blacks feel far more American than African. Many whites have no idea what "Caucasian" means and refuse to be called European Americans for fear their women will stop shaving their armpits."), Republican political strategy ("God, Guns and Gays—or more specifically, threatening the latter with the first two.") or tourist souvenirs ("Sea turtles swaggered through town in flashy clothing and demanded money from helpless artisans and shopkeepers. To combat this menace, a Mexican freedom fighter known only as Señor Frog built countless resort hotels on Cancun’s immaculate stretch of beaches. These hotels decimated the habitat where the turtles laid their fragile eggs. Fertile turtles of yesterday now face extinction (a serious blow to their intimidation factor). Many of Cancun’s grandest shot glasses and T-shirts now bear the name of the heroic frog.").


Craig wouldn't abide sugar-coating—he avoided sentimentality and never hesitated to tell friends—or complete strangers—exactly what was on his mind. When people were building Miis at a Wii party, he took pleasure in pointing out when people were selecting features they wish they had, rather than ones that resembled their real-life looks. Of course, no one could accuse him of hypocrisy after seeing the comically sad little avatar he cooked up.

Once, I took him to an emergency room to receive treatment for a kidney stone that would not pass. His extreme pain combined with the tedious banter of the people sitting near us and, of course, his own personality to generate a reaction I'll never forget. As the man talked nonsense about celebrities, gun laws and stem-cell research, Craig cut him off. "Oh, will you shut the hell up!" he snapped, adding a disgruntled "PLEASE!" after seeing the unimpressed expression on the offender's face.

As his incessant banter suggested, the talking man wasn't as frightened of a confrontation as me, the silent fellow sinking in his seat. "If you don't like it, go somewhere else," he replied. While Craig mercifully relented from pushing the point further and apologized, he later mused about where he was supposed to go. "I'm in a freaking emergency room, for crying out loud." The detail he most ardently brought up, however, was that he did, after all, say please.

While Craig's social form may have been a bit unconventional, it let you know that he was never blowing smoke up your ass. If he asked about how something was going or how people were doing, you knew it was because he really cared.

So I can't sugar-coat this memorial, lest I hear him say, "You've gotta be kidding me!" in my head. The last several years of his life saw his addiction to alcohol grow worse and worse, and we saw less and less of the Craig we know and love. There was only so much time his loved ones could devote to enacting a recovery before becoming frustrated and exhausted. But even when he was sick in the hospital and experiencing great pain, he still took the time to ask about how everyone was doing, and tell some jokes to put our sad selves at ease.


Like most people who see the absurdities of the world in a special way, Craig was frustrated that others couldn't see them so easily. He loved his country, and his planet, but was continually upset that neither were as perfect as they should be. And while he never reached the levels he aspired to in life, he left us with a tremendous collection of work that makes us laugh while we shake our heads at how ridiculous it all is.

Below are links to some of Craig's best writing. Please share your own memories and thoughts on Craig in the comments section. This is a very sad moment, but Craig would be displeased if we didn't spend it laughing.

RED Through the Ages. To kick off the school year in Fall 2003, Craig wrote this introduction to RED Magazine. Sending up more than 100 years of history through the eyes of imagined college A&E publications. "1912—The Titanic sinks with 1,500 souls on board. 'It would make a smashing moving-picture show,' the editor of The Ute Artful Dodger muses, 'if only one could seamlessly write the gratuitous display of boobs into the story.'"

Façade: Interactive Videogames Take a Small Step Forward. A Review of an ambitious, but buggy-as-hell artificial intelligence game (or interactive drama). "If you want to shoot people or baskets, chances are you can find a video game that satiates your needs. If you want interaction and a chance to express personality and intellect, chances are you’ll need to stoop to speaking to other Homo sapiens."

Will Joke For Food. Craig profiles the hardships of local standup comedians for Salt Lake City Weekly. "Being a professional comedian requires compromises and obedience to the gods of income. Decisions to wring a living out of making people laugh demands diligence and a smidgen of insanity. A hard-working comedian can still skirt the poverty level, but it’s a world where only bad timing, horrible pay and a Klan rally discourages a comic from accepting a gig."

The Salt Shaker's 1977 Star Wars review. In honor of the prequel trilogy, Craig wrote this "archival review" of the original "Star Wars"—a 1977 article by "Anakin Mathews." It ran in our inaugural issue. "With or without the wars, Hamill’s star is definitely on the rise."

RED Magazine's endorsement of John Kerry. Note that because Craig couldn't get confirmation on B & D Burgers' world famous pastrami sign before deadline, he had to settle for the Training Table's claim to world-famous cheese fries. He always regretted the compromise and remained convinced that the B & D pastrami burger would have resulted in a funnier gag.

Christ and Comic Books on Main Street of SLC. Craig wonders if Chick Tracts will be distributed in downtown Salt Lake City. "Approach your stroll through the Main Street "Free-Speech-O-Rama" Plaza as would a cultural anthropologist. Observe outsiders with attentive impartiality and read comic books with the utmost caution. Those booklets are designed to convert unsuspecting sinners after only one reading."

The Best Film Fest in the West. Craig's send-up of the Sundance Film Festival was so funny, I ran it during two different festivals. "Sundance is devoid of the pretensions and exclusivity of other festivals. Any moron can get a ticket, and they do so in droves."

The Original Draft of the Bill of Rights. "Excessive bail shall not be required although every bail is excessive when you’re poor; nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted such as eating Pop-Tarts in front of a hungry person or dressing up like a pirate and pelting someone with stale pancakes."

In Memoriam: Richard Pryor. Craig looks back on the life of one of his heroes.

The Top News Stories of 2005. Craig's last published work. "President Bush, since he has always held the media in such high esteem, believed that the Big Easy had truly dodged a bullet. He continued a well-deserved 27th vacation at his Crawford, Texas ranch—riding bikes, clearing brush and barbecuin’ up some of that tasty "pork" imported from Guantanamo Bay."

30 comments:

Stephanie said...

Last time I left Craig, I asked him to write a screen play about the neuropsychiatric ward, which he said was — full of insane people. Somewhat naive, I thought maybe I could motivate him, he could write his way out of his current situation into a better world. A world where he knew he was brilliant, good, and caring. The world he lived in was a battleground for himself, full of doubt, and insecurity. Sometimes snared by a ritual of feeling worthless, and a horrific addiction, Craig wrote prose. Craig wrote little hints to life's confusions. Craig found empathy and courage and made amazing connections with his friends. He made a connection with me, and I knew from living through my own trauma, there were troubled waters rushing fast beneath his coy and satirical surface. I love Craig, and I hate that he went through this painful death at such a young age. Thank you to all of you who kept him, visited him, held him up and told him jokes. I am sorry for your loss, and our loss.

He told me to have fun in San Francisco, but I think crying is much more befitting. I do not much care to lose brilliant people to their addictions or their deaths...

Stewf said...

Well done, Jeremy. I only had a few occasions with Craig, but your descriptions are pinpoint. I was also often caught off guard by his humor, both because it was unbelievably funny and because he delivered it so dryly. I'm sorry I didn't get to know him better.

T.J. said...

I met Craig only a couple of times but your memorial makes me wish I had gotten to know him as well as you have.

Jess showed me examples of his writing months back (which I enjoyed a lot) and I'm glad you linked your favorite pieces here, he was tremendously talented.

Keith said...

That was beautiful, Jeremy.

I hope that I am so deserving of such I piece when I pass. It says a lot about the person Craig really was.

Mormegil said...

Jeremy, thank you for this memorial. I am glad to have read it. I was Craig's boss. I tried to work with his alcoholism sadly it didn't work out and I was forced to release him. It was the saddest experience I have had to deal with during my career.

Craig always made me laugh and smile. We always had an open and honest friendship and I appreciate the time I had with him.

I last saw Craig last week in the last few days of his life. I am very glad to have seen him and spend an hour visiting with him and helping as I could.

Thank you Jeremy,

Coby Hauser

Lois said...

I'm so sad. Thanks for reviving my own fond memories of a talented, funny young man.

Jessica said...

It breaks my heart to realize that Craig hadn't published anything since 2005. I knew Craig from his work before I met him in person. I was living in Ohio and Jeremy sent me links to his funniest Red Herrings. His Herrings were always so on target and hilarious. I always thought of him as "The Herring King" and remember how important everyone thought it was when "The Salt Shaker" started to create a similar feature mostly so Craig could write it.
Because of his columns when I first met Craig I thought he would be as daring as his columns and was surprised to find him very shy and reserved until I got to know him better. And how lucky I was to do so, Craig had such a gift for conversation. He loved to make people laugh and could often transform horrible experiences of his own life into comedic gold. Whenever I hear "MacArthur Park" I'll always laugh and think of Craig's description of it.
It's so hard to believe that he is really gone now. I know so many of his friends and family tried so hard to help him and it's so hard to accept that that hope is finally gone. I'm grateful that Jeremy has complied these articles for us to reread and remember Craig, but I can't help but cry when thinking about all the potential that was lost and wish we could be celebrating Craig under different circumstances.

Jordan Scribbler said...

I never knew Craig Froehlich that well. Mostly as a fellow soldier/veteran of RED and Salt Shaker. The thing I remember most about him was his distinct voice. Not just in his writing, but his literal voice I remember had a distinct sound I found pleasant. It's not much, I know, but it's the memory I have of the man.

As usual, wonderful words, Mr. Mathews.

Michelle said...
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Brent said...

I didn't know him that well either but felt something of a kinship through his writing. Sad to see a RED man go. Very eloquent tribute, Jeremy.

Longshanks said...
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Longshanks said...
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Longshanks said...

You are spot on to suggest that Craig would be displeased if we weren't laughing. He had a wit that was hard to spot at times, and I often wondered where his comments would lead. Craig was working for security at University Hospital when I hired him as a financial counselor in 2003. Part of his job was documenting encounters he had with patients that he was trying to assist. Most staff made brief, simple comments. Not Craig. I frequently had to tell him to 'cut down on the novels' so that I would not have to spend an entire day auditing 5 of his accounts. He's the only employee of mine who used the term 'Serendipidous' in one of those comments, and probably the only one who knew what it means.
He definitely knew his targets. I'll never forget a comment Craig made to an Irish co-worker that involved the term 'potato famine'. I was dying even though I had to wonder if I wouldn't soon be sitting in a room with him and a human resources representative.
I will miss his dry delivery and his monotone voice. I will also miss his distinct body language. Whenever he had to defend a comment or action he would make a strange twisting of his shoulders and rolling of his head with a wry smile on his face. For more serious matters he never failed to close his eyes and wipe his hand across his brow while sighing before answering.
I am glad that I had the chance to get to know Craig and I am sad to see him pass.

Janean said...

I wish I'd gotten to know Craig better. I think I really blew an opportunity.

Sandra said...

I met Craig in 1996. When I met him he had long hair in a pony tail and always wore a leather jacket with combat boots. Our first date was to a dinner and a prophetic movie "Leaving Las Vegas". We always joked about it every time he got out of rehab... again. He was the most awkward and clumsiest individual I've ever met. When he spilled grapejuice all over me as he was trying to ask me out, I was smitten. I fell in love with his candor and shyness, but mostly his irreverence, wit and intelligence. Everyone that met him, either loved him or hated him because of it.
He became part of my family. He was a fantastic cook, another reason for falling for him. Cooking for me was a hobby of his. It was not unusual to get a call in the middle of the day asking me what I wanted for dinner a week from now.
He put himself through college even with a full workload. He loved many things, and would become obsessed when he found something new. We were both insomniacs and enjoyed our time watching great films. This is a reason why he was so close to Jeremy. He couldn't stand people that didn't use the term "I could care less" incorrectly. At his best, Craig was healthy, excercising, into music, photography, books, and we were just living life untraditionally. Some of my greatest memories of Craig include sharing late night moments where he read me his favorite poetry, finding a cool new restaurant before anyone else, watching a political show and seeing him have fits when he didn't agree with someone. He loved the innocence in people, loved laughing with children, thought little asian babies 'were the cutest', had a secret crush on George Clooney, and always said that people that were attacked by animals "always had it coming".

Being apart from him these last couple of years was the most difficult thing I've ever done, but not as difficult as the realization of Craig being gone. I've never stopped loving him and was able to tell him that before he passed.
Craig always said he would die young. "The best ones always do, Honey" he would say, "that's why John Lennon died before Paul McCartney"...."better to die young then end up like Orson Welles". He meant it.
I can't believe he's no longer here! He didn't care what happened to him when he died, but he always wanted to be remembered at his best. Happy and making sure you were laughing.
If you read about Craig, please share your memories of him. He would like that.
Sandra

Jim said...

I met Craig through Jeremy. I was impressed by his intelligence and wit, and enjoyed the conversations we had whenever he came over to our house. It was so sad to see him going to pieces... to hear about his latest job and how much he liked it, to be able to tell that he was good at it and had so much to offer, and then to hear, later, that he had been let go -- again. He reminded me of my friend Robert who died of alcohol poisoning 25 years ago: also a brilliant man with a sharp wit who was unable to curb his drinking.

To Craig's friends: do not be afraid that you will forget him, your friends burn in your heart forever.

We will miss you, Craig.
--Jim

Kevin said...

It's great to read all of these posts about Craig. He would have loved it, although he would have never let on that he did. He was my big brother and he always tried to look out for me. I will miss him very much. Thanks for remembering him.

Danyelle said...

I hadn't seen Craig in years, since the Chrony/RED days. I have heard updates and stories from those close to him since then, but I must admit that I am very glad that those are the only memories I have of him: a brilliant writer whose sense of humor and booming voice filled the newsroom.

Fitting that you mentioned the B&D Burgers episode because that is the memory of him that sticks out most in my mind. That was the only time that Craig and I ever clashed. I remember that I yelled at him to berate the fast-food worker more quietly because he was scaring the new writers in the office. For most of them it was their first encounter with Craig, and I remember several of them turning to me and asking, "Who is that guy?" I told them, and every one of their faces lit up with recognition and said some variation of, "He's so funny!"

Thanks for the beautiful memorial and forum.

Sarah said...

It's been over two years since I last saw Craig, and it was clear even then that he was really struggling. But for the year that I worked full-time at the Chrony with Craig, he was one of the best things about coming in to work each morning. No matter what crazy shit was going down, be it office politics or world events, Craig would call it like it was and make me laugh at the same time. He could be relentless, but that's what I admired. He didn't back down if he wanted to prove a point. I don't have anything profound to say about Craig...just that I'm very glad to have known him.

Daniel tubbs said...

I have not seen craig in years. We worked security together until I left to be a cop, which he teased me about to no end. He was an amazing person with a serious disease and it hurt me to discover his obituary the other day. It would not be out of line to call his humor genius.

A lot of people, including myself, didn't understand him completely and that was part of his beauty.

You will be missed

Jamie said...

I was out of town until today and just found out this terrible news. Thanks for writing such a poignant and spot-on rememberance of Craig. I had the pleasure of working with the always hilarious, often cantakerous writer at RED and always respected his work. After I graduated, I expected to find Craig raising eyebrows and eliciting guffaws in national publications. He was that good. And even though I hadn't seen in years, I'm sad that I won't have the opportunity to see him again. He won't be forgotten.

Tall J said...

Wow. I just heard about this. He was always one of my favorite characters at the Chrony, and God knows everyone there was a character.

Thanks for writing this.

The Real Indian said...

I knew Craig as a social acquaintance more than I knew him as a writer. He always had a unique personality and an admirably free spirit. It is a great loss for all of us to not have him around; amusing and enlightening us - to say things we dared not say, but laughed with him when he said them. Nevertheless, a life of such freedom can come with great pain. I am happy he escaped that pain although I know I will miss his company.

TeRRa said...

I met Craig in a different setting than most of the folks making comments here. We both battled addiction in our early lives, and meeting him at 18, having lost a scholarship, an amazing internship, and a Pulitzer Prize, I was almost dead. My ego was gone, for sure, but Craig said that was a good thing. So I'm not going to try to make this into some show of my incredible literary capability, I'm just going to follow Craig's drum and say it like it is.

Craig made me laugh in what has been, thus far, the hardest time in my life. At 23, I am sober almost 2 years because of his help. I only agonize over why Craig could not just pick up, understand his genius, stop drinking and get back to writing. But, alas, I have not done those things. I did promise him though, that I would try. And I will. But, I'm not a genius. At least that was my argument 6 days before Craig died, when I drug him to the U's emergency department due to his ever yellowing skin and protruding liver. I think I knew the seriousness of it all. If I didn't, then I tricked myself well, because as we sat waiting to see a doctor, Craig was just cracking my shit up. I worked for the U in the same department as he had about a year earlier, and he told me of the misbehavior and idiocy of the supervisor who was making my life hell. He was trying to raise my spirits, as his spirit was struggling to stay strong inside his weakening body. Craig joked with the doctor, and, when asked why he was there, he pointed at me and said, "this girl picked me up and said I appeared to be drinking too much. I was gonna take my own life with an extension cord, but she walked up and..." Then he said something hilarious about my showing him my boobs and him realizing he wanted to live... I can't match his wit, or remember it. I do remember I was almost peeing myself laughing. Until I looked down at his half-zipped duffel bag and saw a yellow extension cord. I grabbed his sleeve and tugged him toward me, I was so angry, and he just laughed it off, making a gagging noise and saying, "I couldn't do it and have you wake up tomorrow thinking it was your fault. It's okay now, Ter." It wasn't. He made it through the detox, called me to give me the code to speak to him, which he told the nurse was to be 6969, and said he'd call tomorrow. I never heard his voice again. Not until I read this compilation of his work anyway. His literary voice makes me laugh through my tears, and assures me that his life was not a waste. Not with all of the people he and his mind touched. Including me, just a sad and dying girl who learned so much from him, who he could get to crack a smile any day, who, despite my addiction, and because of his help, believes she will be okay. Sandra, I know nothing of you except that you were the love of his life, and that what he told you may have been true: "Only the good die young."

I love you Craig.

Ryan Nace said...

Craig was funny as hell, but a testy sort. My fondest memories of him were at his basement apartment in Gibraltar, Michigan. Yeah, there was drinking involved, but that's the way it happened. One time he got pissed and threw his tv at my head. Another time he had his cousin with Down Syndrome chase me around with a wooden fork. He had little patience for most people, because most people are idiots. He was a riot to hang out with and always made me laugh. Condolences to his family and Kevin if you're out there look me up.

Rance said...

I guess I am the last to find out about the passing of Craig. Unfortunately, almost a year after his death. I was his neighbor at the Mcclelland Street Apts. in Sugarhouse for a year or so. During that time I got to know Craig very well. Like all his friends I tried to help him with his addiction and grew frustrated when he wouldn't stop drinking. I witnessed him going through a lot of pain, and it made me sad to see his wonderful personality suppressed by alcohol. I wish he would have realized how awesome and talented he was. I wish he could have seen what others saw in him, and that he was still young and could accomplish all of his dreams.
When Craig was sober he was so happy and outgoing. He would always make me laugh. He went out of his way to cook and serve me and my girlfriend dinner one night. It was amazing! I spent countless hours watching football with him and watching "the chick with the plunging neck line" cook on the food network channel. We talked about books and he showed me his writing. The first time I read some of his writing I was laughing so hard I was crying. He was such an awesome person. He wasn't afraid to speak what was on his mind. I recall going with him to Noodles and Company too eat once. He became frustrated with one of the employees working there because she was standing around talking instead of delivering his food. He walked up to the counter and shouted: "shut the f*** up and give me my food". The girl frantically delivered his food. I was embarrassed and asked him to apologize. He finally did apologize but only because I insisted.
When I moved out of the apartment at McClelland Street tt was hard to keep in contact with Craig because he wouldn't answer all the time or not pay his cell phone bill. My last attempt to reach him I got a message saying his cell phone service had been disconnected. I feared the worst. It wasn't until a week ago when Craig popped into my head and I googled his name (thinking i may find and obituary) I learned of his death. It's been almost a year since his passing but I still wanted to post some memories of him. I am very sad that the world has lost such a great person. But I feel he is in a better place now.
When I think of Craig I can't help but to look to the sky and see his face grinning in the skyline. I picture him looking at me and saying "don't worry I'm fine, go on with your f***ing life". So I will, but with him in my heart.

Jennifer Shea said...

Craig was my first boyfriend. I met him when I was 19 and fell in love for the first time. I cannot begin to share every memory that I have. We would drive to Canada on Friday nights--finding dead end streets to kiss, hug, talk and fall asleep. We went to the hotel Yorba because we were curious and ran out of there at the sound of gunshots. My father taught him how to cook, we slept in his walk-in closet bedroom and he schooled me on punk rock, rockabilly music and The Velvet Underground. When we passed closed down businesses in Detroit he would say that it was sad because the closed down business was "someone's dream" that died.. After the Gwar show, a "blood" covered Craig scared the diners at a local restaurant--causing a clamor of voices yelling 'Are you okay? Do you need a doctor?!" I have every letter he has ever written to me and a good lot of poetry that I had the good mind to photocopy and put away because I knew it would get lost in one of his many moves. He visited me in NY and we kept in contact up until a few years ago. He would call and we would talk for hours and then a year would go by and the pattern repeated. When I didn't hear from him I sent an email and then tried to find a valid phone number. I kept thinking he would finally call and we would pick up where we let off--like we always did. In our younger years our relationship was tumultuous and chaotic, sweet and sad...I was happy that time allowed us to remain friends--still able to share everything regardless of the time lapse.
I would appreciate anyone who would email me to "talk" about Craig. I have questions and just finding out now..I am in shock and could use the exchange. Thank you for posting this tribute to him .

Jenny
jlshea@aol.com

Dannielle said...

What a beautiful and accurate piece on my old friend. I knew Craig when he lived in the basement apartment of an old house in Gibraltar, MI in 1994. The summer I spent in that dungeon of a dwelling was a memorable one, to say the least. There was the fire in the grow room, a hilarious accidental stabbing (which Craig sincerely felt bad about), and many intense conversations about the world and all that ails it at 4 in the morning. I was just 18, wide eyed and a little intimidated by the unpredictable, slightly crazy and clearly brilliant, skinny-blond-roommate my friend, Ryan, had acquired. Once, when a girl had broken his heart, he and I sat in the cramped little crawl space of that dank apartment listening to Mozart, talking and drinking sparkling wine trying to ease the pain of it. It was the most intimate moment I ever shared with him. Even then it seemed to me he felt things stronger than most and I loved that about him. I was sad and a little worried when Craig moved to Utah. I felt oddly protective of him, which makes me grin as I write this. We exchanged a few letters and I sent him my signed copy of Allen Ginsberg's last book, for which he expressed sincere appreciation. Time went by and we lost touch. I had a baby, got married, then went back to college. Even though I haven't seen him in 15 years there is an acute pain in my heart at hearing this news. I'll get out those letters tonight, have a good cry and think about that summer. But I won't cry too much and risk an eye roll from him where ever he is. I'm glad that he found good people in Utah who truly saw him and valued him for the amazing creature he was, but I am not at all surprised. I'm sure it was easy for him. That old house is a parking lot now. Craig would probably find that amusing.

Noreen Kurowski (Novrocki) said...

Unbelievable. I was hoping to touch base with Craig on Facebook, and I found this.
We went to Grosse Ile High School together, class of 1989. While we weren't BFF's, we shared art class and driver's ed, together. Only in our senior year, did we get familiar with each other. He definitely was a RIOT! His quiet demeanor shadowed his hilarious nature, for sure. And his VOICE!!!
Great tribute to him!
I was skimming through my old yearbook today, and came upon his entry, to me...
(All in caps)
"DEAREST NOREEN... THE ONLY WOMAN I HAVE EVER TRULY LOVED. I THINKING OF ALL THE THINGS WE'VE BEEN THROUGH... LIKE... UM... UH... LIKE... LIKE, THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING. WHENEVER I PAINT MY FINGERNAILS I'LL THINK OF YOU. I'M TAKING DRIVER'S ED FOR THE 13th TIME.
MR. FPHFANFELONEONE (WHATEVER) SAID HI!
SEE YOU IN HELL...
XX LOVE XXO
BIF ABIGAIL GUILLERMO FROEHLICH"

I imagine he let me paint his fingernails in art class. Wouldn't surprise me, sounds about right.
He was HORRIBLE on the road tests in driver's ed. LOL. Mr. Pfanfelone (sp?) would be like that cartoon cat, on the ceiling in terror, stomping on the brakes every time Craig got behind the wheel. We heard every swear word known to man come out of an otherwise mellow disposition of a man. He accused Craig of tunnel vision... driving toward everything he looked at. LOL.
I could tell he was a bright, unique spirit, even then. I'm bummed that I won't be able to reconnect with him, but I am glad to know that he "went for it", and left behind some great work and memories.
Much respect, Noreen

Dorit Ewers said...

Craig was my cousin and I met him many years before. We have so much fun with him in Germany...I will never forget him and miss him! Dorit