Vale Robin: Meeting Robin Williams


Vale Robin

By Julie Boyd ·  2 min read · From 500 Words: Right here, Right now

Over the Golden Gate bridge if you turn right and follow your nose, you’ll end up in Sausalito, a beautiful artistic enclave on the edge of San Francisco Bay,

The home, at the time, of my friend and work colleague, Jeanne. Back in 1994 it was always an indescribable delight to stay on her houseboat – which looked directly across to Angel Island and had previously belonged to the former harbour master.

Jeanne’s office was located at the other end of her private pier, and walking to work with her small dog meant negotiating the many sunbaking seals, sea-lions and seabirds who had assumed residence on the rustic pylons.

Artists such as Laurel Burch could be found in shops as delightful as their products. If you are lucky enough to be there Labour Day weekend, the Arts Festival is the best I’ve experienced anywhere.

Celebrities lived there in relative anonymity at the time, though Jeanne would point out the apartment block owned by the Everly brothers, or where the turnoff was to George Lucas’ spread. She knew, because she shared an accountant with several of them.

Life on board also meant that to visit her sister we could skim across Richardson Bay by boat, if the weather was fine enough. Jeanne’s sister was the proud owner of the Tiburon hat shop, and the first female commodore of the yacht club, so lunch with her was always an event.

Lorrie had been a teacher in a past life and had adopted the local elementary school grade two class. As the internet was still relatively new then, when she traveled the world sourcing hats from the most unusual places, she would send postcards to the kids, then visit the class to relate her stories when she came home. The kids loved it.

A visit to the hat shop was always a precursor to lunch at the club, and we would sometimes end up resplendent in hats that would stun even the beautifully dressed locals.

So ending up at the club would always be a hilarious affair, and sitting at the Commodores’ table made it even moreso. You would never know who would ‘pop over for a chat and a drink.

One time, a bloke by the name of Robin dropped by to say hi to Lorrie.

“Gooooood morning Commodorrrrreee!” could be heard as the whirlwind sped across the floor, maitre’d in hot pursuit.

“Oh I lurve that hat, oh an aussie, G’day cobber.., oh I just looove that dress.”

The voice skipped and changed with each person as he flew around the table before being corralled and led off to his lunch companions.

At that time he was living in San Francisco high on one of the seven hills, but was a regular visitor to the other side of the bay. We were laughing so hard none of us could eat. I can still feel the stitches now, and see the sadness that was buried deep in his eyes, even then.

Robin died suddenly. The world is lamenting his loss.

A gentle, humble genius who, like many others was unable to accept how much he was loved.

I’m glad he finally found peace in such a beautiful place and enabled me the indulgence of a much loved memory, and the fortitude to help one more young person not to follow his ending that same day.

Vale Robin.

Published 29 Aug 2014.  Belvedere Tiburon California United States