Barry and I were never friends at Mumford. I knew that he was that guy in the baby blue Pontiac convertible -- but we never talked.
In my last two years of college (Wayne), however, I saw him every night. After closing hours at Mixed Media he would pick up Connie and come over to my place on Canfield and we would disturb the neighbors with hours of Dylan, the Stones, the Animals and the odor of strange smoke.
He'd usually take Connie home around 1 and come back to my place by 2. He was gone by 4 or 5 in the morning. I don't know how, but those last two years of college were the only ones where I got truly excellent grades.
After returning from the Peace Corps I found Barry living on Cass at the Creem house. I moved in for awhile. More Stones and Beefheart and Iggy on the stereos with Mitch and the Detroit Wheels rehearsing upstairs over my bedroom. This time there were no neighbors to disturb. I was the one who was disturbed instead.
Barry died while I was in Oklahoma. He had a new baby and I had two. I was angry at him for dying. For years I thought of him almost every day. I've never met his son -- but for many years I hoped to meet him and tell him that his dad was someone I loved. Perhaps this 'memorial' is my opportunity to say those things I've never been able to share. Barry was not an easy guy, but he needed and loved his friends with a desperate tenacity. He suffered fools badly but he was looking for answers in a generation that was just forming questions.
After thirty plus years I can listen to Dylan or the Stones without automatically thinking of Barry. But the Animals -- the Animals take me right back to Canfield. I still miss you Barry. You were loved.