We met at a conference. We made handmade art cards for the same company. I was new and eager to meet the others for an inspirational few days in New York.
I had been selected to design a line related to . His work was not restricted by subject. Did we gravitate to each other because we were the only African-Americans? Were we meeting expectations that we would? He was a gentle, talented artist who was a friend to all.
We kept in touch by sharing letters written on our cards and met at conferences. He was a veteran. He had a deep love for two nieces who had lost their mother. When we went to a nightclub,, he was the one who explained the waitresses were men.
We shared the business’ ups and downs. Big orders, no orders. Once he was excited about attending a party given by the lead actress in Law and Order. He felt so welcomed by these theater people.
Nine-eleven shocked everyone. My children were in New York and Washington. I felt so helpless, living miles away. Wayne lived and worked in the area. When I reached him, he told me about his experience.
His usual route was to take the subway and come up in one of the Twin Towers. He would come to street level and cross diagonally to a building where he worked. As I remember, it was just the other side of a church.
That morning he had an early doctor’s appointment. He had bad kidneys and was diabetic. As he rode the subway, he was prevented from getting to the scene. Everything that moved had stopped.
When he died, it was from his illnesses. His actor friend called me and I spoke with his niece. One of his cards had a lone tree and a single gravestone, a photograph taken somewhere in New York City.