In all this writing over the past couple days, what I have not written about is the passing of Glenn Stockwell. I want to offer beautiful sentences that reflect my respect and appreciation of the man, which would be easier to do when I’m not tired or busy. But since I’m always tired and busy, I’ve instead said nothing. That won’t do.
I met Glenn – always “Stockwell,” back then – when taking poli sci at CR. My anticipations, colored by high school history teachers, were low. The children’s school hadn’t started when CR’s semester did, so I had Nick and Kaylee both with me, sitting on the steps of the theater-seating classroom. One of them ruffled some drawing paper during Stockwell’s opening lecture, and he asked them to be quieter, putting me on the defensive. But after class, he made a point of being kind, winning me over right then. I learned over the years of his own jobs and travels, his own experiences raising children – but first, I learned, for a brief and shining moment, how the electoral college worked. He explained the workings of politics in better terms than anyone. It was akin to having a mechanic tell you how to rebuild a transmission in such a way that you understood and were confident you could show someone else how to, too.
That was the spring semester I’d bought a surfboard with my student loan check. While asking advice from a fellow student, Stockwell happened by. The guy I was talking to pulled him into the conversation and from there evolved a surf-buddy relationship that included many lifts out to the Jetty, several day trips to Crescent City and an endless supply of surf advice and stories.
Glenn was sharp, offering up commentary to the radio news, and funny, never at a loss for a smart ass remark – as often directed at himself as his friends, and never mean. Charming – a bit of roguishness in his teasing. He was kind, welcoming Nick or Kaylee to accompany us on a surf run, encouraging me when I felt like a kook beyond hope. I never thought of him as a father figure, but I often thought if my own dad hadn’t gone the Rush-Limbaugh-Republican route, he’d be a lot like Glenn.
I knew Glenn’s chances of recovery were slight, but what my brain knew and my heart felt didn’t match. The news that he had passed away still shocked me. He was just so alive a moment ago. His departure feels abrupt. I want to yell out, Don’t leave!
I will really miss him.
I also really admire and appreciate his son Eric for taking on the added responsibility of keeping us all informed about Glenn’s status. Thank you.