Cary Lu

Kim Hays[hidden]

I met Cary in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1978, when he and I were both working at EDC (Educational Development Center). I was 24, trying to feel comfortable in a new job, and Cary befriended me. From then until I moved to Berkeley in 1983, Cary and I got together regularly, often at his house (since he was a much better cook that I was) to spend Saturday afternoons talking and making enormous quantities of Chinese dumplings. He did all the work, but at least I helped stuff the filling into the dough. Somehow we always managed to eat all the dumplings, and then we'd watch pixilated-peanut films in the living room, lounging in his bean-chairs, or he'd show me some of his fabulous slides.

Cary and I both loved Disney cartoons, so whenever a new Disney film came out, we'd go together, preferably to a weekend matinee where we'd be the only adults unaccompanied by frantically excited children. Part of the fun of the outing was listening to the kids' comments as they watched the movie.

I remember Cary telling me that he had decided to become a technology journalist. He said it calmly and then outlined the steps he planned to take to break into the field. I thought--or maybe even said-- "But, Cary, how can you be so sure this is going to work?" But Cary was sure, and of course, he was right. He was probably the most determined person I have ever met--but he wasn't cocky. He just made a decision, figured out the best way of carrying it out, and got to work accomplishing his goal.

It's hard to believe now, but in 1983 when I went off to Berkeley to get a PhD in sociology, I didn't have a PC. But I knew enough about PCs to know that I was going to need one in order to survive all those papers I was going to have to write. Before I left I asked Cary what I should buy. It had to be cheap, reliable, and easy to understand. "Don't worry," he promised me. "I order something for you." And, sure enough, my Kaypro arrived in time to see me through the first semester's end-of-term essays. I used that Kaypro faithfully long after other people around me had graduated to more advanced PCs, and it served me well.

After I'd been living in Berkeley for a year or so, Cary called me from Boston to say that he was going to be in San Francisco for a meeting and we should have a meal. He wanted to introduce me to Ellen. We three spent an afternoon together, and I thought, "This is it, Cary; you'd better marry this woman!" Luckily, he had already figured this out.

I moved from Berkeley to Bern; Cary and Ellen moved to Washington state. Our friendship carried on through Christmas cards, change-of-address notes, and marriage and birth announcements. But of course I always assumed that someday life would take me on a visit to Washington, as it has taken me to so many unexpected places, and I'd be able to see Cary again, renew Ellen's acquaintance, meet the Meredith and Nathaniel of the Christmas cards, introduce Cary to my husband and son, and pick up an old friendship where it had left off.

Now Cary has died, and I won't ever see him again. But a few weeks ago Peter and I took our almost-five-year-old son, Tommy, to his first movie, Disney's Hercules. In the dark theater, listening to Tommy's stage-whispered questions and excited comments during the film, I thought of Cary. For the rest of my life, at odd moments, I'll think of him and be glad he was my friend.