Monday, February 13, 2012

Remembering Lorin - Again

This was a pretty good weekend for Princeton Athletics.

From Friday to Sunday, Princeton won Ivy League titles in men's squash, men's fencing and women's fencing.

The men's basketball team swept a pair of home games, including a win over nationally ranked Harvard in front of a nearly full house.

The women's basketball team beat Dartmouth (head coach Courtney Banghart's alma mater) by 31 on Friday night and then in what figured to be the toughest test to date so far in the league beat second-place Harvard 84-56. And Niveen Rasheed went past 1,000 points for her career on top of that. included those results, as well as sports like men's volleyball tennis and women's water polo, a sign that spring is rapidly approaching.

And yet all of that is for tomorrow.

Today is about Lorin Maurer.

TigerBlog woke up three years ago today to an email that he had to read over and over and over to fully process. It brought the unfathomable news that Maurer - then Princeton's Friends' Group manager - had died in a plane crash the night before, on her way to Buffalo for her boyfriend's brothers wedding.

Three years later, and that entire day is still crystal clear. Princeton was playing home in women's basketball, and the building was descended upon by media, all trying to get a portrait of the woman who had died just past her 30th birthday.

TigerBlog directed them to the people who knew her best, her friends here, like Kellie Staples from the Princeton Varsity Club and Kelly Widener from compliance and Chris Brock from the business operations.

TB knew her from working with her.

She was one of those people who was easy to be around, because she seemed like she was always happy, always optimistic. She was funny and laughed all the time. She seemed like it was all going her way in her life, personally and professionally.

For whatever reason, TB remembers the time that he saw Maurer in the lobby of Jadwin before one of her events, a time when whoever was supposed to set up the tables and chairs and put out the table clothes and all that didn't. And so who did? Lorin. Without complaining. Without venting. Just did it.

TB's lasting memory of her is all of the times that she walked by his office, stopped, smiled, said nothing, and kept going.

It was her way. She was saying "gotta run, hope all's well, I'm fine" without saying anything.

Just by smiling.

A year ago, TB asked some of the people from Jadwin who knew Lorin to write a few words about her. Almost all of them mentioned her smile.

And now another year has passed.

Staples is expecting her second child in a few days, and Widener's first was in here last week, crawling around. Lorin never got to meet any of them.

There is a departmental meeting later this week. How many people there will started work after Lorin left us, never got to meet her, never got to see her smile?

TB isn't sure, but he'd guess 35% or so?

Somewhere around that number at least.

They never got to the meet the young woman who worked here not that long ago and who will never be forgotten by any of the ones who did know her.

Certainly TigerBlog will never forget her, never forget the incredible tragedy that took her - and 49 others - three years ago yesterday.

Gary Walters' office if lined with pictures all over the walls, pictures of great Princeton moments, pictures of his youth, pictures throughout his career, pictures of simple times here.

One such picture shows him with Lorin, on a sun-splashed day, at Clarke Field, home of Princeton baseball.

It was just a snapshot in time, situated next to so many others on a wall in an office.

Anytime TB is in there for a meeting or a conference call or even just to joke around a little, he sees the picture and stops and shakes his head at the great unfairness of it all. Why Lorin? Why then?

There is no answer to that question.

There's just the tragic reality of it all. One day she was here. The next day she was gone - with so much life in front of her.

She's remembered by those who knew her and miss her and wish that she was still here, smiling that same smile, laughing, moving onto the next meeting, the next event.

This past weekend would have been right in her wheelhouse. A bunch of teams at home. A big basketball game. Lots of Princeton spirit everywhere.

And yet she isn't here anymore to be part of it.

Sadly. Tragically.

Unfortunately, that's the unchangeable reality.

TB promises never to forget her.


Brian McD said...

Thanks for this great column. Lorin was incredibly special and we must never forget her.

Anonymous said...

Had to wait a week to read this as I knew it would bring tears to my eyes. Thank you, TB.