Monday, February 12, 2018

Remembering Lorin, Again

TigerBlog was watching some of the ECAC women's tennis tournament the other day, down on the E level tennis courts in Jadwin Gym.

It took him back to another tournament he'd seen there, one 35 years ago, a high school tournament that he covered back in his newspaper days. Back when he was down there for that, he probably just assumed that one day, his office would be about 25 feet away.

Actually, that's something that never entered his mind. In fact, his biggest memory of covering that tournament came not in Jadwin Gym but the next day in the newsroom.

TB was covering Princeton High School, who won the state group championship that day. The story about the championship match was played up with a big headline on Page 1 (ah, those were the days in the newspaper biz), which led Bus Saidt, the literal Hall-of-Fame columnist then, to pick up the paper, throw it down in disgust and say "what happened? The war end?"

It's hysterical now. It was a bit intimidating back then, even if TB had nothing to do with the headline.

All these years later, it still makes TigerBlog chuckle.

TigerBlog's office has been on E level for a little more than two years. Other than the occasional cockroach and flood, this is a great space. TB loves it down here, even without a window.

There are some days, many days actually, where he heads downstairs when he gets here and never sees daylight until he leaves. When the clocks changed, he would get here in the morning and then it would be dark out when he'd next go upstairs.

That hardly bothers him though. What it does mean is that he spends very little time up on the Jadwin balcony, which, in contrast to his first, oh, 27 years of covering Princeton Athletics was the home of the Office of Athletics Communications.

It seems like so long ago that it his office was up there.

Those were, mostly, good times up there. TB can go back all the way to the late 1980s and early 1990s, when he first met a student worker named Mollie Marcoux.

Over the years, there'd be all kinds of great moments up there, even some of the really late nights doing game programs or media guides. Through the years there were mostly laughs, even as the faces there changed, and changed, and changed again and again.

And then there was that one day.

It was actually nine years ago today. TigerBlog was at his desk, after a meeting. It was mid-afternoon. TB always left his door open, and people would walk by and wave, or walk by and say hi, or walk in, or just keep walking.

Or, in the case of Lorin Maurer, walk by and smile.

And that's what she did that afternoon, nine years ago today. She walked by. Stopped. Smiled. And kept going.

She was off to a wedding in Buffalo, her boyfriend's brother's, and had a plane to catch. She was running late, so she didn't have any time.

But she stopped. She didn't come in. But she stopped, and smiled. That's what she did a lot.

She didn't have to stop. She could have just kept walking, running, down the mezzanine and out to the parking lot, but she was too nice for that.

It would be the last time TigerBlog ever saw her. Her plane never reached Buffalo, instead crashing short of the airport, killing Lorin, as well as the other 48 people on the plane and one on the ground.

TigerBlog still remembers the feeling the next day when he first saw the news. Lorin was dead? No chance. She was so full of life, so young, so happy. And she was just there.

It really was the single most stunning moment of TB's life.

Each year since, either on this date or the one closest to it if this date was on a Saturday or Sunday, TigerBlog has written about Lorin Maurer.

Lorin was the Friends' group coordinator. She assisted with their fundraising efforts and helped run their events. She brought great enthusiasm to her job, no matter what the task of the moment was.

TigerBlog remembers one reception in the lobby of Jadwin where nobody had put table clothes out on the table, so Lorin did it, laughing about it the entire time.

She was barely 30 when she died, which means she wouldn't even be 40 yet. She was such a nice person, and she would never have done anything to hurt a soul.

And then she was gone.

There aren't that many people left here who worked with Lorin, let alone who were close to her. As TB says every year, there were several people who worked here and still are here who were much closer to her than he was.

But he liked her. He admired her zest. He was happy for her and her boyfriend and their future.

And then she was gone.

TigerBlog will never forget her. He'll never forget the way she stopped outside his office that day, smiling, and then continuing on her way, to what would be that horrific tragedy outside of Buffalo.

And he'll keep telling her story on this anniversary.

If you knew her, you know exactly what TigerBlog means when he talks about her. If you didn't know her, trust TB. She was just a sweet person.

She deserved a long, happy life, but she was cheated out of that.

The best TigerBlog can do is remember her here, and remember her in his mind, remember her exactly how she was.

And he can promise you that he'll always do both.

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