It was circa 1985. I was with an older woman I’ll call Marianne I met through a friend who produced quiz shows.
Marianne worked in his office, but was also very active at Ronald MacDonald House, a famous facility then and now, catering to kids with cancer.
What I remember best about Marianne, besides her gravelly voice, was her hair she wore in a flip with so much Aqua Net sprayed on it, it was as though she had a basket on her head. She even carried a can in her pocketbook.
We were dawdling over coffee somewhere on First Avenue by where she lived, when who walks in but Robin Williams that, thanks to Mork and Mindy, was pretty much a household word.
I recall how he scoped the room, smiling, acknowledging everyone before his eyes rested on the two of us.
Marianne, having no qualms screaming across the busy diner, called him over.
After introducing us both she said, “Mr. Williams, would you have any interest in coming to see the kids at Ronald McDonald House? I know they’d love to see you. And it would mean so much.”
He came that afternoon.
Having experienced depression on and off most of my life, I know how close one can come to that last rung on the ladder, if you’re not careful.
Sadly, for whatever his reasons were, Robin Williams couldn’t reel himself in. His dragons were just too big to slay.
The upside however, is the body of work he leaves behind, and a heart that always opened whenever it was knocked upon.
Robin Williams July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014