Saturday, January 4, 2020

Earl Staggs. Rest in peace, my friend

Last night I read some news on Facebook that rocked me.  

My friend Earl Staggs was gone.

My last note from Earl was reminding me to send him an autographed copy of the book he recently edited for me.  And the note was signed, as was every note he ever sent me, with "Heapsa Hugs."

Earl spent two years on an almost daily basis helping me write "Whimsey."  He was the best writing class anyone could ever hope to take.

He edited every short story, every essay I ever submitted and was constantly telling me I should do more.  

As many of you may have figured out by now, I do dearly love Mr. Staggs.

I met Earl several years ago at DorothyL and we became fast friends. We both grew up in Maryland - Earl in Baltimore, and me in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland named Cambridge, which is the home of my heart. 

While Earl and I were getting to know one another, sharing Maryland stories we discovered a mutual love of Ocean City.

Ocean City, MD is where Marylanders go, and have gone for years and years. It's  still, in some ways, an old fashioned beach town, old boardwalk included, with all the requisite boardwalk type shops, and carnival type games and rides. And while we talked about the things no longer there, we were also both pretty happy with the fact that there's a lot about that boardwalk that is exactly the same now as it was when I was a little girl. There are also beautiful white sandy beaches, and great restaurants. I love Ocean City.

Years back, Donald and I borrowed a girl friend's condominium in Ocean City.  This little condo of hers was perfectly situated just at the very end of the boardwalk, and a block back from the ocean with nothing but sand between it and us. We could sit on our balcony and watch the dolphins play. We could watch the surfers. And we could witness gorgeous sunsets.  

This condo is also in the exact same spot that Earl Staggs' protagonist, Adam Kingston, lives in his MEMORY OF A MURDER, a book I love.

Earl can also take credit for being one of the people most accountable for me being here at Meanderings and Muses, blogging away about anything and everything. He and I taking those walks down Maryland Memory Lane nudged something in me. The love I have for Cambridge and the memories I have of growing up there just started bubbling up; begging to be remembered. And shared.

I will miss Earl Staggs and those conversations.

I will miss his wisdom, and his wit.

I will miss sending him the occasional box of peanut butter fudge from Dolle's on The Boardwalk.   

Earl graciously participated in my Meanderings and Muses author spotlights from 2009 through 2014.  He was always the first to respond when I sent out the annual invitation.  

You can read his pieces here -


Kathy Reel said...

So sorry about your friend's passing, Kaye. It doesn't surprise me that I went to Ocean City some years ago and loved it, too. Small world. xoxo

Judy said...

I've "known" Earl online for years...he will certainly be missed by everyone who knew him. I join you in grieving for our friend. Peace.

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. Your Ocean City memories are beautiful. Living in Delaware, I have spent more than a little time in OC and know the beauty it can hold. Hugs to you at this time.

Rebecca B. Swope said...

Kaye, you wrote the words my full heart could not. Earl was one of a kind.