Gary Tucker (MASTER OF ARTS, MUSIC 1982,
In my reminiscences about knowing Damjana two things, I
think, stand out: kindness and intellectual challenge. First
of all, I am fortunately not confined to reminiscences. The
Tucker family continues to benefit from Damjana's thoughtfulness
and friendship. And the books, magazine articles, newspaper
clippings, postcards, and brochures that are part of her gifts
continue to challenge me (not the least by often forcing me
to keep my floundering Italian in some serviceable shape!)
I could easily recall Damjana's many acts of generosity
and graciousness to Nancy and me and our two daughters: the
dinners and the picnics, the gifts for which the cards and
wrapping paper were chosen with the same intelligence and
taste as the gifts themselves. Such stories would all be familiar
to her other friends, for I know they have also felt her generosity,
her intelligence, and her taste.
I shall, instead, recall one incident on the "intellectual
challenge" side, a brief encounter from the early days
of our friendship that stuck in my mind. I remember it always
with a twinge of embarrassment, for I certainly don't like
being duplicitous with those who trust me – and yet
I also didn't like to reveal to her the true size of my ignorance.
Well, on this day early in 1979, shortly after I began working
with Damjana, I was just entering Talbot College after lunch
as she was leaving the building. In great excitement she asked
me if I could come to Waterloo immediately; Ernst Gombrich
was speaking, and surely I would love to hear him. Well, yes
I would love to, but unfortunately I had something on later
that afternoon. Ah, che peccato!, and she was gone.
Had this encounter been less rushed, would I have had the
courage to say Ernst who? I hope so, but I fear not.
More to the point, however, I had in fact luckily caught the
last name, Gombrich. Thus armed, I was in D. B. Weldon a few
minutes later, and by the end of the day was tasting the glories
of Art and Illusion. So Damjana led me to Gombrich.
And so to Paolo Soleri. And so to Karl Popper. And so to Marino
Marini. And so to how many others and their ideas?
Thus, Damjana has challenged me – and continues to
do so – more that any other person I have met, and this
has been her greatest kindness.
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