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February 11, 2008

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Its so hard to believe it's only been a year.

This is a beautiful entry and a fitting tribute to a man I held in the highest respect, though we only met briefly.

I never met Patri, but I very much remember your telling me about him. I'm glad that my recent help with your translation added a tiny brick to your ever-growing tribute to him.

He seems like a lovely man. I'm sorry for your loss.

Marilee, I'm not sure "lovely," is the word I'd use to describe Patri. He was relentless, uncompromising, and could be very sharp. He brought the same precision and energy to teaching steps as he did to researching them. He could make people nervous. He was also, as Susan has beautifully recounted, generous and dedicated, and brought a formidable arsenal of research skills, dance ability, and passion to his chosen subjects. He welcomed new researchers, teachers, dancers to the community, and supported any number of us as we took our early steps. He could make people feel welcome, but not always entirely comfortable.

The second time I met Patri, when Michael took me to tea at the Pugliese's, Patri plied me with sources. He was brimming over with information he wanted to share, about the Scotch Reel and the reconstruction of Scottish steps, about the Lancers, about waltz, about everything. He issued me a standing invitation to rehearsal (one on which I was thrilled to take him up whenever I could). I felt very welcome, and also a bit breathless.

One of the last times I saw him, at a ball, he was sitting out a quadrille, and I stood with him to watch it, whereupon we engaged in a nice meaty discussion of the problems with that particular reconstruction.

I feel his absence at every vintage dance event. At the same time, I look at the community we have, and I'm thankful that he put his passion and his dedication here, and left such a legacy.

I wish, as all of us do, that he was still here, keeping us all honest.

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