In Memory

Bob Talmage

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10/09/11 10:58 PM #1    

Gloria Giddings (Wood)

 The Bob Talmage I remembered was a gregarious, hale-fellow-well-met. With his crew cut, white buck shoes, black horned-rimmed glasses, and energetic personality, he burned an image in one's memory bank. He was well-suited to his role as head cheerleader, and proudly underlined "head" in my yearbook.

Sometime in the 70's,  I was asked to be the vocal soloist for a performance of New York City's Joffrey Ballet Co. with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. I was sitting in the orchestra pit (of the War Memorial Opera House) during our dress rehearsal of Lee Holdridge's "Summertime." During a break, I was thumbing through the program, when the name "Robert Talmage" came in view as being a featured member of the dance company.

At first I thought, "No - it couldn't be OUR Bob Talmage," but I decided to go up to the dressing rooms anyway. When I came to the door with his name on it, I knocked. Opening the door, was someone barely recognizable as that jovial teddy bear guy I remembered from Redwood High School. "Bob?" I asked. "Redwood High School?" He paused for a second and then gasped "Gloria??!!" We did a rapid-fire catch up, because he had to get back on stage and I needed to get back in the pit.

Most ballet dancers start at a very young age. Bob said he started when he was about 19 years old - just on a whim. A friend of his in NYC had told him how much she enjoyed studying with the Joffrey Ballet and how innovative they were. Anyway - he began taking some classes with them and took to it like a duck to water, apparently.

A few years after I saw him, I was told that he had a most unfortunate accident. He came home to his apartment in NYC and found a burglar in it. The fellow went after him and Bob jumped out of the window, and he wasn't on the first floor. He was badly hurt, but he did survive. I never heard anything more about him.

I was so sorry to see his name listed as one of our deceased classmates. I still see his face at that Opera House door. Good for you, Bob. You took the road less traveled and succeeded. 


Gloria (Giddings) Wood









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