Well, first of all, explore away! I don’t mind that you found my blog - and I’m so incredibly touched that you reached out and told me this. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Dave when I was 14, back in… 2002? I was chock full of emotions, energy, and opinions, and sometimes it made me brash and loud. Mr. Dave was always there for me, celebrating my personality and sharing mischievous stories. He taught me about hippos and sloth bears (one of his top three favorite animals at the zoo), he comforted me after truly life-altering, devastating moments, and he and Judy welcomed me into their homes. I truly have never met anyone like him; he was so charismatic with his overflowing love and kindness. And that crazy grin of his could pry a smile from anyone! I think of him all of the time, especially when I think about potential future kids - I would have probably asked him to be a god parent. There is no way to measure the impact he had on my life, and it made me tear up to read your message, to know that he is still in other people’s hearts.
A small, sad note - I was incredibly insecure while I was going through the ZOOTeen program, and I never let anyone take my photo if I could help it (you can ask Mr. Bill about Emily Joy and photos - he has like 4 total and can profess to how difficult it was to get those). Although Mr. Dave was one of the most important people in my life, I don’t have a single photo of us together. As a photographer, that’s unbelievable. As someone who loved him, it breaks my heart. I know I have the memories of us together, and those are the most important thing… it is just sad. I guess my point is, never let insecurities or doubt get in the way of showing your love for someone - take photos, appreciate them actively, and always say you love them. Mr. Dave and I always did at the end of every conversation and it means the world to me.
Goodness, I miss him. I’m glad you were able to get to know him - he was so incredible!