Ernie and I were utterly heartbroken the other day, when got we home and I found a message from my friend Diana, letting us know that her husband, Jim Eyre, had passed the day before. Ernie immediately teared up while I just kept reading Diana’s message over and over and thinking, no, no, no. Now, I knew he wasn’t in great health, and yeah, he was a good bit older than me, but damn. I am so terribly, terribly sad. They had both been on my mind so much lately. That very day I had told myself I was going to send them an email checking on how they were doing.
Look at them. Aren’t they gorgeous?
I’ve mentioned Jim and Diana many times in this blog. They were antique dealers that knew my family (we all bought many antiques from them) and I have just always loved them. I had a huge crush on Jim when I first met him and it never went away. I think I was about 12 when I bought an 1870s Cabbage Rose salt dish from him. He was charming, kind, blonde and an antique dealer. I was smitten and remained that way.
I’ve known Jim and Diana seemingly all my life. I knew them as a kid, then when I did antique shows in high school with Barbara Curtis, and then when I was in grad school we would see them at the Ann Arbor Market. Ernie fell in love with them both as well. They were SO good to us when we lived in Chicago and started doing shows. Ernie has always referred to them as our mentors. Antiques shows have their slow times and I was always happy when late in the afternoon Jim wandered past our booth and stopped so we could talk and laugh. Ernie says when I would go off for a similar wander, only moments later he could hear Diana’s and my laughter echoing through the building. Diana and I do like to laugh.
Ernie remembers the dinner after a show set up in St. Louis as being one of his favorite nights. As I recall, the woman who was promoting it had everyone over to her house and her husband barbecued brisket. Ernie is still very proud that we ended up being the loud table that night. We loved Jim and good god but he was a fount of knowledge. He could be quiet but would always throw the perfect dry comment into a conversation at the right moment. It was his quick wit and that quiet but knowing smile that we remember.
He used to tell me that Leo should be a child model. It makes me laugh to think about. Leo was beautiful enough but not sure he had the right temperament. Heh. I love this picture of Jim with baby Leo at a Fox Valley show.
Once we had kids it became harder to be at shows, so sadly Ernie saw them more than I did. But good lord he was home all week with the kids, so no complaints here. When Jim and Diana decided to move to Sonoma, I got a babysitter for 10 hours and drove up and back just so I could say good bye at their last Fox Valley Antique Show.
They’ve been here to Champaign a time or two for a visit (they both went to the University and have area family) and at some point I will l locate the pictures that I have.
I’m always really struck by the boys when they completely understand how important someone is to us without us having to say a thing. We had found out the news about Jim not that long before when Leo came home for lunch. Feeling that I needed to explain why I was drinking wine earlier than usual, I told him and he just immediately sighed, “oh, no. I’m so sorry,” and he just looked at me with those sympathetic eyes and listened to us talk about Jim.
Later I texted Owen and I was so touched by his immediate response.
And sure enough, a bit later he and Trinity showed up and gave us big hugs. I was so touched that they came over just to listen to us and comfort us, and that Owen (as Leo had) just inherently knew how important Jim was to us.
One last telling fact: once my father was gone, Jim and Diana were the only people that I allowed to call me Cyndi.
You will always be in my heart, Jim Eyre, and I’m glad you’re making sure the pitchers have their handles facing the right way in heaven.