In April, I invited Leif's friends and relatives to contribute to this blog, thoughts, memories, photos, whatever they wished. I was disappointed that only Melissa Palenske replied. I know everyone who knew and cared about Leif has memories, but I also know that most are not writers like me. Writing something like that requires some introspection, some effort, and perhaps, since Leif is dead, some pain. I know that for me, memories of Leif can bring a smile or they can bring tears. My request and the response reminds me of when I was doing family history research and asked my uncle and older cousins if they had any information. They would invariably say they didn't, unless I asked specific questions, and then the memories would begin to flow. Perhaps if I had the change to "interview" those who knew Leif and I was the one writing the memories down, they would flow. And perhaps, some of those memories are cherished private ones people don't want to share.
Here are Melissa's comments:
My best memories are when Alex and I were just talking one on one. I always thought you never saw the real Alex unless you were one on one with him. He was so much different to talk to, he would show his vulnerable and sensitive side. There was always such a gentle tenderness to him. I loved those talks and that time with him. He did give great hugs and was a wonderful shoulder to cry on. I wish things had been different and we could have been there for him more.
My other memories are silly little things spanning back from the first time Jason took me to the apartment on Stag Hill to meet Alex and Nikko. The very first time I played an RPG was Cyberpunk with Alex, Nikko and Jason. I left honestly thinking they were all insane and needed to get a grip on reality. LOL It took Jason a while to convince me to try and play again, I didn't play with Alex again until he came back from the Army. By that time I had been playing for a few years and had a clue. I know at times I would frustrate the boys because I wasn't as serious about it as they were but I also made them laugh at the crap I would come up with. We had alot of fun gaming sessions.
Those gaming sessions meant a great deal to Leif. They were a challenging creative outlet for him. He appreciated Melissa's friendship, too.
As far as I know, Leif had done little if any drawing after he lived in Hawaii, until he was eleven years old. His interests turned to radio controlled model cars, computers, other things. He started drawing again when he was playing CyberPunk and wanted to show his ideas. I think he found it hard as when he was younger, he never drew people, always things like space ships, guns, and other objects that didn't require faces and anatomy. Even with CyberPunk he primarily drew space ships and weaponry, but he did attempt a few humanoid characters. I remember him talking to me about this one an the anatomy it would require. He showed me this drawing. What I can't remember was whether he drew this during his first stint in college, in which case this probably was done around 1998, or after he came back from the army, in which case it would have been between 2001 and 2005. I tend to think it was the latter, or he might not have still had it among his possessions.