Looking over at your desk – which has always been mostly empty, with you working at home and all – it feels a different kind of deserted this morning, as I sit here alone in the office thinking about you. There are a few papers, some stray free promotional T-shirts. There's silence, except for the sounds of traffic out the window. And there's that orange box of tissues.
I don't think I'll use those tissues and I bet you're cool with that. Knowing you, I'm sure you'd rather we find good memories and some trademark Cuprisin quips for a chuckle rather than a good cry.
When I heard the news last week, I was home, sitting alone, while a kid napped upstairs. It was a shock and it wasn't a shock, of course. But despite the journey you traveled – a journey we hoped we could make even a little less arduous – the end still seemed raw and wrong.
But, I think you know that you were a bright light here in this place. Among these people who became your friends. In this culture that does not suit everyone but into which you injected yourself fully, bringing your clear-minded judgment, your sage wisdom and your brilliant, brilliant rapier wit.
We will miss all of those things and our lives will dim a bit at their loss. But, that's OK, because you illuminated us from the minute you walked through the door. You encouraged us when we needed it and you told us when to step back and look at the bigger picture, too.
You were one of us from day one. We asked you to do all kinds of things you never had to do in your previous, tightly focused, position. And you did them. More than that, you did them with a smile.
Our editorial meetings were never the same when you weren't there and not a single one of those occasions passed without some – or all – of us asking, "Where's Tim? Should we wait to start?"
You had a hard-coded schedule. Everyone knew what you'd be doing from week to week. We didn't want to wait to start the meeting for that. We wanted to wait because we wanted to laugh and we wanted your wisdom.
We still want those things and although you won't be here to deliver them anymore, we will hold them close and keep them forever here in the Tim Cuprisin Memorial Newsroom.
And I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to take you to the airport.
I have to stop now or risk breaking my promise about those tissues.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.