A drawing by “El”
I think it was the spring of 2002. I started chatting online with a fella in one of those bear chat rooms.
Boy he had a way with words. All these delightful expressions and vim. Laurence was overly complimentary and quick to offer an ear or lend advice.
We moved to writing letters and phone calls. His voice boomed over the receiver with authority laced with self-deprication. A charming character, all around.
A lover of gardens he said I must come visit Ann Arbor, to see the (insert flowers) in bloom.
That fall I planned a trip to a lake house in Canada and a visit was entirely possible—a nice break in the jaunt actually.
So after 5 hours on rainy roads, I remember pulling into the driveway of the house he shared with his partner of over 30 years—who happened to be an excellent cook. After some quick introductions and to verify I had no food allergies, Gerry tended to dinner and Laurence gave me a tour of the place—packed neatly with books and art hanging on what seemed to be every square inch of the walls.
He hung with the beatniks. Made drawings for the New Yorker. Protested, well… everything (and had buttons for it.) He knew people with names I should’ve known.
And after dinner as I sat there digesting absolutely everything around me, I could not shake that I was privy to greatness.
I left after brunch the next day and as I walked to my car, Laurence stood there waving in the shadow of his front door. That was the last and only time I would see him.
Our friendship strengthened from that visit. We chatted and phoned and wrote even more. He’d send classical music I should know. He’d send cards of prints he’d made. He’d call whenever his computer was being difficult. And he’d tell me I must come visit again.
I said I would, and I meant it.
But I noticed late spring of this year, an unusual silence. So I called. I wrote. And there was nothing for me to do but think the worst.
I did my best hand at research online and could not unearth anything.
I found out that Laurence passed away in June.
Now I’m reeling between tears, anger, and memories.
Laurence Herbert Scott
Scott, Laurence Herbert Ann Arbor, MI Laurence Herbert Scott was born in Detroit, Michigan to Harry and Lillian (Eder) Scott on November 17, 1933. He died on June 13, 2005. He grew up in Ann Arbor and graduated from Ann Arbor High School and the University of Michigan. He received an M.A. from Harvard and did further studies there in Slavic languages. At Harvard he was a tutor at Lowell House and he later taught at M.I.T.
While in Cam bridge, he started a small press that printed broadsides of poems by Ezra Pound, W.H. Auden, Robert Lowell, and Allen Gingsberg. He also printed and worked in long, close relationships with the poets Marianne Moore and James Merrill. In later years he designed gardens, was on the Dean Fund, and was very active in Gay-Feminist politics.
For the last 25 years he has been a consultant to Abby Rockefeller and represented her company Clivus Multrum in Canada and Michigan. Laurence was interested in preserving and enhancing the environment both locally and globally. Poet, artist, gourmand and gardener extraordinaire, Laurence was fluent in eight languages. He delighted in words and images.
Laurence was a loyal friend, adored by many, who will miss his wide intellect, startling wit, eclectic interests and passion ate joie de vivre. He is survived by his life partner of 35 years Dr. Gerald G. Naylor, and his brother Burton (Dedi), nieces and nephews.