Thursday, February 10, 2005

In memory of Alan Speer

Alan Speer died Sunday at a swim meet in Michigan. He was 34, a Charleston kid who grew up into a witty, learned man. He knew more about film than anyone, and I mean that just about literally.

My wife Elaine, who taught Alan flute, was close to him and remembers a story that he once told her. In his high-school days, Alan went to Turkey as an AFS student and, of course, learned Turkish. Years later, in his grad-school days, he was riding in an elevator when the two other passengers, both young women, began giggling and talking about how cute he was. Here's the good part: they were talking in Turkish, never imagining Alan could understand them. He stood there taking it all in, and when the elevator stopped at his floor, he turned to them, said something in Turkish, and left. I wish I could remember what it was he said (Elaine can't either). "I heard every word"? "Thank you"? "I agree with you completely"?

Whatever it was, I'm sure it was smart and funny and kind, like Alan himself.

Alan's writing on film is plentifully available online. His webpage for his film criticism, Cinemadox, can be found by clicking here.

comments: 8

Anonymous said...

I was missing Alan today and so I googled his name and this page came up.

That story is so Alan, I love it.

Anonymous said...

I dated Alan for 6 months in 1994. He shared the story with me as well. He said, as he stepped off the elevator, "How could you know I speak fluent Turkish, but thank you for the compliment!"

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for commenting. To have Alan's words come back in this way -- that's just amazing.

ufuk_kirtis said...

hey guys..

i was Alan's councelor to support him with his adaptation here in Turkey when he was AFS student..we were also friends.. i did counceling to quite a few AFs students...Alan was the only one who was so determined to learn Turkish and he did.. he would come to my work and we would study Turkish together during my work hours.. he would make me :) so determined to learn.. and talented..

i miss him..

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for sharing your memories of Alan here.

Brian said...

Similar to above, I was missing Alan today and so googled him... I'm happy to see he still comes up.

Alan was my first boyfriend back in high school in Charleston. He had a huge impact on my development. I miss him.

Erika said...

Just got the word (rather late) and came here. Thanks for spreading the word.

My own favorite Alan story is earlier than the above, and involves patiently decorating a friend's home in tea bags.

Michael Leddy said...

Brian and Erika, thanks for remembering Alan here.

Erika, are you the Erika whose parents played cellos in C'ton?