The loss of MCA is more associated with my teenage and adult memories, and my shocked feelings with the fact that he was more or less a contemporary from my hometown. But some of my earliest memories involve Helm (my dad used to play a particular Band album a lot back then) and Sendak (for somewhat more obvious reasons). So, as happens more and more as one grows older, I feel like another piece of my childhood has disappeared.
But that's not quite right. Sendak (and Helm, and MCA) will always be with us, really. If I think about it, he's responsible for a couple of glorious firsts in my life already: My own first favorite book (In the Night Kitchen), and then, more recently, my first taste of that marvelous experience of reading a book I'd loved to my own child. With luck, someday his work will be part of a first moment with a grandchild someday, as well.
And so my sadness at the author's passing should, really, be tempered by my gratitude at the joy he brought me and so many others when he was alive—and, even better, will keep on bringing to countless generations in the future.
[Cover image courtesy of HarperCollins]