StoryCorps: Ralph Tremonte and Donald Weiss



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StoryCorps: Ralph Tremonte and Donald Weiss

Letter from Jim Rye, the mental health advocate who accompanied Ralph Tremonte and Donald Weiss to the StoryCorps Booth.

EXCERPT:
As we ended the day, Ralph asked, "Jimmy, would you mind if I find my way home without you? My friend and I would like some time to ourselves."  
I watched Ralph and Donald walk down 45thStreet, their heads up, arm in arm, into a new beginning. My eyes swelled up, my heart quickened, and chills flowed up and down my spine.  I truly can't describe the divinity that radiated from that moment.  

It was life at its best.  Thank you for the experience.


-Jim Rye

IN FULL:
Ralph and Donald's present life is largely colored and stained by their past.  They have had to bear witness and experience atrocities that represented the most horrible underside of the human race.  This burden is carried by Ralph and Donald every day through no fault of their own.
As people who are aware of these accounts, we are obligated to bring their stories to the forefront in hopes that once people become aware of this history, perhaps it will never be repeated.  
But, more importantly Ralph and Donald had no choice but to survive and accept their past.  You have given Ralph and Donald the opportunity to validate their experiences, to renew their friendship on their own terms, and perhaps lay to rest the demons that have been with them for over forty years!  Realizing the impact and witnessing this reunion was unimaginable and overwhelming. They are best captured by the words of Robert Frost:

But bid life size the present?

It lives less in present

Than in the future always,

And less in both together

than in the past. The present

Is too much for the senses,

Too crowding, too confusing-

Too present to imagine.


As we ended the day, Ralph asked, "Jimmy, you know I love you, but would you mind if I find my way home without you? My friend and I would like some time to ourselves."  
I watched Ralph and Donald walk down 45thStreet, their heads up, arm in arm, into the sunset, into a new beginning.  I felt like I do when watching Martin Luther King speeches, reading a Ghandi quote, or witnessing an injustice corrected.  My eyes swelled up, my heart quickened, and chills flowed up and down my spine.  I truly can't describe the divinity that radiated from that moment.  
It was life at its best.  Thank you for the experience.

-Jim Rye




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