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Corona Memorial Project

Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles

Colin was my uncle. He lived in London and he visited a few times to New York where I lived when I was a child. He alway brought me gifts and we very kind. He set up my cousin (his daughter) who was my age with me as pen pals. There was no internet in those days. We became close sharing the latest in fashion and music from opposite sides of the pond.

Then the summer I turned 15 Colin and my aunt Valerie, invited me to spend the summer in London, and finally meet my pen pal face to face!

I don't know how Colin arranged it, but he took off of work that summer just to be my tour guide! Every day was an adventure. He drove me all over England and took me to the most miraculous sites: from Buckingham Palace to Robin Hood's Castle to the shores of Brighton and the Royal Pavilion.

It's embarrassing to admit, but until then I thought kings and queens and castles were just imagination of fairytales. I had never seen a building over 200 years old and when I saw the dates on the bricks at the Tower of London my mind was blown.

After my incredible summer, I kept very much in touch with Colin and the family. I ended up applying to British art school for a semester abroad during college and got accepted to St. Martin's School of Art. It was comforting to know that even though I was far from home I had close family nearby.

When I got engaged, Colin and Valerie were so happy for me. They went on a British TV Show called, Cash In The Attic to raise the money to come to my wedding in New York!

When I got the news from Valerie that Colin had Covid I was worried. He quickly deteriorated and was sent to hospital. Valerie and the family were not allowed in and he suffered and died alone. I felt awful.

Even his funeral was via Zoom as no one was allowed at the cemetery, not even close family.

I'll always remember Colin's smile and selfless ways. He will surely be missed.

 - Karen Amy Finkel Fishof

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