Reunions with Gil

Gil Brown, former headmaster of the American School of Rio de Janeiro, came to San Francisco as he has done every two years since 1998 to attend the AAIE (American Assoc. of Independent Educators) conference, and I traveled, as I have done since 1998, across the Bay to meet him for lunch.

He’s always been a dynamo and at 86 hasn’t changed much; still spills over with facts, details, plans, stories, jokes, and I always find myself doing the same when in his company. His wife died last year in March and I tried to keep in touch via email out of concern for his welfare.

In June he told me he had started a novel and would be finished in a couple of months between rounds of tennis and golf. The premise of “The Prison Inside Me” is pedophilia, based on a factual case of an overseas educator whom Gil knew. His name is on some website and made international news, although I did not myself read the story. And now on Tuesday, Gil tells me he has the sequel mapped out, plus the story board (a quaint term I hadn’t heard in decades) for another novel, about football. I edit whenever he needs a hand.

As usually the case, conferees wandered the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, and Gil introduced me to several, always saying “Lucille was my secretary in Rio a hundred years ago” and I always adding “And I’m still recovering. I need another hundred years.” We get the usual laughs, and then Gil has to go off to another meeting, and I head for home.

I wrote a blog ( last year or earlier about Gil and me driving off in my Beetle that had had its front seats stolen. I sat on a kindergarten chair to drive while he sat behind and held the chair from tipping over. We laughed over that on Tuesday.


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