How do we measure a lifetime? And its loss?
Sam was a refreshing change to the doldrums of my last year of Princeton. We met, I recall, in the lounge of Guyot/Moffett, one afternoon after one of his clearly infamous catnaps, when I introduced myself to this new guy hanging around. From what I gather from other people's writings, that might have been the one time someone preempted him on an introduction. We became fast friends and talked about books and careers, hope and dreams.
I remember walking with him in the institute woods and having dinners at his small cozy apartment. But most I recall an afternoon, just before I left Princeton, sitting on the bridge over Carnegie Lake, the sun shining. I remember Sam commenting how Harry and I were "perfect for each other" and how he was looking for that (and later, I remember hearing of Meredith and being grateful he found that). I recall him telling me I would succeed, as if it were a given fact and believing it, because Sam said so. He was convincing. And made you believe in yourself.
We went to visit in London, but he happened to get his interview at MIT the same week. He let us crash at the apartment anyways. On his return, he asked, "As MIT alums, is there any way you would believe that I can say no to MIT?" And how much he wanted to go to Toronto to be near his Dad and old friends and do work without the stress of the MIT name. He let us sleep in his bed. He brought us to the best vegetarian Indian restaurant, what seemed like miles and hours away, but worth it. We bought the cookbook and every time we make a dish-- all profoundly delightful-- I think of him.
We lost touch, sort of. Not sure why. Of course, a regret. But, a reminder to cherish what Sam gave me: belief in myself, joy in short walks, the desire to connect to people even in brief moments, the ability to dance with abandon. To Meredith and family, my deepest condolences. May the light that Sam gave us all give you strength to go on.
Sam Roweis died unexpectedly on January 12, 2010.
He was a truly wonderful person; a beloved son, husband and father; and a treasured friend and colleague.
This is a place for all of us who were lucky enough to know Sam to share our memories and to help celebrate his life.
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