I met EdLowe (not a typo, I never called him Ed, or godforbid – Mr. Lowe, just EdLowe) in 1983 at the Blue T Pizza shop in Amityville. The Jim Small Band was playing next door at the Dakota Rose Saloon. I immediately recognized him from the thumbnail photo accompanying his stories that appeared in the Newsday Sunday Magazine. Because he lived in Amityville and enjoyed both saloons and the music of the Jim Small Band I saw him often, and we became friends. We were both sons of police chiefs, raised as Catholics during the 1950’s. We never struggled to find something to talk about.
EdLowe’s stories are a genre unto themselves. Really cool stories, full of irony and unusual circumstances and about how our lives can be connected to complete strangers in the most interesting of ways. While he used the same dictionary as the rest of us, the way he placed his words, one after the other, had a special character, a unique voice.Using his words, EdLowe was a master of description and scene painting. When I listed him as a reference on my resumé, his job description was “paragraph manufacturer.” Several generations of Long Islander’s will forever refer to stories of unlikely reunion or happy circumstance as EdLowe stories. He wrote about us, and our lives here on Long Island. He could take a phone call from someone named Louise and write a compelling narrative about how her cousin had a hair stylist who had a car mechanic whose youngest daughter went overseas and somehow found a high school ring lost way back in 1953 by good old Louise.
Over the years, I was fortunate enough to be the protagonist of several EdLowe stories. He would sometimes call me on Thursday afternoon and tell me he had a deadline in a few hours and no ideas. Did I perhaps do something whimsical this week? In 1997 he began a column thusly -
I AM HEREBY establishing an award for which I have determined and enumerated no set criteria, nor written any definition, nor decided on any frequency (whether I will wind up awarding it annually, monthly, weekly, or once). I intended to work out these details before I picked a suitable candidate, but the opposite occurred.
He then named me as the inaugural recipient of the “Lowe LIFE Award” – stating that I had earned this distinction by displaying a combination of “True Nobility and Gleeful Mischief.” Several other individuals and groups were subsequently awarded “Lowe LIFE Awards” for good deeds done. It is my contention, that the words “True Nobility” and “Gleeful Mischief” truly describe EdLowe himself, as clearly as if they were written on his forehead, and all who met him could read them there.
My friend EdLowe’s written work will last forever. You can go to Newsday.com right now, type “Ed Lowe” in the search box and read an EdLowe story dated January 5, 2011. You can read his books.You can read his "stories." However, it is his abilities as a storyteller, in person, that we have lost. The guy in the Irish sweater and tweed cap standing at the bar entertaining us with stories about us. He was a fascinating guy. I will think of him every time I sit down to type. I will endeavor to be descriptive, and above all, to be succinct!