I MET JIMM ALTMAN (“ARTIfacts,” 2/17; The Mail, 3/3) in November 1994, so I don’t claim to know much of his character up to that point. I met him at such a late stage in his struggle with AIDS that he could barely speak. In fact, it was at the request of a mutual friend that I first went to his apartment so that we could pick up his pain medication for him. When the pills took effect and he quit shaking enough to speak, the only words I heard come from his mouth were kind ones. He couldn’t thank me enough for what I considered to be a simple act of necessity. Even then, I was silently outraged at the abandonment he was dealing with, to have to rely on a stranger to bring him relief. In the remaining time I spent with him, I never heard a bitter word come from his mouth.
I feel fortunate to have met Jimm and to have been given one of his discs. I’m saddened when I listen to it that I didn’t know him longer. I know I wouldn’t have been disappointed. I was lucky enough to see him perform for the last time at a benefit concert for children in December, just one month before he died. Although he needed a cane to walk that night, his voice was as strong and beautiful as the side of him that I knew.
That’s the Jimm that should be remembered. I won’t let the inconsistent accusations of a handful of whiners spoil his memory for me. Jimm was more of a man than all those people combined.
Betsy Domich, College Park