let the fire fall

Resident Expert noticed in the paper the other day that Bill Lane is dead.  Years after he had sold Lane Publishing and Sunset Magazine he had put together a book about the magazine’s history, and as a buyer at the Stanford bookstore I had regular contact with him about the book.  I think we were one of just a handful of bookstores that stocked this title.  It was pretty expensive, and I don’t recall us selling very many.  But he was very interested in the project and so we talked on a regular basis.  Like the obituary says, he was a very personable and gregarious gent, with the firm handshake.  It was always kind of cool to get a call from him (“Mellowcat? This is Bill Lane.”) because he would talk about things other than the book (I was grateful to steer clear of the previous week’s sales numbers).  He stopped by the bookstore regularly and would track me down.  Once we talked about the current Sunset magazine – I’d mentioned how much I enjoyed reading the wine section by Karen MacNeil, which I found very accessible as a novice wine enthusiast.  He was also a fan of the wine section  – it sounded like he was still in pretty regular contact with the writers and editors at Sunset.  And another time we were wandering past the science section in the bookstore and he said “Mellowcat, I’m going into space.”  He was hoping to be a passenger on one of the commercial space ventures then in their early stages of planning.  Another thing he won’t get to see is the Bill and Jean Lane Education Center at Edgewood, which is being built now.  We’re in Edgewood all the time, and this will be added to the list of places where we’ll be remembering Bill Lane.

Firefall from Glacier Point - Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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