Got up this morning to the news that Pat Seremet, the local celebrity reporter, has passed away.
Courant article here. Remembrances here. And an incredibly moving and gentle tribute here.
I've never had much contact with Pat, at least from the front. I've never been interesting enough for her to want to talk to me (imagine that, if only she had known), and I have carefully avoided her digital camera. Usually I have gotten to know her back as she seeks to interview people I am talking to. A friend was inadvertantly outed by her in Java (my friend's own dumb fault, EVERYONE knows you did not tell Pat anything you did not want published in the Courant.....) and on at least one occasion she got some public gruff for blowing pronouns with some trans friends who she mis-gendered in her column. But she was never deliberate or mean-spirited - we were there to relax and enjoy; she was there to work.
My last Pat sightings were (I think) at the National Writer's Workshop (she was getting ready to work the cocktail party, which I skipped) and also at the CARC Oscars Night party where she was interviewing folks as they came up the red carpet, in front of a camera broadcast on the big screens inside the room. I sneaked in the side door....the city of Hartford does not need my mug on the big screens. Before that, I had probably crossed paths with her at some Real Art Ways openings and creative cocktail hours.
She was indeed a fixture of the Hartford social landscape, and she will be missed. I imagine the next person to attempt to farm her patch of earth might have some different opportunities and experiences. Pat has been such a fixture that she was on everybody's radar - her mere presence on the scene changed the dynamics and energy. If Pat was there, it was AN EVENT. The Heisenberg Principle as applied to Society Page Reporter. At a certain point Pat became an integral part of the social scene she worked so hard to report on.
Damn, 35 years at one career, 25 years at the same newspaper. That's some hard work, dedication, and staying power.
Godspeed, Pat. I'll miss Java.