There are lots of people named Bob. And, there are lots of others who are named Bobby, Robert, Robbie, or Rob. But, when I say “Bob” without mentioning a last name or when I say “my Bob,” there can never be any doubt about to whom I am referring. My Bob is Dr. Robert K. Bothwell. Bob and I have known each other since 1980. We met on our first day of graduate school, during orientation day in the Psychology Department at The Florida State University. There were only 2 of us in the entering graduate school class in social psychology in 1980, Bob and me. (Although FSU’s graduate program in psychology was, and is, quite large, most of the graduate students are in the clinical psychology program, with others in various other areas of specialization such as cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, or neuroscience.) Upon arriving at the orientation, I knew only 2 things about my future colleague: (1) his gender is male; and (2) he is from Texas. Based on these 2 bits of information, I scanned the room and immediately knew who would become my best friend in graduate school: Bob. First, I noticed his beautiful long blonde hair and next, I saw his snake skin cowboy boots. No offense to other disciplines within the field of psychology, but I was 100% certain no one else in the room was Bob; no one else was that cool looking! It didn’t take long for Bob and me to become friends. We shared an office during our graduate school years; we worked together on Dr. John C. “Jack” Brigham’s research team; we attended concerts together; we socialized together with our families; and we spent more time together than we spent with anyone else during that important time in our lives. Bob and I have co-authored several publications in psychology journals; without him, I doubt I would have made it through graduate school. When we earned our Ph. D. degrees, Bob and I both knew we would never again spend time together in almost constant contact. I, for one, cried the last time we were together and crying is something I rarely do! Nowadays, Bob has retired from his career as a Professor of Social Psychology and he spends his time surfing (and drinking beer) in exotic locations. Luckily for me, he stops in to visit me whenever he is passing through South Florida on the way to or from another surfing destination. I treasure these visits and the promise of the next one gives me hope that I will see him again, hopefully soon. We have both come a long way from that fateful orientation day and I am proud to say that I am a better person having “my Bob” than I would have ever been without our friendship. I love you, Bob!
When Melissa says “I got a text message from Bob” I automatically ask “which Bob?” We have several Bobs in our lives – all making our lives better. I first met Bob well after Melissa and Bob finished their Ph.D. program, when Bob was teaching in Louisiana. We had a memorable visit to his campus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, home to many beautiful cypress trees and a resident alligator or two in the campus lake. At least one visit in New Orleans for Mardi Gras is memorable with Bob carrying one of his daughters on his shoulders parade side, catching beads, while he held a can of beer. We even had occasion to work with him on a case or two over the years; he brought a very different perspective to one memorable case. After he retired to surf, Melissa and I ventured to Costa Rica to visit him. That was an amazing trip for many reasons, including watching such die hard surfers and meeting expat Americans living in a quiet part of the country. Well, quiet except for the howler monkeys! I’ve heard many stories over the years of the trials and tribulations Melissa faced in grad school leading to the strong bond she has with Bob, and Jack. Bob takes life at his own pace, and with pura vida, in Costa Rica or anywhere. Come back soon Bob!