I met Alban Vasquez in the summer of '67. I was working at the New York Times, a messenger boy for Sulzberger, the publisher, delivering packages throughout Manhattan. Most times I ran the messages; it was a good way to train for what lay ahead in the Marines.
Alban was a bookbinder, binding together the published editions of the Times and saving them for posterity. On the surface he appeared to be an old, simple and humble man; but silent waters run deep, and the depths of his intellect had no bounds.
Each day we'd discuss the headlines and probe the minds of the great thinkers. I found it strange that Alban could quote T.S. Lawrence and decipher Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," yet he attended an improvised school in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and never finished the sixth grade. His intellect was expansive, and he possessed a certain innate wisdom. He just knew things about life and circumstance.