Only 35 invited guests were permitted to attend, and, as the senior military officer in the Bay Area, Vice Adm. Charles E. Larkin and his wife were invited. Since I was his aide, I held all the protocol and invitations knowledge in my hand and in my head, so I was alongside the admiral and his wife wherever they were invited.
Once the breakfast started, I held my position by the wall, as I stood in my formal garb, and noticed a guest approaching me — it was Robin Williams, and his pregnant wife, Valerie. He stared glaringly at me and, he said in a comedic voice, “You moved! I saw you move!” I was taken aback and also star struck, so I smiled and said politely, “Why yes, I did” — knowing he meant that I was previously frozen in my space to avoid notoriety, but managed to position myself next to a large portrait of some famous San Francisco figure of old times dressed in military garb. Obviously, he thought I was too still and too similar to the portrait when I moved suddenly from my spot.
We continued the conversation about weather and my duties as aide, but he moved in and out of comedic voices and his common hand gestures, and it was hard to follow if he was serious or not in the discussions.
My impressions when I heard of his death reminded me of a show that pulled apart the brain of famous creative people and showed the difficulty that type of person has in controlling their creative side and their daily actions. I believe Robin Williams was that kind of person — so talented with sporadic offerings of his comic wit and humor.
(Retired Coast Guard commander)