The current residence of Simon and Deborah Birnbaum is a two-bedroom house within a modest Palo Alto suburb. Walking in through the doorway, one is immediately taken by an overwhelming display of photographs, framed newspaper clippings, diplomas and plaque awards that cover every square inch of the living room wall. A similar treatment is rendered along the hallway adjoining the two bedrooms, and leading into the main living space. Upon closer inspection, nearly every piece of this display pertains to exclusively to Simon. In one photograph he stands in a college soccer uniform, clutching a ball at his hip and smiling gingerly. In another he is shown in a state of impassioned movement as he directs an orchestra with a puissant stroke of the conductor's rod. Carefully placed on the surface of a small, circular table is a wedding album, dated September 12, 1982. Inches away, several frames lie overturned. Picking one of them up, I notice it is a photograph of Simon as a small boy, standing before a tall, fair-skinned woman, who drapes her arms tenderly over his shoulders.
Leading into the Simon's study (according to Mrs. Birnbaum, the place where he spends most of his time), the walls are devoid of embellishments. Instead, countless scraps of paper are haphazardly taped to every accommodating piece of furniture in the room
. . . messages to Simon, from Simon himself.