Sunday, August 21, 2011

A "TRIP" Down Memory Lane...

I’m often called a “Date Savant”
And don’t consider it an unfriendly taunt
It only refers to things of the calendar
Since Socially I usually defer
Leaving other kind of dates I was rarely wont…

I've entered a time of significant dates
With a thirst of understanding that never sates
As I play back the past months and years
With the distorted reflections of memories mirrors
I’m nudged toward pondering the fates

It was with a high degree of elation
That we celebrated a multiple graduation
A Forty Year High School Reunion
Led to many acts of friendly communion
And I bade goodbye to my Sunset Drive location

The month will end with an Alaskan Cruise
Which will give me time to think and peruse
All the tumultuous events of the past year
Ending on the birthday of the one I held dear
So I will use all of these events to enliven my Muse

The time between July 12th and August 30th is filled with memories over the last 50 years and this 7 week period has brought many of them into sharp focus. For the last 39 years, I’ve always engaged in a game of “What was I doing when” during this time of year as I would bore anyone with earshot of “Tales from the Trip of 1972”, 8500 mile odyssey Ken, I, and “Dolly Dart” embarked on from Aug 18th -Sep 17th during the summer after my freshman year at Stanford. It was less Kerouac and more Kuralt (“On the Road..”) but it shaped many of my views and due to my daily journaling, seared many of my memories in place. I would have been sitting with Jay G in Dodger Stadium watching Bob Gibson of the Cardinals beat LA and tomorrow Ken and I would be guests of Teri during a day at Disneyland.
Forty years ago Dianna and I had graduated from Medford, so this years reunion had special significance since we had returned at our 30th to celebrate our marriage 4 years earlier. Larry arranged a chance for use to get together with the Fergusons so we could reconnect with our 1st grade teacher from Wilson who I credit with awakening a love of learning that I still practice and encouraging Marcus, Larry and me to realize much of our potential. It takes a special teacher to see what talents a student might have, especially when the student doesn’t see it. I’m always especially grateful for Ginny Ferguson, Denny Bateman who wrote “Go to Stanford” in my 7th grade yearbook and jumpstarted my academic career and Edna Stewart, the Transcendentalist English teacher that Dianna & I had junior year, who planted ideas that eventually would blossom once Dianna & I re-met
The reunion itself was a non-stop cavalcade of bemusement recognition, appreciation and connection. Karen G came up to me and thanked me for a valentine I had given her and said she considered me her first” boyfriend”.. I pointed out that information would have been useful in 1965 since it might have changed the arc of my dating career. The real story was I give out 2 valentines and my dear friend Scott noticed the 2nd one and brought it to everyone’s attention. At that point, oblivious to Karen’s interest, , I decided to not put myself in socially awkward situations ,and spent the rest of my secondary education focusing on academics and sports – the rest is history.. I bounced around acting like an interpreter as I overheard people wondering how they knew each other and I would tell them what classes then had together, who they dated, and other mundane details until flashes of recognition crossed faces. The mistake I made was not circulating more and connecting with more people. I did get a lot of kind comments and memories about Dianna which was sweet. We all recognized we need to get together more often since we already have too many people on our Memory Board.
PSU Graduation was the next big event as Merry, Eamonn, and Leah all walked in the Summer ceremony and made me feel like I had 3 kids graduating. I know how much work Merry put in to finishing and nobody could be prouder of her accomplishments other than Dianna. We had a big celebration at Sunset afterward with Eamonn’s parents, Leah’s parents and Merry’s dad, along with a quick visit from Evan prior to his return to New Orleans to continue his wetland restoration work now as a graduate assistant at UNO and to start the Masters program in Jazz Piano. The usual Hillsdale friends and neighbors popped in and the event allowed me to say goodbye to Sunset Drive as I will sign papers tomorrow to sell it to Nathan, who grew up with Sean and has fond memories of time spent in the house and clubhouse. He and Lindsay and their little one are eager for a Hillsdale home of their own and I can feel good about turning the house over to “family”.

I’m now on the eve of the final event of the “First Year”, the Alaska Cruise celebrating Loren & Veneta’s 60th anniversary with Dave, Brad, Judy and the girls. I look forward to rest relaxation, entertainment and closure as I prepare for the “Year of Seconds” as the cruise ends on what would have been Dianna's 58th birthday Stay tuned..