Hello, dearest friends. Although it was a LONG swim in my own fluids, I jumped from my bed back into the throes of the “mean season” at work which demands grueling work hours through February. But, I will try to post at least a couple of times each month and reinvigorate the momentum that was started by my impassioned fury and a disastrous attempt at a “vacation” this past May.

Funny how getting whacked by ill-health offers a necessary pause from time to time. I’ve actually knocked on death’s door a couple of times in the past twenty years and wished the Big D would save me from how badly I’ve felt a few other times. I have found that high fevers and semi-consciousness provides great clarity, serving as a distillate for what truly matters. So, was I making a mountain out of a mole hill? I don’t think so.

Downtown Coeur d'Alene, ID

Fall in downtown Coeur d'Alene, ID

I live in a town of about 10,000 people. Our skies are brilliant, Christmas trees huddle on the encircling mountains, and there are various lakes within minutes of just about everywhere. “Downtown” consists of about seven small-town blocks and partially nestles up to Lake Coeur d’Alene and our 5-star resort. We have shops, galleries, restaurants, and an old-fashioned toy store that harkens back to our youth with the KINDS of toys we played with in the good old days. There is a parade for just about everything down Sherman, the main street. Summer hosts the annual Ironman competition and summer theatre comes to life on the North Idaho College campus, often starring Ellen Travolta (yes, John’s sister).  Art on the Green is also an annual event that draws artists and admirers from across the country. The largest living Christmas tree will be lit the day after Thanksgiving and the holiday light show, featured by Good Morning America as one of the top ten light shows in the country, will glimmer across the lake setting the winter nights ablaze.

Every season serves as nature’s fashion show and evokes a different feeling as the months slip by. I LOVE this place. I have met wonderful people here, but it is the PLACE that really drew us here, like a magnet, seven years ago. And though I guess I am a California girl at heart, I am now a fierce Idahoan besotted with the majesty of my surroundings. Oh, yeah, place matters.

Blue skies and Christmas trees

Blue skies and Christmas trees

While I was stewing in my own juices on the road to recovery, I ruminated on what forges our personalities and our dreams. I have concluded that we are every bit as much a product of place and time, as we are friends, teachers and families. To separate them, to pretend that one doesn’t matter or has become irrelevant is, to me, what is wrong with the world in which we live. Progress, absolutely. But holding a place in my heart for Alhambra and the childhood she afforded me — I can not dismiss her as irrelevant — as being a sidebar to my life. I built my memories and my dreams there. NOT including her to the party would be unthinkable to me.

Betsey came up for a visit at the beginning of the month. There was not enough time to cram in all the things we wanted to do and accomplish, but we briefly talked about the reunion. Although there had been prior discussion of hosting our bash the weekend before the Irvine event to accommodate classmates travelling from faraway, we concluded that it limits the ability to include our alma mater as the guest of honor. The July date was also becoming increasingly difficult for me due to other competing obligations. If that July weekend still seems best to the rest of you, I will bow out and let someone else rally the troops. Otherwise, we talked about a September event that would include a visit to the campus and a Friday night football game.

Although I traipsed Betsey all over Northern Idaho, our pace was leisurely and our conversations danced from the trivial to the deep memories of our childhood. We listened to an old tape of a rehearsal of a play she had written during senior year. We contemplated (for far too long) on whether the zen-like swans that “swam”  in front of us were real or fake (fake). We had a wonderful dinner on the patio of a restaurant as the sun set on a balmy Indian summer evening. Betsey’s steadfast friendship through the years has been an enduring gift in my life. Her quiet elegance, quick (and wicked) wit, and gentle demeanor have often served as ballast whether white-knuckling life’s turbulence or sailing joyously along.

We both moved from the ease of that weekend back into the calamity of our work lives, but I have basked in the warmth of that weekend and the treasure of this woman who has deigned to call me friend. That quiet weekend, showing my beloved Idaho to my beloved friend, has made me realize I don’t really care if two people gather, or two-hundred. What really matters is that we are in the company of people who share our love of time, place, and depth of relationships. And, hopefully, we’ll laugh over the nonsensical, marvel at the miracles, and reflect on the journeys that we have each taken since our high school glories.

Let’s talk dates, places, and itinerary to ensure that we do justice to our school, our town, and our memories. I welcome your thoughts, dear friends. Happy Halloween!


Trivial Pursuits

I am perplexed. I love a good game of Scrabble. I love the challenge of turning a tray filled with six consonants and one vowel into a 45-point play. Trivial Pursuit is indeed trivial, but again, it scratches at the minutiae stored in my aging brain and serves as a painful reminder that if I could only drain all that useless information, I could likely be finding a cure for cancer or writing the great American novel, or at the very least, cashing in on a story about vampires and werewolves in the Great Northwest (I know, I know…). But, alas, I am merely a formidable pursuer of the trivial and a coveted partner on any game night. Partner. The suggestion that it takes two (at least) to conduct the Trivial Tango. That some sort of human intercourse must be in play in the game of Life (actual life, not the game).

Last year, whilst being afflicted with empty-nest syndrome, undergoing an unwelcome bout of unemployment, and watching people I cared about leave this mortal plane (including a really dark Sunday morning when I contemplated joining them), I was at a mid-life crossroads: 1) gracefully accept that the parade had passed me by, 2) climb into bed for the next 20 years watching Andy Griffith and Leave it to Beaver reruns, or 3) stop stewing in my own juices and really live. Decisions, decisions.

In the weeks after Vickie died, I would be told that I did not get the job to which I had made the final four out of a pool of 200 desperate hopefuls. Another job interview was cancelled, and there were no prospects to ensure that my house payment would be paid. Oh, yeah… dark days. But I was fed-up with the tragic twists and turns of my sad little life and the boat-load of manure that seemed aimed at the bullseye atop my head.

I was struggling to find a job in a brave new world beyond my understanding. I am used to linen resumes and cover letters addressed to actual people. In today’s employment cyberworld, you often don’t even know the name of the company to which you are applying (Craig’s List is rife with employment scams – BEWARE!!!). I decided to order the Adobe Creative Suite (which I could ill afford) so I could begin teaching myself how to design digitally and re-enter a field in which I had last used a Rapidograph pen, T-square, wax roller and Exacto knife. I figured if no one would hire me, perhaps I could start freelancing, taking my fate into my own hands. Just as soon as I learned the programs.

The suite of programs arrived on Monday. Because I was tired of sitting home alone feeling sorry for myself, I called the local school district knowing they would be gearing up for the biennial levy to volunteer my time and talents again. The superintendent shot back an email saying they were meeting for the first time that night. It was Tuesday. When I got home, I started using my brand new programs to design a brochure (to the best of my limited ability at that juncture). On Wednesday, an old friend phoned with a “question”. By the end of the conversation we had a verbal contract to refresh his company’s brand and I knew that the software I had hesitantly purchased the week before would be paid for by project’s end. Had to learn under pressure, but energy begets energy, don’t you know?

Okay, Linda, and your point is? I am astounded at the time being wasted on inane and trivial pursuits. The internet, which can be used in innumerably profound ways, has become little more than digital masturbation for many. It can be a quintessential waste of time, my friends, and I doubt there is too much real satisfaction. It isn’t even engagement, for crying out loud. I admit it: I get lost in blogville, discovering recipes detailed in magazine-worthy photographs, or the ruminations and antics of strangers who leave me thoughtfully reflecting on my own life and the shared human experience. I go mad for art blogs where the talents of creative souls are on display in sumptuous virtual galleries. And I howl at the observations of modern-day Dorothy Parker’s and Robert Benchley’s dishing up witty asides at a virtual Round Table of the Algonquin.

I get the quick verbal connections of Facebook (finally!). I get the well-wishing and congratulations for clean bills of health and new grandkids, and such. I get the sharing of photographs and memory threads that catch us in their nostalgic web, but will someone PLEASE help me understand why healthy, grown-up, viable people aren’t doing something more productive with their time than playing insipid games?

I work for a non-profit so I know, only too well, the struggles the economy has imposed on organizations who depend on volunteers and the financial backing of the community. Stop playing all these mindless games and GO DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE. Learn a new skill! Have a talent? Lend it. No talent, go ladle soup to the indigent. Go hold sick babies in a hospital. Join a political campaign. Go read books to school kids. Be a big brother. Be a big sister. Get involved in your church. Serve on the school board. Go join Carme’s Boobsters and Lungsters Relay. Go enjoy a Taste of AlhambraExtend yourself. I assure you, we all have something to give and we are NEVER too old to give it. Currently, my organization has two honorary chairs hosting fundraising events. They are each in their late 80’s and one needs oxygen and a walker, but she’s out there making her life useful and meaningful!

At the very least, get out and BE with people! People need people (thank you, Barbra, for that tuneful reminder). Meet for lunch. Meet for cards. Meet for a game of Trivial Pursuit. Meet to complain about what a pain in your backside I am! Hold the hand of a friend going through a tough time. Make friends. Make love. Bake chocolate chip cookies with your grandkids.  Start a 12-step program for people addicted to Facebook games! I don’t care — just engage in and contribute to the flow of life. And then tell all your Facebook friends about how you actually LIVED today. Tell them how many points you scored in the game of Life with your generous spirit, your tender mercies, your strong shoulder, your hearty laugh. You will be happier. And who knows, the life you change most, may just be your own.

Past, Present & Future

Life seems to me to consist of three parts: the absorbing and usually enjoyable present which rushes on from minute to minute with fatal speed; the future, dim and uncertain, for which one can make any number of interesting plans, the wilder and more improbable the better, since- as nothing will turn out as you expect it to do- you might as well have fun of planning anyway; and thirdly, the past, the memories and the realities that are the bedrock of one’s present life, brought back suddenly by a scent, the shape of a hill, an old song- some triviality that makes one suddenly say ‘I remember…’ with a peculiar and quite unexplainable pleasure.

Agatha Christie, An Autobiography

I just tripped over this quotation on another blog. How apropos to the matter at hand, isn’t it? I am so confused by people so invested in an event with no sense of nostalgia. It’s like having a rendevouz with an old lover using a stand-in. How can you rekindle anything with no relationship to the original?

I was in love with a man once who wore Royal Copenhagen. To claim that was the most memorable thing about him, would do him an extreme injustice, but it was a sensual representation of every memory I held. After we parted company, I couldn’t walk past a department store counter and get a whiff of that cologne wihtout my body physically aching, memory taking me to the crook of his neck and breathing in his musk. I was 23 when we met, and yet, that young love is pressed, like a rose, into the pages of my memory.

Similarly, the “roses” of high school memory create strong responses. My first boyfriend was from the class of ’70. He was likely the nicest boy/man I have ever known. But he came from a “normal” family and I have alredy waxed about the ludacricies of my own home life. Even though I didn’t have language to express how broken I was where men were concerned, I knew he didn’t have the twisted language of loss, trauma, and dysfunction that were the sinew of my childhood. He came to me with an open heart, a great smile, and a car door that I couldn’t get out of without his opening it from the outside (made me very nervous). On our third date he asked me to go steady. I told him I couldn’t see him anymore and I broke his heart. For the next 11 years we would do variations on this theme. I kept returning to his warmth like a homing pigeon, and then he would say something totally absurd, like “I love you” or start talking about the life he was going to build for us and I would stop taking his calls. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

I spoke with him for the first time in nearly 30 years at the end of 2006. Even though he had finally married (after apparently trying to find me for five years) and now has a great family life, he told me he had never stopped loving me. I felt a devouring pain that I had hurt him so much; that I had so allowed fear to control my decisions back then and made me run from this man who just wanted to love me. We spoke again about a year and a half ago. I realized I had never told him my story. What must have seemed like senseless rejection of him had little to do with my feelings. He is the only person I have gone back and forth with so many times over so many years. Perhaps in some perverse way I feared my own inadequacies would hurt him far deeper if I fully gave my heart. So I ran. And ran. And ran. And ran.

I asked him what he had seen in me; why had he been drawn over and over to the land-mine of my affection? He told me that he was drawn to my warmth — that he felt at peace with me. Go figure. I told him I was sorry for all the pain I had caused him. That being a runaway girlfriend had never had anything to do with him. He said he wished he’d known about what I’d been going through back then. And of course, I wish I would have had words to tell him.

All in all, I have few regrets in my life. Every moronic decision has had a lesson locked in it’s torqued resolution. But I do regret that I never really gave that boy/man a chance in the 11 years he pursued, caught, and got continuously tossed back. In spite of the great romances (and the not-so-great) that have come since, there was that first kiss by that  first boy, stolen in the back of a friend’s station wagon piled with kids on the way home from Village Inn Pizza parlor after a football game. It held so much promise, and I dodged it with every fiber of my fearful heart.

If the pizza parlor was still there, the rush of memory would fill my body with the same anxiety/exhilaration as that lanky boy did 42 years ago. Our memories are a heady mix of it all: taste, sights, sounds, smells and touch. How can we truly have a reunion without the whole delicious concoction? That boy would not be at a class of ’71 reunion. But I assure you, if the Village Inn Pizza parlor was still there, and I paid a visit, the chatter of girlfriends-past would fill the ladies room and this sage advice would bring a smile: Crammed into the ladies room, I told my friends I had feigned falling asleep because I thought he wanted to kiss me. When I asked what I should do, one wiser and older friend said, “Let him, Stupid.”

My second boyfriend, also from the class of ’70 was no substitute for the depth of emotion I had for that first boy and therefore a “safe” choice. He too came back into my life a few years ago with memorable tales of his enduring affection. But they were as “tender” as an airport Hilton. Oh, initially, it was nice to know that he had sustained some feeling for me, but he turned out to be as insincere as he had been 41 years ago. There is no substitute for the real deal, my friends.

My present still holds a big question mark as to the next step as far as the shape and scope of the alternative reunion. There appears to be “mild” interest. Right now I am still fighting this illness and work beckons tomorrow. There are questions pertaining to the low repsonses on for the Great Reunions event. Perhaps you are all repsonding directly to Great Reunions and the numbers are surging. As the committee isn’t very forthcoming, I don’t know what any of it means and my crystal ball is undependable.

But Agatha reminds me that the bedrock of who I am was forged in the little town of Alhambra and, particularly, in those formative years at AHS when we were figuring out who we were, who we loved, how to love, and all the rest of the “images” in the house of mirrors of adolesence.  I also love what she says about the future: that it will never turn out the way you expect, so you should just enjoy the planning. That great love who wore Royal Copenhagen once told me to quit fighting my own emotion, to let it flow. Seems like what that friend in the Village Inn and Agatha are saying as well. So, I think I’ll just ride on whatever wave this craziness takes me on and kick back and enjoy the journey. Hope to see your lovely faces when I wash ashore.

The Silent Majority

I have a correction: a committee of four. Don’t know for sure when two of them joined the committee, but I don’t like overstatements that are made from the “official” reunion, and want to ensure the statements representing the “original” reunion are factual, as well.

I finally succumbed to visiting the doctor yesterday and learned I was 24-hours away from full-blown pneumonia, so I am going “silent” for a few days until I am feeling better. But I do want to make a few observations, pose a few questions, and encourage a little action before I return to my beckoning pillow:

I know readers are engaged in the events that have ensued over the past weeks. To date, there have been 684 viewings of the 15 posts on this blog. I don’t know who you are, but clearly, there are bystanders on the cyberspace sidelines.

Two people have taken me up on leaving their information at Thank you.

Some of you have responded to the various polls, but not nearly as many people have voted as are reading the blog, even though your vote is completely anonymous. Odd.

The first week the Facebook page was up had 430 viewings. Since then it has elicited approximately 250 views per week. Interesting stat since it “appears” that you all have fallen silent. I figured the whole thing had become a big yawn, so was quite surprised to see the numbers were as high as they are.

So what does all of this mean? I post this citation from Wikipedia:

The silent majority is an unspecified large majority of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. The term was popularized (though not first used) by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a November 3, 1969, speech in which he said, “And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support.”[1] In this usage it referred to those Americans who did not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War at the time, who did not join in the counterculture, and who did not participate in public discourse. Nixon along with many others saw this group as being overshadowed in the media by the more vocal minority.

I am disheartened to discover that tricky Dick and I finally see eye-to-eye on something. Lordy. Here is where the situation gets confusing: I am not sure just who the minority is in this situation. Is it the committee who decided what/where/when the reunion should be without ever asking the rest of us what we thought? Is it me, out on this limb seemingly by myself, vacillating between swinging into action or taking a nose dive into obliteration?

Who is the silent majority? Is it those of you who have felt disenfranchised, that want something closer to “home”, the people who said “yes” or maybe” to the original reunion invitation? Or is the silent majority those of you content to dine at the Irvine Hilton on July 23, 2011, and have a convivial evening and a chuckle over all the controversy?

At this point, literally, stewing in my own juices, I am trying to ascertain what to do when I am feeling better. I don’t mind leading the charge if the majority shares my vision for a reunion. I can no longer assume that I am upholding allegiance to the early responders to the “original” reunion, because your silence is deafening. And yet you are “out there”, lurking in the shadows.  I implore you to tell me what you think “somewhere” — the Facebook page, in a private email to the Gmail address, in a public comment here. I don’t know if it’s the fevered dreams I’m having, the vulnerability of ill health, or what, but I can certainly use my energy (once it returns) to better use if the majority is happy with the Great Reunions event. I encourage you to articulate your preference rather than submit to either position.

Raise your voice. Stand up and be counted. Help the class of 1971 distinguish the minority and the majority from one another. If I am in the minority, I will make a gracious exit, hand over the administrative reins of the Facebook page to someone who is a part of the July 23rd reunion, plan mini-reunions à la the Polo Lounge rendevouz, and morph this blog into something beyond the realm of the AHS class of 1971.

My body, heart, soul and lungs are weary. I am going to spend the next days resting my “voice”. I hope my silence will allow your voices to be heard NO MATTER what you have to say on the subject. I hope the generation that stood for so much will at least take a stand, whatever that stand may be.

Welcome Home

In the past few days I have heard from some of you now that the Great Reunions invitations have started arriving in the mail. You are starting to realize that the “committee” who saw fit to disregard those of you who had RSVP’d to the initial outreach for a reunion, consisted of two people. Two people who never bothered to ask the masses what they thought their reunion should look like. Based on what the “professional” invitations look like, some of you are beginning to also realize how “special” and personal the event promises to be.

And yes, I am passing judgement on an organization that purports to be professional when they send pedestrian invitations out in an era when even an amateur can design something with some panache. But I too have been judged by a “committee” that felt I had “stolen” an event that belonged to no one. They have used their “judgment” to summarily disregard me, my fellow classmates, and the City of Alhambra.  And it is that feeling of being disregarded and judged that has kept some of our friends from joining us in the past.

I have actually had classmates tell me that they have avoided previous reunions because they had gained weight and didn’t want to be judged. Do you think people would feel that way if they felt included in the decisions being made for them? Isn’t it odd that we are more concerned with the “safety” of the locale, than creating an event where classmates feel emotionally safe enough to attend? Personally, the obsession with the “safety” of the locale is very interesting to me. What is the deeper meaning? Is it even based on anything REAL? Hmmm… ever the researcher, I decided to do a little investigating.

All data was derived from Surprisingly, the worst places to hold the reunion would be Pasadena and Beverly Hills, based on the adjusted percentages (per capita) for violent and property crimes. I doubt that too many people are fleeing their gated homes in Beverly Hills because of these stats. Since Pasadena welcomes the world at the beginning of each new year, I would bet that her residents aren’t running for Orange County either.

The two SAFEST places would be La Canada-Flintridge and San Marino, both “terrifyingly” close to Alhambra. For those of you who don’t know, Twohey’s sits on the border of Alhambra and San Marino. An important observation would be that ALL statistics are below the national average, so, in fact, you would be relatively safe hosting the reunion in Alhambra or a surrounding community. I have noticed that AT LEAST two classmates still live in Alhambra. And I know for a fact that Carmelita M-H. is very involved in the community. She appears to have all her faculties intact. I doubt that she lives fearfully behind closed drapes and barred windows. So here goes…

STOP the hyperbole and fear-mongering. It says far more about you than it does about Alhambra. And for those of you that are ready to rally around an event that feels safe, familiar, inviting, and personal, I have created an email account SPECIFICALLY for the event at: I will be sending a questionnaire out to all classmates who leave their email address by June 10th, so you can weigh in on specific details.

Please leave your name, any contact info you are comfortable leaving, and any talents or venue contacts that you feel would be of benefit in creating a memorable event. I will not “share” your personal info with anyone until you confirm that you want to be included in the actual event, and only then with the committee who will be announced ahead of time. I would like the conversation to be open until the end of June and then we will secure the date, the venue, and move to the next step of creating an event that is representative of all of us, that has included all of us, and welcomes us all home.

I assure you, with the wealth of talent in the AHS Class of ’71, everything from the invitations to the memory book to the venue to the food will be uniquely worthy of the people who comprise our class. Working together, I have no doubt that the load will be shared, the laughter will rise, the memories will flow, and we all will feel part of this special milestone.

Catalyst for Change

It has been suggested by a few of you that you should wait to see one another until I can be there — that because you perceive that I am the catalyst for all this early interest in the reunion (and the preponderance of the drama), that it would not be a reunion without me. Nonsense. I certainly wish I was there to see your faces at the first gathering, but I am thrilled that Carmelita considered the Taste of Alhambra as an appropriate venue to come together. Brava, Carm!

What I need everyone to understand is: none of this was ever about me. Oh yeah, I may have stirred the pot seasoned by righteous indignation, but it was the hubris that our voices were irrelevant — that we were all so insignificant we could just be dismissed, that really had me going. I could care less if I get the “credit” for a successful event.

Carm’s invitation, first of all, sounds like great fun, and second of all, is actually in our HOMETOWN! And even better, someone else is doing ALL the planning so you just need to show up and have fun — for $45.00 (advance tickets). Sounds a lot like the kind of event I had in mind all along. Wish I hadn’t just taken a “vacation” to plan a reunion that someone else hijacked; I would be making reservations to meet you at the corner of 2nd and Main on June 6th.

For all of you who are local, or are coming to town during that period anyway (and aren’t afraid of being murdered on the mean streets of Alhambra), raise a glass for me and toast to absent friends — and maybe — passionate, relentless women!


The 5-Star Coeur d'Alene Resort Hotel

The Coeur d'Alene Resort Hotel

So here we are in the remarkable realm of 2010, where, without aid of Tom Selleck in a Hawaiian shirt (alas!) you can locate long-lost friends, track your family’s history back generations, find out what your friends ate for breakfast, and watch them make complete idiots of themselves on YouTube. We can now all become published social commentators, sell our wares to millions of people around the world with the push of a “submit” button, and share photographs without ever having spent a dime on film, development, or postage stamps. Amazing!

Less than two years ago I didn’t know a blog from smog. Facebook sounded like something the police might use to find dangerous criminals. I suspected YouTube was something that I didn’t necessarily want inserted anywhere. Less than five years ago, if someone sent me an email, they were required to also phone me and tell me to visit my Outlook and “OPEN your email, Linda!”, the subtext being “you dumb dinosaur — relic of a bygone era”. I considered it so much more junk mail for me to wade through and I was not going to be led like the innocent lamb to slaughter. I was happy being digitally dumb and residing in blissful ignorance of a future that was leaving me in its technological dust.

But through the demands of work requring me to join the new millenium, helping my child conduct research for school projects, and the delight of long-lost friends finding me on Classmates or Facebook, I have learned the power of the internet and I have, for the most part, embraced its omnipresent, albeit often invasive influence. An old AHS boyfriend (who found me on Classmates) introduced me to Meet-Up, a social networking site that goes one step further: it’s sole purpose is to link people together for the purpose of actually meeting. Up close and personal. Over drinks, food, conversation, the existential meaning of Beckett, or their mutual fascination of the mating habits of Tsetse flies. As evidenced by the variety of people on Facebook and the myriad ways in which they interact: Farmville and Egg Buddies (I do not understand!), birthday greetings, digital brag book, sports and weather, well-wishes, reminiscences, and much more, we are a diverse group who have entirely different reasons for connecting. So, if you think about it, how can a single event ever hope to be all things to all people?

Hopefully, as we age, we become deeper people, a result of the wisdom that accompanies experience and time. What I want and expect from my relationships now is even more profound from what I required 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Nowadays, I am very selective in the ways in which I spend my limited free time.

Some of you have indicated that the economy may impact your ability to attend any reunion. Some of you, like me, don’t want to travel from other states to a generic banquet room that has no relation to our shared experience. Some of you prefer the ease of Great Reunions and are as perplexed by those us who want something different as we are of you. Some of you are, likely,  more interested in the mating habits of Tsetse flies than you are in rehashing the good ol’days with any of us. Some of you, like me, live in places so serene and beautiful, you need a compelling reason to ever go anywhere else.

Let me assure you, an evening in the Polo Lounge with two dear friends was pretty compelling (I also had reunions that week in the home of friends, at a memorial reception, in a Burbank coffee shop, lunch at the Castaways, and various other places around town). Each, except for the memorial, was small, personal and uniquely memorable. Had there been a large singular event to welcome me to town in lieu of the small reunions of three or four, I would have missed the richly textured conversations, the hilarious stories, and life-altering ephiphanies of those various gatherings.

If I still lived in L.A., here is what you would see posted by day’s end: I would elicit the backing of at least 10 other classmates to cough up $7.00 each to cover the fee for the 6 month minimum subscription for a Meet-Up group. I would schedule the first event for this Friday night and welcome anyone from the class of ’71 who could make it with an open heart, a warm embrace, and an attentive ear as to how your life has unfolded. And then I would make plans for the next month and the next month and the month after that.

Fourth of July over Lake Coeur d'AleneI would determine who lives where and I would suggest reunions in other locales across the country for those who can’t make it to Southern California. I would suggest a reunion in Vegas for those who want to gather in America’s playground (plus we have a classmate there). I would schedule a reunion in my new hometown for the Fourth of July. We offer up our nation ‘s birthday with a rare slice of small-town Americana: a parade in the morning, and fireworks and festivities over beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene as day is swallowed by night around 9:30 p.m. Or we could take the lake cruise and watch the festivities from the boat rails. You could bring your families and move on to explore the same trails that Lewis and Clark explored or visit one of the many lakes surrounding the region.

Perhaps smaller reunions would blossom — high tea at the Langham Huntington. Or, come the fall, an AHS homecoming game and cruise down Valley Boulevard before we are all bound to a Stratolounger from night blindness. Maybe we could get group rates for the “comfort” of the bleachers for the Rose Parade or for next year’s Lakers’ post season play. Perhaps we could host a bash and invite friends from “surrounding” classes. Imagine the possibilities! Now go forth and convene!

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