25-48 The Second Twenty-Four
49-72 The Third Twenty-Four
73-96 The Fourth Twenty-Four
97-120 The Fifth Twenty-Four
121-on The Sixth Set
49 Pure Michigan
50 Ah, Youth
51 Unlikely Friend
54 Before/After Squared
55 Hawaiiana 1
56 Hawaiiana 2
57 Hawaiiana 3
58 A New Outlook
59 Hawaiiana 4
60 Crash Dummy
61 Dogs, Boards, Kids...
62 Photographic Treasures
63 Hawaiiana 5
64 My Comb is Crooked
65 Call Me A Doctor
66 Hawaiiana 6
67 Home for Christmas
68 Led By Words
69 Pono Bowls
70 Poppy Tour
71 An Invitation
72 Wunderkammer I
Forty-four of us graduated from Perry High School in 1951. I attended the 10th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of this event, so somehow it seemed logical to attend the 60th. Due to my age, I elected to take the trip in three stages, with a few days in San Diego on each end of Michigan. I’ll talk about SD later.
I arrived at the alumni banquet and surveyed every table for a 1951 sign or a familiar face. I saw nothing but old people. I got the new alumni secretary to help and she couldn’t find the sign. I found someone who knew some of the people in my class and he said Rick is right over there. As Rick delivered me to the table, Lois turned the 1951 sign to its upright position!
Nine of us attended. One more bought a ticket, but Dot had a small stroke a couple days before. Fortunately her heart and lungs were fine, but she lost vision in one eye. We chatted on the phone on Mother’s Day. Gordy had to leave early – he is ailing. Kate was special – I haven’t seen her in at least 40 years. Louie and Ray are still Louie and Ray. Patty talked my ear off. Lois’s friend told me a sweet story about my mother who taught second grade in Perry. Some of us met at Macdonald’s after and Laura talked the other ear off.
I had brought a few pics along, but people had real trouble identifying old friends. Richard – four grades back – didn’t recognize himself. Shortly after my return, Dot sent me an email with the news that Rose had died. Who will attend the 70th?
Michigan is great in the spring – trees budding or with new leaves, fruit trees in full flower, tulips in the yards, and lilies in the forest. Some fields newly plowed, water standing in others, rains overnight (where they belong), warming days, birds all over, gree-ee-een lawns, scads of dandelions that close up at night. Lots of road-kill causing worry about deer when driving at night.
Michigan always brings on an eating binge. I found liver and onions across from my motel. My niece Sandra took me to Applebee’s for dinner and Samantha – the best waitress ever. A couple days later I had pigs in a blanket at Sandra’s. She told me Sam had called and wanted to accept my proposal, but when I got all excited, she confessed it was just a joke (a nasty, sick, demented joke). (I later learned it was payback because last time I called Sandra I asked for someone to roll her wheelchair over to the phone.)
I worked on Sandra and Paul’s computer a bit, since they were having some problems. I left them with Open Office since they didn’t have Word and a fresh download of Google Earth. I accidentally loaded Chrome, but deleted it. Also showed them parts of sandinfamily.com.
I checked my email at the libraries in Perry and Fowlerville and just for fun I took a random exit on the road to Detroit and got to a library in New Hudson or South Lyon. They all graciously allowed me to use their computers!
I was scheduled to visit Kim and Judy one evening, but that morning I decided to drop in to the church day care where Kim works just to say hi. I had so much fun that I spent a couple hours on three different days. The first day Kim and his partner had about 10 at the diaper level. My intention was just to observe, but it is hard not to interact with the stinky little kids! At one point there were three of them on the floor by me examining the booboos on my leg. I watched snack time, clean up, show time, outdoor play, changing (well, I didn’t really watch), wash, lunch, clean up, and settle down for rest/nap – and then I left.
Another day as I came in I was introduced to the pastor, who immediately got his camera and snapped Kim and me and the kids. I was introduced to the kids (these were post-diaper) to many stares and puzzled looks. Found out later the concept of Mr. Kim having a father was hard for them.
Ella took it upon herself to entertain me and then later got Cora and Kiera to help out. Kim’s partner said “no outside today due to rain” while the sun was beating through the window. One kid caught on and then all joined in. Outside, the kids first made several runs around the yard to use up excess energy. Ella with her long blond hair got in the spinner and went so fast all I could see was hair. Asher, a boy with long hair and delicate features was apparently a mudder and had special boots if there was any mud around.
The playground had a place to fight, ropes to climb, washable chalk for sidewalks, a tiny “river”, toys galore and toy pickup rules, line up to go out and in, little playhouses, and very few problems during my stay with lots of activity. Kids were gregarious or loners with every shade between.
Asher came back in, put his shoes on on the wrong feet and went merrily on his way. Kids had a wide variety of lunches - quantity / quality / appetite varied considerably. It was really fun watching the kids and the keepers!
The last few times I visited MI I stayed at the same motel near where Kim lives. The owners/ managers (I’m guessing an India-Indian family) lived on the premises and I got acquainted with them and enjoyed visiting with them. They had owned and run the motel for some 18 years. Last time there I had teased daughter Rocky about talking to her father about arranging a marriage with my youngest son. This time a girl cousin was visiting and I joshed her as well.
The day before leaving I came back to the motel after a couple of hours with Kim and his kids at the day care center. There were many cars and people milling around after a week of only two or three cars. Rocky met me as I parked and said they had had a family crisis and she could only say she had to check me out as of that day and the last day would be on a separate bill. I pumped a bit but could get no more.
I went to see if the laundry room was available and ran into her father with several men. He explained that the bank had taken over and they had given him the rest of the day to move out. I received many apologies from him and his wife. All of their local friends were there in support and all had long faces. I felt bad that they were concerned about me when they were the ones who had the problem.
They were gone by evening. They had many flats of plants for a garden and the cement block retaining walls on the trees were being replaced so the foreclosure was apparently not anticipated.
The next morning I went across the street for breakfast instead of taking the free continental stuff so I didn’t go in the office until checkout. A fresh-faced young man was there. A sign on the door said “cash only” but he said he had found a way to take credit cards. All of the personal items of the owners were gone but the continental breakfast was in place as usual. He said “Will you be coming back again?” With a little prodding I learned that he was not a bank employee. He worked for a company that specialized in motel foreclosure. They come in and take operational control to honor reservations and keep a semblance of continuity while a new owner is sought. He said his company might buy. I’m guessing his company would make a rock bottom offer and then flip. He was a very pleasant and seemingly naďve sort – fake or real?
I had read about MI as having enormous unemployment, debt, and other problems and could see that by the closed businesses, properties for sale, infrastructure decay, etc. In HI the TV runs “Pure Michigan” commercials trying to attract industry and tourism, but I think I experienced “Pure Michigan” at the foreclosed motel!
Both stays in San Diego were fun, except for the incident. I got to see a whole herd of seals on the beach with people actually walking in among them and taking pictures. We visited what used to be Vacation Village – a favorite with our family when Stuart and JR were kids. Had lunch by the dock near what used to be the Barefoot Room and visited the lobby that used to be a restaurant. We dropped in to the historic Hotel del Coronado, where I attended a number of IEEE seminars. The front entry, the courtyard, the beach walk, the shops and displays all brought back pleasant memories. Walked all over Old Town and had a variety of Mexican food.
Was the coffee shop at Vacation Village
Hotel del Coronado
When on my own, I got lost several times – SD is not an easy town to get around in. I did however find Wild Bill’s in El Cajon and buy a bunch of the Panhandle Slim shirts I like.
The high point for SD (except for the incident) was meeting Stuart’s friends. We had dinner with Forest and his daughter Willow, BBQ with John-O, Elsa and kids Finnegan and Max; Christian and Harley; and Jon (w/o the O or the h), and a memorable day at the home of Robert and Marie and son Sam.
Forest wrote the book on the role of microbes in reef ecology. He has a somewhat strange voice and amazingly, his daughter Willow sounds just like him. She talks like a little professor. As a “microbe” Forest completed the triad at dinner with Stuart as the “fish” and Jen as the “benthic” just like in the book!
The BBQ left me in amazement – I don’t remember seeing so much intelligence in one place (except when I dine alone, of course). When I heard Max discussing their genealogy with John-O, I was blown away! Conversations covered a wide range of timely and interesting topics.
Robert and Marie just bought 6 acres on the side of a small mountain. While the rest of the gang hiked up to the man-cave, Marie showed me around their gardens and grounds, and kept me interested with some history of their recent years. Then we lunched for a couple of hours with sumptuous items of food and drink that just kept coming. The family has three dogs and a cat-like creature. One of the dogs is like a small horse and one is pocket sized.
Stuart has two dogs, Bobo and Pig. Both of them are friendly, docile, sluggish, dumb, warm bodies that are thoroughly domesticated and without a dangerous bone in their bodies. So the incident must be my fault.
I saw the postman coming up to the door and opened it to accept the mail. Before I knew what was happening, both dogs were outdoors and Bobo had nipped the postman. The doo-doo hit the woo-woo.
Bobo, Pig, and Stuart
Stuart herded the three of us inside and we cuddled up in the corner waiting for the hammer to fall. I don’t know what all happened, but there were phone calls, record searches, vet visits, official interviews, and rulings handed down and the master was not pleased with us.
Bottom line: Bobo got a taste of the guy he has viewed as a tormentor for a long time, Bobo paid with house arrest for ten days, dogs got updated rabies shots and proper licensing, Stuart has to walk to the new box on the street to get his mail, the mailman gets to sport a couple of band aids for a while, and I just have to find somewhere else to stay when in San Diego.
I was cold all the while I was on the mainland – I don’t know why they insist on keeping temperatures below 70 degrees! Fruits and veggies are not easy to keep up with when traveling. It is clear that I NEED to get a cell phone – since Stuart and Jen have no landline, we were incommunicado for periods of time. Another aspect of that – I had no alarm mechanism – and except for the phone, neither did Stuart. I ended up using bio-clock!
And in closing: I distributed 2008 Hawaiian quarters to all my relatives. I prefaced the delivery with the announcement that at great expense I had these coins minted with my Hawaiian name, Pono, put on them, and if they could find it, they could keep the coin. Everyone found my name, but I learned later that some folks (not necessarily the kids) believed that I had the coins modified to my order.
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