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FIVE RANDOM THINGS
17 January 2006
You may have seen that some journals writers are doing entries which list five random things that people might not know about them. After nearly 6 years of baring my soul in this journal, it's difficult to think that there might be anything I've left out (that I'm willing to go public with), but I thought I'd take a crack at it.
1. I participated in a "voice choir" in high school. This wasn't singing, it was speaking, and it was the brainchild of Mary B. Gavin, my English and French teacher. We all spoke in chorus and I we were performing something that Mrs. Gavin had written. I believe that it was written in honor of her son, who died--he may have been killed in war. I'm not sure about that part. I was one of the soloists, though, and my line -- I still remember it so vividly -- was "Why? Why MY son?" I thought about the irony of that a lot during the days following David's death.
(Mrs. Gavin died several years ago. I saw the obituary in the newspaper. She must have died in an auto accident, since the obituary also listed her son as dying on the same day. She was a strange woman, very precise, very "proper." She spoke like someone who had gone to "finishing school." I liked her a lot. We both enjoyed diagramming sentences. I became a French major in college because of her, but because of her many eccentricities she was the sort of teacher that students love to make fun of.)
2. I danced the polka the night before Jeri was born. Yes--dance. I danced. We were at a party, probably given at Newman Hall in Berkeley. The polka was one of those dances that I used to enjoy (because I knew the steps and it didn't involve any "interpolation" or self expression).
I was already two weeks late with this baby, who was due to arrive April 19 and just seemed to have decided to stay where she was until she was ready for high school. So when our friend Andrij invited me to dance and promised me it would help labor start, I agreed. Whether that was what did it or not, the next night, I was off to the hospital and Jeri made her entrance into the world a few years prior to adolescence.
3. At one time I did really fancy package wrapping. When someone invented "stick-to-itself" ribbon, I learned how to make ribbon roses and was really quite good at it. I was the designated package wrapper in our house, when someone needed something fancy to be presented.
We lived in a flat in San Francisco which had a dirt basement. You went down this long narrow set of steps and entered something that resembled a narrow cave (duck, so you don't hit your head). Before any gift giving occasion, my father, my sister and I would disappear downstairs into the basement where we would wrap gifts for my mother. My father always had me wrap his gift for him (he always gave her lingerie). When I think back, it is the only thing I remember his seeming to think that I had a talent for doing. (I'm sure there were other things, but this is the only one I can think of.)
4. I was an unwed mother. That should come as a shock to everyone, especially my children.
Actually, I was a faux unwed mother. At one time, a television station in San Francisco was doing a documentary about St. Elizabeth's Home for Unwed Mothers, which was run by the Daughters of Charity (who taught at the school I attended). They needed to keep the anonymity of the girls at the home, of course, and so never filmed anybody's face, but they wanted to end the program with a choir singing and needed to have faces it would be OK to film. I was a member of the high school choir at the time and so we all trooped over to Masonic Avenue to the imposing red brick building, went behind the iron gates, and they dressed us all in maternity smocks so we could be the home's choir. Little did I realize when I put on that maternity smock that I would practically LIVE in such tents for about ten years!
5. I took ice skating lessons from champion skater, Harris Legg, with my Girl Scout troop. I was terrible at it and probably wouldn't think it worth mentioning here, but I decided to do some research on Harris Legg and what I found at the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame was so fascinating, I decided to reprint it. So this is my poor, long-suffering skating teacher:
Regarded as one of the greatest
athletes to ever come out of Galt, Harris Legg could do it all on skates.
* * *
Gee...and I just thought he was a guy who gave
ice skating lessons!
PHOTO OF THE DAY