Today in My History2000: The Americanization of Emily
2001: Up Close and Personal
2002: Who Was that Masked Man?
2003: 4 Stars
2004: Sir Arthur and His Court
2006: 17 Miles and Then Some More
2007: Tea Totalling
2008: Play It Again, Sam
2009: Feelin' Good
2010: Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away
2012: Sometimes I'm a Quitter
Grapes of Wrath
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THE GOOD TIMES
25 October 2014
In a comment on the entry for the 23rd, Linda Wilson said "Always, always remember the good times."
It had been my intention to add some photos of Mike over the years, but I'm having problems with my printer/scanner so this may be an entirely word entry, but there are so many memories of so many things, over 50 years.
Your mind does strange things. The very first image that came to my mind when I realized Mike was dying was back from 1962. I was living in a dorm at the very top of the steep Dwight Way in Berkeley. Mike had been dating Charlotte, but she was at graduate school in Ohio. Mike and I went to daily mass at the Newman Center, across campus, and every morning I would walk down the steep hill to the flat and Mike would come by on his motor scooter and take me across campus to the chapel at the Newman Center. Why that was my first memory, I don't know. I don't remember the Masses or what we did afterwards, but I remember him coming to pick me up every morning.
I remember being at their wedding, and I remember the weeks I lived at their house when their first daughter was a baby, waking up each morning, in the bedroom I shared with Tavie, seeing her little blonde head pop up over the top of her crib. I would change her and keep her entertained until it was time for me to go to work, then I'd plop her in bed with Mike and Char and leave the house (after my confrontation with the cat, Yom, who ruined so many of my nylon stockings that he gave me a box of them for Christmas that year).
I don't remember what our first camping trip was, but we did a lot of camping together. The most contentious trip was before Walt and I were married. Char and Mike had Tavie and we were out exploring some ghost towns (we have probably been to every ghost town in Nevada at one time or another). It was a warm day and Char and I wanted ice cream cones, so we drove into a town to get ice cream, then we set off down Pole Line Rd., Hwy 167, which parallels Mono Lake. It connects with highway 395 a few miles from Lee Vining. We were running out of gas but hoped to get to 395, after which we felt we could coast downhill, if necessary, to get to a gas station. But several yards short of the small incline that leads up to 395, the car stopped. We couldn't push the car up hill, so Mike and Walt took off hitchhiking along 395 to get gas. For the past 50 years they have not let Char and me forget that if we had not stopped for ice cream, we would have made it to 395 and the downhill highway to awaiting gas station.
We also planned a trip to Death Valley, but Tavie got sick. Walt and I decided we would go on without them. They would make the trip a week later, when Tavie was better. Before that, Char always packed our "kitchen," so I didn't have any utensils or anything for camping, since we weren't married yet and I didn't have the kind of kitchen stuff Char did. We decided we would take the kitchen box with us and then a week later, we would meet them "somewhere" and give it back to them. "Somewhere" turned out to be Blackwell's Corners in Lost Hills, CA, roughly midway. We would meet there at "high noon" on the appointed day. Somehow in the days before the Internet, we found out there was a gas station there, so on our way to Death Valley, we stopped and got the phone number of the phone booth at the gas station, so that if it turned out we were going to be delayed, we could let Mike know. As it turned out we were delayed and so we called him. He had arrived a few minutes before our call and pulled into the gas station and asked the attendant if there had been any calls for him. As the attendant looked at him as if he were crazy, the phone rang and it was Walt. I have often wondered what that attendant told his family about the experience.
In those days Mike avoided paved roads. There was a Memorial Day weekend when we drove all week end long and never saw another car. When we hit a real freeway, Char got out and kissed the pavement. That was probably the trip when we ended up at the Scottish Games, going from the desolation of the desert to the chaos of a fair. We pulled into the parking lot and the guy at the gate gestured to us to "follow that grey car." We didn't want to tell him we had been following that car for days now!
There was also the year when we had all 10 kids with us and followed what turned out to be a dry riverbed trying to find wherever it was we were going. That's when we had to ask directions from what were probably a couple of Mexican farmers, but which we have always referred to as the Basque sheepherders.
Then there was Easter in Death Valley. We arrived in the park so late that it was impossible to find an official camp ground, so Mike (who worked for the USGS) let us onto the locked government site. Mike, Walt and the boys climbed down into a bunker-like thing with all the electronic gears and gadgets and meters and slept there while Char and I and the girls slept in our cars. Somewhere I have a picture of Cam, who was about 2 at the time, sliding down a sign that says "sensitive government instruments...keep 5 feet away."
That is probably also the same trip where we drove for an hour across barren desert land to Devil's Hole, where is reported to live the famous nearly extinct pup fish
An hour. Barren desert. Ten restless kids. We get there and there is this little hole in the ground and waaaaay below the surface swim the pupfish. In total darkness. Much too for to be seen by the naked eye. And we had driven an hour to stand around a hole in the ground that we had to take on faith was the home of the pup fish.
I figure that was Mike's way of getting back at us for the ice cream incident.
Photo of the Day
Jeri has been telling folks her uncle died.
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