The next fridge door
belongs to my friend Charlotte.
This is a label from a
Talk about it here.
Read the forum that was banned by one
reader's office computer because it has "sexual
content." I must be having more fun than I thought!
WHAT I'M READING...
Hammer of Eden
too busy with the computer
Pictures from the Cincinnati are
now up at Steve's Club
Photo page. Our visit with my goddaughter is on MY Club
Photo page (called "Lyke Visit").
That's it for today!
IT SEEMS SO
28 July 2001
I drove my friend Jane to her doctor's appointment this
morning. I hadn't seen her in several weeks and I was so
pleased to notice that she'd finally gained some weight
(last time I saw her she was painfully thin) and for once
she wasn't full of complaints. In fact, our time together
was rather pleasant.
When I returned home, there was a message on the
answering machine. It was a friend with whom I used to
work years and years ago. She and her husband moved to
the midwest in 1997 and for all intents and purposes, we
haven't seen or heard from them since. I think we might
have seen them once, but I really don't remember.
Anyway, they were in town and wondered if we could get
together for lunch. Fortunately, I had no other plans and
so we spent a pleasant hour together, comparing notes on
what all our kids were doing, what their plans are for
the next few years, and reminiscing about people we've
known through the years.
Gilbert used to tell me that when he passed through a
door in his life, he shut it behind him and he never
looked back. Thus he had few memories of his early years
or any of the time before can to San Francisco and began
working for The Lamplighters.
I've come to realize through the years that I do a lot of
that. I leave doors open a crack and I do hang on to
things that I probably should have discarded years before
(not only material things, but memories). But I also put a lot behind closed doors and don't look at it any more.
Seeing Shirley turn up out of the blue makes me
realize how very far behind me I have put all the years
that we were friends. Oh it's no "end of
friendship" thing. It's just that she was part of a
world that no longer exists for me and it's difficult for
me to even think about resurrecting those memories with
the same intensity that they had at the time.
We were all part of an experience called The Secretariat.
This was a typing service here in Davis. The owner had
one or two people working in the office, but contracted
out the bulk of the work. On a whim I stopped by one day
and she said she'd try me. Before the end of the first
year, I had a full time in-office position and was the
office expert on the dedicated word processor she had
(remember "word processors"??? Now that was a
lifetime ago too!!!)
The Secretariat was a little hole in the wall place. The
whole office would have fit inside my living room--and I
have a small living room. It had room for 3 desks and
there was a toilet room (it wasn't fancy enough to be
called a "bathroom") in the back. It was
painted white brick and usually too hot or too cold,
depending on the weather. We did some real power typing
in that place, and probably helped a lot of jocks get
through school, as we did editing along with the typing
we did for the UC Davis students.
But, as with most of the jobs I've held, it was more than
a "job." It became the center of my social life
for the 7 years I worked there. Melody, who was the other
full time employee, and I became best friends and have
seen each other through some pretty major tragedies over
the year (though she now lives on the other side of the
As a group, we regularly had dinners, where we would
choose a country and everyone would prepare a dish from
that particular country. The husbands got to know each
other, wine tasting was a very big activity, and when
dinner was over, before dessert, we'd get in a game or
two of Trivial Pursuit.
Almost everyone loved the game. Walt would invariably
fall asleep on the floor as the game started. Nobody
minded, though, because his team knew that if they were
stuck for an answer they could kick him, ask him the
question, he'd give the right answer, and then go back to
In time, one of our group decided that we should learn to
play bridge. Since I didn't play, I didn't join that
group, but when Melody moved out of town, they needed a
fourth and I joined. We would be laughed out of any
bridge tournament. I think we played two or three times a
month for about two years and I never did learn how to
keep score. I could bid and I could play and not
completely make an idiot of myself.
When Nora, the Irish cousin, learned I played bridge, she
was so thrilled and asked me what (is it
"convention"?) I played. Heck--I just played
cards. Bridge strikes me as entirely too fussy to be a
lot of fun. We freely chattered while playing, gave broad
hints, and cheated all the time, but it was great fun. I
probably couldn't even remember how to deal any more.
The best memory I have of Shirley and her husband,
though, concerns a Chilean girl named Carolina (pronounced caroLEEna). I was in
charge of finding host families for kids from all over
the world who wanted to visit California. Carolina was in
the third group that I coordinated and I placed her with
Shirley and Joe. The match seemed like a good one, since
Carolina was interested in working with mentally handicapped people, and
Shirley and Joe have a mentally handicapped daughter.
It was the very best placement I ever made. Carolina and
their youngest daughter Diane became the best of friends.
They were bridesmaids in each other's weddings (and in
fact Carolina met her husband because she was on a
vacation in Mexico with Diane at the time prior to what was
supposed to have been her wedding in Chile. She never did
marry the Chilean guy, but ran off to Canada with the French-Canadian she met on that trip to Mexico instead).
They now each have several children and are still very
good friends. Of all the students I placed in homes in
this area, other than the ones we had ourselves, this was
by far the most successful placement.
I suspect none of this is particularly interesting, but
seeing Shirley again opened that door that has been shut
for a long time. I think back to those days and the
person I was then and I don't even know that person.
Gilbert was still alive then and the job was perfect for
me because it gave me one day off so I could go and work
in San Francisco. I worked with the woman who is now my
dentist and was terrified of her discovering all the dental secrets I was hiding.
I remember how Laura, who owned the place, and who was
about 5'8" tall and about 98 lbs on a good day,
would go next door to the bakery and buy one brownie
which she would then cut into four pieces as her treat
for the next four days. I, on the other hand, would eat
the entire brownie just walking from the bakery back to
the office--the heck with this "save some for
Nice memories floating through my head this evening. It
was good to touch bases with Shirley again.
I am hopelessly, head over heels in love with this
computer. I just thought you'd like to know!
My Cousin, My Brother, My Friend
This is about Bill, who died of AIDS last year...
and was written as he was entering the last weeks
of his life.