... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next fridge door belongs to my friend Charlotte.

This is a label from a
Cabernet Sauvignon

* Discussion *

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!


The Hammer of Eden
Ken Follett


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!



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 recently purchased.

(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 country).

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 sleep again.

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 tomorrow jazz."

Nice memories floating through my head this evening. It was good to touch bases with Shirley again.

COMPUTER REPORT-- I am hopelessly, head over heels in love with this computer. I just thought you'd like to know!

One Year Ago:
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.

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 7/28/01 by Bev Sykes