Funny the World...


These are the folks who show up most often in this journal. Others who pop in from time to time will be identified as they make their appearance.

The Piñata Group - We were a group of five couples who met as ten single people while we were members of the Newman Club on the University of California, Berkeley, campus.  We dated together, married within about four years of each other, and together have raised 22 children.  We were bridesmaids and groomsmen for each other and godparents to each other's children.  We went camping, had dinners, lived in the same neighborhood (most of us) for the kids' younger years.   Our kids went to the same schools.  Every New Year's Day we had a big party at which there was a piñata, which is how we came to call ourselves the Piñata Group. Piñatas were a part of every group gathering, even as the kids became adults (we had a piñata when the five kids born in 1966--the only year we doubled our numbers--all turned 40; there was a piñata at Jeri's wedding; there was a piñata at Bill's funeral). The oldest of the 22 kids is now looking at her 50th birthday in the foreseeable future, but we still call them "kids."  Now when we get together, we have piñatas for the children of the original group.  We have seen one divorce, the death of three children and one spouse since the 1960s.  Some of us have traveled together all over the world, some of us lived together (platonically) for short periods.  It's rare to have such lifelong friends, and I consider myself so fortunate. 

The original Piñata group is Walt and myself, Char and Mike, Pat and Rich, Audrey and Gene, Jeri and Bill (Bill died a few years ago and Jeri is now remarried to a man named Phil, which is very confusing), and Concetta (who died a few years ago). After our kids got into nursery school, Michèle and Richard became part of the group with their son Eric. Michèle died a couple of years ago.


Walt - long-suffering husband since 1965. I’m not sure why he puts up with me, but he does. He once made a web page in a class, but never went back to do anything with it again.  His web page is proof that nothing is ever lost in cyberspace!

Jeri - born 1966, living in Boston. She graduated from Berklee College of Music and is now Assistant Professor at Berklee, and Woodwind Instructor at Brookline Music SchoolShe gives private music lessons, and plays clarinet, saxophone and flute in pit bands for various theatrical productions in and around Boston..She also has a couple of degrees in theatre design and in her spare time does lighting design for small theatres in the Boston area.

Phil - Jeri's husband, as of August 2008.   Jeri and Phil have been friends since junior high school and he has lived with her in Boston for several years now. 

Ned - born 1967, the imaging director on Jack-FM (93.7-FM) radio station in Sacramento. He and his wife live in Sacramento with their shelter dog, The Bouncer.

Marta - Ned’s wife, a certified massage therapist with her own business, Jakarta Bodyworks.  Call 916 718-5903 if you're in the Sacramento area and want a good massage.

Paul - died at age 30 in 1999

Thomas/Tom - born 1970, lives in Santa Barbara and works for an international computer sotware development company as a Senior product manager, whose specialties are "Software; Product Management; Product Design & Development; Implementation; Consulting Services; Sales; Human Resources; Finance; Compensation Management; Performance Management; Talent Management; Human Capital Management; HCM; EPM" (from his Linked-in profile)

Laurel - Tom's wife, the Chief Risk Officer at Montecito Bank & Trust in Santa Barbara.

Brianna - Tom and Laurel's daughter, born March 31, 2008.  Naturally she's the most beautiful, most intelligent child ever born.  I'm not prejudiced. Not me!

Lacie -  Tom and Laurel's daughter, born September 20, 2011, adorable, very smart, and mischevious.  A voracious reader.

David - died at age 24 in 1996

Peach & Bob - My cousin (whose given name is Carolyn), and her husband.

Norm and Olivia (generally come as a set) - Walt’s brother and his wife.

Alice Nan - Walt’s sister

Joe - Alice Nan's husband

Ed - My mother's stepson

Ellen - My mother's stepdaughter


Peggy - Was my best friend in Australia for 13 years.  The friend I knew died in 2011, due to a defective heart. I miss her every day.  She still lives in Australia, but she is not the friend I knew any more.

Peggy - the new Peggy who appears in journal entries now was in my writing group for awhile and she lived at Atria, where my mother llives.  She and my mother became friends but she has now moved to a different facility and my mother no longer remembers her.

Char - We have been friends since college and with her I have gone on some of the weirdest and most fun adventures of my life.  The stories in which Char is a co-star are always the best ones.

Mike - Char's husband, who died in 2014

Steve - Singer/songwriter Steve Schalchlin, one of the "grand old men of on-line journaling," whom I’m proud to call my friend. His song cycle, "New World Waking" was performed in December 2008 at Davis Symphony Hall in San Francisco, by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.

Jim/Jimmy - Steve's partner of more than 20 years, a fabulous actor who won tons of awards for his one man shows Zero Hour and Character Man. He knew/knows every big name in show biz.

Susan - She is my boss at the book store where I work.  She is also Char's cousin.

Peter - Susan's husband

Shelly and Ellen - good friends who have been activists for gay rights forever and together as a couple for more than 30 years.  They were the very first couple in Yolo County to be married when it became legal in California.

Ashley - my contact at the SPCA, the canine coordinator who keeps filling my house with dogs and who has been my redeeming angel on more than one occasion.

Gilbert - Once my best friend, an actor and the longtime Musical Director for The Lamplighters, who died in 1986


Lizzie, and Polly - our current dogs
Toby, Seymour, Benjy, Buddy, Kimba and Sheila - our dead dogs

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edited 9/10/2015 by Bev Sykes