Thursday, August 18, 2005

Class of '66 entourage visits Sonoma winery

SONOMA, Calif. - I missed the visit of Steve, Linda, Barb and Scott to California in July, a photo from which is posted on the Yahoo website put up by Allan Winger. (And posted here, too, obviously...)

Steve and Linda have a home in Santa Rosa, not too far from where I live in Sacramento. And they visited the Sonoma Valley (with Barb and her husband Scott), where I spent most of the 1970s working for newspapers before moving to Grass Valley (in the mountains) for a few years.

I probably should have stayed in the mountains and avoided the Sacramento Valley, but that's another story, better saved for another day or our reunion next summer.

It was great to log on to the Yahoo site and see the photo. I've been preoccupied with back-to-school issues and haven't been checking it as often as I should - or posting. I wonder if our teachers like Harry Robie or Hubie Davis or Harold Burgard got stressed the week or so before school, getting their lesson plans set up.

In my case, I have been teaching journalism classes for 20+ years and feel like a dinosaur. (I heard what you just thought, Cheryl...)

The weather in upstate New York has turned to fall already, a very familiar feel from when we would be getting ready to return to SWCS. The days suddenly seem shorter, the air is cool in the morning and already the leaves are starting to drop off some of the trees. The two boats on the beach already represent a chore, not potential good times. They both have to be hauled, winterized and stored before I make my sojourn back to California August 29.

When you live in Sonoma or Sacramento, fall arrives sometime in, well, maybe late November. Winter is December and January (it gets as low as 40 degrees sometimes) and spring is already springing in late February.

That's not why I moved to California in 1970. But it's a nice spiff anyway.

So today's song is a natural:


performed by The Mamas & Papas

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray
I've been for a walk on a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A.
California dreamin' on such a winter's day

Stopped in to a church I passed along the way
Well I got down on my knees and I pretend to pray
You know the preacher liked the cold
He knows I'm gonna stay
California dreamin' on such a winter's day

------ flute ------

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray
I've been for a walk on a winter's day
If I didn't tell her I could leave today
California dreamin' on such a winter's day
California dreamin' on such a winter's day
California dreamin' on such a winter's day

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Back to school time - Where's my shoes?

LAKEWOOD, New York - It was just about this time every year that my mother would pile me into her Rambler and announce that we were making a pilgrimage to Carnahan's in downtown Jamestown.

Time for some new threads and almost always, a new pair of shoes for school.

Because I was completely clueless about what was fashionable, I was an easy shopper the first few years of high school. Two pairs of dark pants, three or four light shirts with collars, some socks and maybe a windbreaker.

The pants were the most urgent, because every summer I seemed to grow at least two or three inches.

But the shoes I remember because when it came to shoes, it was hard to figure out.

You needed Converse All-Stars for gym class (Did they even make any other kind of shoe like that then?), but for school, I really wanted some kind of slip-on loafers.

Mom like lace-up shoes. More mature, she said.

So for an hour or so, ever goddamned lace-up shoe (I would claim) hurt my foot, or didn't feel quite right, or was the wrong color (brown?) or just seemed, well, not what I needed for those slippery winter days ahead.

Eventually, I would get the loafers, usually having to agree to letting her buy an extra plaid shirt for me (I wasn't fond of plaid shirts, but if it meant maroon loafers, OK).

The guys are Carnahan's were great though, and it was the only place in Jamestown my mother had a charge account - a fact I used to good advantage the last two years of high school when I would slip in and pick up a shirt or two when dances were coming up, knowing the Wrath of Mom would follow.

But Jaysus, I couldn't wear a plaid shirt to a dance!

Except for my rare (and very much discouraged) forays to Carnahan's, whatever clothes I started out the school year with was what I ended up with until the next summer.

And some things don't change all that much.

Last week I wandered into some joint called Shoe Supermarket in Elmira, New York, went over to the boat shoe rack and grabbed the first size 10 pair of shoes that looked ok. Yes, boat shoes have laces, though once you tie them good, you never touch them again until the shoes disintegrate out from under you.

Now if I can just pick up a few non-plaid shirts for teaching, I'm set to go for the whole year.

What? No new neckties to start the semester at the university?

Not when you have have tenure, amigos...