Wednesday, December 31, 2008

186/365: Andrij

A larger than life guy from Ukraine. We met during college. His 12-letter name (which ends with “tkewyc”) is so impossible to pronounce that we always used it for reservations when we went to a restaurant, whether he was there or not! He was our son’s godfather, a university teacher, outdoorsman, faithful to Eastern Rite catholicism, and player of the musical instrument, the bandura.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

185/365: Will

Picking his nationally renowned, drunken father out of bushes as a kid taught him that things are not always what you expect behind closed doors. He developed a phenomenal sense of humor to hide the pain inside, in the fashion of a true Irishman. He’s now 65, and still chasing dreams, not really sure what he wants to be when or if he grows up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

184/365: Ed

We named our oldest son for him. He was a good friend in college, a Russian scholar who ended up becoming a Benedictine monk. We flew to Minnesota for his ordination, bringing our (then) three kids with us. I don’t know why, but we didn’t hear from him after that, not even when our sons died. I was hurt there were no words of comfort.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

183/365: Dara

What fun it was watching this young man start as an actor and grow in stature and ability over his high school years. He is Ray Bolger-ish, with a rubber body and total lack of inhibitions, and always very funny. We were absolutely thrilled to learn that he was the one who won the “Paul Sykes Memorial Scholarship” the year he graduated from high school

Saturday, December 27, 2008

182/365: Fred #4

They thought he was dying. He had been hospitalized and now he couldn’t recover from his mysterious illness, but just stayed in a semi-comatose state most of the time. Cancer? Heart problems? His family didn’t know what to do. Then he finally confessed that it wasn’t water in that ever-present water bottle, but vodka. Amazing how quickly he recovered once he started going to AA.

Friday, December 26, 2008

181/365: Pat and Orrin

They were the first gay couple I ever met. It was the 1940s-50s and they were friends of my grandmother’s, which had to be very unusual for the times. I remember them as fun-loving men. I do remember asking which one was like the woman. But because of our family’s acceptance of Pat and Orrin, I have never thought of gay relationships as unnatural.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

180/365: Victor

Victor came from Zaire to make a new life for himself and bring his family here. He spoke not a word of English, but he lived with us for about six months, while he learned to speak halting English. A very sweet person, who had a close friendship with our son David, and showed up many years later, tears in his eyes, for David’s funeral

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

179/365: The Mourner

When our first son died, she came to offer sympathy. We didn’t know her well, but she was very gracious. But she came day after day, bringing cookies and dog treats and to cry with us. While we appreciated her good heart, it just got to be too much. When our second son died, we asked someone to ask her, nicely, to leave us alone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

178/365: Susie

Never in my life have I known someone with such a low opinion of herself–and how little she deserves it. She is bright, funny, talented, a great mom and teacher. We were thrown together by tragedy and supported each other for years, but as her depression deepened over many years, it just became too wearing to listen to the same whines over and over again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

177/365: RTW

We had so much in common. I never really understood why he came to dislike me so much. Maybe because his partner and I became such good friends. When it was over, I asked for return of an irreplaceable tape I had loaned to him. His response: “Tell her to go fuck herself.” Years later he tried to be pleasant. I just couldn’t do it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

176/365: Michael

He’s afraid of tall giraffes, of some birds, of bears, of pirates, of earthquakes and volcanos, of planes, of insects, of monsters under the bed, and of going to the doctor. Michael is a writer. He is also an artist at Creativity Explored, an art center in San Francisco for people with developmental disabilities, where he has participated since shortly after its inception in 1983.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

175/365: John #3

I was terrified.. He was my first “big time” interview and knew almost nothing about him or his field. A big, bushy-headed man who looked imposing. But he was on the phone when I arrived at his office and as I waited, I spied a book by a woman I admired. That was my jumping off comment and we got along just fine after that.

Friday, December 19, 2008

174/365: June

What a monumental talent. A large woman with a huge voice, magnificent actress. Yet with no sense at all of how popular she was. One of my crowning achievements was arranging to have her honored at a huge theater event. I made 3 very special cakes. She had no idea and I didn’t care. I just wanted to see her get the recognition she deserved.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

173/365: R.E.

I haven’t seen RE since he was a child, but I used to be his babysitter. Today the kid would be diagnosed as having ADD. What a hellion. He and I shared a very scary experience when he was about 2 and I took him to the park. A guy followed us and tried to attack me, but I guess my screams scared him away.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

172/365: Sonia

Our Brasilian daughter. She came as a stranger, moved into our hearts, met the love of her life while living here, and about 5 years later, married him. I was matron of honor. She is one of the most loving people I ever met and I’m sorry that we don’t see each other more often. She helped me learn to speak Portuguese and make feijoada.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

171/365: Park Hyun Joo

This was a little Korean girl I “adopted” through Foster Parents Plan and sent money and gifts to for many years. It bothered me that when she became too old for the program, my sponsorship was just ended, with no opportunity to follow her later. It kind of soured me on sponsorship programs in general, though we did sponsor a few other kids after that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

170/365: Ann #2

We were always better pen pals than face-to-face friends. When her son committed suicide, she told me that what kept her going during that time were my letters. When our son died, I knew she would be the one person who would understand, but she kind of disappeared. It brought back painful memories for her. I never felt the same closeness with her after that.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

169/365: Anja

Poor Anja was a classmate of our daughter-in-law’s in veterinary school and was the vet who put one of our dogs to sleep shortly after our son died. She felt our pain on many levels. Unfortunately, over the next 6 months she had to put down another 2 of our dogs. We shared a lot of pain with those deaths. She was always so caring.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

168/365: Uncle Ernie

Not MY uncle, but Walt’s. The kids loved him and Ned still makes ‘Uncle Ernie’s mashed potatoes” (the family secret is to add an egg, he says). Cooked fabulous barbequed chicken. I only saw him a few times and never really knew him well, but I always enjoyed being around him and was pleased he had a good relationship with our kids. Died of emphysema.

Friday, December 12, 2008

167/365: Norman

I still blush when I remember that I once asked a chorus person if so-and-so was Norman’s daughter because they looked so much alike. I was so naive in those days. Norman was blatantly homosexual and the idea he had a daughter was ludicrous. Such a talented performer who later moved to Canada and ultimately died of AIDS. A great loss to the theatrical community.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

166/365: Joyce

We were best friends in high school and still exchange Christmas cards. She once wrote the very best Christmas letter I ever read – all about the bad things and the mundane things that had happened to her that year. Very funny. We had lunch about 10 years ago, but haven’t seen each other since, though I tried to get a group of us together recently.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

165/365: The Pediatrician

I wish I could remember his name, but he was a fantastic doctor who took care of our kids when they were tiny. But it was the Vietnam era and he had a son of draft-able age, so he ended up giving up his practice and moving his family to an island in Canada, where he owned a house. He was sorely missed here, though.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

164/365: Irma

Irma owned the building that I grew up in. Four flats and a grocery store on a steep hill in San Francisco. She was a large woman who had a closet full of clothes in sizes small, medium and large (many times the same dress in 3 sizes). She and her husband were apparently involved in theater and her walls were completely filled with photographs.

Monday, December 8, 2008

163/365: The Critic

I was a brand new theater critic when I wrote a review of a show I thought was horrible. There were terrible things wrong. A critic for a big newspaper gave it high marks and a great review. I wrote to ask him what he had seen that I missed and he sent back a snide e-mail asking how I dared to question his opinion.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

162/365: The Tall Guy

This is the tallest man I know, even taller than my friend Ron (who is 6'3"). On the surface he seems a very nice, pleasant man, but the things (legal problems and outright betrayal) he has put his family through because of his gambling addiction make it difficult to look at him without inwardly snarling. His wife is a saint for putting up with him.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

161/365: Felix's Sister

Her brother asked a favor–could I host her for a couple of weeks. She was dour, unpleasant and ungrateful. I took her to Marine World ($35 each) because I learned she liked marine life. While there, I bought a statue she seemed to like as a surprise for her. “Why did you waste your money on this?” she asked when I gave it to her.

Friday, December 5, 2008

160/365: Felix

He was from Yugoslavia when we met him, now Croatia. Very nice man, who seemed a bit overwhelmed by the chaos around here, yet we have remained friends. He went on to get a degree at Cal Tech and now runs a B&B in Washington State with his wife. Reading the rigid rules of the B&B, I think we would never feel comfortable staying there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

159/365: Jane

Our first English-speaking foreign student. Lovely woman. Jeri stayed with her when she visited London. We managed to see her every year somewhere in the world for a long time. Now she works for a pharmaceutical company, married with two kids. We haven’t seen her in about ten years, I think, but her husband writes great Christmas letters that we look forward to each year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

158/365: Liam

This is a kid we will be hearing from in years to come. Very talented film maker I interviewed before the release of his first short film. I learned much about film making talking to him. A pleasant, easy going guy who apparently got a lot accomplished because he was so easy to get along with. The film was good, and I wanted to see more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

157/365: Georgette

We often picked her up on our way to school. I remember she was a quiet little girl and I can picture the house where she lived. One day we saw the word “fuck” written in some new cement. I was instantly nauseous and to this day don’t have a clue why I recognized that word or why it made me ill to see it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

156/365: Mrs. Ratto

Whenever I think of polenta, I think of summers at Sunnyside Cottages in Boyes Hot Springs. It was owned by the Rattos who were, I think, friends of friends. I had my first polenta there and thought how weird to be eating hot cereal for dinner. When I cried as my friend was leaving, she told me “the more you cry, the less you pee.”

Sunday, November 30, 2008

155/365: MPG

How I wish I’d known him when he was a young, idealistic physician working in the backwoods as kind of a hippie doctor, before he started believing his own press and developed such an inflated opinion of himself. He is a good doctor, whom I’d recommend, but hell to work for. He thinks everyone can be superhuman, for not much salary. I wasn’t that altruistic.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

154/365: Karen

I’d never met anybody who inspired the name of a planet before. She is a friend of the some of the writers of Star Trek so they gave a planet her last name. She raises horses. Her web site shows the picture of her horse in the living room of their house, watching “The Black Stallion” on TV. (He really watches the horse, she says)

Friday, November 28, 2008

153/365: Alan

What a sweet man. He had the unenviable position of stepping into a management position following a long period of turmoil. He suffered the backlash and didn’t last long. But he and I were good friends. He lost his home in the huge Oakland fire in 1991. Stood across the freeway from the fire and watch his house (and all those of his neighbors) burn.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

152/365: George Ede

We saw him do a production of “DeathTrap” in San Francisco. He had very white skin and very white hair and at one point in the play, he blushes so red you can see it all the way to the balcony. He was a friend of some friends and we met him after the show for a midnight supper and I learned his blushing secret.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

151/365: Tony

Tony smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. He told me he spends his day on the bench outside the supermarket. He was excited that I took his picture and asked for a copy. We talked about the homeless shelter (where I used to volunteer and where he goes for a shower every day). It was months before I saw him again to give him the photo.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

150/365: Sister Colette

Poor dear was not cut out to be a teacher, but was being obedient. She had the difficult task of teaching biology. It embarrassed her so much that she skipped the chapters on reproduction entirely. Later, they had to get another teacher in to re-teach the class or we would not have had the right credits to get into college. Sweet lady, but no teacher!

Monday, November 24, 2008

149/365: Jill

She absolutely sparkled on stage. There was something magical about her performances. She had a lovely voice. She was one of my favorites. I was in a shop one day and saw this little mousy-looking clerk who looked familiar. She came up to my shyly and said hello. I realized it was the same person. That amazing personality disappeared when she got off the stage.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

148/365: Smiley

One of the funniest ladies I ever met. She gave demonstrations of sex toys in Texas, where it is illegal to sell them. I never saw her wares, but I heard lots of stories. Unfortunately, I’ve lost contact with her now but I’m sure she’s still carrying her little bag of toys around with her wherever she goes. (Maybe that’s why they call her “Smiley”!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

147/365: Marcello

What a rotten kid! What a terrible attitude! He was a surfer dude from Rio de Janeiro who figured all of California was beachfront property, but found himself in the interior valley. Said he spoke English, but didn’t. Had no interest in anything but seeing and photographing the ocean (difficult to do from 80 miles away). A spoiled rich kid we endured for six months.

Friday, November 21, 2008

146/365: Caico

What a great kid! What a great attitude! This sports enthusiast found himself stuck in this theater-oriented family but determined he would try everything and do everything. He brought such energy and such joy to our house for six months. He and our kitten had a love affair. He was terrified of scary movies. I wonder where he is now. One of the “special ones.”

Thursday, November 20, 2008

145/365: Herb

I lost my job because of Herb. He was my favorite client. I often went the extra mile for him, sometimes working on the weekends if he had a rush job. I never charged my boss overtime for me and never charged Herb overtime...but she felt that I should, and so after we had “words,” she fired me. I took his business with me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

144/365: Stephen

He was my first “best friend.” He introduced me to the Black Stallion books and set me off on a lifetime of reading about animals. We played baseball in his apartment’s tiny courtyard. We hid from the “boogie man.” He took me to my first dance, but we were both shy, so we never dated. He later married, had kids, and then found a boyfriend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

143/365: The History Teacher

She started my sophomore year. She was a lay teacher in a Catholic school, which was unusual in the 1950s. She made history come alive in a way I had never experienced before. It was fun, exciting, interesting. My favorite class. But she left mid-year to get married and her replacement, appalled at our lack of progress, had us memorizing dates. History died that day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

142/365: Sister Mary Alice

She taught us chemistry. She and I clashed often, but when my mother and I visited Hawaii, she put me in touch with her family, who treated us like princesses. It was all for “Wilma,” they said. She never seemed happy as a nun and it was no surprise when I learned years later that she had left the order and returned to “civilian” life.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

141/365: Ralph

Alcoholism is a terrible disease. I remember this tall, handsome Naval officer who took us on a special tour of a water plane. I remember fun barbeques at their home, laughter and good food and of course the booze. And then there was an ugly divorce, a family torn apart, children forever affected. He reached bottom and never pulled himself up again. So very sad.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

140/365: Pat #4

My parents always thought we were such good friends from birth, but I hated visiting his family. He teased me unmercifully. Later we attended the same college and I remember the accident when he lost his eye. Didn’t see him again for many years and we were both now old and fat. Next I heard he died suddenly of cancer he didn’t know he had.

Friday, November 14, 2008

139/365: Chris

Who knows what drives a person to take her own life? I only knew her face to face very briefly, but we kept up an e-mail correspondence and I was shocked when she got into the car and turned on the gas. It seemed she had so much to live for – a new career, a new grandchild. Apparently left no note, so we’ll never know.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

138/365: Ellen #2

If she has ordered anything that needs syrup, watch out. She has been known to have some spectacular accidents. This small package is a real powerhouse. Reminds me of columnist and critic Carolyn Fay Fox. Fabulous Mom, devoted to her family, while having an active career as a Public Defender. If you’re looking for someone to be sure you remain “grounded” this is your person.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

137/365: Mary #2

It’s always such fun to meet someone you’ve known for many years on line and find that they are just exactly as you expected them to be. We spent a delightful day together, then met our husbands for a lovely dinner. It was one of the highlights of our brief weekend excursion to the east coast. Like meeting an old friend I’d never seen before.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

136/365: Boss Lady

We came together briefly, with others, to work on a project together, under your direction. For some reason we really were like oil and water. Everything I did you found fault with and everything you said hit me the wrong way. I could never say anything to co-workers because everyone thought you could do no wrong and were absolutely wonderful. I must have missed something.

Monday, November 10, 2008

135/365: Howard

A quiet unassuming man who, I learned recently, is a many-times decorated war hero (including a purple heart).  But he doesn’t speak of it.  He came home to get a degree as a counselor and to work with young people, become active in many civic organizations and to found a local theater company.  I came away from our interview with a profound respect for him.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

134/365: Gerry

We were roommates,  friends, godmothers to each other’s children.  Things became strained when she became born again and Right-to-Life. I worked in a clinic that performed abortions and was active in gay rights.  We usually avoid difficult subjects, but I was angry when she declined our daughter’s wedding invitation because she felt they were being “frivolous” about their marriage. Our friendship ended because of it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

133/365: Spencer

I didn’t go to his funeral.  I didn’t want to pretend we liked each other. He liked me less than I liked him, though he was my boss and we worked together for five years.  We were at constant odds.  At the time I left, we weren’t even speaking to each other.  He had a hellish, lingering death, though.  His purgatory on earth, I guess.

Friday, November 7, 2008

132/365: Ellen

People were lining up at the box office to return tickets because Montserrat Caballe had cancelled.  We were all lining up to get tickets because our friend Ellen was filling in for her in Roberto Deveraux at the San Francisco Opera.  Such an exciting night.  My first time backstage after a major opera.  She was no Caballe, but she did us all proud that night.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

131/365: D.C. Fontana

She was one of Star Trek’s top writers.  She also worked with David Gerrold teaching a course at Pepperdine University.   Four of us (David, Dorothy, myself and David’s son, Sean) met at a greasy spoon for dinner.  I marveled that I was sitting with two of the giants of TV sci fi, eating hamburgers.  I thought about what a very strange life I have led.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

130/365: Sue

She opened the first bakery in town and she hired me as its first cake decorator.  Both of us were trying to figure out what we were doing.  I had only done cakes out of my own home and didn’t have a clue how to be a bakery cake decorator.  But I didn’t do too badly.  I stayed until she could hire a “real” baker.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

129/365: Jeannie #2

I will always think of her as Peter Pan.  We were roommates in college and she had as big a crush on Mary Martin as I had on Judy Garland (only Mary Martin had actually written to her).  She played Peter Pan at Oakland’s Fairytale Town.  I was not a good roommate to her and I feel guilty about that.  I was gone too much.

Monday, November 3, 2008

128/365: John

The last time I saw him he had kaposi sarcoma lesions on his face, slunk down in the back of the theater watching the show he had designed.  “It’s wonderful,” I said, giving him a hug.  “I liked the last one better,” he grumbled.  Weeks later he was gone. He was a talented actor, dancer, choreographer, designer.  Tom Hanks acknowledged him in his Oscar speech.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

127/365: Virginia

“Call me when you’re in town and maybe we can get together” she always says.  “I’m never ‘just in town’ but I’d be more than happy to make a special trip.  Pick a date,” I always respond.  So we never see each other.  But I’m sure we will “some day.”  I saw her last at Paul’s funeral, nine years ago.  Maybe it’s for the best.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

126/365: Nelson

My adopted Brasilian brother.  He led 2 groups of Brasilian students on 3-week home stays here in the 1980s and he stayed with us. We have been good friends ever since and he has come back alone, and with his wife and daughter.  He took Walt and me on a lovely vacation to a time share on Kauai a few years ago.  Great guy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

125/365: Herc

He’s responsible for my not taking care of my teeth for 20 years. He was my dentist and yelled at me for not flossing. I was so terrified of his yelling at me again, I never kept my next appointment and when we moved 80 miles away, I just never found a dentist...for 20 years. Now I have a great dentist who never yells.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

124/365: Can You Hear Me Now?

This person drives me insane. I love her dearly, but she wants instant answers to e-mails and will send follow-up emails, then phone calls “Did you get my message?” Yet, when I have a question to ask her, I might wait days before she responds. If I point this out, she gets her feelings hurt, so I just let it go and don’t say anything.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

123/365: RM

“She’s a phony,” Peggy told me when she met her. I was offended–this was my friend. We were a friendship three-some, at first work friends, meeting weekly and giggling like teens, sharing secrets. But when the third in our three-some moved out of town, I never heard from her again. She’s cordial if we meet, or if I call, but Peggy was right–she’s a phony.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

122/365: The Interloper

I have been jealous of you for more than 20 years. You stepped into the place where I should be. Sometimes I think you are the favorite one when it should be me. You have the advantage of proximity and competence and when I hear you referred to as the closest one, it makes my stomach grind but there’s nothing I can do about it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

121/365: Family Friend

Another Amway sales person. She hounded me for months to come and learn how we could “save on taxes.” I finally told her that we’d be happy to come as long as she could assure me this was not an Amway plug. She was furious and accused me to trying to keep her from feeding her children. Sadly, our friendship never recovered from that argument.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

120/365: Paula

It’s an interesting experience sitting around your child’s nursery school teacher’s house with all of your child’s nursery school parents passing around a marijuana cigarette. I didn’t know how to smoke and didn’t try. Given my addictive nature, that’s probably a good thing. She was young and brought fresh life to the nursery school, not necessarily related to the pot. We remember Paula’s Pit Plate.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

119/365: Peter

This was one of the only real mistakes that I think I made in writing a review. I had interviewed him and based my review of his show on that interview, but on second thought I hated what he did with a play that I really like and tried to change it to reflect that, but the review had already been sent to the printer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

118/365: Jess

I never figured out why he was such a bitter man. He was the box office manager for a theater group, the first voice or face that people encountered and yet he was so negative, and sometimes downright nasty. He was not the most pleasant person to work with, which I did for several years. After many years, he was finally fired by new management.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

117/365: Bob #3

Friend of my parents. He always reminded me of Robert Q. Lewis. Pleasant guy. My most striking memory is having an argument with him about a photo of me which had been taken when I was thin. He insisted it was a picture of my mother and wouldn’t believe it was me, since I was so fat at the time. Made me feel like shit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

116/365: Fred #3

I didn’t appreciate my godfather enough while he was alive. I knew him as a lonely old vacuum cleaner salesman and didn’t appreciate his athletic accomplishments as a young man (he was a champion 5-day bicycle racer) until I found his newspaper clippings after his death. I remember his cigars, the Sees candy he always brought, and telling the same jokes year after year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

115/365: Terri

She doesn’t blog any more, but she blogged daily (for many years). Her struggles with weight and her decision to take up bike riding were a great inspiration for me when I was going through the same thing. We met for lunch a couple of times, met for a bike ride once. Her biggest inspiration was as a writer, and I miss her daily entries.

Monday, October 20, 2008

114/365: Marie #2

I am incredibly proud of Marie. She came from Mexico (she had dual citizenship through her American father) and lived with us during her senior year. She earned a Masters Degree in business. She now owns two restaurants in Sacramento, which have won all sorts of awards in the Sacramento Community. Helped her sisters move to the U.S. and got them started in business.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

113/365: Pat #3

Pat was a lovely blind man who lived in a small apartment two blocks from my high school. The sisters took him lunch every day, and I frequently went along to visit him, as well as a handful of other poor people they served. But Pat was always my favorite. I still see him, sitting in the window of his apartment, just waiting for us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

112/365: Sister Benedicta

Little grandmotherly person who taught me both algebra and Latin. She was very easy to distract and our trick was to get her reminiscing about something so we didn’t have to work in class. When I wanted to go to college, she tutored me privately in Algebra II because the school didn’t offer that class and I would need it to apply to UC Berkeley.

Friday, October 17, 2008

111/365: Bob #2

Oh Bob...Bob...Bob. An attorney I worked for, part time. He was famous for chasing secretaries around his “liberry” table. After I stopped working for him, he wanted to hire me to sit in the office one day while he was in court and take notes about anybody who talked so he could reprimand them, like we were in high school. I said no.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

110/365: Martin Yan

He gave expensive cooking classes at UC Davis back in the 70s and at the same taught the same class through the adult school for a $20 fee. This was long before he became a famous TV chef. We had a great time and I learned how to cook lots of Chinese food. Every class gave him an apron as a gift at the end.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

109/365: The Volunteer

I called her the closest thing to a saint I ever met. She was constantly helping people, collecting and sorting things for the poor, making visitations to people in need, traveling to Mexico with her husband to work among the poor. Not a mean bone in her body and I admired her so much. I was too selfish to do all she did for people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

108/365: Timo

Timo was a local clown who performed at all sorts of carnival type events. We happened to be in the same car with him once, riding high above the California State Fair. Timo was in costume, but had his kid with him. The kid was misbehaving and Timo was yelling at him. What nightmares that kid must have had, being yelled at by a clown!

Monday, October 13, 2008

107/365: Katherine

I don’t care if she WAS over 100 years old, she was the biggest bitch I ever met. My mother’s mother-in-law hated us so much she would leave the room when our family arrived and if forced to be in the same room with us, kept her eyes down and refused to speak, even when we tried to be friendly. Nobody mourned when she died.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

106/365: Fred #2

I will forever be grateful for the happiness he gave my mother for 18 years. She deserved every good he brought to her life. But, frankly, I couldn’t stand the guy. He was a bigot, he gave to everybody, but never let you forget it. I was never part of “his” family and didn’t start to know his kids until 10 years after he died.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

105/365: Buddy Ebsen

TV’s “Jed Clampett” directed what was one of the very worst plays I ever saw (name of which I’ve forgotten, fortunately). We went to opening night and were standing in the lobby before the show when I literally backed into him and stepped on his foot. A brief, but painful encounter! I was shocked at how much older he looked than he did on TV.

Friday, October 10, 2008

104/365: Ernie

What fun it was to sit in the control booth and watch Ernie direct the evening news. I’d never seen how a news broadcast went behind the scenes before. He was also director, for awhile, for “America’s Most Wanted” and for Fox Sports. His kitchen has a shelf filled with his Emmys. He is also Walt’s family seanachai, a golfer, and a very nice guy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

103/365: Father Joe

My mother’s good friend till his death, more than 60 years. Liked my sister, didn’t like me. I was his scapegoat when we were both at the Newman Center. Despite that, he did a lot for the poor of Mexico, but at home he and I clashed whenever we were together, especially at David’s funeral. Perhaps because he reminded me so much of my father.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

102/365: Helen

I always smiled when she was a member of the State Assembly and would drive my house late at night, in her bathrobe and slippers, to pick up work I had done for her husband. She’s been a fabulous representative, whether of the PTA, the school board, the state assembly or as county supervisor. I’m glad to have been her supporter (and long time friend)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

101/365: Henry

There are few people in this life that I loathe, but he’s on top of the list. Too bad that he is forever in my friend’s life and she can’t extricate herself. I lived with them for 6 weeks and I was so terrified of him I barricaded my bedroom door each night. He made me kiss him daily when he drove me to work.

Monday, October 6, 2008

100/365: Eduardo

Our family life would have been significantly different if Eduardo had been an unpleasant person, but this 21 year old Brasilian was so charming he set the stage for us to have 70 other foreign students over the next 10 years. He changed our lives. He now lives in Canada with his family. His daughter is nearly as old he was when he lived here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

99/365: The Know It All

He exhausts me. I would find him a lot more interesting if he took time to take a breath and let someone else get a word in edgewise. But he knows everything, has the inside track on everybody and doesn’t have the slightest interest in what your opinion is of everything because no matter what it is, chances are he knows it’s not quite right.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

98/365: Greg

I had dates with two guys in the same night once and I can’t remember if Greg was #1 or #2. I don’t even remember who the second guy was. We called him “Yogi” and he was a sports writer for the school paper. I connected with him once, after we were both married and our kids grown. He hadn’t changed much in the interim

Friday, October 3, 2008

97/365: "I'm Only Trying to Help"

If you want someone who is going to go over everything you write with a fine tooth comb for accuracy, this is your person. Checks every message of mine, every blog entry of mine and is sure to let me know where I’ve made my mistakes. Over time, I have tried to share less and less because I don’t like feeling like a stupid idiot.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

96/365: Pat

We were almost roommates in college, but I pulled the rug out from under her and decided to live alone in the studio apartment. She went on to a career in the news business and I see her on television from time to time, though she has changed her name now. I find it hard to recognize her for the person I knew in 1962.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

95/365: Bertha

I see her at irregular intervals. She’s a nice, but intense lady who always bothers me because she is one of those people who step into your physical space. She can’t talk to you unless she’s no more than 6 inches from your face. I keep backing up and she never gets the hint. It makes it impossible to concentrate on what she’s talking about.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

94/365: Stephen #2

A true Renaissance man. He sings, dances, acts, directs, has a radio show, is a published author, was editor for Sunset Magazine, helped found and run another magazine. On top of that he’s a really nice guy too. Has the largest collection of CDs of anybody I know. Loves beagles. Throws nice parties. We are great partners for “the name game” on New Year’s eve

Monday, September 29, 2008

93/365: Dr. Roth

He was obstetrician for my last 4 babies. I know women were terrified of him because he was so gruff, but he and I hit it off. I just loved him. After I gave birth in 1970, he asked me to save breast milk for a baby in trouble. I coordinated a group of women to donate milk and contributed myself through 2 different babies.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

92/365: Dick #2

We were so incredibly fortunate to have moved to Davis at a time when Dick was still in charge of the music program at Davis High School. He had a huge impact on our kids (and on our daughter-in-law). He is a wonderful man who, sadly, is now suffering from dementia and no longer remembers names. Eventually will he forget how many lives he changed?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

91/365: Martin

Poor Martin was our neighbor and my date for the Senior Prom because my old boyfriend had gone off to be a Jesuit brother. Martin was an OK guy, but I felt nothing for him and was less than sparkling all evening. When he brought me home, he wanted a kiss and the idea repulsed me. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him since!

Friday, September 26, 2008

90/365: Janet

Janet’s family had a lovely home in the hills overlooking Sausalito. Her father was manager for Macy*s department store in San Francisco. She was a beautiful girl (inside and out) I went to grammar school with, but we lost track of each other in 1956. I imagine she married, had several children and is now living in some stately manor, entertaining a passel of grandchildren.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

89/365: Marc

Marc blogs more than just about anybody I know. He will write 3, 4, 5, or more entries a day. Some short observations, some long observations, copies of political stuff, news from Australia, local theater information, and stuff about his dog. I try to keep up – honest! But sometimes it exhausts me trying to get through all that stuff. And I thought I was bad!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

88/365: Jeannie

I made a BIG mistake once in giving her my phone number so she could help me with a computer problem I was having. At first it was OK, but then she started calling me regularly, and talking for at least half an hour or longer about stuff I wasn’t interested in. I finally stopped answering the phone when I saw her on Caller ID.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

87/365: The Cutie

I never knew her name. I thought of her as “the cutie at the post office.” I always tried to get in her line. She was a runner. We talked about her upcoming races and my recent bike rides (in the days when I still rode). Unfortunately, just as we were getting friendly, she transferred to a different city and I haven’t seen her since.

Monday, September 22, 2008

86/365: Johnny

Oh what fun we had – Johnny, his sister, myself and my sister -- putting on shows in his parents’ basement. We’d string a blanket between two posts on a clothesline for a curtain. I think I was the announcer. We charged our parents and extraneous people 25 cents to come and see us. Unfortunately no great budding talent emerged from those plays, but we had fun.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

85/365: Georgia #2

Because of her, I actually studied an opera – Tosca – and loved it when I saw her perform the title role. We had a short, intense friendship, confiding in each other about our joys, sorrows, and frustrations. Then it all ended in a flash when she decided she no longer wanted to be involved with me. How do you just give up on a close friendship?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

84/365: Fred

Everyone was afraid of Fred, yet he and I had a great relationship and he remains my friend to this day, nearly 50 years after I began working for him. He was gruff because he expected things done right. He wrote a textbook, which I typed 3x in the pre-Selectric days. When I left, he learned to type because nobody else could read his handwriting.

Friday, September 19, 2008

83/365: Bill #4

My first real boyfriend. We started dating after he was injured in an auto accident. I visited him in the hospital every day. I was so incredibly naive and had no clue why he said some of the things he did (e.g., “prove you love me”). We dated off and on for 3 years and then he entered the seminary and became a Jesuit brother.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

82/365: Henrique

Came to Davis by bus, unannounced, having traveled from Brasil on a hope. He called us from the bus station and asked if he could come to our house. He stayed 5 months, got a job working in a restaurant and learned to speak English. My favorite memory is watching him on the patio teaching our two youngest sons the Brasilian martial art form, capoeira.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

81/365: Sister Bernadine

A large, sturdy woman who said she read obits each morning to see if she was alive. I suspect she was funnier than she let students know. She was my sewing teacher. I was the bane of her existence because I couldn’t sew my way into a paper bag. I made a few things, but none that I ever wore again after they were finished.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

80/365: Mrs. D

She was our Brownie Scout leader. She had been in an internment camp during WWII. Now worked in an old San Francisco Victorian. We met once a week and she always had fun activities for us, like making cookies in the mansion kitchen, or all sitting around a recording machine recording our voices onto a wax disc to take home and play for our parents.

Monday, September 15, 2008

79/365: Barb

She was the only person from my former job with whom I kept in contact. Her health problems and family problems eventually dissolved that relationship. She writes now and then, but we don’t get together any more. I miss our occasional lunches. I never understood why she had such a low opinion of herself because she is such a wonderful, caring person whom everybody loves.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

78/365: Donna

Donna got me out on the bike trails every Saturday, pushing me to the limit. I would never have done as much biking as I did without her encouragement. But she was my daughter’s age and needed more than a fat old lady as a biking companion, so our weekly get togethers finally stopped. Still, without her, I would never have done it at all.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

77/365: LT

Another clandestine affair gone awry, with me in the middle again. The marriage broke up, the affair broke up. We were thrown together in a very close relationship for 2-3 years, but after all the emotional turmoil, the tenuous friendship we had couldn’t survive. She retreated completely after David died because she couldn’t deal with her pain about it. (Her pain? He was my son!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

76/365: Harlan Ellison

I went to Harlan’s house (Ellison Wonderland) with a friend to drop off books. Was surprised to see that this giant of a sci fi writer was the size of Danny DeVito. His home reflected his stature, with shorter than normal doorways, etc. Wall to wall books. I heard he was irascible and doesn’t like people, but I like irascibles. We got along all right.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

75/365: The Store Clerk

She hired me to make her daughter’s birthday cakes, but there was confusion about the pick-up time. I thought she was coming in the afternoon and I was finishing in the morning. She came in the morning, had a hissy fit, told me I’d “ruined her daughter’s birthday.” She wouldn’t even take them as a gift. I stopped selling cakes then–it wasn’t worth the hassle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

74/365: Georgia

Though deaf and blind, she was sharp as a tack, with an IQ off the charts. She read 12 languages fluently. Could converse with anybody on her “versi” (a versibraille machine). She supported herself by working for CompuServe giving assistance to people with handicaps so they could become part of the computer age. The Windows operating system slowed her briefly, but she figured it out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

73/365: Judy #3

I feel bad that I screwed her out of a lot of money. My boss hired her to do bookkeeping, but when she couldn’t get her computer running and did it all by hand, he refused to pay her. I never called her again. I know she put in a LOT of time on the project. She used to be my friend. I feel guilty.

Monday, September 8, 2008

72/365: The Transsexual

He was a female-to-male transsexual, without the surgery, so required yearly Pap smears at our office. Sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet. We scheduled him for a PFLAG meeting on transsexuality but when publicity appeared in the paper, he was terrified someone would try to beat him up and spent an hour with me giving me information because he couldn’t come to the meeting.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

71/365: The Patient

I had been typing notes from her psychiatry sessions for years when she showed up at our ob/gyn office for a checkup. I had never seen her and stationed myself at the front desk so I could finally see what she looked like. She had a very...shall we say...unique mental health history. Presumably she still does, but I no longer type the reports.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

70/365: Leonard

Little, balding, nondescript man who was our local parish priest and I had such a crush on him. I don’t have a clue why. My very first crush. He drove a shocking pink and grey Chevrolet, chosen because he was colorblind and couldn’t see the real color. He told me my name translated to “Beaver Lake,” so he called me that until I grew up.

Friday, September 5, 2008

69/365: Bill #3

Now this was a character. Extremely liberal guy who started a give-away political newspaper. I worked setting type and editing the entertainment calendar (gave me free reign – bad idea!). I remember when he was arrested and sent to jail for non-payment of parking tickets. Our pay checks bounced. He finally closed the office, giving me an IBM Selectric as payment, which was OK by me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

68/365: Bill #2

When I met him he was living (though not too well) with AIDS and Hepatitis C. We were friends for a long time before we discovered we were cousins, several times removed. I helped care for him one hot Texas summer. We watched birds at the bird feeder and watched lots of Home and Garden television. He died several years ago. A very sweet man.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

67/365: The Theatre Diva

She heads up one of the local theaters. We originally got off on the wrong foot because I picked the wrong time to suggest a play to her. We settled that years ago, but she has no idea that I know what a diva hissy fit she threw in my friend’s theater. She seems to be quite popular in town, but she doesn’t fool me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

66/365: Nat

Big, tall, curly-headed father of my friend. He was Italian and worked for the local scavenger service. Yet he owned an apartment building and they always seemed well off. After watching The Sopranos I began to wonder if he was west-coast Mafia! He was ambidextrous and drove my mother crazy playing tennis because he could stand in one place and hit balls with either hand.

Monday, September 1, 2008

65/365: David

Wrote one of the all time classic science fiction TV scripts. He’s a complicated man who can be very good, or very, very bad (I’ve seen both). I don’t know why we remain friends because he only calls when he wants something. But he drove 400 miles to bring me a shaggy dog because ours died. And he presided at graveside services for our son.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

64/365: Joycie

She was my “big sister” in high school and we were a rare duo who stay in contact to this day. She got me a summer job the year I graduated (1960). Though she lives only an hour away, we haven’t seen each other in 20 years. She keeps saying she’ll let me know when she has some free time. How busy can she be?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

63/365: Dick

We dated briefly in college, but it was a partnership that would have been a disaster. He’s too persnickety. I nearly killed him when we played Scrabble. He took literally ten minutes to examine every friggin’ move from all angles. He married my roommate and they are perfect for each other. We remain friends, though we disagree on everything. Rum punch is a great equalizer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

62/365: The Football Player

I don’t remember his name, but he invited me on a hay ride shortly after I moved into the dorm on the Berkeley campus. Girls started telling me horror stories about what a Lothario he was and by the time of our date, I was petrified. I spent the entire night trying to get away from him. I was probably his very worst date ever.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

61/365: Judy Garland

She was my lifelong passion. In 1960, when she toured with her Carnegie Hall concert, I sat in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, waiting for her to register. She didn’t show up the first day, so I went back the second day and was there when she came in. I got her autograph and took her picture. She was so tiny.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

60/365: Earl

Ever eat Swenson’s ice cream? Earl Swenson set up shop a block from our flat long before his business became a franchise. He made great ice cream (I loved fresh peach). Every Halloween, he gave free ice cream (pumpkin or licorice) to any kid who showed up in costume and a photographer would take pictures of groups of us, which our parents could buy later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

59/365: Louis

I barely remember him, but he owned a grocery store near our house (the “big” grocery store), and another several blocks away. I remember him as being bald. That’s about it. But when I was sick with the measles, he sent a kitten home for me. It was black with four white feet and I called him Socksie. But, sadly, he ran away one day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

58/365: Michelle Phillips

I attended a bridal shower at her house. Found Rock Hall of Fame award covered with dust hidden behind stuff on the piano in the hall. Gorgeous photo of her in performance with the Mamas & Pappas in her bedroom. Photo of one of the Baldwin men, with baby, on her bookcase. Fabulous margaritas and Mexican food for brunch. She offered me a joint. I declined.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

57/365: Riccardo

The most unpleasant foreign student we ever hosted. I thought he wanted a summer adventure. His parents just wanted him out of the house and away from his boyfriend. He only wanted to be with his boyfriend. Refused to speak to us, in any language, returned to his home after three weeks and sent a note saying that he hated us and everything about us.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

56/365: Jose

You never know what is going on with him. First he was gay, then he was “tired of being gay.” Then he married a woman. Now he’s divorced and back living in his native country. Months will pass between contacts and when we communicate again, his life has taken another 180-degree turn! Has the most screwed up family I know – so maybe that’s why.

Friday, August 22, 2008

55/365: Mandy

She’s 61 years old now and I’ve known her since she was in grammar school. Never at any point in her life have I known her to be happy, or even to smile. She comes to social gatherings and sits off somewhere, reading a book. She has a negative comment or a snide put-down to make about everything. What a wasted life she has lived.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

54/365: Sister Mary Victor

She sat in a loft room and waited for victims. She was my piano teacher and the reason I do not play the piano. She sat beside me and rapped me on the knuckles if I didn’t hold my fingers right or played wrong keys. I wonder how many sadists there are in convents! I learned about the placement of instruments in an orchestra, though.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

53/365: Estelle

Prim and proper Bostonian friend of my mother’s. Walt and I visited her, when we visited NY for the first time. We made the mistake of sightseeing instead of coming to her home with her and her husband (strangers to us). She gave us the silent treatment. Refused to eat with us. I guess all was forgiven when she showed me my first “live” snowfall.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

52/365: Patricia

One of our Brasilians. I don’t remember how she came to us, but privately, not through a program. Didn’t speak English well, but we got along. Beautiful girl. I remember her very drunk one night and collapsing on the floor in our guest bathroom, vomiting. I left Ned to handle her because he could speak Portuguese at the time. She threw her shoe at him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

51/365: Marilyn

She was the daughter of a woman my father dated before marrying my mother and the 2 couples remained friends. I had to go to her birthday parties every year and hated it. She was rich and pretty, I didn’t know anybody and hung around my mother, who kept telling me to “go play.” I was glad when I didn’t have to go any more!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

50/365: John #2

One of my biggest thrills was going to an international Gilbert and Sullivan festival in England, meeting my favorite D’Oyly Carte patterman, John Reed, giving him a copy of our book, and having him give me a big kiss. It just doesn’t get better than that! He was retired from performing, but I had enjoyed his performances for years, through traveling productions and on records.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

49/365: Sunny

For years we only knew him as “Southern Ireland,” a man we met in a pub in County Mayo, Ireland, with a brogue so thick–and not at all made clearer for the amount of Guinness he’d imbibed. He got our kids up doing Irish dancing and invited us to “join him at The Squealing Pig tomorrow.” (But it wasn’t as much fun the next night)

Friday, August 15, 2008

48/365: Clark Kelso

Clark is the federally appointed head of the state’s prisons, now causing statewide confusion with the California budget. I heard Attorney General Jerry Brown railing about him on the radio this morning. I remember when Clark was just an attorney, sang with the Sacramento Opera, and we were on the board of the Davis Comic Opera Company together. He was a no-nonsense guy even then.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

47/365: Ken

He graduated from high school with Tom, our #4 child and married about two years ago. He was in the jazz choir with Tom and David. I remember him as a kid following his father around on stage during a production of The Mikado. What a shock it was to learn tonight that he had a heart attack and died today. He was only 38.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

46/365: Germaine

I was there to interview her husband, who was fascinating, but she was the whipped cream on the sundae. Delightful woman, in-depth knowledge of the Middle East from living there. Talked about the fall of the Shah from having lived through it She was a teacher, an actress, spoke conversational Farsi, and on top of it all, made me feel so comfortable in their home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

45/365: Rinde (RIN-dee)

What a force of nature this performer / dancer / singer / choreographer / writer / director is. A unique individual, a brilliant mind. I was so glad I had a working tape recorder for our interview. I had to actually study it to figure out what he was saying half the time. I love my job–I get to meet incredible people! I hope I didn’t sound like an idiot.

Monday, August 11, 2008

44/365: Alison

She was there at the right time and she had the expertise to get the project organized. She and I and another woman – initially all strangers to each other – came together to produce “The Lamplighters: 25 Years of Gilbert & Sullivan in San Francisco.” What an exciting project. What a tremendous sense of accomplishment! Go ahead–look me up on or in the Library of Congress!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

43/365: Marie #2

It came to me who she reminds me of: Marian Lorne. The same blank stare, same deadpan humor. Neat lady. I remember when she called her now-late husband “Underfoot.” I don’t think I ever met him, but I always enjoyed “Underfoot” stories. I never know if that blank expression is real or just a persona that she puts on. Always enjoy spending time with her.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

42/365: Eric

You quickly become comfortable with nudity when it surrounds you. Eric directed a show called “The Undressed Project.” I met him and his naked cast in a rehearsal loft in San Francisco, to interview them and take their picture. By the end of the hour, I was the uncomfortable one, because I was dressed. Unfortunately, I was out of town and couldn’t review the show.

Friday, August 8, 2008

41/365: Jim

Jim knew/knows everybody in show business. Friend of Ethel Merman, played backgammon with Lucille Ball, directed by Piper Laurie. An award-winning actor and playwright, and my friend. He drove me around town playing a recording of telephone messages from famous people, including Lucy. He is a big bear of a man with a huge, enveloping hug, a larger than life personality and a terrific husband.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

40/365: Jade

Probably the most fun interview I’ve done. We met for coffee at Borders and quickly dispensed with the subject of the show she was directing, and talked about her amazing background. I was intrigued because she came from Australia and we were able to talk about that country. I’ll be interviewing her again later this year, if her plans for a new production work out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

39/365: Sam

I first saw him as Puck in a university production of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He was the kind of actor you couldn’t take your eyes off of. I reviewed his performances several times, and interviewed him once or twice. He’s now been offered the opportunity to dance in England. He is an immense talent. I’m sure he has many great opportunities ahead of him!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

38/365: Juan

The only proctologist I ever met. He was a shy guy who lived with us for 3 weeks, the leader of a group of students from Chile. He introduced me to empanadas and taught me to dance the cueca. We visited the redwoods near San Francisco and he ran into a student he had known in med school. It is a small world after all!

Monday, August 4, 2008

37/365: Shell Shocked Guy

They said he was a WWII Veteran who had been shell shocked. I didn’t know what that meant, but I was afraid of him. We saw him all over the neighborhood, always wearing the same dirty clothes, a hat on his head, hunched over in a unique body posture, swinging his arms, and talking to himself. Now they’d say he has post-traumatic stress, I suppose.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

36/365: Camera Store Guy

I was a regular at the camera store when Jeri was a baby, spending hundreds of dollars on photos. This guy was my favorite clerk. I was delighted when he invited Walt and me to join his wife and him for dinner one night. How disappointed I was to discover that it was just a pitch to sign up with Amway. Changed our relationship forever.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

35/365: Mavis

She asked if we would host a student from Brasil for 3 weeks, and with that request she changed our lives. At the end of three weeks, our student stayed another 4 months, Ned lived with his family in Brasil for a year, and I took over coordinating groups of foreign students. We hosted 70 students from 14 different countries over the next 10 years.

Friday, August 1, 2008

34/365: Marie

She was born at Tanforan racetrack, where her family was interned during World War II, which I always told her explained her lifelong love of horses. She played a mean piano version of “Flight of the Bumblebee.” We went to grammar school together and were members of the “rosary club” in high school. I have thought about her often and wonder where she is today.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

33/365: Judy #2

I tried for literally decades to find out whatever happened to her. We were best friends in grammar school. Finally one of our teachers sent me her telephone number and I called her. We had a very cordial conversation, said we must get together sometime, but I know neither of us really wanted to. Curiosity had been satisfied and we had moved in different directions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

32/365: Carolina

One of my big success stories. I managed to find her the PERFECT host family in the early 1980s and she remains close to them today. She met her husband while on a vacation with her foster sister. She now lives in Canada and, though I had nothing to do with it, I’m so proud that she has become a successful artist and TV personality.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

31/365: Phil

Today would have been your birthday. You were my best friend at one time and hurt me more than anybody else in my life. I saw you through all of your hospitalizations, all of your psychological problems, yet when I suffered the biggest loss (to date) in my life, you turned your back and I never heard from you again. Was it all a lie?

Monday, July 28, 2008

30/365: MJ

In retrospect it was a huge mistake to help her conduct a clandestine affair. It did give her the courage to leave an alcoholic husband, but she stepped out of the frying pan into the fire. I hated watching her destroy her life. I later gave up 6 weeks to help her keep her job, which was an even bigger mistake than assisting the affair.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

29/365: Stacie

She was a red haired woman who had many “gentleman callers,” my father among them (though he always insisted nothing ever happened). She had a thick white rug and you had to remove your shoes to enter. She was also a painter and my mother still has one of her paintings hanging on the wall. It was a unique experience, as a child, knowing her.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

28/365: Madelyn

She disappeared after high school. We heard she’d married and had many children. We were best friends for a couple of years. I spent a lot of time at her house and read “Peyton Place” there, a “dirty” book that my mother would never have let me read. Her grandmother, the first person I ever met with breast cancer, had a house with an elevator.

Friday, July 25, 2008

27/365: Bernie

What can you say about the woman who murdered your sister? She was one of the good things in Karen’s life and brought her back to a relationship with the family, but ultimately, the two women didn’t get along and in a fit of anger, the gun was too accessible. We heard she spent 1 year in a mental facility and 5 years in prison.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

26/365: Laura

She could have written the book on co-dependent personalities. She definitely lived it. Very intelligent, competent woman, reduced to a wimp by a husband who put her on a pedestal and then threw mud at her, often in front of others. I hated watching how he treated her, and how her behavior changed as a result. No one should endure what she had to endure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

25/365: Stan

I saw him standing in the doorway and knew instantly this was my friend’s husband, who had played Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha. What a talent he was, this little round man who got his start in Yiddish theater. He spoke six different languages. What a terrible loss it was when he died. I still see him, sitting at a table clipping coupons.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

24/365: Susan

How proper I thought she and her husband were. She the business woman, he the debonaire Brit. Our children went to school together. Many years after we lost contact with them I discovered they were sexual swingers and at one point had propositioned some of our friends (what were we? chopped liver?) I re-connected with her recently, but that mental image is hard to lose.

Monday, July 21, 2008

23/365: Carol Channing

What do you say to a living legend? I met Carol Channing and sat with her and her niece at the party before an awards show in LA. I was (as always) tongue tied, but fortunately all I had to do was watch all the big names of Hollywood pay her court. She was a lovely lady. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me at all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

22/365: The Flasher

Technically speaking, we never actually “met.” He was the first and only flasher I encountered, on my way back to the dorm with a friend. He was sitting in the bushes with pants opened. When we gave the police report, my friend and I had completely different descriptions of him, so I yielded to her. I wonder if they ever caught him. Poor, pathetic man.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

21/365: Ann

She died in March, and I didn’t find out until today. She was the most driven person I’ve met. Worked hard, loved much, smoked incessantly, drank lots, had her “drug period.” Had the raspy voice of the hard-livin’ woman she was. Incredible work ethic. She taught me medical transcription. We were not great friends, but I admired her and was constantly amazed at her energy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

20/365: Roz

“Who doesn’t like Brasilians? I LOVE Brasilians,” she called from across the hotel lobby and a friendship was born. We were big women who loved food, our families, Brasilians, and gay men. A continent separated us, but we were close for many years and shared our deepest secrets. Visits were too infrequent, unfortunately, and we ultimately drifted apart. But I treasure the years of friendship.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

19/365: Lynn

We’re like two giddy teens, shopping and laughing and finding neat places to eat whenever we get together. It’s amazing how the years just fall away whenever we meet again and it is like we only saw each other “yesterday.” She’s always been wonderfully upbeat and positive and I wish she lived closer. I need more people like her in my day to day life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

18/365: Claire

We had so much in common, including loving the same things, sharing the same experiences, we were both aspiring writers, both with body image problems, both animal lovers. I feel we could have been much better friends if only we had the opportunity to spend an extended time together. But distance prevented that. However, our brief time as face to face friends was very special

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

17/365: Judith

I tried to find the person I once knew when we met again, decades later. Our reunion was much fun and we chatted easily, but I still couldn’t find the person I should have remembered. “We’ll definitely see you next year,” she promised, but I never heard from her again, and I lost her contact information. Maybe it didn’t go as well as I thought.

Monday, July 14, 2008

16/365: GPR

I could not post another name today, because this is the anniversary of the day you died. It doesn’t seem possible it has been 22 years already. You were my best friend, my mentor, my inspiration, my favorite performer. There will be fireworks for Bastille Day today – you won’t be there, of course, but they will be there all the same. Sleep peacefully, my friend.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

15/365: Bill

Surely he must be dead by now. His scandalous sexual escapades in the pre-AIDS era left him vulnerable, at the very least, and if he has survived, it would be a miracle. He was my immediate supervisor in a volunteer organization but even he wasn’t strong enough to protect me from those who wanted me out. He later also left and opened an antique store.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

14/365: Judy

You weren’t an axe murderer after all, but you were the first faceless internet person I met face to face. We never quite clicked, though our paths have crossed many times over the years. I found your attitude abrasive, but I overlooked it. The last time was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though. I don’t need that kind of drama in my life.

Friday, July 11, 2008

13/365: Charlie

He now heads an international charitable organization and I sometimes see him on TV. I remember the joy we all felt for them when he and his wife adopted a baby and the unbelievable tragedy when the baby died of SIDS when he was taking her for a walk and she was in a backpack. I always felt he was a very honorable, trustworthy man.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

12/365: Gayle

Her family had a TV and our family didn’t, so every morning when we walked to school she would recount for me the TV shows she had seen the night before. I was fascinated and tried to have dinner at her house as often as possible so I could watch TV myself. It was she who is responsible for my lifelong passion for Judy Garland.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

11/365: Ruth

I met her at a friend’s party and enjoyed chatting with her. I didn’t discover until many years later, when I stumbled across a documentary on television, that she was a very famous photographer. I now own two books of her photos and was highly indignant when I came across a new photographer who has blatantly stolen her ideas. But alas Ruth is dead now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

10/365: Arn

A well known physicist in his day, he invented what we jokingly called the “death ray” which he felt could be used to open potato chip packages and get catsup to come out of a bottle. Lived in a house with a view of the ocean and had a pool with a martini seat he was very proud of. A soft-spoken man, as I recall.

Monday, July 7, 2008

9/365: Sister Mary J-E

She always chose the 15 minutes before lunch for “health classes,” when she told the most gross stories, like the kid whose bladder burst because he wouldn’t go to the bathroom, or another kid with a palm frond imbedded in his skull because he jumped up and it hit the top of his head. We went to lunch nauseated. I wonder what the point was!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

8/365: Mary

She was my English and French teacher in high school, a bleach blonde “finishing school” product who was always extremely prim and proper. She would have been easy to make fun of, but I loved the class and I had a special bond with her because we both loved to diagram sentences. She had suffered tragedy in her life, including the loss of a son.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

7/365: Tommy

I only met Tommy once. He was 2 years old and weighed 7 lbs. He suffered from “malabsorption syndrome” and lived on a formula of breast milk, corn oil and something else. I donated breast milk for him through Tom’s first months and again through David’s. Tommy lived most of his short life at Stanford Hospital, but he touched many lives in that short time.

Friday, July 4, 2008

6/365: Bob

I will always picture Bob standing in an Uncle Sam costume, running the 4th of July celebration. Bob changed the life of our kids. He’s always been Mr. Congeniality, the “just do it” guy for the city. The band Lawsuit would not exist if Bob hadn’t looked the other way for a lot of years. He trusted the kids and they never betrayed that trust.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

5/365: Vi

Vi was our Girl Scout leader for a couple of years. She had a background in theater and dance and each year our project was to put on a show for all the parents. She let me sing my first solo. It was my first experience on stage and I just loved it, except for the year my moustache fell off during our barbershop quartet.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

4/365: Eddie

Eddie was a hunk. He had blond wavy hair. Came from a rich family. All the girls had a crush on him. He came to my party and I felt like a wallflower until he asked me to dance. The dance was short because he said I stepped on his feet. I don’t remember ever seeing him after grammar school. I hope he’s bald today.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

3/365: Tavie

I remember when she was born. She was my roommate for six months when she was a baby. I watched her grow up. She and four her siblings were extended family to our five kids. I was at her wedding, at which my daughter was the accompanist. I ate her clam dip. I watched her kids grow up. Today she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Monday, June 30, 2008

2/365: Babe

She was my godmother and she died of ovarian cancer when I was 10. I remember her having a regal bearing, snow white hair, and a laugh I can still hear when I listen closely. When she died, my mother asked me what I wanted as a memory. I took an acrylic paperweight with a red rose etched in it, which I still have today.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

1/365: Angelo

Owned the corner grocery store when I was a kid. He and his wife loved us and let us steal candy from behind the counter, brought us into their kitchen, which smelled of Greek cooking, and kept kittens in the basement for us to play with. I remember the day we passed the store and saw a black wreath on the door–his wife, had died.