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.