Class of ’58 – episode 3.1.19 – Turtle Bay

adventure, autobiography, FOOD

TURTLE BAY RESORT, HAWAII


GOOD MORNING BROTHER PREPSTERS

Two weeks ago, Elizabeth and I spent a couple of days up at an iconic luxury resort on the North Shore. It was one of our two go-to places for a quick getaway from the days we are supposed to be enjoying our golden years. Golden years my butt, it’s more like the gear-jamming years of our youth, except with grey hair and a different set of pressures.

After a busy morning, we left home about noon and headed up the Kam, (Kamehameha Highway) to Turtle Bay. Elizabeth insisted we stop for a fish taco at North Shore Taco. I favored a leisurely cruise up the palatial entrance road to the La`ie Mormon temple which I built several years ago.

The highlight of that project was having lunch with the Prophet and his wife after the groundbreaking. I can’t go on without making a couple of comments here. While waiting, I overheard one of the Samoan spectators tell her friend, “My husband, Fetu, and I saw him and his wife at the Pancake House this morning having breakfast. Boy, the two of them look frail, but they sure like pancakes. I had trouble visualizing the Prophet, the earthly leader of the Mormon Church scarfing down pancakes in a sleazy fast food restaurant. It made me smile.

Several minutes later, a pair of police motorcycles with sirens blaring escorted the Prophet’s entourage of four black SUV’s, two ambulances, and a long black limousine up to our tent. The SUVs disgorged a half dozen ferousous, heat-packing, Samoan bodyguards who split into three groups, one to stand guard, one to help the ninety-three-year-old Propet and his wife up to the ceremony site and the third to caution each one of individually that we were not to touch or speak to the Prophet, hand him a note, or engage him in way. Although I’d never met a prophet before, the whole sceme struck me as a little odd.

Today as we approached the resort, which was a favorite of the rich and famous, I egotistically took on the affectations of those I was about to mingle with. When I exited our SUV, The valet asked, Do you want valet parking? It’s twenty-bucks.” I snobbishly snared, “Of course, do we look like the Beverly Hillbillies?” I then ordered the bellhop to unload and send my things up to our room and be quick about it. (I had a six-pack of cold Bud in my backpack.)

When Elizabeth caught wind of what was going on, She said, “Jake, please! Young man, leave the bags on the curb, we will take care of them. Jake, you park the car and come back here and help me with the bags. So much for my grand entrance.

I was up with the sun the following morning, putting on my surfing duds and slipped out the door without waking Elizabeth. She would understand I was on the water. I stopped to enjoy a double espresso and pastry at the coffee bar while surveying the action at the neighboring surf spots. I rented a board from the hotel’s beach boy and went out to close-by Kuilima Point.
I waded into the seventy-eight-degree water, paddled out to the point and joined a dozen early bird surfers. This morning wasn’t about surfing, it was about figuring out what my next book would be about. However, I wasn’t about to pass up any decent waves.

Within five minutes, I spotted an easy four-footer coming around the point right for us. I spun my board around and waited for just the right moment to start paddling my brains out to match the speed of the oncoming wave. The face of the wave picked me up, crested and broke to the right. I rode it on my belly for a few moments before popping to my feet and riding it fifty-yards to the rocky shoals, where I dumped. A young surfer dude paddled past me on the way back out and shouted, “Nice ride, old man.”
I followed him back out and tucked myself out of the wind in the lee of the point to accommodate what I came out here to do.

When I recognized a surfer paddling out from the beach, I took a break. We had surfed together occasionally over the years and sometimes shared a beer afterward at one of the North Shore watering holes. He was a local guy in his late-forties, named Sonny something. Everybody seemed to know him. As we both raced to get in position for a hot wave, he grinned a toothy grin, gave the front of my board a mighty shove, pushing me out of position and took the wave from me. I gave him the finger and ducked back out of the wind to continue my deliberations.

I was a little pissed at my burly, uncouth friend, but then I realized I’d met a lot of folks way more bizarre than Sonny, and this rudeness was child’s play. That’s when it came to me, my next book would not be a novel. it would be a collection of short stories about nothing serious. Instead, it would present simple entertaining, short stories about some of the more remarkable, funny encounters I’ve stumbled into. I was pleased with what I came up with and turned to considering a possible title. As I thought about it, a remark made by a close friend whom I often had morning coffee with, came to the forefront. He said, “Jake, you have a million great stories, why don’t you write about them. You could call it ‘A Cup Of Joe.'” I thought, Not bad. It’s catchy and has a nice warm, comfortable ambivalence about it, not unlike a cup of Joe.

I was excited to return to the room, roust Elizabeth out of bed, buy her breakfast, and tell her my vision for “A Cup of Joe.” But before I paddled in, I silently slipped up behind Sonny, who was getting ready to catch a wave, grabbed the back of his board with both hands and with all my strength flipped the astonished Sonny into the bay and quickly retreated.

STEVE WINDELL’S AMAZING ADVENTURE

JAKE’S COMMENTS:

I’m not Steve’s PR guy, but I got to tell ya this book is something special. The concept of traveling two-thousand-four-hundred-miles in a small, open boat with your teenage son through sometimes terrifying seas into the bowels of Alaska’s wild coast to reach the last standing major American Glacier is certainly intriguing, sometimes scary, and peppered with surprises. There are a lot of sea stories out there, but this one, in addition to the adventure storyline, adds several unexpected funny, heartwarming glimpses of native life as the relationship of Father and Son develops before your eyes.

a I’m not going to steal the book’s thunder. Two comments and I’m through. first, Steve’s book will take you back to to the sixties when we struggled to leave the family behind and strike out on our own, then thrust you again into the early eighties when we as parents struggled, not always successfully, to grow our relationships with our teenage children which were often at odds with our demanding careers. Second, the title, Transcending the Gordian Knot, put me off. Its connotation was metaphysical or something strange, However, It’s merely a reference to Alexnder the Great’s determination to removing an impediment, a knot of rope, that stopped his army from storming a city’s walls, and doesn’t play a role in the story. I think he mentioned that he’s considering a title change and a second edition.

WHAT’S UP

I’ve heard from several of you characters recently, and I thank you for that. The highlights of those encounters are as follows:

  • Dinndorf, Bradley and another fellow e-mailed me that Steve Windell is organizing a gala Class of ’58 luncheon at Anthony’s on Edmond’s revitalized waterfront for March 7, 2019, and getting a lot of interest. They suggested that I come along if possible. I seldom miss a lunch invitation, but a five-thousand- mile ride to and from lunch would be tough to get passed my frugal, Canadian soulmate, Elizabeth, especially since her sister is arriving the day before for a week’s visit. Sorry, boys, but enjoy and hoist one for me.

Bryan Saario and I have been having fun sharing the trials and tribulations of writing. He’s preparing to re-release his book, SISUS a story about his determined Finnish father’s life, WW II experiences, and how it shaped his young son, Bryan, during the old man’s later years. I haven’t read it, Bryan told me to hold off for the new and improved version. Bryan writes with a remarkable intnsity.

Steve Windell commented that I seemed to enjoy my disguise as Jake Winston. It’s not a disguise, Steve, It’s merely a deterrent to any authorities that are intent on tracking me down. Most of my friends and acquaintances routinely interchange my pseudonym with my real name. It’s kind of a game that makes everybody chuckle knowingly.

Sean Malone dropped me a note that I found interesting. At Prep I remembered him as being a tough mug, football and all that. When I learned that his career included eight-years as a logger, the plaid shirt and logger suspenders he was wearing at the reunion made sense. I too slipped in and out of the logging and wood products business and admired him for being his own man and being proud of the image he portrayed. I was even more surprised when he sent me a link to the Vashon Loop, the local newspaper he edits for. Check it out, vashonloop.com. Go to issue February 7, 2019, columns, tales of the islands, UFO’s, which Sean wrote.

Bill Evans and I have been trading e-mails. He made my day when he told me that he now stocks my book, Jake he Prodigal Son, in his three stores which I think are like ‘Made in Washington’ boutiques. We’re planning on getting together this summer with the one-time Deputy Mayor of Tacoma.

Bill offhandedly mentioned that his time spent in Peru was clearly rewarding and he continues to enjoy corresponding with many of those he met and lived with. The editor’s attempt to enhance his experience with a frivolous comment [about savages, etc.] was misleading.

Paul Maffeo is happy with his purchase of a near-new Infinity Q50 SUV shortly after some idiot totaled his Landrover two weeks after the reunion. Paul is trying to bait me to create a story from one sentence he sent me about Firnstahl’s graduation party on Whidbey Island in 1958. I’m thinking about it. Something I didn’t know about him, although he contends that we shared the same barstool, he was an Army Intelligence Officer and served in Korea.

Robert Lewis continues to struggle with the loss of his beloved wife of fifty-three-years, Gloria, two years ago. Please say a prayer for both of them.

I didn’t realize it, but Larry McHugh and Pat Bader have been close friends since fourth grade at St. Catherine’s.

Dave Waltier e-mailed me that not only did his five kids graduate from Blanchet, they knew my brother, Fr. Gordie, well. His son, Zack, is currently coaching Seattle Prep football.

Dave Boulanger sent me an e-mail to catch up on what he was doing these many past years. He settled into far away, Chicago after college where he taught at the prestigious University of Chicago, Illinois, (UCI), pursued fundraising and served in elective office. fifteen years ago He and Mena met and befriended a young lady who had just graduated from Prep. they continue the Seattle Prep brotherhood in Chicago. Small world, Huh?

Mike Garvey e-mailed me that they are expecting to see Dinndorf and his wife in April at their Scottsdale home.

Somebody told me that Jim Carrell, a mathematician, who lives in Vancouver BC, just published a new book, Groups, Matrices, and Vector Spaces. If you have an interest in mathematics and eighty bucks, enjoy.

Charlie Ralls and I reminisced over the phone for an hour about our Prep days and subsequent lives. I was a hoot, He’s got a hell of a memory. Sorry Dindorf, we both thought the reunion food sucked, but not your fault. I complained to Rall that I paid seventy-six buck for a plate lunch. He exclaimed, seventy-six bucks? I cost us two-hundred-twenty-five dollars and my wife doesn’t drink.

I asked, “Did you and Kelly play football for the U?” They did, Ralls was a short-lived frat-rat at Alpha Delta, and I was at Psi Upsilon less than three months before I broke ranks at paddling lineup, pulled up my britches, punched out the paddler and tossed his paddle through the stained glass window. Charlie added that he and Kelly were friends since the sixth grade.

We both commiserated over the fact that we entered Prep late, He as a sophomore, me as a senior. The downside to that was he got no respect until he was eligible to play football in his junior year and I felt shunned until my well-connected Holy Names girlfriend, Anne, broke the social ice for this frustrate ex-seminarian and fish out of the water.

Ralls blurted out, “Hey, Jake. I don’t know if many of the guys have read your book, Jake The Prodigal Son, but they should, they’d get a lot out of it. Oh, by the way, I just finished a book called, ‘The Boys in The Boat.” It’s about the UW crew, an eclectic collection of inexperienced, but driven students, loggers, ranchers and farmers who set out to win Gold in Hitler’s ’36 Olympics. Listening to Charlie, it evident that he’s still a jock. albeit a little older, a little slower in the body, but not in spirit. God bless ya, my friend.

Class of ’58 -Episode 3.1.19 Turtle Bay

adventure, food & drink, Humor

TURTLE BAY RESORT, HAWAII


GOOD MORNING BROTHER PREPSTERS

Two weeks ago, Elizabeth and I spent a couple of days up at an iconic luxury resort on the North Shore. It was one of our two go-to places for a quick getaway from the days we are supposed to be enjoying our golden years. Golden years my butt, it’s more like the gear-jamming years of our youth, except with grey hair and a different set of pressures.

After a busy morning, we left home about noon and headed up the Kam, (Kamehameha Highway) to Turtle Bay. Elizabeth insisted we stop for a fish taco at North Shore Taco. I favored a leisurely cruise up  to the La`ie Mormon temple to enjoy the palatial entrance and road which I built several years ago.

I can’t go on without making a couple of comments here. The highlight of that project was meeting the Prophet and his wife at the groundbreaking ceremony. While waiting for the Prophet to arrive, I overheard one of the Samoan spectators tell her friend, “My husband, Fetu, and I saw the Prophet and his wife at the Pancake House this morning having breakfast. The two of them look frail, but they sure like pancakes.” I had trouble visualizing the Prophet, the earthly leader of the Mormon Church, scarfing down pancakes in a sleazy fast food restaurant. It made me smile.

It wasn’t long before a pair of police motorcycles, with sirens blaring, escorted the Prophet’s entourage of four black SUV’s, two ambulances, and a long black limousine up to our tent. The SUVs disgorged a half dozen ferousous, heat-packing, Samoan bodyguards, who split into three groups, one to stand guard, one to help the ninety-three-year-old Propet and his wife up to the ceremony site, and the third to caution each one of us local dignataries that we were not to look at, touch or speak to the Prophet, hand him a note, or engage him in way. Although I’d never met a Prophet before, the whole scene struck me as a little odd.

We approached the resort, a favorite of the rich and famous, I egotistically took on the affectations of those I was about to mingle with. When I exited our SUV, The valet asked, “Do you want valet parking? It’s twenty-bucks.” I snobbishly snarled, “Of course, do we look like the Beverly Hillbillies?” I gruffly instructed  the bellhop to unload and send my things up to our room and be quick about it. (I had a six-pack of cold Bud in my backpack.)

When Elizabeth caught wind of what was going on, She said, “Jake, please. Young man, leave the bags on the curb, we will take care of them ourselves. Jake, you park the car and come back here and help me with the bags.”

So much for my grand entrance.

I was up with the sun the following morning,and slipped out the door without waking Elizabeth. She would know I was on the water. I stopped to enjoy a double espresso and pastry at the coffee bar while surveying the action at the neighboring surf spots. I rented a board from the hotel’s beach boy and went out to close-by Kuilima Point.

I waded into the seventy-eight-degree water, paddled out to the point and joined a dozen early bird surfers. This morning wasn’t about surfing, but about figuring out what the subject of my next book would be. However, It wasn’t going to deter me from catching any decent waves.

Within five minutes, I spotted an easy four-footer coming around the point right for us. I spun my board around and waited for just the right moment to start paddling my brains out to match the speed of the oncoming wave. The face of the wave picked me up, crested and broke to the right. I rode it on my belly for a few moments before popping to my feet and riding fifty-yards to the rocky shoals, where I dumped. A young surfer dude paddled past me on the way back out and shouted, “Nice ride, old man.”
I followed him back out and tucked myself in the lee of the point to accomplish what I went out to do.

I caught sight of a surfer buddy paddling out from the beach and waved. We had surfed together occasionally over the years and sometimes shared a beer afterward at one of the North Shore watering holes. He was a local guy in his late-forties, named Sonny something. Everybody seemed to know him. As we both raced to get in position for a hot wave, he grinned a toothy grin, gave the front of my board a mighty shove, pushing me out of position and took the wave from me. I gave him the finger and ducked back out of the wind to continue my deliberations.

I was a little pissed at my burly, uncouth friend, but then I realized I’d met a lot of folks way more bizarre than Sonny, and this rudeness was child’s play. That’s when it came to me, my next book would not be a novel. it would be a collection of short stories about nothing serious. Instead, it would present simple entertaining, short stories about some of the more remarkable, funny encounters I’ve stumbled upon. I was pleased with what I came up with and turned to considering a possible title. A remark made by a close friend whom I often had morning coffee with, came to the forefront. He said, “Jake, you have a million great stories, why don’t you write about them. You could call it ‘A Cup Of Joe.'” I thought, Not bad. It’s catchy and has a nice warm, comfortable ambivalence about it, not unlike a cup of Joe.

 

MARCH’S FEATURED ARTICLE

STEVE WINDELL’S AMAZING ADVENTURE

 

 

JAKE’S COMMENTS:

I’m not Steve’s PR guy, but I got to tell ya this book is something special. The concept of traveling two-thousand-four-hundred-miles in a small, open boat with your teenage son through sometimes terrifying seas into the bowels of Alaska’s wild coast to reach the last standing major American Glacier is certainly intriguing, sometimes scary, and peppered with surprises. There are a lot of sea stories out there, but this one, in addition to the adventure storyline, adds several unexpected funny, heartwarming glimpses of native life as the relationship of Father and Son develops before your eyes.

I’m not going to steal the book’s thunder. Two comments and I’m through. First, Steve’s book will take you back to to the sixties when we, as teenagers, struggled to leave the family behind and strike out on our own. Then it will thrust you again into the early eighties when we, as parents, struggled to grow and balance our relationships with our teenage children which were often  at odds with our demanding careers.

Second, the title,”Transcending the Gordian Knot,” put me off. Its connotation seemed metaphysical or something strange, However, it’s merely a reference to Alexnder the Great’s determination to remove an impediment, a knot of rope, which stopped his army from storming a city’s walls, It doesn’t play a role in the story. I think Steve mentioned  he’s considering a title change and a second edition.

 

WHAT ARE THE BOYS UP TO?

I’ve heard from several of you characters recently, and I thank you for that. The highlights of these encounters are as follows:

Dinndorf, Bradley and Maffeo e-mailed me that Steve Windell is organizing a gala Class of ’58 luncheon at Anthony’s on Edmond’s revitalized waterfront, for March 7, 2019, and getting a lot of interest. They suggested that I come along if possible. I seldom miss a lunch invitation, but a five-thousand-mile ride to and from lunch would be tough to get passed my frugal, soulmate, especially since her sister is arriving the day before, for a week’s visit. Sorry boys, enjoy each other and hoist one for me.

Bryan Saario and I have been having fun sharing the trials and tribulations of writing. He’s preparing to re-release his book, SISUS, Which I believe is a story about his determined Finnish father’s life, including his WW II experiences, and how it shaped his young son, Bryan, during the old man’s later years. I haven’t read it, Bryan told me to hold off for the new and improved version. Bryan writes with  remarkable intensity.

Steve Windell commented that I seemed to enjoy my disguise as Jake Winston. It’s not a disguise, Steve, It’s merely a deterrent to any authorities that are intent on tracking me down. It also keeps the mobs of my teenybopper admirers at bay. Most of my friends and acquaintances routinely interchange my pseudonym with my real name. It’s kind of a game that makes everybody chuckle knowingly.

Sean Malone dropped me a note that I found interesting. At Prep I remembered him as being a tough mug, football and all that. When I learned that his career included eight-years as a logger, the plaid shirt and hidden logger suspenders he was wearing at the reunion made sense. I too did some logging back in the day, and admired him for being his own man and proud of the image he portrayed.

I  was even more surprised when he sent me a link to the Vashon Loop, the local newspaper he edits. Check it out, vashonloop.com. Go to issue February 7, 2019, columns, tales of the islands, UFO’s, which Sean wrote.

Bill Evans and I have been trading e-mails. He made my day when he told me that he now stocks my book, Jake he Prodigal Son, in his three stores, “Pacific Northwest Shop” I’m planning on getting together this summer with Bill, the one-time Deputy Mayor of Tacoma.

Bill offhandedly mentioned that his time spent in Peru and the many endearing folks he met and lived with continue to be a part of his life.  He felt duty bound to point out the editorial comment [about savages, etc.] in the Prep Directory De Biographies was misleading.

Paul Maffeo is happy with his purchase of a near-new Infinity Q50 SUV shortly after some idiot totaled his Land Rover two weeks after the reunion. I’ve always enjoyed Paul, and he contends that we “shared the same barstool.” He may appear a little quirky from time to time, but don’t we all? Paul has a brilliant mind and a quick wit. I lost track of him during college and was surprised to learn he was an Army Intelligence Officer and served in Korea.

Robert Lewis continues to grieve for the loss of his beloved wife, Gloria, two years ago. They were together for fifty-three-years. Please say a prayer for both of them.

Paul tried to bait me to create a story from a one sentence description he sent me about Firnstahl’s graduation party on Whidbey Island in 1958. I wasn’t there, and I don’t want to embarrass anybody, but I said I would concock a story or sorts out of what he sent. So, here goes.

Three carloads of Prepsters arrived at the Firnstahl’s summer cabin on the shores of Mutiny Bay in June of ’58. They spent the day exploring the woods and beachcombing.

 

Somebody who was thinking ahead, I can’t image who that would be, had brought the fixing for burgers and dogs. That evening the boys sat on a half-circle of logs in front of a bonfire of epic proportions bullshiting, joking, talking story and roasting marsmellows. About ten o’clock the party moved inside and started an all-nighter poker game. As the game progressed an unending supply of beer, whiskey, and nuts was ferried in from the trunks of the cars.

About four a.m., the game petered out and the cabin went silent and dark.

At sunrise a few souls stirred, two guys got up, put on coffee. They sat silently at the cluttered table staring into space and  chugging a cold Raineer out of a cooler. Suddenly, one kid said to the other, “Where’s Jack? He was sleeping over there in the corner when I crashed.” They jumped up, searchd the cabin, ran outside circled the property, and checked the beach. He was nowhere to be found.

They woke their buddies who sleeply joined the search. When someone suggest he may have been eaten by a bear, the search got serious and Firnstahl called the sheriff who responded and eventually located him asleep in one of the cars. When the cop roused him, a belligerent, very drunk, Jack took a swng at the cop, breaking his glasses and giving him a bloody nose. That misstep got Jack handcuffed, locked in the back of the patrol car, and about to be hauled off to the can. The officer entered the cabin, and sureyed the mess. With a look of disgust, he gathered the partygoers around him and asked, “Who’s cabin is this? Are any of you twenty-one? Firnstahl spoke for the group, apoligize and meekiy said. “This will never happen again, sir.” The officers said, “I know your old man, son. I’m going to forget what I saw here this morning, but somebody needs to make bail for your friend out there.

I didn’t realize it, but Larry McHugh and Pat Bader have been close friends since fourth grade at St. Catherine’s. I met Pat four years later.

Dave Waltier e-mailed me that not only did his five kids graduate from Blanchet, they knew an enjoyed my brother, Fr. Gordie, the chaplen. Dave’s son, Zack, is currently coaching Seattle Prep football.

Dave Boulanger sent me an e-mail to catch up on what he was doing these many past years. He settled into far away, Chicago after college where he taught at the prestigious University of Chicago, Illinois, (UCI), pursued fundraising and served in elective office. I was surprised when he mentioned that fifteen years ago He and Mena met and befriended, a young lady who they continue to see regularily in their neighborhood. She was a Seattle Prep Graduate. Small world, Huh?

Mike Garvey e-mailed they are expecting to see Dinndorf and his wife in April at their Scottsdale home.

Somebody told me that Jim Carrell, a mathematician, who lives in Vancouver BC, just published a new book, “Groups, Matrices, and Vector Spaces.” Congradulation on a huge accomplishment. If you Prepsters have an interest in mathematics and eighty bucks in your pocket, enjoy.

F. Michael Fischer finally sent me an e-mail two days ago. I was getting concerned that perhaps we had lost him. He uged me to continue the blogs since they seemed to be well recieved, at least by some, and they keep us all abreast of what each other were up to without having to pick up the phone.

Charlie Ralls and I reminisced over the phone for an hour about our Prep days and subsequent lives. It was a hoot, He’s got a hell of a memory. Sorry Dindorf, we both thought the reunion food sucked, but it’s not your fault. I complained to Rall that I paid seventy-six buck for a plate lunch. He exclaimed, seventy-six bucks? I cost us two-hundred-twenty-five dollars and my wife doesn’t drink.

I asked, “Did you and Kelly play football for the U?” They did, Ralls was a short-lived frat-rat at Alpha Delta, and I was at Psi Upsilon less than three months. I broke ranks at a house paddling lineup, pulled up my britches, punched out the paddler and tossed his paddle through the stained glass window. Charlie added that he and Kelly were friends since the sixth grade, and he was lookin forward to his visit in a few weeks.

We both commiserated over the fact that we entered Prep late, he as a sophomore, me as a senior. The downside to that was he got no respect until he was eligible to play football in his junior year and I felt shunned until my well-connected Holy Names girlfriend, Anne, broke the social ice for this frustrated ex-seminarian and fish out of water.

Ralls blurted out, “Hey, Jake. I don’t know if many of the guys have read your book, Jake The Prodigal Son, but they should, they’d get a lot out of it.

Oh, by the way, I just finished a book called, ‘The Boys in The Boat.” It’s about the UW crew, an eclectic collection of inexperienced, but driven students, loggers, ranchers and farmers, who set out to win Gold in Hitler’s ’36 Olympics. Listening to Charlie, it evident that he’s still a jock. albeit a little older, a little slower in the body, but not in spirit. God bless ya, my friend.

SEATTLE PREP CLASS OF ’58 – episode 2.1.19

adventure, food & drink, Humor, reunions, Travel

Columbia River Brewing Co.



During the cocktail hour at the Prep Reunion, I had several brief encounters with Mr. Meet and Greet, F. Michael Fischer, but we never had an opportunity to have a real conversation. In fact, I spent more time with Linda Lowe than I did him. I’m not complaining, Linda was a lot better looking than Fischer. As Pat Bader and I were leaving, Mike stopped me and asked if we could get together the next time I was in Portland. I enthusiastically agreed.

When my son Ryan’s family was with us in Hawaii for Thanksgiving, he asked if I would help him put a new concrete foundation under his one-hundred-year-old garage in NE Portland. It sounded like a challenging proposition and I’m always up for that despite being seventy-eight, so I happily signed on for the project. Somehow I forgot about it, until he called me in mid-December asking, “When are you coming, Dad? We need to get started on the garage.”
I scratched my head and responded, “I’ll talk to Elizabeth and let you know.”
Elizabeth and I tossed around a half dozen options for a departure date. It was a busy time of year. Christmas, New Years, Rose Bowl, parties, dentist and doctor appointments, work commitments, etc. The process reminded me of a favorite saying Elizabeth’s Dutch father taught me years ago. It goes like this: “Make a plan, talk with the wife. Change your plan, talk to the wife. Abandon the plan, talk to yourself.”

Just before Christmas, we settled on a January 16th departure. Elizabeth booked passage on Hawaiian Air Flight 26, from Honolulu direct to Portland. I was excited to make this trip. Not only was it an opportunity to be with family after the holiday rush, but it was also a chance to meet up with F. Michael Fischer. I fired off an e-mail to Mike and invited him to lunch. After I pressed ‘send’, I leaned back in my chair, sipped my beer and thought about the trip.

Larry McHugh & Steve Windell

The Seattle Prep 60th Class Reunion had a grip on me in a way that I really didn’t understand. It brought me back to an idyllic world that I had left so many years ago with no anticipation of ever returning. If Pat Bader, Mike Fischer, Jim Bradley, and Dan Regis hadn’t urged me to attend, I would not have gone. But I did go, and now I am dealing with the challenging aftermath of that decision.

The aftermath was that I wanted to communicate in some meaningful manner with my long abandoned brother Prepsters who had graciously received me back into the fold at the reunion. I realized that there was no other large group of individuals in my life that I felt this way about. Certainly not Rotary, Church, work, or the kids Boy Scout troop. I had made plenty of good friends and trusted associates in my life over the years, but they lacked the unique bond and sense of comradery that I had with these greying Prepsters back in the day.

It was a pivotal moment in our lives. A special time of naivety, trust, puppy love, fearlessness and simple joy that preceded growing up. I was hoping that by renewing my friendship with F. Michael. Fischer, who seems to know everybody, we could together reestablish some level of relationship with some of you proud Prepsters. Perhaps through occasional small informal get-togethers, e-mails or even the old fashion way, just call each other. And so I was looking forward to exploring that concept. To the dozen of you who have already taken that first step, and reached out to me, I thank you.


A week after we booked the flight, Harry Jay Follman, my long-time friend, and construction partner, called and invited Elizabeth and me to meet, and hang out with him in LA. His wife, Sharil, and fourteen of his dearest friends, who happened to be an extraordinarily gifted group of pot smoking, beer guzzling, aging Northwest musicians, including Rollie G. Storbakken and my friend, Brother John.

Jay had rented a high-end Hollywood Hills home for the week leading up to the Rose Bowl, and as a long time Husky season ticket holder, he had scored eighteen tickets to the big game. The prospect of partying with these guys got me excited.

A few days later, as I was contemplating how best to present this opportunity of a lifetime to Elizabeth, which would take the place of the Portland trip, the phone rang again. It was our twenty-year-old grandson, CJ, who wanted to spend a week or two welcoming in the New Year with Grandpa and Grandma before school started. I thought, this superseded the Rose Bowl.


CJ was a good kid determined to earn enough money to return to college in Oregon this spring. His head was screwed on straight, and he had a great sense of humor. He was a hard worker, and intent on becoming a biologist. He lived with us last year while working as a baker at Safeway and attending community college. He’ll never forget last summer’s adventure where he worked as a greenhorn aboard Harry Jay Follman’s gill-netter, the Erica Lynn, during the Bristol Bay salmon run, followed by a six-month construction job in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It is important to us that he succeeds and it pleased us as we watched him do so.

CJ showed up at Honolulu International Airport the day after Christmas with a tattered, dripping wet, duct taped cardboard box filled with gifts. Among the treasures were two big, angry, Dungeness crab and a dozen live Olympia oysters. I asked, “How on earth did you get this passed the Agriculture inspectors? They are scared crapless that foreign species will alter the aquaculture of the Hawaiian waters.”

CJ chuckled and said, “I argued for over an hour with the Ag. inspectors, and almost missed my plane. Finally, in exasperation, I blurted out, ‘Have you guys not met my Grandpa, Jake Winston? These two crabs haven’t got a chance of surviving long enough to pollute anything. He will have them in a pot of boiling water before the front door slams shut. The oysters? Grandpa has an Acme Oyster Shucker, and there will be nothing left but empty shells by the time the crab is cooked and cleaned. The inspectors looked at each other, laughed, and waved me on.’

‘.

As we sat around the kitchen table watching the crabs boil and unwrapping gifts, CJ sheepishly announced that he had visited the Grotto in Portland. It’s a sixty-two-acre Catholic sanctuary dedicated to our Sorrowful Mother. He reached into his pocket, pulled out two religious metals he had purchased there, and gave them to us. Mine was a St. Peregrine metal, the patron saint of cancer patients. When Elizabeth got up and hugged him, and he returned the hug, I realized how close we had grown. I was looking forward to spending time with him, crabbing, fishing, boating and hanging out, but that was on hold until he had made the rounds visiting friends, exploring his old familiar haunts, and loading up on Hawaiian poke, malasadas, custard, and mochi.


A friend dropped us off at the Honolulu airport Wednesday, the sixteenth. We were a little nervous about airport delays due to Federal Government shutdown, but it was an unusually smooth and efficient passage through TSA. We boarded a brand new Airbus A330 and took our seats in the back of this awesome plane. It had Wi-Fi, a plug-in for my electronics charger cable, and a cool device that positioned my iPad on the seat back in front of me, allowing me to easily type a response to my editor’s incessant comments on my forthcoming book, The Raising Of The Ruth Ellen.

It was a warm eighty-five degrees when we left Honolulu. In contrast, it was thirty-eight degrees when I stepped onto the curb at Portland International in my thin Aloha shirt. The bitter cold and rain squashed my plans for family side trips, bike rides, picnics and crabbing on the coast. In fact, the cold was debilitating for this happy, Hawaii Kahuna, forcing me to focus on the foundation work and indoor family activities.

I’m freezing!

When the foundation work was underway, I decided to venture out into the cold, hit a few restaurants, and attending the train show at the Expo Hall with my son and grandson as I waited for F. Michael Fischer to respond to my e-mail invitation.

Model steam engine at the train show. I had to own it.

My first luncheon was with my grandson and Elizabeth at the Hawthorn Fish House, my go-to place for a seafood lunch. Fried oysters and catfish, oh so good. The next day, burgers with the family at the new ‘Super Deluxe Burger’ a spin-off of “Big Little Burger”

A few days later, my son, Ryan, treated Elizabeth and me to lunch at MOTHER’S, a high-end bistro in the Embassy Suites Hotel downtown, close to his work. When I walked into the gorgeous Victorian lobby, I realized that when I was with Baugh Construction in the ’90’s we remodeled and upgraded this old Portland landmark.

This afternoon it was jammed with yuppies and business folks. I even spotted a couple of high-end hookers at the bar who abruptly left with a couple of local brutes as I sipped my clam chowder. I got food poisoning on Pastini’s spaghetti and meatballs on Thursday. Dinner at Salty’s on the river by the Airport with my son Mike and his wife rounded out our restaurant hopping. Harry Jay Follman’s long-standing offer to come down and take me to the eclectic, 1930’s Mary’s Club in the Pearl District fizzled out once more.



When the foundation work was started, and I still hadn’t heard from the Man, I called F. Michael Fischer and gave him a bad time about not returning my e-mail invitation for lunch.

New garage foundation

Michael, who lives in Vancouver, WA, apologized, profusely. He mumbled some lame excuse and agree to round up Linda Lowe Dunn, who lives in Beaverton, OR and meet Elizabeth and me at the Columbia River Brewing Co in Portland’s Hollywood district. This post-reunion coming together of old friends just had to happen.

We had so much to say, and so little time to share our lives and thoughts at the reunion. I realized that if I let this opportunity to kibitz with the Fish get away from me, time would erode the likelihood of ever reuniting with my Prepsters brothers. So, when Mike and Linda greeted me with big grins and hugs, I was moved by their welcome, and hopeful it would bring me and my brother’s closer together. We all grinned from ear to ear as we settled into the cozy wooden booth in the nearly deserted pub. Linda asked, ”Where is your wife?”

“She’ll be along shortly. She was shopping with my daughter-in-law, Michele this morning.”

Michael delicately asked, “What happened to your nose, you’re bleeding? Were you drunk this morning and cut yourself shaving?”

That got a big laugh, and we delved into reminiscing about the Class of ’58 reunion. As the conversation petered out, I asked, “What became of Tom Coughlin?”
“He got a law degree and had a successful practice here. Several years ago, he left his practice and opened a hardware store on one of the islands, maybe Vashon where Sean Malone hangs out. He had a heart attack and passed away about five years ago.”

I asked, “did you see Dinndorf’s e-mail picturing his ’39 Plymouth? He wrote that he seldom took it to school because of the cost of the driving in on the ferry. Maybe that wasn’t the only problem. Check out this photo I found on the net the other day. Pretty funny, huh?”

During a pause in the conversation, I politely asked, “Michael, have you read my book, or even purchased it?”

I could tell by the embarrassed look on his face that he hadn’t, so I persisted in giving him a bad time. He responded by grinning and giving me the finger. We laughed, and he poked me saying, “You’re not the only big shot author to come out of our class, Mr. Smart Ass. Dave Boulanger wrote an engrossing book about his life with his father. Bryan Saario also wrote at least two books and is working on a third. Sean Malone writes for the Vashon Loop newspaper and produced a cool documentary called, Alone And The Sea. Steve Windell has a book coming out containing dozens of black and white photographs of the Oregon Coast. I think Larry McHugh also has a book in the works.”

Since we were both a little fuzzy about the Prep days and it was three years before Linda came on the scene, we moved on to our Seattle University days together. Mike said, “What the hell were we doing in ROTC? We weren’t officer material, Hell we weren’t even fit to be foot shoilders.”

I responded, “We didn’t have a choice, Knucklehead. It was during Vietnam, and a required college course, which got us a deferment. Do you remember the time the ROTC Colonel caught me waxing my ’39 Plymouth while on duty during the ROTC troop review and parade at the old stadium a few blocks east of campus? He ripped me a new butthole in class the next morning in front of everybody. I wanted to crawl under my desk.”

I do remember that most of us were ambivalent about ROTC, but Mick and Jerry Flynn were gung-ho. Mick was a career Army officer and Dinndorf is still serving in the Marine Corps Reserves as a LtCol.”

We had a few laughs about the many raunchy houseboat parties we threw on my Lake Union, primitive, floating home where Pat Bader, BJ Michaelson, Stan Strikers, John Dynes, and few other Prep and SU guys moved in and out of, over the three years that I rented it. Mike pointed out, “Although the neighborhood was a little sketchy, and the toilet and sink emptied directly into the lake, the fact there was usually a batch of green beer brewing in the bathtub and a twenty-one-foot sailboat tied up at the back door available for a pleasant afternoon cruise with a couple of SU girls made it attractive.

We were just warming up to one another when a pushy, elderly waitress with dangling earrings and long blue fingernails interrupted and demanded that we order lunch. I thought, Is she pissed that we’re drinking sodas instead of the eight-dollar house brews? What’s the rush? There are only a few customers in the place and it’s noon already. Mike hemmed and hawed, scratched his nose, and ordered a brisket sandwich with baked beans. Linda ordered vegetable soup and toast.

Just then, Elizabeth, my wife burst through the door with Michele, my daughter-in-law. We introduced everybody as the fuming waitress crossed her arms and impatiently waited for the greeting festivities to get over with. Michele left for home, and we all settled back into the booth. The waitress snarled, “Alright now, what do you two want? When it was obvious we didn’t know what we wanted, she barked, “Order the Ruben and baked beans, you can share it.” Elizabeth gave me a puzzled look. As I glanced at Mike, she jotted something on her pad, turned on her heels and returned to the kitchen. I said, “What the hell was that?”

Elizabeth asked Mike, “Do you remember the night you and Eileen and young Michael were living in a house in the hood by SU ? Joe left me in the car that dark night as he stopped by to see you about something. Apparently, you guys got into the beer and forgot about me for nearly an hour. When somebody knocked on the car window, I was scared to death until I recognize it was you. Boy, was I glad to see you. You and Jake ended the evening crooning “A wild Irish rose to Eileen and me.

Linda told us she and MaryJo Shepard were roommates in her freshman year at the SU. Elizabeth lit up and said, “They were our house guests a few months ago. Mary-Jo married BJ after graduation. He ended up owning three pharmacies in the Seattle area. We had a good laugh about the time BJ got pissed off, moved out of the houseboat, and tossed a dead cat into the attic on his way out. The stink was driving us crazy until we finally found it.

I asked Linda if she remembered the Houseboat parties. She said not so much, but she vaguely remembered attending at least one party with Paul Maffeo. Linda asked, “What became of Stan Strickers? He was a tall kid with a happy-go-lucky attitude. I liked him.” I commented, “He attended SU and lived on the houseboat for a short time. Sometimes he accompanied Pat, Janet, and me up to Canada to hang out with Elizabeth. The last time I saw him, he was dating Elizabeth’s cousin, Janet, who was Pat Bader’s sister. I haven’t seen him since ’63.”

Mike asked about Johnny Dynes whom he hadn’t seen since he and Carolyn divorced. Mike was surprised when I told him, “Johnny was in the Seminary with Pat Bader and I. His nickname was Johnny Be Good until he got tossed out mid-way through his college freshman year for a really dumb stunt he pulled. They still talk and write about that incident, and now refer to him as “Dynamite Dynes.” The last time I saw him he’d fallen on hard times and Carolyn was working through a serious illness”

The waitress broke up our conversations as she delivered lunch. She slapped a plate of two shriveled up ribs and a cup of chili beans before Mike instead of the brisket sandwich and baked beans he ordered. Miss Sunshine shoved a bowl of soup across the table to Linda, startling her. Linda asked if it was vegetable soup because it looked like tomato soup, when the waitress said yes, she accepted it but after two bites, settled for the toast. Mike politely said he would keep his. Elizabeth and I accepted whatever it was she put before us and kept our mouths shut.

Kailua Beach

Linda told us that she lived down the street from us in Hawaii back in the day. That was a surprise and got the girls comparing notes. Elizabeth and Linda seemed to have a lot in common, church, gardening sports, and social assistance. Once they got to talking, there was no stopping them. Mike and I feigned interest in their conversation for several minutes and then returned to reminiscing. We laughed as we retold some hilarious stories about Seattle U adventures with Paul Maffeo, Dan Regis, Pat Bader, and others.

When there was a pause in the banter, Michael got serious and spoke about his thirty-two years managing the Vancouver Sears store. He loved it and it was rewarding to him in so many ways. He is a people person and a smart guy. His personality was perfect for the position, and he would probably still be there if the big shots at the main office didn’t make some bad decisions and offer attractive early retirement packages to their key employees. Michael took the deal and moved on.

I asked, “How’s your son, young Michael, doing? I haven’t seen him in a very long time.”
Mike’s face lit up and he fondly replied, “Michael has worked most of his life. He’s a hard worker and his employers like him. He’s no young chicken, he’s in his late ’50’s, and just recently retired.” I think he said from his job at the convention, or Exposition Hall.
I glanced at my watch, it was 1:05 and we were expecting company at the house at 1:00. I said, “We have to get going, Mike, but before we do, I need to ask who is the mother hen that coordinats the formal and informal coming togethers and group activities of the class of ’58, and stuff like that? I’d like to talk to him.”
“Nobody really. Dinndorf put together the 60th reunion. I don’t remember who led the previous ones. As far as I know, there is nothing planned any time soon. However, I’m thinking about getting the local guys together for an informal lunch this April. Why don’t you come over? A few of us have hosted these lunches every couple of years in the past. About a dozen Prepsters usually show up. You know what? I’ve seen some of the comments from the guys on your blogs that were e-mail copied to the class. They seemed to enjoy reading your blogs, and they have encouraged you to keep them in the loop. If you would be willing to continue that, it would at least be something that we could all enjoy together and share comments on a common, convenient electronic platform we’re all familiar with.
I thought about what he said and I understood that by virtue of my long absence, I had abdicated my position as a full-share class of ’58 Prepsters. To fully return to the fold, this Prodigal Son needed to re-earn his wings in a humble, subtle manner. I realized that I could possibly do that with a monthly or bi-monthly blog tailored to the time we shared at Prep. And so, I decided to consider that move. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
As we walked out of the restaurant, I told Mike, “Follow me over to the house and I’ll give you an autographed copy of Jake The Prodigal Son.”