Class of ’58 – episode 3.1.19 – Turtle Bay

adventure, autobiography, FOOD



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.



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.


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, 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.

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