By Michele Thomas
Between storms last weekend I bumped into friends Bill and Becky stocking up on supplies at Ray's. After catching up on news and wishing each other a happy new year, Bill told me he enjoyed reading my column. He said it reminded him of a column he used to read written by a fellow who had all sorts of interesting adventures. "But you write mainly about your family," Bill said.
That got me thinking. When I first decided to write a column, I titled it "From the Publisher's Desk" because I anticipated writing about behind-the-scenes "stuff" at the newspaper. But when I sit down to write, usually on a Thursday evening at home by the fire with one or both of the dogs sleeping by my feet, my mind wanders beyond the office.
A date or holiday on the calendar can trigger a column. In June, on the 39th anniversary of his death, I wrote about Bobby Kennedy and my experience at the Ambassador Hotel. A visit to my hairdresser who had just returned from New York City inspired a column about my encounter with John Lennon. Hearing a song by former neighbors, the Jefferson Airplane, can start me rambling about my days on Fulton Street in San Francisco.
I'll try to stick to business this week, although I have to admit I'm a little distracted by the news I got a few hours ago. The date's been set for my 40th (yikes!) high school reunion. Today my best friend Denise, who's the chief organizer, reserved the auditorium at our alma mater for Saturday, July 12. It's our first reunion since 1993.
I attended Marymount School in Palos Verdes from the time I was 6 years old. It was a small private school with only 42 in my graduating class. We were taught by nuns, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, who, like many people in the '60s, challenged the establishment and "dropped out." My favorite English teacher, Sister Jacqueline, walked away from the school and the convent along with several other teachers. Our principal, Sister Elizabeth Ann, waited for us to graduate and then left a few days later. She became our "girlfriend" that summer. She wore mini-skirts and smoked cigarettes and we called her Liz.
Forgotten faces and feelings are resurfacing this evening. Curiosity is creeping in. You can pretty much bet that I will be sharing my reunion anxiety with you as it builds over the next six months. Already there is pending drama. Denise wants to fly down from Seattle and do a sort of Thelma and Louise drive down the coast, picking up our friend Shannon in San Francisco and stopping along the way "wherever the road takes us" as we travel back to Marymount.
There's much to ponder, not the least of which is what to wear. So, you see, Bill, I've got lots of material for future columns without involving family. As far as "the publisher's desk" goes, it's buried beneath an arsenal of lanterns, back-up batteries and contingency plans.
And the staff and I are doing our best to make our new editor feel at ease. Richard's first day of work was marked by the prison riot, followed by two power outages that threatened our ability to publish. His wife Laura braved the storm to bring us all sandwiches while we tried to meet deadline. She said their rental house lost a few roof tiles and shook in the wind. Please join me in welcoming Richard and Laura Wiens to Del Norte.