Monday, July 5, 2010

My how we have changed... or have we?

There have been a lot of 4th of Julys in our lives, and most have been spent with our very best friends. BSMC (or before Stephanie, Cathy and Misako) there was Dana and Glenn, followed by Chuck.

Dana and Glenn went to elementary school together. They attended a small private school in San Francisco. When they all, Glenn, Chuck and Dana, started at Lowell High School Glenn and Chuck were the tall ones... and Dana hung out "at the wall" at the "smoking pit". Everyone went off to different Colleges and Universities, Dana to a little school back east beginning with an H, Chuck off to San Francisco State and Glenn to UOP. I met Glenn at UOP, Stephanie met Chuck at SFS and Dana was fortunate to meet Misako later. Glenn and Dana ran into each other again in Law School at Hastings. While Glenn and Dana were at Law School, Glenn and Chuck bought Thalassa. Shortly after they crossed paths with Dana and found out he was an avid sailor, so they began their sailing life together. The owner past owner of Thalassa and Glenn's law partner Jim, traded up to a 36 foot boat named Rolling Stone. On Rolling Stone, the guys sailed to Hawaii, and around Hawaii. It was around that time that I came into the picture again.

From the day I knew these guys Fourth of Julys have been part of our lives. There were those early days on Thalassa, when we would go out on the bay to watch the fireworks over Crissy Field. Sometimes we saw them, sometimes we saw the glow behind the fog, but always we had the most amazing of times. The day would start off with sailing usually around Angel Island. I seem to recall one 4th when the guys all grabbed a beer, dove overboard and swam to the beach where they mooned us all left behind on the boat. As children were born, and mooning became less politically correct eventually there were too many children for a safe and sane 4th on our 23 ft boat.

The festivities were moved to Lafayette where Dana's Mom and Dad own a beautiful party home on a large parcel of land. We call it Lafayette, because when you are there you are unaware of anyone else being in that town. You see no other properties, just Mt. Diablo in the distance, its silhouette changing as the sun rises and sets in the sky. We would bring our children, and other people came to join us. Family and boat people and friends would come to enjoy the warm day, the refreshing pool, the escape to secret walking trails. The food and drink. The margarita contest. The dogs who came and went in our lives. And the loss of one of our closest of friends has all been a part of being together. Of being... friends.


We watched our children grow. Their friends would come with them. The days when we had to put floaties on their arms, the days when they were teens in their own worlds. Marysha was born on the 4th of July and we were celebrating in Lafayette, another bring light in our lives. Occasionally we would miss a 4th for one reason or another, but not often. We had bands and caterers with the numbers running from 10 to 100+. Our circle of friends expanded and our friends became everyone's and visa versa.


I celebrated the 4th and the end of my Chemo at Lafayette. My hair just beginning to grow in, my experience had taught me many things including, you must take the time to enjoy life because your minutes can be precious and few. And the best of life is after all, your friends and family. If my baldness bothered anyone, I never felt it. If my illness worried them (they didn't have to tell me, I knew it did). But here we were flipping meat on the BBQ, drinking margaritas with bushels of fresh limes. The warmth of the friendships surrounding each of us and making things infinitely better.


Dana and the Unofficial Rolling Stones 2005

And here we are so many years later, 2010.

We have seen those wild days of our youth become stories we can name by number or just a short word or two. There is a rare and precious gift in knowing people so well.

As we have grown together we have had our wins and our losses. Our conversations now can touch on things we never thought of in the past, like the death of parents and we each have been touched with that sad event. But there are conversation that are fully of promise and adventure like when someone talks about retirement or children's new careers and lives or vacations on the horizon and sharing things we have discovered.

In life there are people around who you must worry about how you present yourself. Are you wearing the right clothes, have you gained a couple of pounds, are your bald as a cueball from months of chemo? With friends you are blessed with knowing you can just be yourself.

Dana has had dreams of one day building a compound on which we all would live. It would have a large communal building at its center. We each could have our own homes, or in a pinch, wings of the building. I think those visions he has had, were born by the pool at Lafayette.

They say we all become more of whoever we always were as we age. I believe that.
I also believe part of who we all are ... is friends.

Glenn and Chuck

This year we were joined by some dear friends, a couple for the first time. I was very grateful that Dana invited Sonya and Pete Shaw and their daughter Cassidy to join us. Also there Patti and John Bott, Shawn and Jackie Gorman, Larry and Sharon Moraes, Karen and Mark Hensley, Melanie Parker and David and the core group of Dana and Misako, Chuck and Stephanie and Glenn and I. The margaritas and the food were plentiful and may have been a little too much for one or two folks. Something about Hornitas fresh lime and sunshine... can be very dangerous!

Dana and Patti
Sonya and me


Sophie and Tucker

Sophie woke up on the wrong side of the bed, so I spent a good deal of the day being her keeper. The pool cooled her off a bit.

Sophie and me

Cassidy and me , with Tucker and Sophie

Somethings never change... Glenn in his fireman's hat

Shawn, Chuck and Patti

Melanie and Sharon

Me and Sophie

Cassidy and Glenn

Time out

Patti and me - Sophie

Dana can nap anywhere at anytime

Karen, Melanie and Mark


Jackie and Sharon

Shawn and Misako


John Bott


Cathy and Cassidy

Glenn, Karen and Mark

Glenn, Chuck, Karen and Mark

Cassidy and her Dad

David and Pete

New friends... or is that the margaritas talking?


Maybe our 4th should come with a warning. Be prepared to party, to drink a little too much, to talk like long lost friends and to enjoy life to the fullest.

For us, that core group.... I can only hope that Dana's dreams come at least part way true. I hope we will always be together. I was touched when I read Dana's reason for walking in the 3 day that he posted on his fundraising site. He talked about me, and my battle 15 years ago. He said had I asked, for anything, any one of them would have been there to do anything for me they could. He said that walking with me in the 3 day was the least he could do now to support me. I hope he and all these people know.... it is mutual. He and Stephanie and our friend Patti are all a part of Team: Are we There Yet? I feel so lucky to be walking along side them.

Thanks for all the memories, and let's keep adding to our stories...the numbers are infinite.