My brother-in-law Mickey passed away last night, in his sleep. We're going to Phoenix this afternoon. Please send some good thoughts out that way. This is the worst.
#18 of 365: Miss Murphy (5th grade)
Gah, I loathed you. You overcompensated for your youthful inexperience by being a humorless bitch, and you tried (unsuccessfully) to kick me off the track team for sneaking a rest during laps. Hope you mellowed out.
#17 of 365: Mrs. Kemnitzer (4th grade)
A pint-sized legend among elementary teachers. My parents still use the pig cutting-board your husband cut and we sanded. Your vivid Swiss vacation stories rocked our small-town worldviews. You excelled at encouraging imagination and celebrating creativity.
#16 of 365: Mrs. Allen (3rd grade)
You reminded me of a dark-haired Carol Brady - always upbeat, but nothing got past you. The year after I was in your class, you gave me a teacher's aide gig, coming in early to staple worksheets.
#15 of 365: Mrs. Smith (2nd grade)
Curly-headed and pretty. Pregnant with twin girls, you took maternity leave before year end. One baby, named Stacy, passed away. Our classroom's Stacy was so upset at the news that she vomited in the lunch line.
OK, by overwhelming demand, I'm going to start with grade school teachers. Those scandalous Other Women will just have to cool their heels for now.
#14 of 365: Mrs. Womer (1st Grade)
Silvery mushroom hair, distinctive perfume, and a kind voice. You helped me learn to count using beans, and you didn't get mad when I sobbingly confessed to jamming the sharpener by sticking my pencil in eraser-first.
I'm thinking I may get some help with inspiration for this x365 thing by doing some theme weeks. Which should I do next week?
- Classmates Who Died Young Week - there was some fallout in our classmate ranks during my teens/young adulthood.
- Week of Scotts that I didn't date - who didn't know a lot of Scotts in the late 80's? It was the Connor of its day.
- The Competition Week - girls with whom I vied for some boy's attention, and lost.
- Grade School Teachers - I really don't expect this to be anyone's #1 choice. This is one of those categories I'm keeping handy for when I get blocked.
#13 of 365: Jamie M.
You had the best Halloween birthday parties. We lost our platinum-haired ringleader when you moved to Spokane, but visiting your family's Idaho cabin was idyllic. We named your dad "Mr. George". You're a preacher's wife now.
#12 of 365: Justin S.
Junior year you manifested, taking KU by storm. You were unprecedented - honors student and metalhead party-god. My friends had crushes on you, but I didn't... They were outraged when I made out with you. Sorry, ladies!
#11 of 365: Professor Huelshoff
My favorite Poli Sci professor. Dry-witted, good lecturer. You sorta reminded me of Richard Dreyfuss. You loved your Labrador and loathed Bavarians. I had one very inappropriate dream about you; going to class afterward was mortifying.
#10 of 365: Mr. Snyder
Gravel-voiced company founder and recreational tyrant. Smoking constantly, you'd lurch around finding excuses to bitch. People abused lunch breaks; business-card vendors switched cardstocks without permission (they hadn't; like yourself, your sample card was discolored with age).
#9 of 365: Marijo D.
My dorm buddy. Your distinctive drawl made everyone assume you were Southern, not native Oregonian. Superstar athlete, curly-topped, impossibly pretty, studious, level-headed, hilarious - you had perfect everything (until basketball wrecked your knee). I liked you anyway.
#8 of 365: Devon W.
At 110 MPH on the back of your motorcycle, I felt immortal. Thanks for not making me prove it. Sorry I didn't write back. Your careless spelling and insincere endearments weren't as hot as your bike.
#7 of 365: Odette N.
You introduced me to the Philippines when we became penpals. I liked you. Then we turned 15; you began asking whether I knew any single men interested in writing a pretty Filipina. I stopped writing back.
I figure that since I've already committed to the x365 thing, I may as well take a stab at doing NaBloPoMo as well. There are prizes!
#6 of 365: Tommy T.
I hated that others teased you. You lived near me, and although you had anger problems at school, we got along fine. You moved after 4th grade; I hope the next school was happier for you.
#5 of 365: Chris H.
We were in so many of the same classes in college, and got along so well, that it's odd we never became better friends. That constant booger in your nose did kind of bug me, though.
#4 of 365: Gary Riley
Shaggy and funny, you frequented our Pier 1 for candles and incense. Flirtatious Amy recognized you from "Summer School"; you'd filmed "Stand By Me" in Oregon and returned, escaping struggling-actor-land. Wikipedia says you died this June.
#3 of 365: Mr. Labos
A beloved legend among substitute teachers. Mysteriously European-accented and ancient, you dispensed butterscotches from your tweedy jacket pockets, told great stories, and didn't always bother with the assigned work. "Now we're cooking with kerosene", you'd say.
Oh, did I tell you we just got back from England and Scotland? Because - well, there it is.
We had a fantastic time. First was London, where we met up with my brother Mark, sister Suzi, niece and niece's friend (both named Lindsay) and basically made happy Yankee idiots of ourselves all through town. My brother hadn't been back to England for 28 years, and he was in ecstasy - hopping a fence along Queen's Walk to baptize his feet in the Thames (we're so glad his feet are all he put in there - pathogens do not make for good souvenirs), and doing front handsprings on the lawn of Westminster Abbey. The girls had never been to England either - oh, the shopping that was done, despite the poor exchange rate. Primark, H&M, M&S - we love you too much.
Norwich, where my mom's from, was a riot. More shopping, and concentrated doses of family time. The family reunion on Saturday was about 12 hours shorter than I'd have wanted it to be - so many people to catch up with, and so little time! - but I loved every second. I've posted massive piles of pictures on Flickr (link at right), and I haven't even gotten to Scotland yet... More on that later.
#2 of 365: James Y.
I crushed hard on you in grade school. I thought you looked like Superman. Your rich parents would fly a flag on days we neighbor kids could use your pool, but you never joined us. Snob.
Oh, you all (both of you) know what a sucker I am for Internet memes.
The latest is x365 - where you write about 365 people you've met, using only a certain pre-defined format, such as the same # of words as your current age (the guy who started it did so as a way to mark his 40th birthday). So, following that format, I get 36 words per person. That's a hardship for a long-winded writer like me. I think it's going to be a good lesson in brevity.
I'm going to try to keep my list, for now, to people whom I've only met once or a couple of times, or whom I only knew casually but who've stayed in my memory for some reason. I may not always know their names, but that's OK too. So, I'm just going to start with the very first random person who springs to mind:
#1 of 365: Aggie
A kind elderly lady; I used to visit you on neighborhood walkabouts at age 5. One day, your husband Craig stopped coming home. Because you were lonely without him, I looked for him everywhere I went.
Including only bands who are still together (or solo artists who've put out a record within the past, say, 5 years) and whom I've never seen live before:
Death Cab For Cutie
Fratellis (I lie - I saw them live because they opened for the Police. But I missed half their set while in line for an ATM that ran out of money, literally, after the last person in front of me. I've never gone to a show where they were the headliners, and I like them enough to want that).
I'm sure I'll add more as I think about it a little. I've sort of rediscovered the fun in going to live shows again this year, so I'm hoping to see more.
We went and saw They Might Be Giants this past Saturday in a cool old renovated movie theater called the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. Awesome show (as if it wouldn't be). I liked their opening band, Oppenheimer, as well - Bill wasn't too sold on them, but I thought those Irish lads sounded pretty good, especially for a two-man show. They're kind of like a cross between TMBG and Death Cab For Cutie. They were working their own sales booth after their set, and they signed the CD I bought from them. I hope they have a good run, these two.