The Big Seven Ohhhh!

In spite of it all, time does indeed march on, and…most of my high school classmates will reach that 70th milestone this year!  My own celebration was just a few months ago with a fabulous birthday bash in one of my favorite places, San Francisco.  I lived there as a child and looked forward to returning again and to see all that had changed while re-visiting familiar places which I fondly remembered in the City by the Bay. 



For some odd reason, turning that corner into the 70’s wasn’t terribly devastating and that is probably because after seeing so many friends at our 50th reunion in 2014, I realized how young we all still are!  Compared to our parents and other family members at this point in life, we are nothing like most memories of what this “age” could, or should, be like.  

 

That…is a very good thing!

 

Goals, dreams…yes, for me at least, there is still so much I’d like to accomplish and I think that probably goes for most of us.  Our world is constantly in motion, mixed with good and, at times, what seems like a daily deluge of bad.    I have so much yet to write, to paint; friends I want to keep in touch with while missing those who are no longer here.   One blessing, something I thought would never happen, was the best reunion of all with my birth son who contacted me last year and that part of me which was missing…has been found.  That wonderful story is shared here on my website and I invite you to read about one of those miracles that sometimes do happen!   My four children and six, absolutely beautiful, genius, grandchildren (yes, I’m proud) are the blessings this life has given to me!

 

So, at the crack of dawn, on a September morning, complete with my over-sized (and very over-stuffed) luggage, tablet and other electronic gadgets, I departed from JFK; meanwhile, our oldest daughter, Jennifer, left Florida around the same time and we eagerly headed towards a West Coast sunrise.  Our flights landed, about an hour apart, and we quickly found each other after strolling through the airport and texting like madwomen.  The birthday whirlwind began with much hugging and laughing during the limousine ride that brought us to our Union Square hotel.  Then…it was party on


By the way, weather in San Francisco was un-seasonably warm, no, make that HOT, for September!  We enjoyed several sultry days in the 90’s and I missed the absence of fog rolling-in at night.  Having packed warmer clothes in anticipation of cooler temperatures, the heat called for some impromptu wardrobe shopping which added to all the fun.

 

First, a nighttime tour of Alcatraz which was incredible.  When I lived in San Francisco as a teen-ager, Alcatraz was an active prison facility, a formidable sight sitting in the bay, a rock where isolation lived and many attempted to escape.  I walked by myself through the prison and on the grounds, at times, feeling shiver-like sensations similar to what I experienced while doing photography in a Gettysburg battlefield years ago.   Unsettled spirits that lingered still in the darkness, searching and wandering.


                                                                          

 

Then, Napa!  Breathtaking views, extraordinary wine tastings and, of course, I made sure to have some favorite selections shipped back to New York.   We visited V. Sattui, Andretti, Franciscan, Robert Mondavi, strolled through the vineyards and loved picking bunches of tiny sweet grapes from their vines.

                                       
                                       
On to my birthday dinner at Alioto’s on Fisherman’s Wharf,  a step back in time even down to sitting in the same spot when I was last there with my parents, 53 years earlier, looking out at the same view of the fishing boats, bobbing at their moorings.  Wonderful food and a perfect evening!
                                 
                                  

It was a spectacular trip, in every way.  From shopping to riding a Cable Car, holding on for dear life all the way through the city and meeting some terrific people along the way, I honestly don’t think my 70th could have been more memorable.

 

                                                                                                                                                                   

Regrets?  Definitely.  There are always a few.  Aside from having to leave San Francisco, I was disappointed in not having time to visit the St. Francis Yacht Club where I had an open invitation to view photographs and a trophy belonging to my paternal grandfather who was once an avid sailboat racer, and…that my workaholic husband John and our other daughter Jill were both unable to make the trip.  

 Maybe next time…and maybe…to the Amalfi Coast for my 75th!

To all my classmates and friends who will be blowing-out candles for their special birthday, stop and celebrate wonderful YOU!  Enjoy all you have become and still hope to be!

 

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. ~Samuel Ullman

 

Signature

It’s happening…

I have a favorite holiday movie from many years ago.  Who doesn’t, you think while wondering just why the heck I’m bringing this up in August.

Let me explain.

It wasn’t the entire movie but one specific line that just flew into my head when I received a friend request on Facebook.  As I responded to this new/old friend from years ago I thought…”it’s happening!” 

I’ll explain further.

48 days from this very moment (less a few hours) my 50th high school reunion will be in full swing.  Over these last few months, classmates have been reaching out to each other with many of us learning so much about the lives we’ve lost touch with over these past years.  We spend time laughing, sharing and consoling as we rekindle friendships or, in my case, getting the chance to talk with those I once admired from a distance.  We are all bubbling over with excited anticipation as our big night draws closer.

So, how does this Christmas movie play in to all of this?

Well, at first I was hesitant, even ambivalent, about attending my reunion as I was always a bit of an outsider in high school.  I wrote about it last year, then gave it a great deal of thought.   The passing of years brings so many changes and attitudes can remain unmovable or they can soften, become eager to explore, and make up for lost time.  I wrote about that as well and remembered this 1977 holiday movie called The Gathering which was about a family separated by indifference and arguments who comes together again for a reunion.  At one point, the father, played by Ed Asner, exclaims “it’s happening” as everyone agrees to share the Christmas holiday.

Now, on September 20, 2014, a very large group of friends, some who were like family to each other during many years of school, will meet again for a very special gathering, a celebration of what we were and all we’ve become.  We will miss those who are unable to attend and softly speak of friends we’ve lost. 

Yes.  It’s happening!

 

 

 

 

Signature