(and Friendly) Album
Spring Internet World in Los Angeles provided me with the opportunity to visit the west coast branches of the McCroskey, along with friends and familiar places.
Working in a client's booth (indeed, I ordered, set up, worked, and took down the booth with union help) at the show during the day was pretty draining, so my visits with LA friends were brief. But I was happy to finally see both Mona and Julia's new homes and share quiet meals with them, the former in Pasadena, the latter on Sunset Strip.
On the weekend, booth duty over, I paid a sentimental visit to Riverside. I made a GPS waypoint at Mom's house on Laramie. The new owners had stripped away the tropical foliage from the front and put up a better fence on the side. It looked cleaner without the plants, if a little stark. I was surprised at my lack of emotional reaction to seeing it, but just a bit grateful. Next stop was Olivewood cemetary, where I walked back and forth between the rows of stones for quite a while, staining my shoes on windfall olives in the grass, but was unable to find my parents' grave. The desert heat, plus wanting to spend more time visiting the living, prevented me from pursuing a map of the graveyard in the office. Since his burial I was never able to find Dad's grave on my own. Only when we burried Mom there did the presence of the gravediggers show us where it was. It seems fitting for the combined grave to slip into mystery as well.
Instead I drove over to Corona to see David and Gloria.
I brought lots of toys to share with Dave. Naturally when I pulled out my digital camera he said "Want to see mine?" I upped the ante with my GPS and the Sony Vaio laptop that I was transporting home from the trade show (it isn't mine, but that doesn't matter). We had fun playing with all the toys.
Over dinner Gloria talked about her grandchildren. Her daughter Lisa gave birth to premature twins 18 months ago. It had been a difficult pregnancy, and both infants were hospitalized for the first six months of their lives. One never did well and passed away soon after. The other suffers from numerous health problems. Gloria provides as much moral and emotional support as she can to Lisa, who faces many years of dealing with hospitals and state health agencies.
Gloria, as News readers may know, looked after Sue McCroskey during her last years by visiting several times a week, taking her to doctor visits, and enduring her sometimes impossible bouts of anger and depression. Gloria's own mother Jean passed away about a year after Sue. Gloria's strength through all of this is remarkable. She continues to golf and do PR for her golf organization. She relies heavily on her early morning walks with Pugsley the dog to organize her days.
The next day I headed for San Diego to see Ralph, Barbara, Colin, and Meghann. They moved back to San Diego from Indiana about two years ago and are very happy in their two story stucco house with its lovely garden.
Colin is finishing graduate school and working at an architectural firm. His tough schedule took him in to the office on Sunday afternoon, so I was glad to have had a chance to visit with him before he had to go to work.
Meghann is attending UCSD studying lots of sciences. Although home is pretty close, she's enjoying living in the dorms where she has a view of the ocean from her bed.
Barbara's garden overflows with poppies, nasturtium, and all manner of flowers and plants. The sound of water bubbling in the lillypond echoes through the house. Barbara continues to paint landscapes and still lifes. Ralph is glad to be back working in the large biomedical community in San Diego.
We drove down to the beach to see the seals that have taken over what's supposed to be a swimming beach. It was a warm, calm day and the seals basked happily in full view of their many human visitors.
Saturday morning before heading inland I walked the Venice Beach oceanfront walk. I didn't see any Baywatch lifeguards, but I did buy sunglasses from a vendor (a Venice tradition) and I did find Jeff Stanton. My acquaintance with Jeff goes back to my first job at Arrays, and I haven't seen him in at least 12 or 13 years. Jeff founded the Book Company, the publishing group at Arrays that hired me. Jeff wrote books on graphics programming and programmed games. He doesn't do much of that anymore, but he's still a photographer selling his own post cards from a big tricycle on the oceanfront. He's self published books about the history of Venice Beach, and has created web sites about Venice and Coney Island. Visitors to the News office have seen the map of Venice on the wall, which I drew on commission from Jeff, and which he still sells (in fact, I bought a couple new copies).