Thursday, July 16, 2009

Southern California Revisited: Lakewood High 50th Reunion

Class of 1959 -- 50 years ago
What are they like now?
Will they remember me?
I wonder what my old neighborhoods look like?

After 5 hours' drive from our Mad River home to Sacramento, we fly to Long Beach International on Jet Blue (a first for us--it was super!)
And the airport had a charm all its own. I loved that it was small.


That evening at the hotel a few of us chanced to meet in the lobby and were hard-pressed to recognize one another.

So here is what my cohorts look like. We are all not unlike each other even at this advanced age. What a kick! We're holding up pretty well don'tcha think? It was a pleasure to be remembered at all let alone fondly.

This guy (and I don't remember his name now- Mike something) was a major football player. I think he's a Republican now.

Saturday morning and a LOT of catching up to be done. It looks like it's hard to get more than 5 in a single conversation.

Memory Lane

While "the committee" set up the banquet, Keith and I checked out the neighborhoods of my childhood. Here is 5541 Hanbury Street. Significantly remodeled and well taken care of. The "vacant lots" are now handsome parks and the Jakaranda tree is still there.

A closer look at my beloved Jakaranda Tree. I spent many hours in its branches.

My elementary school -- I could remember exactly how to get there. Lady Garmin wasn't even needed.

My 6th grade classroom (the "temporary" building in the distance) is STILL there. That's some temporary!

The little "Lakewood Village" shopping center I was able to walk to as a kid, is trying to be an artist's market with outdoor vendors.

It's quite charming actually and there are adorable bronze statues in fun corners that seem to be kids doing kid things -- painting, playing, riding horses - that kind of thing.

Ah yes, the actual high school. Now heavily barricaded, a testament to how difficult education has become for city teens. This is the most glaring change I noticed. All else seemed to be functioning as one would hope and expect.

This is the 2nd house of my childhood. (Knoxville and Harvey Way) I was an adolescent here. It looked "closed up" but parked cars indicated some kind of occupancy. No clues except a basket ball hoop in the back.

Class of '59 Reunion Banquet at Lakewood Country Club

That evening arriving at the banquet, it was a bit of a reality check to see which classmates were no longer living. Some 56 from a class of 500.

People watching from our table was the activity of the evening; that and seeking out long lost friends. We pretty much had to read their label to learn who we were.

Lots of photo posing, camera clicking, and "cheese" saying.

Then there was the band. They were great! They seemed to know the right music to play. Were we that obvious? Or were they that old?

The Morning After

How to impress your long lost first boyfriend. Can't get the camera to work because you forgot your glasses back in the hotel room.

Ah, that's better: me, Gilbert Mendoza, Marilyn (Pitman) Waite, and Russ Waite.

There was an "all class" reunion picnic, but these classics were the main attraction.

My favorite!

Pretty as a picture!
There were way too many people, so we bought the obligatory hotdog and headed for the freeway and our next stop.

Leaving Lakewood -- Heading South
Traveling to San Diego/La Jolla to visit and stay with my neice, Tambra.

This is her charming house just 3 blocks from the ocean.

Very tastefully decorated by someone who knows what she likes.

A visiting butterfly quite claimed this succulent as his own. He would not be moved by
photographer or high water. There was a resident cat however . . .

Succulents are big in beach county. This was a particularly colorful specimen. Tambra had done some recent landscaping to her front yard. Lots of privacy now and great colors and plants.

An afternoon walk to get the flavor of a Sunday at the local beach.

Lots of seaweed. I wasn't clear if it was normal to have this much or not, but the seagulls liked it.
It was only moderately smelly. I quite liked it and remembered chasing my sisters with a "rope" of it.

North along the beach was not very densely populated for a So Cal beach on this warm Sunday.

Under the pier gave a nice angle and light situation.

More people were on the walk way above the sand than near the surf. There were LOTS of bicycles.

The local museum sports an installation of a "bouquet of boats" (my title) (probably not original as it's so obvious)

The sunset was well attended at La Jolla. Many, many people seemed to have come out, set up chairs, and settled down to watch it as if it was some kinds of performance art. I guess it was.

The next day, Monday July 13, 2009, we drove highway 101 north along the beach communities to catch our return flight at Long Beach.

This is breakfast at a sidewalk outside The Highway 101 Cafe, quite retro and strangely comforting in a familiar kind of way.

Huntington Beach surf where I did most of my beach activities. We had enough time to change and go swimming but I couldn't come to terms with feeling salty and sandy on the airplane, so we passed. It's so BLUE and WARM!!

Funny, I don't remember this power plant in the vicinity, but it must have been there. Ah, selective perceptions!

Tuesday, July 14.

On the way home, we stopped in Red Bluff to pick up my own new cruiser bike. Isn't she pretty!