As I shared recently, I attended my high school reunion. That event took place in Ashland, Oregon. Though born in Grants Pass, Oregon, I spent my early youth in southern California. The Artesia and Lakewood districts of sprawling Los Angeles. My family moved back to southern Oregon, to Ashland, just before I entered the sixth grade.
Those were good years. It was a nice town with considerable interest. A college town. A tourist destination. At the heart of the town is Lithia Park. The park extends from the town plaza up a narrow little valley, and is centered on Ashland Creek. Indeed, most of your time visiting the park will be spent walking along paths beside this fast running stream.
When I attended my reunion I intentionally parked near the top of the park. I had to walk the length of the park back to town, and back through the park when I left the reunion. It was a nostalgic journey, and a very pleasant one. Much was the same. Many long standing landmarks and features were either the same as I remembered or somewhat improved.
One of my recollections of childhood in Lithia Park was running on the unmarked and unofficial trails. These were steep trails, and one of the pleasures was to slide down the steep paths like dry trail skiers. Our skis were tennis shoes, and the 'snow' was the sliding surface of the hillsides.
Those trails are closed. Some are fenced to deny access. There are signs encouraging visitors to stay on the marked and official paths. The free-form adventuring of the past had caused erosion, damaging the park we so loved. In those long-ago days it did not occur to us that we were part of a problem. We were hurting something we greatly valued, and didn't see it at all.
I am sad to see the loss of such freedom, but recognize and accept the necessity of doing so to protect the park. It is a beautiful park, and worth preserving. Young people will simply have to find other adventures to share in building their young lives. I am sure that they will.
I wonder if the college has unofficial adventures in urban spelunking still available? That was fun, too.
I related in a previous blog that I am what I call an 'a-social' person. Not anti-social. I don't dislike humanity in mass or in individuals, though I have met a few individuals who may challenge that. I simply do not have a strong need for human interaction. Seclusion is comfortable for me. Even relative isolation. I would make an excellent hermit, assuming that there is some standard to be met to become a hermit.
I haven't really checked.
Knowing this about myself I work against my natural tendency to withdraw into books and games and stories, and have at least some social interaction. As a consequence I actually have a family, and they seem able to tolerate me well enough. I cherish them for themselves, but also for keeping me human.
So, along comes my 40th high school reunion, and I decide to go. Why? Because I was socially involved during those years and longed to renew those old ties? Not really. I dreamed of piloting (or at least crewing) on a star ship during those high school years. Reality did not often intrude on my inner world. I interacted with my fellow inmates of the high school as reasonable politeness required, but did not build a lot of strong bonds.
I went to the reunion because I thought going would be interesting, and I do recall (vaguely) some pleasant interactions with people during those high school years. I went. I am glad I did. I went to school with some very nice people. With the span of our time apart being far greater than the few years we were together, it was somewhat like meeting these people for the first time.
One of my friends from those years, and several years before high school, came and spent a lot of the reunion time with me. Jerry Ross, one of my best friends. He expressed a positive recollection for that friendship, something that I share with him. It was a good friendship. One that we would like to continue, after a small four decade absence from one another.
I also learned that another good friend from those childhood days did not survive to attend this event. Manuel Ortega was a valuable element in my formative years, and I am sorry I could not see him again.
Having moved back to the Rogue Valley after many years away I may have opportunity to renew friendships from ancient days. I may have opportunity to build friendships that ought to have been, were I less engaged in realms of fantasy and my own imagination and involved more with living human beings.
That remains to be seen. I no longer just read about star ships and fantastic realms. I write such stories. With publication beginning in a matter of weeks I may be just as far away as ever.
I hope not. The class of 1971 deserves a better friend than that.
I have been away from blogging for a time, now. Selling a house. Moving. Buying a house. Busy. Now I am sold, bought and moved. Now I have a house. Now I have a lawn. Two, in fact. One in front, one in the back. Pretty well established. Coming back nicely from the time of neglect during the process of the sale.
Nice features. Concrete perimeters to fend off the attempts of non-lawn to take over the lawn, and the lawn to expand beyond the desired limits. A programmable watering system. Yep. Water and mow, mostly.
I have been watering and mowing. Trimming. Doing stuff. Not such amazing stuff, unless you are familiar with my philosophy towards lawns. I think they are an unnecessary thing, an absorb-er of time, money and energy. Yet now I have two, and I take care of them.
Life is made interesting by contradictions.
I do like lawns in parks and on golf courses. People earn their livings caring for such lawns, and many are quite beautiful to see and enjoy. Home lawns, however, are different. They are taken care of by people who have already put in their time earning a living. Precious non-working time is spent on lawns. Fine, for those who love lawns. Some of us have other things to do with our non-working time.
Now that I am retired, however, I find it is not so bad. After all, I am not spending a lot of my time working and working over-time. So, if I burn a few hours of each day puttering about the yard it is actually rather nice. The 'settling in' is still taking place, but once we are established I can get back to my writing and finish the process of publishing my books. Plus my World of Warcraft time, of course.
I am currently 62 years old. At present I am a retired correctional officer with 20 years of service. (My real job these days is being a Grandpa.)
I am married to my long-suffering wife, Linda. I have three children; Matthew, Beth, and Jon. I currently have six grandchildren; Alexandra, Madelyn, Wyatt, Lucas, Abigail and Landon.