At O'Hare Airport for a flight to Philadelphia, I sailed through TSA security and landed in the "City of Brotherly Love" 20 minutes ahead of schedule. At Budget Rent-a-Car, however, I waited in line for an hour before obtaining a VW Jetta that I didn't know how to start. Instead of inserting a key, one needs to push a button and simultaneously put a foot on the brake.
At Giuseppi's in Ambler I had met a dozen Upper Dublin classmates, including still ruggedly handsome John Jacobson and young-looking Leslie Boone, about whom Mike Grasso crudely quipped, "You were skinny as a board in high school with no tits or ass." Still, I had a teen crush on her and was sorry she and her husband have stopped camping at Dunes State Park near our condo, having sold their camper. She and Eleanor Smith Bruno had both been legal secretaries and knew of Pepper, Hamilton and Sheetz, the law firm where both Toni and I worked. Connie Heard still tends donkeys and chickens.
Saturday my brother and I took our mother's ashes to a cemetery plot next to Vic's in Bensalem, PA. Attending a brief ceremony and then lunch at an Italian restaurant were more than a dozen relatives of stepfather Howard Roberts (who was married to Midge longer than my dad, who died at age 50). I read excerpts from my journal about visiting Midge in California the final year of her life, including the eulogy I gave at Mirage Inn, adding several "Howie" anecdotes. One was singing "Sixteen Tons" at Midge and Howard's wedding reception. I talked about a waitress in Tarpon Springs calling him a "stud" and his playing singles tennis against me at age 87. Unlike Vic, he loved to travel and took Midge all over the world. His mantra, especially if some health issue relating to old age intruded, was "I'm a happy man." Like Midge, he lived to 99 and aged gracefully.
Later that day Terry and Gayle Jenkins arrived at the Hilton Gardens in Fort Washington (just blocks from where I grew up) with stuffed mushrooms, wine, and Yuengling. For hours we reminisced and caught up on family doings. Their granddaughter is on a championship high school ultimate frisbee team. Terry and Rich chortled when I described my Archives "cage" as a place that allowed me to be away from the volunteers. What was obvious to both of them was that, being an unpaid co-director, I am technically a volunteer as well. Terry had read Anne Baley's "Steel Closets" on kindle after reading about the book in Steel Shavings, and I mentioned its role in convincing the steelworkers international to take a firm stand against harassment of LGBT members. The Lane and Jenkins families spent several summers renting cabins in the Poconos, and Terry recalled the year we discovered that Lake Minneola had dried up and the pavilion had burned down.
Cristin selfie with Jimbo
above, Jimbo with Kyle DeLeon's family; below, Tom, Lucas, Bijou, Cristin, Jimbo, Chad, Brianna
In the motel library was Vance Bourjaily's "The Man Who Knew Kennedy," about two friends who knew JFK during WW II and swap wives during a Caribbean cruise. From a book of Kurt Vonnegut's letters I knew about Bourjaily organizing a relief mission to starving Africans in Zaire. Bourjaily got the idea for the novel's title from Sinclair Lewis' "The Man Who Knew Coolidge." Bourjaily used this Sinclair Lewis quote about "Silent Cal": "Maybe he isn't what my daughter would call 'ritzy' . . . . He may not shoot off fireworks, but you know what he is, HE'S SAFE." Hopefully Republicans will come to the same conclusion about Hillary Clinton, who won the New Jersey and California primaries handily. Viva Hillary!
I left for Philadelphia airport in plenty of time, so traffic jams on the Pennsylvania turnpike and Route 476 weren't a cause of worry other than bladder concerns. I would have competed the USA Today crossword puzzle except for the clue "Mae West, e.g." Unbelievably I was stumped despite having all but the first two letters - "ashblond." The answer - Toni solved it for me - was "brash blond.
IUN held a retirement ceremony for CFO Marianne Milich, a former student. Forty years ago she was working part-time at registration when the bursar convinced her to start taking courses. After claiming she'd be 40 before she finished, the bursar said it wouldn't matter if it took till she was 60. Graduating with honors, she had a productive career. Anna Rominger also was slated to retire but instead was appointed acting Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. Like Marianne she's had a good run after a career as an attorney and then as a Business professor. When I see her, I'll employ a line IU's Jim Madison used on me, that she's failed at retirement. Running into Marianne at IUN's Thrill of the Grill, I expressed the hope to see her back on campus from time to time. She's planning to spend more time with her ill mother. She has a good heart.