Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Inadvertent High School Reunion / Hurricane Odile

Nothing like built-in friends when you're housesitting! Turns out, three people from my 1980 class live nearby--even though it's 816 miles from my small hometown of Auburn, California to Port Townsend, Washington. Two are artists, one a writer. I love you, synchronicity.

Kathleen and Jenny (aka Kate and Jennifer), class of 1980.
Last month, Jennifer and Dwight came to spend two days with us. They just happen to live a couple of blocks from where I lived as a grad student at the University of Washington in the late 1990s.The four of us enjoyed lots of outdoor splendor.

D&J with the boys at Lake Crescent
Recently, Dave and I took the ferry to Whidbey Island where we met up with Mike and Kim for outstanding fresh mussels and halibut. Last time we met, four years ago, we did the same thing--and talked about Mike's and my writing. 

In the late 1970s, Mike and I had Journalism class together.

Now Kim and I had a lot to talk about. There are fascinating parallels in our lives. And I wanted to hear all about her job. Knee-deep in the literary world as the executive director of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, she's doing great things for the writing community.

Double Bluff Beach on Whidbey Island
We didn't have to travel far to get to Laurie and her husband Lou. Turns out they live two miles away! We went to their house for a great afternoon of BBQ and conversation with their slew of cool friends--and a group of charming teenagers, including their son and daughter who are both creative as all get-out (he plays the cello, she's into stage performing like her mama).

We both danced in high school musicals.
We also went to Laurie's cool gallery, a co-op situated under the sidewalks of town. Continuing in underground fashion, we went for yummy vittles and drinks at the Cellar Door. I must mention, too, that I fell in love with Laurie's wacky little dog, Sochi.

We were also lucky to get a visit from Gary and Laurie, longtime family friends who live in Seattle. They were good friends with my parents and are like an aunt and uncle to me.

Who knew Port Townsend would be so people-rich for us? We feel like part of the community. Yet in two weeks we leave, headed south--a two-month journey that will take us to Baja Sur where our new little casita awaits. 
Speaking of which, we were insanely fortunate that it didn't get blown away in Hurricane Odile. My sister was just north of Cabo at the time, hunkered down in a shower with a few people while the house windows blew out. After an arduous trek back to San Diego, she's home safe. Many people lost their homes and livelihoods--and a few lost their lives. This was Baja's Katrina. News is that the Mexican government is doing a good job getting the place back on its feet. But there's still a lot to do. You can donate to the Mexican Red Cross or Baja California Disaster Relief Fund.

Old friends, new friends, strangers--does it matter? It's about the love, folks. And we're all in this together.