Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Was it really all about self-confidence?

When I was at the reunion last October, I remember showing my wife a picture in the 1967 yearbook. The lovely and gracious Dale Morgan turned to my wife and said, "He was hot."

To be fair, I don't think Dale and I ever knew each other in high school.

I knew of her. She was one of the real beauties in our class, one who moved in all the right circles and had all the right friends. Me, I was different. Most of my friends were younger back then. I had skipped second grade and didn't turn 16 until midway through our junior year.

Unless I'm mistaken, I never asked a girl in our class for a date the whole time I was in high school. Without a license -- I got mine a week before the prom -- dating just didn't seem like an option. I did go out twice with my dad driving, but both of those evenings seemed to me like something of a disaster.

I don't know if it was the Woody Allen in me, but I always had this fear that if I asked someone really lovely out, she would look at me incredulously and then start laughing hysterically. The story would spread quickly and everyone in the school would know within 24 hours.

I would have had to develop a life-threatening condition so that I could do all my schoolwork from home.

Of course it wasn't like that. Well, maybe if I had asked the lovely Karen Theurer (pictured) out, it would have been. But I think an awful lot of girls were probably nicer people than I gave them credit for.

There was that one girl, who will remain unnamed. I went up to her and asked her to dance, and she said, "Get the hell away from me."

"Is it because I'm not cool enough?" I asked.

"No," she said, glaring at me. "It's because we're on the school bus."

Things got better, of course. I've actually managed to get married twice and stay married once, and I've had good, friendly relationships with numerous women as an adult.

I guess it really was all about self-confidence.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Upcoming Performances of our Actor Classmate...

Last week I emailed my WTW 67 elist a heads up about seeing our classmate, Mike Willis, on TV last Sunday and about a play he is performing in during the month of June. Did any of you have an opportunity to see that "Law & Order" episode last Sunday night (March 16) at 9PM? I, for one, had company so I taped it and plan on watching it soon.

Mike is also scheduled to perform in a play at George Mason University in their Theatre of the First Amendment. This play is called "Two-Bit Taj Mahal" and is scheduled for about 3 weeks during June. Cindy Tallia and I are hoping to go. Anyone else interested?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Not all great men are famous men

I was 17 when this picture was taken, eagerly looking ahead to my adult life as I sat with my dad at College Night listening to someone talk about some college I never attended.

My dad was 41, 41 years ago, and my final spring at Woodson turned out to be the halfway point of his life on earth.

I didn't appreciate him then. He was pushing me to excellence and I was resisting. I suppose I won our battle, although I turned out to be the one who had to live with the results.

Norman Rappaport was classic Greatest Generation. He was born in 1926 to immigrant parents, grew up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression and served in the final year of World War II as an 18-year-old soldier.

He went to work for the government after the war, married at age 30 and raised five children. He was married to the same woman for nearly 52 years, and probably the defining thing anyone could say about him is that he loved his wife and children so much that he always put them first.

He never bought expensive suits or drove flashy cars. In fact, he almost had to be forced to ever spend any money on himself.

He wanted to be a writer, and two friends from college who were both very successful writers said he was the most talented of the three of them. I suppose one of the things I did that made him proud was making a living as a writer for nearly 30 years.

He wasn't an easy man to understand, and I didn't always appreciate his parenting style. But before I became a father myself, I realized that in many ways, he was the finest man I ever met.

Everything good I am as a father myself -- and I've been told I am a great dad -- is due to him and the things I learned from him.

I don't write about him often. My parents don't like it when I write about them, but I figure today is a good day to make an exception to that rule.

You see, my dad died this morning.

As I said, he was 82. The picture taken was half a lifetime ago, but it says a lot about him. He was listening attentively where I probably wasn't, not only giving up an evening for College Night but making the most of it.

He was more than special.

He was my dad.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I find myself wondering ...

When I was in high school, I always figured that at some point in my lifetime, a woman or a black man would be elected president.

It just seemed logical. A system that was churning out guys like Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater and LBJ would appear to need some help from the rest of the population. But I never figured it would be 2008 before a woman or a black man would have a serious chance of being elected.

What makes me wonder, though, is the case of Hillary Clinton. Maybe I'm being unfair to the senator from New York, but while I would love to see a woman president, maybe this particular woman isn't the right one.

If you look in the dictionary under "polarizing figure" ...

It seems to me like half of America hates Hillary and half of America loves her, and she hasn't even been elected yet. There is no question she is a talented, intelligent person, but she sometimes seems a little too slick for comfort.

What I wonder is if some women -- and feminist men -- of our age are supporting her just because they think it's time that the barriers come down. That's not a terrible thing; I also think it would be one of the benefits of electing Barack Obama.

I'd love to hear your opinions on this one.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sorry for being away so long

I keep apologizing.

When I thought I was too busy, I found myself posting at all three of my blogs on a fairly regular basis. Now that I have a lot more free time, I don't seem to be able to bring myself to write.

That doesn't bode particularly well for my retirement, either planned in 2010 or sort of thrust upon me this winter. It also makes it a lot easier to understand what I once thought was kind of a dumb statement:

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

It isn't that I'm not doing anything right now. First and foremost, we are in the process of trying to sell our house. It's something we were going to do later this year anyway, but circumstances sort of pushed it up. We go on the market Saturday and have our first open house on Sunday.

Of course we have a Realtor. (If you don't capitalize that word, they get mad.) She is the one doing most of the word, although we had to clean our house almost to the point where it looks like no one lives in it. Our garage, on the other hand, now contains almost every one of my personal possessions.

Usually I have to make my wife angry for that to happen.

The whole thing is ridiculous, but in a good way. My parents bought their first home in 1956 for $12,000 and the one in which they still live in 1963 for $25,500. That second home has significantly more square footage than the house we're selling, but for the difference in price, it might as well be in Rwanda.

If you look in the dictionary under "ridiculous," you'll see "California housing market." The median price of a home in the state is $430,000, and that's down 22 percent from a year ago. Since we live in a wonderful neighborhood, we're selling for a little more than twice that amount and we'll probably get it.

No offense intended to anyone, but living in La Canada Flintridge is more than a little nicer than living in San Bernardino or Fresno.

So I'm working hard on the house thing.

But that doesn't mean I can't write. I haven't written anything for pay for nearly six weeks, so I need to keep in practice.

Anyway, I'm back.

We'll see what happens.