Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Mansoor Money & Reunion Musings

I'M BAACK!
I r
eturned home from the long Memorial Day holiday, having celebrated my 50th high school reunion with a bunch of old people (more on that later), and spent part of the day Tuesday plowing through accumulated emails.

FILLING MANSOOR'S COFFERS
Among the other things I did was check some of the local blogs, to see what they thought was important during my four-day absence. Today I found this entry in the Red County/OC Blog, authored by Matt Cunningham, which announced the very first fund raiser for our young jailer(or is he?)mayor, Allan Mansoor in his bid for Van Tran's seat in the California Assembly. You can view the invitation by clicking on the link in that article to see the players involved.

POLITICAL WHO'S WHO

As so
me might expect, this was a real test of my gag reflex, and became even more so as I read down the list of members of the Host Committee and Honorary Co-Hosts. Among the former are two of Mansoor's appointees - Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer and his pal, Commissioner Steve Mensinger. Another familiar name on the Host Committee list was local businessman Surat Singh. You may recall the dust-up about campaign finances between Singh and Monahan earlier this year.

AND OTHER FAMILIAR NAMES
In the latter category we find mostly politician's names, including Mansoor's barnac
le in his last election, Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece, Councilman Gary Monahan and a couple more of their appointees - Planning Commissioner Colin McCarthy and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Jeff Matthews, who was Monahan's campaign manager.

TROLLING FOR BUCKS

For a hundred bucks a head you, too, can help fill M
ansoor's campaign piggy bank so he can take his "prodigious intellect and razor-like wit" (he says, tongue in cheek) off to Sacramento. I'd send them a check if I thought it would get Mansoor out of town where he couldn't continue to screw up our city.

MANSOOR VS. THE VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY
This promise
s to be one very interesting race, as mentioned in Cunningham's post on the Red County blog. Mansoor is going to have to go against some very well-connected and financed Republicans from the Vietnamese community - not an easy task.

********

REUNION MUSINGS

Back to my reunion. The four-day event was a rousing success, with activities planned throughout the weekend. Fortunately, we all wore name tags with our high school photographs on the
m - otherwise we'd have spent much of those four days bouncing off each other without a clue of our identities.

CLOSE TO HOME

It was held i
n Pasadena, not too far from where I grew up. There are no hotels in the part of the northeast Los Angeles barrio where I spent my youth. There were trips to museums, Gold Line rides to downtown with lunch at Filippi's and a little walk through Olvera Street. Some of my classmates drove over to the original Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Burbank to let their taste buds enjoy a trip down Memory Lane, too. There was even a tour of our old school, although it has been completely rebuilt since we attended.

WHO'S LEFT?

I've recently joked to some that the 50th reunion is the one where you show up to see who's still v
ertical. Well, that was pretty funny until this event actually arrived. While it was fun to see many old friends, it was very sad to read down the list of those who have passed on and realize that, before the next reunion, many of these friends we were sharing fond memories with would not be around for that event.

LIFE-LONG FRIENDS
I've known some of the attendees since kindergarten. Some seem not to ha
ve changed a bit since the day we graduated, while others seem like complete strangers - at least appearance-wise. Some of the guys who were star athletes look like they could still measure up today. Others, like your humble correspondent, seem to be built more for comfort than speed these days. Some of the lovely ladies of my youth remain beautiful women to this day. Others look every bit like the grandmothers they are - having dealt with the tribulations of life for a half century since I last saw them.

A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL

Regardless, everyone had a great time. There were no frowns, only four days and nights of perpetual joy and fellowship. Lots of guys huddled together, sharing stor
ies punctuated by roaring guffaws. Small groups of women smiling and jabbering - seeming all at one time - with the occasional high-pitched giggle at a punchline. There were formal and informal memory tests to re-connect those synapses that seem to have short-circuited a little in recent years. Go ahead - you try to remember the name of your senior class vice president! Can you name the homecoming queen and her court? What was the name of that favorite ice cream store?

MEMORY JOGGERS ON DISPLAY

There was a series of long tables stretching almost the length of the room on which memorabilia from bygone years was placed for viewing a
nd fondling. Bound copies of our award-winning high school newspaper provided us with memory-joggers and many smiles. Copies of old yearbooks made us chuckle as we flipped the pages full of familiar faces from a half-century ago.

AH, THE MUSIC
The DJ played some great tunes of our era. Numbers like "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler, "
Come Softly To Me" by The Fleetwoods and everyone's "our song", "The Theme From A Summer Place" by Henry Mancini.

PUT YOUR LEFT FOOT OUT....
It was fun to watch as many of my classmates re-lived their youth by doing the Bu
nny Hop, The Stroll and The Chicken Dance. That old saw about the spirit being willing but the body is not sure came into play. And, it showed once again that not all God's children have rhythm.

STAYING TOGETHER

It was fun to see my prom date again after all these years, and to recall those magic moments with the couple with whom we double-dated that ev
ening. They've been married for nearly 50 years. In fact, an amazing number of couples from my class who married within a few months of graduation are still happily together after all these years.

THE VALUE OF FRIENDS

This weekend only reinforced for me the value of friends - new and old. I'm grateful for having had the chance to tell a few of my old friends how much our relationships way back then have meant to me. Some have remained strong to this day, while others kind of faded away, only to be re-kindled this weekend. And, it makes you realize and appreciate the fragility of life itself.

FRAILTY IS HARD TO HANDLE

It's painful w
hen I sit and talk to a former football star who, today, is dealing with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, or when I chat with a former vivacious and perky cheerleader who has developed a tremor in one arm. It's tough to sit and visit with a former drill team member who has had both knees and one hip replaced and is dealing with a lot of pain - but still with a great smile on her face.

JOY OF RENEWED FRIENDSHIP

And through all this there was the joy of re-acquaintance - of hearing the stories of kids, grandkids and great grandkids - and of careers successfully played out to the point of retirement. It was inspirational to hear the stories of friends who now trek to far off lands to volunteer their professional services to undeveloped countries instead of playing 5 rounds of golf a week.

VALUE YOUR FRIENDS AND TREASURE EACH MOMENT WITH THEM

So, you young people out there - take if from a happy geezer. Re-connect with the friends of your youth. Go to the reunions. Hug your friends and let them know you care about them. That old clock is ticking....

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3 Comments:

Blogger Humberto Caspa said...

Congratulations for the HS reunion. I've always dreamed about getting together with my HS friends back in La Paz, Bolivia, but it has been an extremely hard, almost impossible, task to accomplish. I envy you, my friend. As far as Mansoor's attempt to get an Assembly seat in the Cal. Congress, I think he'll come short. The Vietnamese community is well armed. Mansoor should get no more than 21% of the Rep. vote; most of them coming from Costa Mesa. To increase his chances, he needs to go back to school and get a BA in any field. An AA can take him so far.

5/27/2009 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous mike s said...

INTERESTING LIST OF ENDORSEES IS RIGHT. EVEN MORE CURIOUS ARE THE NAMES NOT LISTED,I.E. ERIC BEVER. must have had a falling out.

5/27/2009 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous rob dickson said...

Dr. Caspa,

Education is definitely a positive, and every child should be encouraged to complete their education. However, I have to question the value of going "back to school and get[ting] a BA in any field" for increased chances in getting elected to the Assembly. "[A]ny field" implies that the nature of the education is irrelevant, only the possesion of the degree. I can vouch for many without formal educations who are far brighter and more successful than many with advanced degrees.

Obviously, education is important, but I am tired of the inane bias against non-college graduates that exists in American life. A 4-year liberal arts degree obtained by a 22 yr. old is not the measure of a person.

5/28/2009 09:55:00 AM  

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