Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dallas November 22, 1963

Forty-six years ago, in the autumn of 1963, I was in ninth grade. I had Miss Mildred Brown again as homeroom teacher for the third year in a row. She was a rather plain looking geography instructor. But I guess she liked me. For citizenship she gave me an A double plus. That's really rather embarrassing.

My brother Sherry (Sheridan) was a senior at Princeton. For his junior year thesis, he had written a paper on Laos and Vietnam. Sometime when I was in elementary school, Sherry had suggested a future career for me. I should go to Princeton, of course, major in Arabic studies and become an expert in petroleum. This was 1960 or 1961. Today, Sherry doesn't recall suggesting that to me, but it was rather prescient for the time. Needless to say, I didn't do any of that. Although, for years I did have my heart set on going to Princeton for undergraduate studies.

Senior year, Sherry escorted Madame Nhu (the Dragon Lady) and her very attractive daughter (who later died in a Paris motorcycle accident) around the Princeton campus. This was just before the coup, which toppled the Diem regime in early November.

Friday November 22 started as an ordinary day. In second year Latin class with a severe Miss Halbert –while we were translating Julius Caesar's Gaul Commentaries— Miss Halbert started fiddling with the radio. As murmurs arose, she snapped at us: "For your disorderly information…... the President has just been shot!"

The class went into an uproar. Students screamed and sobbed. But we went on to the next class, typing, I believe. Finally, an announcement came from the Principal on the intercom that we were excused to go home early.

As I walked past Italian Lake, toward the Zembo Shrine Mosque, and the Scottish Rite Temple— just before the McFarland Rose gardens— my Dad came by in his Ford, looking for me and drove me home.

Remembering the events of that weekend, I regret I didn't insist on going to visit Aunt Marg and Uncle Elmer Staats in Washington. I should have liked to have gone to the viewing in the rotunda. Instead, like everyone else, I stayed transfixed to the television screen, and watched Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald in real time.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

11th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day ~ November 21, 2009

Each day in the U.S. more than 80 people take their own lives, leaving behind loved ones to struggle with the loss, grief & all of those questions that begin with “Why . . .?”

The holiday season can be particularly difficult for survivors, but there is help available. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will sponsor the 11th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day on November 21.

National Survivors of Suicide Day is a day of healing for those who have lost someone to suicide. It was created by U.S. Senate resolution in 1999 through the efforts of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who lost his father to suicide. Every year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sponsors an event to provide an opportunity for the survivor community to come together for support.

There are three ways to participate in this year’s conference.

· Attend a local conference from 1:00-2:30 pm local time

· Watch the live webcast from a home computer from 1-2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time and then join in a live online chat immediately afterwards, or

· Watch the webcast later “on demand” from a home computer.

To find a complete listing of the over 175 locations where the local conferences are being held, or to register for the live webcast, please go to

Suicide touches everyone. Come together on this day in an effort to comfort, support, heal, and inform.

Courtesy of CBP website

Friday, November 20, 2009

"ROSE" ~ December 29, 1998 ~ November 20, 2009

Rob just returned from dinner at an Irish pub, THE LIBERTIES, with his brother Sherry (Sheridan), who's in town for a couple of days with a group from his Meridian foundation in Washington. The last time I ate there with him was the evening after my partner Dennis died three and a half years ago. Sherry had arrived the afternoon before. Today Sherry arrived at the house about forty-five minutes after my beloved Ruby Cavalier, dear ROSE died of heart failure.

Rose, whose pedigreed name was Stellar Coeur de la Mer, had had a heart murmur for several years. In fact a year and a half ago, I decided not to have Rose undergo dental cleaning because the anesthesia would have been too risky. Then last December Rose nearly died after it turned out she had swallowed a peach pit. A month's salary paid for the surgery which gave her a good additional eleven months. Since my Dad survived a good five years after his cardiac arrest when he was sixty-eight, I think that by doggie calculations, Rose had him beat.

I had concerns about Rose's condition this morning, and after an important meeting at work, returned home in late morning to spend the day with her. We took several naps. She lay ensconced on the sofa in the Red Room with her black and tan brother Rupert, and pesky Blenheim puppy Renzo for most of the afternoon. Early in the evening she left the sofa to go in the bedroom. A minute or two later I followed her and found Rose gone in the airline kennel under the drop-lid Biedermeier desk.

Rose will be cremated at Pets Rest in Colma tomorrow morning after my brother takes Rupert and me to the SPCA vet hospital to have his left eye checked out. I'm afraid Rupert has gone blind in that eye. Then Rose will join her predecessors Nell, 'Libet, Dundee, India and even Dennis in the Buddha Box (home Japanese Buddhist temple) in the Red Room.

Tomorrow night I go to a Chinese Wedding Banquet in the East Bay. Life goes on.

Titian in the Frari (Venezia)