Between Winchester and Barkhamsted) had to do with my home town of Winsted, which I was trying to introduce to friends Sharmon and Luis and to Taku, before heading to Connecticut to Sol's graduation. We're now back. Here's how it looks from the after-side.
But that’s the down side. Had to get that out of the way.
Taku and I took the trip to do three things: attend the graduation ceremony of a treasured chosen family niece at Yale Law School, drive up to Winsted to visit the biologicals, and then drive up to Northampton, Massachusetts to visit a dear dear friend I have not seen for fifty-five years.
|Luis, Sharmon, grand nephew|
Joseph III, Taku, Jamie,
nephew Joe, Stacey
brother-in- law Joe
|brother-in-law Joe, Luis, nephew|
Joe Jr., moi
|Stacey, grand niece Clara, sister Karen|
Somehow it all worked. I got to revisit my sister after ten years, meet the wife, Stacey and daughter Jamie of my nephew for the first time, catch up with grand nephews and nieces and put the biological family all together with husband Taku and chosen family Sharmon and Luis. If they didn’t actually enjoy the experience, they fooled me. I left the home town with very warm feelings indeed. But not until we had visited Ralph Nader's Tort Museum, missing Nader and his sister Claire by about fifteen minutes, the receptionist told us. Fine fine museum. Worth a visit to Winsted just to see, I'd say.
|clockwise: Stacey, Joe Jr., Clara, |
Karen, Nick, Joe, moi
Despite growing up in Connecticut and knowing dozens of Yalies over the years, I had never been to the Yale Campus. That, too, turned out to be an exciting adventure. I’d share pictures, but aside from a couple showing the tradition of turning mortar boards into silly hats, I’d recommend getting professional quality photos of the campus and its history. Wikipedia does a good job on Sterling Library and the Beineke Rare Books library.
Seriously. Have a look here if you get the chance. Really enjoyed walking into a cathedral, complete with stained glass windows, a mural of Mary at the front (who is actually the very secular “Alma Mater” and not Mary at all. Loved too reading about the squabble between folks who, like Nation magazine, sneered at the “cathedral orgy” sanctimony, and folks like me who have always loved cathedrals and see something noble in building one that will hold over five million books. Fought the urge to genuflect before moving on to the Music Library because I wanted a quiet place to sit down for a while.
|Sol gets her degree|
|Sol twixt mama and papa|
Graduation was fun. Fought like everybody else to get a good shot of our already tall graduate girl in heels towering over many other future ruling class movers and shakers listening to speeches by the dean on the importance of remaining humble and seeking to do good. A special treat was the presence of John Lewis, who really did embody the professional career of a guy who took the sticks and stones and spit of the retrograde forces in American life to make for a better America. Had no idea he would be there. He talked about chickens, also. I didn’t get the point, but that was OK. I was too busy hero-worshiping.
|Me and the sister in the Tort |
Museum (note the exploding
Corvair on the T-shirt
Lewis was only the latest of a long line of people I admire whom I was able to listen to in person this last week. Amy Goodman came to Berkeley and talked about her work with the Dakota Indians fighting the pipeline. Bill Moyers spoke at the Castro Theater about the “alien” nature of Trump in the White House and the importance of recognizing that although there may be two or more sides to every question there are not necessarily two “right” sides. And recognizing that change takes place when lots of little people get involved and do little things. He spoke of how proud he was of the stop sign his wife had forced their town to put up at an intersection near their house. “Just as important, I told her, as the work I was doing to further President Johnson’s Civil Rights efforts.” That would be bullshit coming out of most people’s mouth. From Bill Moyers, I knew it was sincere – making the point that it’s the effort to actually make something happen as opposed to simply ranting and raving about it, that makes the difference. Following in the footsteps of Ralph Nader, for example.
|Winsted Pet Parade|
|Me and Nathan|
The Yale trip was that shot in the arm I need from time to time to convince myself that a) there is beauty in the world, and b) there are good people working to do good things, and c) it cannot be said often enough that the sine qua non for what ails this country is not impeaching the Mango Mussolini in the Oval Office (satisfying as that would be), and holding back the moneyed interests from robbing the poor (necessary as that is), but the importance of insisting that people provide evidence for their assertions. Here's me at the left with yet another hero. Nathan Hale this time (as in "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country" - which he did at age 21, by the way - "For God, For Country, and For Yale.")
Then there’s Hasi.
|Gertraud ("Hasi") and me at|
Middlebury, 1961, maybe 1962
|and now in 2017|
We had the day Tuesday after the graduation. Our plane back to San Francisco wasn’t until five, so we drove to Northamption where Gertraud (whom I knew as “Hasi”) taught German at Smith until she retired.
|Before saying good-bye and promising it|
will not be 55 years this time.
Another dash, this time from one end of Philadelphia airport to the other to change planes,
and home to the girls.
Whose welcome wiggles after five days made the discomforts of air travel fly away in an instant.
Luis and Sharmon, after all this activity in New Haven tracking their second daughter's accomplishments, got to drive their rental car back to New York and hop a plane for Colombia, where their older daughter Paz (how many of you have kids called Peace and Sunshine?) is marrying a marvelous man named Quique, whom I hope to have in my life from here on in with the rest of these marvelous people. Would love to keep up the pace and join them in Cali for the wedding, but it would prevent my taking a long long nap. And I know my limitations. (And they're doing a second wedding just for us California folks, so all's well, I say...)