This morning I took a walk. By myself. The weather is warming slightly, Ginger is mostly sleeping all night, and Ed gave me an ipod - my first - for Valentine's Day. So I had the thought to start taking early morning walks like I used to many years ago. Plus we have this fabulous path across the street that runs along the water (Upper New York Bay). In one direction is the majestic Verrazano Bridge. In the other is the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan in the distance.
So this morning I took off, walking briskly and breathing deeply and feeling. I am still learning to use the ipod and put it on 600-song shuffle, just listening to whatever came up and enjoying every bit. When you have a situation like this - sea breeze (bay breeze), scenery, movement and awesome music pumping into you, it is natural to let the mind wander and enjoy the journey as thoughts come and go. Today I wandered all over my life and memories and found myself thinking of a few people I haven't thought of in a long time.
They played bit parts in my life, nothing very remarkable, but left lasting impressions. We have not kept in touch and will probably never meet again. But these high school companions were with me on my awesome walk this morning so I want to give them a little shout-out anyway. I know this may not be very interesting to readers but maybe it will remind you of some of the memorable one-scene-wonders from your own life; if so, please share.
1. Greg Youngman was my locker neighbor for six years - from 7th to 12th grade. We also sat together for standardized tests, hearing screenings, graduation and other alphabetized events. He was friendly, chill and good-natured in 7th grade and hardly changed (except his voice) the whole time I knew him. This says a lot because I know I changed a great deal over those years but Greg was always cool with me. We were always happy to see each other when school started - locker neighbors yet again, with G-Sue Yi unfailingly on my other side - and bid farewell when it ended. I have occasionally thought of Greg since high school, and though I haven't been able to track him down (though I think I just remembered today his real name is George...), I hope he is unbelievably successful and happy.
2. CJ Oakley was my music stand partner in Guitar Ensemble. Close your mouth - yes, honestly, at one point I played guitar well enough to perform in a group. I don't remember how we became partners - I think positions were just randomly assigned - but CJ and I sat together and shared a music stand for the entire 1991-92 school year. He was awesome. We would never have otherwise met, I'm sure. He had a feathered mullet, a bowlegged strut, and a hick accent, though I think he faked that for effect. He loved country and heavy metal. He was a piece of work and probably thought I was, too, but he was so nice and made sport out of whispering funny comments to me while we played, trying to mess me up. When we passed in the halls, he with his hair band friends, and me with my hippie ones, he always called out to me, with his own nickname for me, "POUNCE!"
3. Ted Arnn was the best friend of my first boyfriend. Ted drove a rockin' navy blue '65 mustang and wanted to be a policeman. He also thought absolutely nothing of the fact that I was his little sister's age - a freshman, while he was a senior. Ted was highly enthusiastic about music and was the first to introduce me to The Smiths, one of my all-time forever favorite bands. This has earned Ted a place in the Disco Mom Hall of Fame. He went to George Mason and did a weekend show on the school radio station; beyond that, we lost touch. I Googled him and found this article - turns out he is a captain with the Fairfax County Police Department, and again hosts a WGMU radio show. Good for you, Ted.
4. When I was a sophomore, my friend Brad Artman asked me to be his escort in the Mr. Robinson pageant. Brad did play a small but cherished role in my life but this isn't about Brad. A pageant escort is just supposed to walk out at the beginning of the show on the arm of the contestant, wait while he introduces himself at the mic, smile, take his arm, and walk off stage with him. It's a formality. Then you go sit in the audience. Being a formality, you are supposed to dress up very nice. Most girls wear skimpy formal dresses and high heels. I didn't have either (wouldn't have worn them anyway!), so I just did the best I could - a long sleeved blouse that I actually ironed, a long crushed velvet skirt, and actual eye makeup. Unfortunately Brad didn't win, but it was a fun contest anyway.
Afterwards I was waiting for Brad backstage when a classmate of mine, Nathan Baker, came over to say hello. He had been in the pageant, too. We chatted a little small talk and then I will always remember the compliment he paid me. He told me that he noticed I was the only escort that had dressed modestly, and he thought that was really cool. I was floored at that compliment coming from a 16-year-old non-Mormon guy. He said it let people focus on my face, and that's how it should be. That spontaneous conversation with Nathan was more affirmation on the virtue of modesty than any church lesson I'd ever had...before or since. Thanks, Nate.
Well there are more but that's enough for now. I promise not to expound so every time I take a walk. But it is nice to have time with my thoughts, and a place to record them.
Who has played an important bit part in your life?