Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday, May 4th, Downtown, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma.


Around lunchtime, we headed off to downtown San Diego in search of a lost step-brother.  When my mom remarried in 1956, my step-father brought along a son named Tom.  Tom grew up in New Jersey, and his mother brought the family plenty of difficult years.  After a divorce in which his father was given custody, Tom and his dad came west to California.  Working at Convair where my mother worked, Bill Kissel and my mother fell in love and were married.

Seven months older, and eight inches taller, Tom was a quiet and unimposing influence on my life.   My mother favored me, and Bill favored Tom.  But it wasn't really that clear, or at all apparent.  And it was okay by all of us.

We both played little league (we went by the fields today).  We both hunted and fished with Bill.  But I don't remember Tom much during high school, and we didn't see each other after high school.

So it was a big surprise when I found his address, and a short note he had written to her before she died, in the materials from her home after she died.  While she indicated to me that she had had no contact with him for many years when I would visit her during her last decade, the truth was that she knew exactly where he was living and it would seem had helped him move at least once.

Armed with the address, I decided before I started off on this trip that I would deliver some old photos of the two of us, as well as some drawings he had done in junior high, to him.  I knew that he had become a mental health system client as a result of a terrible reaction to LSD in the late 1960s, and was prepared for news that he had died or was severely out of touch with reality.

To my happiness, we found his address, and saw his name thinly scratched into the lid of the mailbox.  Unfortunately, the only resident of the apartment building we could find did not know him.  Kitty suggested we ask at the Liquor store on the corner.  The owner knew him well, had cashed his SSI check yesterday, and confirmed that he sometimes appeared too angry and confused for someone without problems.  Armed with the certainty that he did in fact live next door, I left the photos and drawings in the mailbox with a note from me explaining who I was and how to contact me if he chose to.  I'm happy to have found him alive, and hope that the materials remind him of the relatively good times we had together.

Kitty and I then headed off for Ocean Beach, where we had lunch at the foot of Newport Avenue overlooking where I spent thousands of hours surfing and drying out on the sand.  After lunch, we spoke to the manager of the upstairs restaurant (Nick's) about the possible use of it for my 45th Class Reunion.  Then we drove a few blocks away to the Ocean Beach Recreation Center, where we spoke to the manager on the same subject.  I feel much more prepared as a result for a planned discussion with the Reunion Committee tomorrow afternoon.

On the way home, we stopped by Kim Melhorn Jessop's house to check with her on PLHS Reunion Committee activities by other classes at PLHS.  Kim has been the PLHS Alumni Association staff member for many years, and was helpful in all of our past reunions.  I have been serving on her advisory committee for a few years, and we have worked together to locate our graduation class members.

One last contact was made before we arrived back at the Airstream.  Frank Gormlie, one of our class leaders, and a committed community activist in Ocean Beach, returned my email message with a phone call.  We had been playing email tag for a while in an attempt to find a time when we could get together. Kitty and I will be going to his house after the Reunion Committee meeting tomorrow to meet with he and his partner, Patty.

We're now sitting in the trailer, reading and posting.  Dinner awaits, and so does a suggestion that we swim in the bay in front of our site.  I'm going to stop this posting, and we'll see what happens.

It's very strange, but I don't seem to be interested in taking photos here.  I think this is more about my looking than about my taking photos. To view the few photos I took of the Pointer statue at PLHS today, click on: Wednesday, May 4th, Point Loma High School Pointer Dog



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