Saturday, October 30, 2010
Remembering San Diego
Donnie and I spending time with Fr. Julio in San Diego this last weekend brought back a host of memories of the days when Lizzie, Blaine, and Noelle lived there. They are now scattered into three locations, so the memories evoked a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time (or maybe it just seems simpler in retrospect). I will share of few of the many memories that flooded us during our three days there.
First, there was Angel. Noelle and Lizzie moved to San Diego a year before Blaine joined them. We had no idea where were the good and bad parts of town, safe and not safe areas. We did know where the areas were that they could afford the rent and where they could not. Where they could afford afford the rent was not as comforting to me as their mother as were the areas where they could not. However, the manager of the apartment complex upon which they ultimately decided reassured me, promising to watch out for them as if they were his own daughters. His name? Angel. I figured that was a good a sign.
While Angel was watching over them, I did not worry about them. Then Blaine moved to San Diego, and life became more interesting (for all concerned).
For starters, there was the time that the kids were coming home to visit. Lizzie called me as they were leaving San Diego so that I would know to plan for their arrival and just because parents like to know these things -- where their kids are, when they are leaving for home, and all that stuff. Several hours later, Blaine called to say that they would be home in approximately an hour. I did a quick calculation and remonstrated, "You had better not be!" because that meant that they had been driving too fast for my comfort. Two hours later, they showed up. "That's more like it," I told Blaine. "I thought you could not be only an hour away." Lizze later pulled me aside and told me that they really had been only an hour away, but they all decided to sit beside the road for an hour so I would not be unhappy with their arrival time! (Kids!)
Then there was the time that we had just spent a small fortune on new glasses for Shura. (He brought very little with him from Siberia, so there were many new supplies to be acquired for him, including some very important things such as eyeglasses.) He was quite proud of those glasses, and we did not have to enforce his wearing them. He always did. In between surgeries in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we had been able to set up his care with the help of a philanthropist, John Kluge, a wonderful man who died earlier this year, he came "home" to California and decided to spend some time in San Diego with Lizzie, Blaine, and Noelle. I should not have been surprised by the phone call later that week because there was something scatterbrained about Shura. Maybe it is simply the artist's temperament. In any event, Blaine and he were cruising along the coast, enjoying the sun and wind, and Shura, not used to cars, stuck his head out the window to feel the greater effect of the wind. Whisk! His expensive eyeglasses were gone with the wind, literally. Chagrined, he had to go get a replacement pair. (Kids!)
Then there was the time that Noelle took the wrong bus home. Her trip turned out to be a different kind of joy ride from that of Blaine and Shura. A bit ditzy at times, Noelle, realizing that she did not recognize the areas the bus was traveling through, decided to stay on the bus until she did recognize something. It never occurred to her that she was on the wrong bus. Well, the bus finally reached the outskirts of town and stopped. End of line. It was nor returning. End of day. So, Noelle hopped off the bus, in her braces, with her crutches, carrying her backpack, and hitchiked back into town. Some kind man picked her up and brought her all the way to her house, where Lizzie proceeded to give her quite a lecture on the dangers of hitchhiking (although one thing I have noticed with handicapped children: they bring out the best in people, and rarely do the "bad guys" want to "mess" with them -- I think God keeps a pretty close eye on them. (Kids!)
Of course, if I can complain about kids (!), then I guess they should be allowed to complain about parents (!). When the kids were living in San Diego, I was working on a couple of books for publication, and I loved using Lizzie's library (University of California at San Diego) for research. So, I would visit quite frequently. In the beginning, Lizzie's supervisor at work (she worked in the bookstore while going through college) would offer to give her the day off so that she could spend time with me, but Lizzie would tell her that I had come to visit her library or that if she visited with me she would end up helping with research (which she did not mind doing, but she preferred earning money from working more), so soon her supervisor stopped offering, and Lizzie and I and the other kids just spent evenings and weekends together -- and even on some of those occasions when I had a close deadline, they all ended up helping me with library research. I am sure that their response would have been: Parents!
And the bottom line? The kids needed the parents, and the parents needed the kids -- and the complaints were all just in fun (well, mostly).