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2008 Special Days

Judy, Susan and Marie-Hélène at Liz and Marty's party. Liz completes a foursome of women whose margarita lunches together are well known to finish badly!

Judy, Susan and Marie-Hélène at Liz and Marty’s party. Liz completes a foursome of women whose margarita lunches together are well known to finish badly!

Many of our social events in Santa Cruz revolve around Happy Valley SchoolWe’d been parents there for almost twelve years when this photo was taken at the Piccos’ party in December. It looks as if 2008-9 will be our last year, as Alex wants to move on to Middle School for 6th grade.

The Piccos have already moved on too, as have Judy and Susan, both in the photo here with Marie-Hélène. In other words, none of them still has a child attending Happy Valley School. In our group, we’re the last HVS parents standing.

Charlie delighted to be sitting on the lap of a pretty blond, an older sister also at the party. Not sure how she felt about this arrangement!

Susan and Judy have also been confirmed soccer parents for about eight years, with their sons on the same team as Charlie almost the whole time, and so we’ve all spent more time together than we should calculate.

We don’t calculate!

Especially after one of Liz’s patented margaritas! She is a serious tequila aficionado, and has a particular talent for infecting the rest of us. She’s our hostess, after all, and we will be polite and do as she suggests.

Unfortunately, we didn’t take a photo of Liz or Marty at this party: that’s the way it goes when you’re having fun. But we have pictures of each of them elsewhere: here’s Marty, with his plane, and here’s Liz, with Daphné a few years back.

The teenagers party while the parents party, and never the twain shall meet.

Here are some more of the teenage children of Liz and the mothers in the above photo. Agustin is next to Charlie, and Ean is between his sister Brooke and Anton. I suppose as they get deeper into their teens and attend different schools and play different sports, they won’t continue to fit together so easily and well. But it’s great to see them still so comfortable together after about eight years of friendship.

They will always be a great group of young people.

Ean and his dad, Rick, the surfer in the group. Rick is Susan’s husband: she’s in the middle of the first photo on this page.

On to Ean and Rick. Ean has been playing soccer with Charlie for years and years, most recently in the Santa Cruz County Breakers. Rick and I have spent so many hours watching their boys playing so many games together. Don’t get me wrong: we love doing that! One game in particular stands out.

The boys were playing Santa Clara Sporting, their arch rivals with considerably greater resources, both in terms of population and finance. It was maybe 2006 or 2007. The match was played on Sporting’s expensive custom-built fields just down the road from the Great America theme park. For some reason (the heat? the direction of the sun?), most of our team parents planted themselves on the wrong side of the field, where they were obliged to be quiet so as not to draw official attention and be told to move on. It’s not unusual for parents to be told to stay on one side of the field.

Me in front of the Big Sur hillside dropping into the ocean. This is the view from the Nepenthe terrace. Marie-Hélène took a series of great photos on this restaurant terrace.

Rick and I were pretty much the only parents cheering our boys on from the correct side of the field. And cheer we did. We had a great time, walking up and down the sideline, yelling and screaming in unison, deliberately trying to sound like a whole team’s parents. The boys won, by a convincing score of 4-1.

We probably had nothing to do with the result, but who cares! We both had a fabulous time.

Father’s day was very special this year. We typically go out for a meal in town somewhere. Santa Cruz county boasts an abundance of fun cafes and restaurants. But I loves the other scenic parts of the coast, and see them much less often. So several of us drove in three cars to Big Sur, Nepenthe to be precise, for a father’s day lunch.

Alban with his buddy Curtis, who was on leave from the US Navy. Yeah Curtis!

Big Sur is a local paradise, with the coast highway clinging to the hillside above the Pacific. Nepenthe too clings to the hillside, with the ocean hundreds of feet below.

Such beauty has its price, or at least its risks. Not very long after our lovely meal at Nepenthe, a forest fire broke out over Big Sur. It burned over 160,000 acres of the Los Padres National Forest in about five weeks. The TV news carried reports of Nepenthe’s owners running around the property putting out embers from the fire that floated down on them. They had told their employees to flee and stay out of the danger zone until the fires eased, but some of them remained anyway to help protect their restaurant. It was the first significant forest fire in Big Sur since 1972.

Entertainment for the children, too, although I’m not entirely sure what this game is. Charlie and Alex found a way to enjoy it.

One of the three cars that drove to Nepenthe brought Alban and Curtis. It’s not easy to see in the photograph, but Curtis was wearing his navy uniform. He had finished basic training, and was home in Santa Cruz before leaving for his first active duty posting. Less than a week later, he left for Spain. Not a bad posting!

Curtis, if you see this, thanks a lot for coming, and we all hope that working for the US Navy in Spain is as much fun for you as it sounds!

Olive and Nick drove the third car down to Big Sur. They would go on to spend a portion of the summer vacationing together in Paris and Santa Barbara County, and then Olive moved away to take her first job after graduating UC Santa Cruz. It looked like they had a lot of fun while it lasted!

Nick took the group picture, which is why he’s not in it!

In sum, two out of four of our older progeny came to this father’s day lunch at Big Sur. Tom was in Paris all year, and Daphné rarely made it down to see me from where she was living in San Francisco.

I very much appreciated the group that shared Father’s Day and the meal with me!

Here are the other 2008 photo journal pages: Tom living in Paris, Alban out and about in
Santa Cruz
, Ian on a short visit to family in England, Maman, Papa, Charlie and Alex taking a long weekend down the California coast, soccer in 2008, portraits in 2008 and, last but
not least, the main 2008 journal page.