My last great adventure this time around was a Wednesday trip to Sattui Castle in Napa Valley (Castello di Amorosa). My sister Theresa (whom we affectionately call Tweater) picked out the destination and we thought we'd check it out. As you can see it has an authentic look. Upon entering we went to the cashier and purchased our wine tasting tickets. We got both a regular set and a set for tasting their reserve. The three of us shared those tastes since I was only taking a few tastes. There are also tours you can get for $25 each, but you can wander yourselves in areas that are not roped off. If anyone knows the Bascoms you know we made a beeline for the cellar area where the wine tasting takes place. The people there were very helpful and pulled out a table and chair for my mother to use while my sister and I bellied up to the bar. Although I only tasted a few wines I did taste one white reserve that I loved, so I bought a bottle for Thursday consumption. (Please be advised if you call me on this day there are no guarantees I will be able to maintain a linear conversation as I have no other plans). This winery does not sell their wines in any retail outlet. All wines are sold locally or shipped from online or mail sales. We were also able to visit the chapel, the ball room, and some wine storage areas. The dungeon, tunnels, and some upper areas were off limits except for tours. Supposedly, 2/3rds of the castle spaces are below ground. We completed the entire visit in just a few hours and then had dinner outside Napa. I'd recommend a visit if you are near Calistoga (It is just short of Calistoga on Highway 29 after St. Helena).
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The final report concerning reunion business concerns my wonderful visit with Darlene and her husband Dan. But first, The picture on the left is what I first saw when Darlene answered the door. Can any eagle eye see anything odd here? Darlene is a precious jewel. We had a great time sharing. Darlene's husband came home for a few minutes and warmed up a meal they had prepared for us. He had to hurry back to work, but it was great for the three of us (Darlene, me, and my mother) to sit around the table and just talk and eat. I think Darlene and I were doing much more talking than eating. In fact, the Darlene I remember was very quiet and so shy, yet this Darlene was able to share and share and never get tired. It was wonderful. I learned alot about her family, and about the fun she had working to find classmates and the joy at each discovery. As you can see from the picture my mother was hanging on every word! Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit there. I think we had a short lunch visit planned, but before we knew it five hours had passed. Darlene jokingly (was it jokingly?) said if we stayed for a few more minutes her husband would be home and we could all eat dinner. The time just flew by. I especially enjoyed all the old photos she had of her family and our classmates. I can't believe how cute you all were! But now I have another sis to go along with Nisa! Yes, we are family! Darlene has a beautiful home. She lives in Elk Grove, a suburd of Sacramento. She has a warm, comfortable yard with a nice pool (occasionally home to ducks she says) and patio. Her house is warm, filled with wonderful music and personal pictures intermingled with, um, various notes containing past and present passwords (I won't tell). This ends my babble on the reunion. I had an awesome, indescribable time with all of you. It's time for me to chill with the family and then wing my way back to Texas. Hey, take a look at the shirt I am wearing here and look at the star... it gives you a rough idea on just where San Angelo is located. My home is always open to anyone in our neck of the woods. I hope you all have a wonderful time in your upcoming events at Twila's and the summer get together. I'll be around again some time in the future. But in the meantime please keep in touch. I leave you with this final video. I love you all very much!
Valerie has sent a note to Johnwaynerussrick Inc , wanting to learn how to post pics, so she can blog like the rest of us ...In the meantime she has sent pics for posting ....Those of you in attendance will have received these pictures personally from Val
Monday, March 9, 2009
Now we come to the fun. When the functions ended around 10pm the DJ began to play music for dancing. The entire facility pretty much emptied out at that time. We had about a half dozen of us left, not including our friends and family. There were also a few others there but we pretty much dominated the dance floor. Now, I was not planning on tripping over my feet that evening but I'm glad I was dragged out there along with the others. It was great fun. The 30ish DJ had a hard time figuring what 60's music really was, so Nisa, Valerie, and Peter J. tried to help. Val tried to teach me the proper steps for some of the action but I was only good at staying on autopilot and letting my body fall in whatever direction it wanted to go. It was fun as we tried to anticipate each other's moves. A highlight is when the DJ led us as a train around the dance floor... and then we left the floor to go roaming through the area. We ended up heading into the boy's restroom. Sue and Val put on the brakes and stopped, but, unfortunately I was sort of the caboose and "pushed" them the rest of the way inside. We then turned around and made our way back to the floor. There was, ahem, another highlight as well. Rick and Valerie had a very interesting dance themselves that I caught on video with my digital camera. I had a slight lapse while doing it though. I was holding my camera on end for a tight shot of the dancing as if I was taking a still shot, so the video is currently 'on its side.' I don't have any editor to fix that here, so don't get a crick when you watch it. Pay careful attention to Rick's hands. My sister had a great time mingling as well, helping to balance the male to female ratio on the dance floor. Peter kept her busy once or twice. At midnight the music ended and the reunion turned into a pumpkin. We decided we just weren't ready to say goodbye, so we all left for IHop for breakfast and coffee. This was great for me because my hotel was about a block away from there. We hung around till 2am, which actually became 3am due to the time change. Finally the time had come for all of us to move on. It was time to return to reality and temporarily put those schoolgirl and schoolboy days behind us. Some talked eagerly about the summer BBQ, and there are the St John girls that will be meeting at Twila's. Right now I am looking forward to my Tuesday visit with Darlene. After that I will be soon winging my way back to Texas. We need to stay in touch, and when opportunity arises, come together in friendship once again. Enjoy the pictures.
Part 2 might answer the question, "Is it possible to go back?" Once we found that the iron gates leading up the stairs were closed, someone found someone with a key, and we were off. This is where the magic was in my opinion. For a brief period we were all kids again. Our teacher, Susan, and her kids were ready to check out the classrooms. Some of us were laughing and giggling just as if we were back there again (see picture on right). As we went up to the first floor we first came upon the old principal's office, which is now the administration center. I believe I heard the principal is located on the outside of those iron gates now. I pointed out the fourth grade classroom on the corner, which is where I started at OLPH. After we checked out a few classrooms we quickly moved on to our desired destination, the top floor. I think it was Nisa that first noticed that the stairs to nowhere were still there. I guess they are still waiting to build that fourth floor. Do you remember the nurses station that was that little nook between classrooms that horseshoed around on the inside? It is now a teacher's lounge. We were pretty sure about 7th and 8th grade locations, but had mixed feelings about 5th and 6th. Even Susan didn't know for sure. We selected a classroom, the streetside class on the west end, and walked around inside. Things that caught our attention were the beautiful night view outside the windows, the small chairs and desks, and the classroom layout in small groups. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. This is not the end... Part 3 is the fun and frolic after most people left. This is when the kids really began to play.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Well, folks. What a reunion! One note before I begin. If anyone wants one of these photos for printing purposes email me for a higher definition photo. Although I crop these into 8x10 or 5x7 images they are also resolution-reduced for web viewing. Now, to the story (images in no special order). When I first arrived at OLPH I saw all the cars exiting the back area and my first thought was that the lot was full and these cars were heading back out. I circled around twice before I realized it was the church service letting out. I parked my car and walked to the front of the school where the line was forming, and just as I queued up I heard my name in a sweet familiar voice. There was Twila standing in front of me. Then Nisa popped over, and the fun was just beginning. We had classmates, spouses, significant others, a teacher, and even a sibling. Yes, my sister Theresa joined us to help balance the fun. I was also very happy to see Danny Cross there with his wife. His dad was a leading figure in OLPH sports all the years I was there. So while everyone else in the place is sitting and chatting and looking at the auction pieces, our guys and gals are hugging, laughing, taking lots of pictures, and just having a great time. No one laughed, giggled, or showed more teeth than Valerie, although Nisa was a close second. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I don't think any one of us seriously listened to any of the auction items. It was an extra special treat when Patti showed up. She was on her way to another function and just stopped by to say hi. This is why you won't see her on the group pictures posted earlier. It was great seeing her and she almost got stuck with us when her car was boxed in for some time. She finally escaped to her other engagement. We were one of the first tables to go up and get our dinner, which was a buffet of catered Italian food. The food was great, but I found that I had so much fun talking and sharing that I didn't go back for seconds or dessert. I wasn't the only one. Everyone continually moved from person to person sharing thoughts. One thing that kept amazing each of us was what we individually remembered. Some of us remembered sports details while others recalled parties and social events. When the big auction started not many in the class of 69 was paying attention. We were in our own little world. At one point we looked at ways to get upstairs but the stairway now has iron gates which block access. Later in my blog part 2 we will look at the portion of our evening where the upstairs was opened up to us. In the picture with Ramona you will see quite a few people at her table. She had quite the family get together with parents and a sibling. Altogether our folks were spread across three tables. Speaking of the tables, they came with green beaded necklaces. Some of us put these on, and some others (Nisa) put a lot on! I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Votaw at this event. In her teaching career we were the first class she ever taught, making us so special to each other. She told me that she lived in Palo Alto at the time. Susan would work on her lesson plans while on the commute. What a card! For example, group pictures were planned for both the class of 1959 and our 1969 class. We queued up and waited for the 1959 class to finish. Just as they finished Susan got the line moving when she "pinched" a certain blogger on the rear. Ahem. The group pictures blogged earlier were from my camera. We will have professional group photos available in the near future as well. After the pictures and auction, Nisa and Rick as well as a member from the 1959 class were selected to draw the tickets for the money prizes. No classmates were monetary winners, but we were winners nonetheless. After the last prize was paid out the event was formally closed and transitioned to the music and dancing phase. I will discuss the tour of the upper classrooms and the dance phase in part 2 of the blog. The 1969ers: Rick, Peter J., Wayne, Dennis, (Patti), Twila, Valerie, Ramona, Sue, Danny, Nisa, Chris, and Susan Votaw. Enjoy the rest of the pictures!