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December 2016

DHS Classmates

Closing out 2016

December 27, 2016

I’ll start posting about classmates again in the first week of January 2017.  I spend the week after Christmas each year reflecting.  2016 was a year of contradictions for me.  I have begun to wonder what 2017 holds.

I’d like to share the most important thing I learned this year.  I found an article that really speaks to this truth.  Here’s the link below.  If you read the article you might want to start from the bottom; the first 2/3’s will appeal to a few, but is likely to disinterest most until you’ve read the real heart of why he’s saying.  I’ve cut and pasted the seminal portion below to cut to the chase.

The Tail End

From article:

 

The same often goes for old friends. In high school, I sat around playing hearts with the same four guys about five days a week. In four years, we probably racked up 700 group hangouts. Now, scattered around the country with totally different lives and schedules, the five of us are in the same room at the same time probably 10 days each decade. The group is in its final 7%.

So what do we do with this information?

Setting aside my secret hope that technological advances will let me live to 700, I see three takeaways here:

1) Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.

2) Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.

3) Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.

It turns out that when I graduated from high school, I had already used up 93% of my in-person parent time. I’m now enjoying the last 5% of that time. We’re in the tail end.  It’s a similar story with my two sisters. After living in a house with them for 10 and 13 years respectively, I now live across the country from both of them and spend maybe 15 days with each of them a year. Hopefully, that leaves us with about 15% of our total hangout time left.

 

What did I learn?  Even though it seems I’m in midlife, I’m really at the tail end of so many of the relationships that have made me who I am.  Things got real in 2016!  I was at the tail end for years with my Dad and didn’t know it.  I’m at the tail end with Camden and he still has a semester of high school to go.  I’m also at the tail end with my high school classmates.  It’s clear in this context why I’d go through the hassle to put up this site, to court public rejection, and to invest in relationships otherwise left for dead.  I have benefited tremendously!

What will I do with what I’ve learned?  To use sports jargon…I can’t put time back on the clock.  What  I can do is engage.  Someone along the way in this journey warned that reconnecting takes a lot of energy.  I believe that is true.  The flip side is that it’s easier to reconnect than to rely on building new relationships.  The benefit of being on the tail end of relationships, as I’ve discovered in the past two months, is that that other 90% has already been invested.  You know people.  They know you.

Still, it’s almost magical to learn that Regina Patton has likely been on six, if not, seven continents.  That Stanley Holmes is deep on these cases between the black community and the police.  To find out that two friends (Eric Driskell and Kevin Benard), live minutes from each other in CO and are still together, in a sense.  That Larry Lock can’t even remember the falling out from so long ago that I’ve carried with me all these years.  To talk to Kathy Rose the person rather than just look at her FB updates.  Learning that Vanessa Johnson had the courage to return home (see #1 above).

I have enjoyed my time with these people and look forward to reconnecting with others throughout 2017!

 

DHS Classmates

Regina Patton…Dos Equis Is Looking For You!

December 19, 2016

Here’s the link to the audio.

http://www.tapeacall.com/w8kug3mbgt#

My thoughts after an hour with Regina:

  1. I’m just going to put this out there…no one that I know has been to more places or lived a more interesting life than Reg from that perspective.  No.  One.
  2. If you say you saw this coming in high school…well, I’m not likely to believe you.  Reg was smart, had a mind of her own, didn’t care much what anyone thought, and had a restless spirit.  No doubt.  That describes a number of people.  How many people actually translated that into a life well lived?
  3. Reggie refers to herself as a “late bloomer”.  I just don’t think that’s the case.  She had it going on in high school.  She was one of my favorite people.  Sometimes you just don’t meet your people until later.  Or you find yourself along the way.
  4. Back to her life…great picture of Reg and her hubby on Kilimanjaro…where he proposed. Not bad…
  5. Her husband also submitted a video of Regina that was shown on “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. Reg limited an alpha male monkey to a single banana at a temple in Thailand…Until the monkey decided to get physical.
  6. Hub’s also a 6’7” former baller.
  7. Go look at her pictures on FB.  They are amazing!
  8. I included a picture from her childhood because I really liked her Mom and Dad.  Her Mom, in particular, was always friendly and way cool to me.
  9. She’s been in 70 countries, as in like 35% of the recognized nations in the world.
  10. Regina has lived in Japan, NC, London (four years), Seattle, NY, NC again, Colorado…
  11. Her family is living at over 8000 feet above sea level in Colorado outside of Denver.  She shared funny stories about her son being late to school because of impertinent elk.  And a momma bear and cub in the driveway.  Great stuff!
  12. Listening to her talk about the things she’s eaten in the places she’s been channels “Fear Factor”.  The beating heart of a viper?
  13. Favorite place visited?  Malta.  I’ll take her word for it.  Officially now on my “bucket list”.
  14. Reg put Marissa Mannheimer and Sarah Jones out there as people to add to my list.  Duly noted.
  15. It stings a little bit when you remember things that other people don’t remember.  It’s easy to feel like maybe that person was more important to you than you were to them.  In a lot of cases, that’s probably true.  I’m okay with that. Reg was someone that I adored.  And she’s only gotten better with time!
  16. If you’re going to listen to the recording, the back half is better than the first.  I’m just not great at this.
  17. Her senior song for choir was “The Words Get In The Way”, by Gloria Estefan.  The words may still be getting in the way.  Reg is still not exactly just putting it out there.  A better conversationalist probably could have gotten more out of her.    That said, I loved listening to her.  I even loved listening to the recording afterword!
DHS Classmates

Cat Daddy…hell, it’s worth just looking at the pictures!

December 14, 2016

   

 

If you want to listen to the conversation, scroll down.  Takes 30 seconds or so to get going.  It’s what happens when you pay $9.95 for this type of technology.  Otherwise, here’s my notes and comments.

  1. Who is that person you knew in HS, weren’t close with, but wish you were better friends with as an adult? My answer – Eric Driskell.  I like what he does on social media.  He’s sharp.  And he’s still fun to BS with.
  2. Has any white guy ever had a cooler name than Cat Daddy? I mean…I got stuck with “Tackhammer”, which I’m pretty sure translated literally in Latin means “tiny penis”.  Fun origin story on the nickname, which I didn’t remember ever hearing back in the day.
  3. I was surprised to learn that he has shed that nickname. I can remember even Coach Loerwald calling him “Cat” and “Cat Daddy”.  It’s too bad…it would be fun if there were Denver area commercials for his law firm going some like this:
    • Corporate Lawyer 1: “Let’s take this guy to court!  Who’s representing him?”
    • Corporate Lawyer 2: “Cat Daddy!”
    • Corporate Lawyer 1: “Cat Daddy?!?!?! Curses!  Do you think we can get them to settle?”
    • Show the below picture.

 

  1. If he had been born 25 years later, I’m pretty sure the “Honey Badger” moniker would have stuck. He wasn’t exactly the “alpha” in the locker room, but nobody messed with him.  He had a toughness and willfulness about him.  Everybody loved him, even Kevin Benard’s Dad (we discussed).  Everybody respected him.  No quit in him.  You’d never bet against Eric Driskell.
  2. It’s no surprise that Eric is a business owner. Or that he’s successful.  Would have put money on his having worldly success.  He just has that “it” factor.  What’s a little more of a surprise is that he’s a lawyer, I guess.  He had a rebellious, defiant streak to him, which probably gets channeled now to protecting citizens from corporate and institutional types.
  3. Not many of you will listen to the recording. I could certainly make it easier by better organizing what we discuss and indexing the conversation so people could hear what they want to hear without investing an hour.  That said, it’s fun re-listening to the conversation about our recollections of the Friendswood game.  His performance was “30 for 30” material.  He even ran “33 Belly Special” to Stanley Holmes for a long touchdown.  Loerwald referred to Cat Daddy as a “magician” during films the next day.  His play that night was magical indeed.
  4. I had forgotten about when Cat came back to the huddle after the Santa Fe DE had yelled racial slurs at him. Then it all came back to me how the offense collectively went after that kid on a play shortly thereafter.  He lay on the field and didn’t return to the field afterward.  Our coaches didn’t teach or condone that type of retribution.  They didn’t have to…we’d already bought into the philosophy that as Dub Farris espoused, which I remember as: “there is no black or white in this room…we are all blue on white with a little red trim”.  Which is what makes some of the racist stuff I’ve seen on FB so hard to swallow.
  5. Love that he stands up for what he believes in politically.  The trolls showed up en masse on FB and he didn’t back down.  Didn’t get angry.  Just kept shining the light.
  6. Re: politics…Cat Daddy has a legal background.  He’s articulate and has a backbone.  I’d like to see him in the HOR or Senate.  I’d vote for him, any day.
  7. I loved his recommendations for me to reach out to Kevin Benard and Eric Orrill. Eric Orrill is especially intriguing.  He grew up on my street.  I can’t remember anyone cutting up more than “Eddie”.  He just retired from a long career in the military?  Definitely a story there.
  8. Kevin Benard and Eric Driskell living a short distance from each other and still hanging out every couple of weeks? Are you kidding me?  The wives allow that?  I’d love to be a part of it.
  9. Loved the shout out to Michael Murrie and recognizing the courage with which Murman played football. The Murman put everything he had into every contact with an opponent.
  10. Lots of pictures on FB to choose from…what’s clear in those pictures is that he still has the same boyish face, the same “I dare ya” look in his eyes.  Cat Daddy is one of a kind!

 

 

Use this link to listen to the recording:

http://www.tapeacall.com/download-recording?tag=a94mk6wmvy

DHS Classmates

Vanessa Johnson…biz casual before it was cool!

December 13, 2016

Vanessa Johnson and I spoke Monday night.  The recording is below my notes from the call.  Again, be patient, the (cheap and suboptimal) service I use to record calls takes a while before you can hear us talking.

  1. Public service announcement…I’m sorry for my unorganized, rambling style.  I’m also sorry I haven’t constructed an easy framework to listen to specific tidbits of the conversations.  I’ll work on it.
  2. Vanessa (VJ) expressly forbid me from putting any pics from HS on this blog.  So I didn’t.  She didn’t say anything about her younger days!
  3. Vanessa Johnson is incredibly accomplished and educated.  We all saw that coming.  Business.  Law.  Academia.  No surprises there.  VJ driving the Frito Lay truck for 2-3 weeks and delivering chips to convenience stores…That’s a fresh image in my mind.
  4. It’s crazy to think our paths probably crossed in NYC.  She’s lucky it wasn’t me who spotted her – I’d have chased her down and derailed her day.
  5. VJ’s take on black men and the police is short and matter of fact.  30% of black men will come in contact with “the system”.  Her anecdote about her brother, the trauma / critical care surgeon, being a part of that statistic just added an exclamation point.
  6. Memory is a funny thing. I remember our conversations in Calculus.  She remembers them in Sociology.  Two different anchors for similar memories.  We both remember me driving her home after track practice and joining me at FBC.  Here’s my question – would anyone else remember Vanessa and I as friends?  We didn’t exactly run in the same circles.  I remember thinking someone would ask, yet no one ever did.
  7. The thing I found most interesting?  Our conversation about her Tulane experience.  You should listen to her talk about it, but here’s the basics.  The tracking program of the gift & talented in Dickinson exposed VJ in class to mostly white classmates.  Tulane…was different and (my words) she found her identity.
  8. Second most interesting?  VJ could live anywhere, but she has chosen (at least for a time) to reside in League City, returning to her Dickinson roots.  I get why…family is important.
  9. My favorite line paraphrased.  Archie Williams was asked if he knew VJ; what he remembered was her carrying a briefcase to class.  The briefcase was her signature!  My guess is that the briefcase intimidated some of us…which is a shame because she is so great to know and so easy to talk to!
  10. Thing I’d forgotten…how much I love her laugh.  How direct and straight forward VJ is.
  11. I should publish (with permission) our FB Messenger messages.  She’s just someone who you can go for years without talking to and pick up where you left off.
  12. VJ confesses young love for Michael Francis and Andre Ware.  Man, did she have high standards.
  13. When I watch “She’s All That”, I think of VJ.  Misunderstood, under the radar, committed to following her plan, not caring what other people thought, hiding behind bookish glasses…and beautiful inside and out if you stop to pay attention.
  14. She’s still  “All That”.
 

I made a recording using

TapeACall: The #1 Call Recording App.

 

December 12, 2016 at 3:03 PM 1:01:24

View Recording

You can listen to the recording by tapping the link above.
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DHS Classmates

Un-Lock’d After All These Years

December 7, 2016

Link to our conversation below.  May take a few seconds to get rolling…

  1. When I put together my list of people to whom I should reach out, Stanley and Kathy were people that interested me.  I also knew others would be interested.  While neither live in Dickinson, I could see that they remained connected to classmates from the community.  Larry was different.  I put Larry on the list without caring what anyone else would think or whether anyone would read this.  I might prefer they didn’t.  My reasons for engaging Larry were more personal.
  2. The thing about forgiveness…What had been holding me back from reaching out to Larry when he showed up on FB were probably the same reasons we’d stopped speaking in high school.  This wasn’t trivial stuff at the time.  There had been a physical confrontation that became dangerous.  His life began moving in a different direction than mine.  And I broke Larry’s neck during a tackling drill in football practice.  It’s impossible for me to know if Larry had really forgotten as he said or just forgiven over time.  I know I had put it out of my mind until this project came up.  The life lesson is obvious, though.  Resolve differences.  Don’t wait 27 years.
  3. Both Larry and I sped out of Dickinson, TX as fast as we could and never really looked back.  We were both running for a reason and he talks about that.  Larry is now settled in Kerrville living within 1.5 miles of both his mom and sister, Loretta.  To know that he has those relationships with family in middle age makes me happy for him.
  4. Phillip is a rock star?  Loretta was / is an amazing singer.  What happened to Larry?  I can remember recording songs in a booth with Larry at a fun park in Houston.  Our results weren’t impressive.
  5. Larry’s been married three times.  I’m on my second.  The others I’ve talked to for this blog have each experienced divorce.  It’s early in the process.  It’s not a meaningful statistical sample yet.  Still, divorce and raising children in its aftermath is an early common theme.
  6. It’s interesting to hear Larry speak so much about his faith.  I don’t want to overemphasize it – it’s a part of our shared history together.  You just don’t hear people talk about their faith like that in New England.  Big regional difference.  Evangelicals and fundamentalists are so common in Texas and the Southeast US.  Rare breed here.
  7. You can tell just through FB that both Larry and I have gone full on Dad bods.  Larry could lose one hundred pounds in a year, if I turned weight loss into a competition.  Maybe I will.

Larry sounds happy.  I miss him.  I don’t know the next time I’m in range, but I intend to find him.  Give him a hug.  Then talk and laugh.  We still have a lot to catch up on.

 

I made a recording using

TapeACall: The #1 Call Recording App.

 

December 2, 2016 at 11:34 AM 51:41

View Recording

You can listen to the recording by tapping the link above.

 

DHS Classmates

The Indomitable Spirit of Kathy Rose

December 4, 2016

Kathy Rose never seemed a year younger than me.  She was everywhere I went.  The recording of our conversation is LONG…I believe it went over an hour and twenty minutes.  Just copy and paste the link into a web browser.  It’s an MP3 file.

My guess is that I’ll be writing about my conversation with her for weeks to come.  These were my first impressions.

  1. Stage Four cancer is a death sentence.  Kathy was diagnosed at the age of 38.  She’s now 44ish.  I didn’t understand before the call the severity of her diagnosis.  Am I really surprised that Kathy is continuing to defy the odds?  Not really.  Reminded me of Magic Johnson.  I think that’s about right.  Just too much lifeforce to give in.
  2. I had Kathy at the top of my list because she is so engaging and open.  I knew she could carry the call.  She didn’t disappoint.  She spoke with energy and candor.  How exactly does one do that when the body is in such open rebellion?  She’s taking the hard pain meds like morphine; these meds don’t ease the pain so much as dull your mind.  How can she be so clear and lucid?
  3. I have wanted to hear about her experience in Vegas for 20+ years.  I was hoping to hear more about the genius of Vegas – what goes on behind the scenes.  Don’t get me wrong – the high production wedding planning story was legit and deserved more air time.  That said…It was tough to hear that Vegas can be as bad for you as cancer.
  4. There were really two conversations going on.  The tone of her voice which always sounds positive and affirming.  Then there were her words.  Her ex-husband has died fairly recently.  She’s having to live with her mother.  She’s away from her son.  She’s not working regularly.  Money is tight.  She’s in pain.  A tumor has developed in her liver.  All of that is true.  Yet, she’s recently completed her Master’s degree.  She talks easily about learning to adapt to and accept a simpler life.  She still has her sparkle…cancer increasingly weighs on her, but can’t take her joy.
  5. Kathy admits to writing a book about her life.  I want a signed copy!  I’m sure her book will be a good read.  I think she has a TED Talk in her.  She’d make a great motivational speaker.
  6. Kathy’s recommendations to me to add to my list were Barbie Vasquez and Emily Clock.  Duly noted.

http://recordings.conferencecalling.com/download/?accountid=1383396&bridge=249552&fileid=LA9877_12032016090752713_1270818

 

Musings

Ten Things I’ve Learned In The First Week

December 2, 2016
  1. The hardest call I’ll make this week is to Larry Lock.  He and I were close.  Then we weren’t.  I don’t know that I knew until I began preparing to talk to him that I owed him an apology.  That’s not the narrative my lazy mind had adopted.
  2. If you post a picture of Kathy Rose on Facebook, shut off the alerts.  Or leave your phone in the kitchen…Otherwise, it’s going to beep all night.  And then all the next day.
  3. The best part of watching Facebook’s reaction to a Kathy Rose?  150+ names of people I’ve never heard of.  That means that the vitality and charisma that she brought every day to DHS is still apart of her.  People love her wherever she goes.
  4. My habit of just trying things and being okay if they fail is going to catch up with me on this project.  I sent out a conference call number on Facebook and didn’t think anything of it.  Then I thought…what if no one calls in because Kathy keeps in touch with people already?  Then I looked at my phone.  In less than ten minutes, 20 people had responded to the post.  Then the problem became, what if 50 people call in?  How will I manage that.
  5. When I started this project I wrote down a list of fifty classmates I’d like to speak with just to prove that this was something worth pursuing.  After a few days, I’ve begun to realize that was too few…and that I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings for reaching out a year into this.  Just reinforces the notion of every boxer having a strategy until they get punched.  I’ll need to spend more time considering the interpersonal angles.
  6. Brady Goodgame is passionate and unwavering in his views.  He hasn’t lost his mind.  He doesn’t deserve to be called a racist or a xenophone.  Stubborn?  Yes.  And it’s a pleasure to interact with him on something besides sports or business.
  7. “Do it yourselfers” – word of advice.  Pay for the support on your blog.  Following instructions you find on the web won’t keep your blog safe or make it act the way you envision.  I use WordPress and ‘WP Live’ for support.  These guys are very helpful and responsive.
  8. A surprising number of people have listened to a recording of Stanley Holmes.  That’s crazy.  The part I’ve gotten right so far is picking people with whom it is easy to talk and with whom people are interested.  Hard not to love Stan the Man.
  9. People in Texas are just more open and easier to talk to than people anywhere else.  This probably belongs in a “things I’ve had to relearn” column.
  10. Everyone I talked to about gatorsonlylater.com except for my wife recommended I not do this.  For lots of very good reasons.  Failure, boredom, criticism…Thank you, Nicole!  I don’t think you thought this was one of my better ideas, but you always feed my enthusiasms (except for motorcycles and running shoes).  Just another reason I love you (you’re also amazingly hot)!