November trips to California are as much about reunions with the family as they are about the Thanksgiving celebrations.
This year though there has been an additional reunion. 64 years ago on the west coast of Wales two small four year old boys started school together, their birthdays just one day apart. They progressed through school (and Air Cadets) together, last seeing each other at age 18 as their schooldays ended. Fifty years later, on the west coast of the USA they met again. One had had a career in flying and aircraft research, the other joined the oil industry, spending years in the Bahamas and then in Florida.
“You go to San Diego often, don’t you,” Bob had written in an email to the Captain recently. “Meeting some friends from Vancouver down there in November. What should we see…?” Coincidence! The respective travel dates overlapped. It was a twenty minute drive to Oceanside Harbor to meet up for lunch: four old school mates from fifty years ago, now two married couples with long service medals!
The Cleddau crew with Anne (nee Power) and Bob Howells
The Thanksgiving holidays are much anticipated: there’s time off from school and opportunity to spend time together. The Californian Three had visited the UK in their summer break but since then there had been more growth spurts. What would the ritual back to back measurements reveal?
Boatwif at 5’ 1” becomes the standard measure of “1 granny”. First up back to back with Boatwif was Cal Guy Snr. who at 13, is now eyeball to eyeball level with his father and paternal grandfather.
Decision: Cal Guy Snr measures 1.2 of a granny.
Then came Cal Guy Jnr, aged 6. He’s sprouting – and was judged as 0.6 granny…
Cal Guy Snr is passionate about aeroplanes (no surprise there, then!) and about Band. He plays baritone saxophone in his middle school band and on Wednesday evening the PAC (Performing Arts Centre) at school was packed for the Fall Concert. About two hundred students, usually extremely casually clothed in jeans and T-shirts, were immaculately dressed in black trousers, white wing collars, bow ties and cummerbunds. It was a thrilling concert played with skill and huge enthusiasm. There’s since been much talk of the rigorous training that students in the high school marching bands undergo. Does that lie ahead?
Cal Gal is a water polo player these days, so there was an early start one weekend day to drive down to Coronado Island for a tournament. There a 30 minute hard swim warm up was required before the match itself…
Then, on the last day before the Thanksgiving break, there was a Flag Salute at elementary school. (Numbers on roll: 840). This is a monthly assembly, held outdoors of course, at which achievement awards are presented, a patriotic song is sung and the pledge of allegiance recited. Cal Gal had been awarded girl Student of the Month in her class – and parents and grandparents were invited to watch the ceremony and to attend the follow up in the classroom afterwards.
Lego and vehicles.
Finally, what else has caught the eye in recent days? Balboa Park down in San Diego always weaves a magic spell: quality busking under a glorious Spanish colonial colonnade, earnest learners at a Segway class , shades and shadows in the Spanish Village artists’ community.
And up at Double Peak Park overlooking San Marcos there is a new notice: Beware the mountain lions….