Giving Thanks, Part 3

My friend Rachel, a good friend indeed this is a continuation of 2 previous blog entries

The years passed, each of our families grew. I think the next time we got together was in Hawaii in Hilo on the Big Island. Rachel and her family were holidaying in her cousin’s house in Hilo. We were holidaying with my mother where she lived on Maui. We all flew over to Hilo to stay with the Benders. Their sons were slightly older than our 3 but the mix was good.

A few years later we visited the Benders en famille again another time – this time in their home in Boulder Colorado. A memorable time. Jim wondered at my husband Ian’s love of hardware stores and our sons wondered at the complexity of a fort built by the Bender boys.

The years passed – letters and occasional phone calls, a visit to Gardner when we were staying with my sister Ruth in New Hampshire.

In the year 2000 our son James and Susan were married in Court Room 9, Seattle City Hall. Rachel came from Boulder to be there. I heard a gasp as I came into the court room – “There’s Jan wearing a hat!’ We snatched a few moments together over the course of those busy wedding days.

Our 50th Reunion at Middlebury in 2008 marked another meeting.

In 2010 we moved from Dublin to Seattle. Shortly after we came, Jim and Rachel came to Seattle as part of an Elder Hostel trip and they included a few days in Seattle to visit with us (and a few other old haunts).

What a joy and a blessing to have known Rachel and her family. May she Rest in Peace.

Give Thanks continued

See my previous blog entry Give Thanks

When I last wrote I got as far as Los Angeles in my account of “how I knew my friend Rachel”

To continue the story, I tagged along with two of my friends from Northwestern to travel north to San Francisco where they had friends. So with friends and friends of friends I went camping up in the mountains on a lake. We camped for about a week if I recall correctly.

Returning to San Francisco, I thought why not continue on north to Seattle and visit Rachel. I took the scenic route north via Greyhound Bus and proceeded to visit Rachel in West Seattle. Again, a turning point developed. Fortune had its way and I subsequently spent 8 months in Seattle.

In June of the following year, Rachel and her parents and I drove together, in 2 cars, to return to our New England roots. I think the highlight of that trip was visiting Yellowstone National Park and witnessing Old Faithful’s hourly eruption.

The years passed – Rachel went to teach in a U.S, Army school in Heidelberg Germany. I went to work for Arthur D. Little, a management consulting firm in Cambridge Massachusetts. I had a combination business and vacation trip to Europe. Rachel suggested meeting in London. We agreed to meet at the Cheshire Cheese near St Paul’s Cathedral. We met at the appointed time but Rachel was in a bit of a flap as she was temporarily parked illegally nearby. It was unusual for Rachel to be fussed but we scurried off to her little Volkswagen beetle and hurried away to our lodgings.

We spent a few days in London together and then went our separate ways to Heidelberg and Zurich. After my business week in Zurich, I went to Heideburg to spend a few more days with Rachel.

Rachel’s next teaching post was in Lexington Mass – we shared an apartment. in nearby Cambridge, along with a mutual close friend Lucy. Soon, Lucy and I were the bridesmaids for Rachel and Jim’s wedding.

Rachel and Jim moved to Colorado. I moved to San Francisco/Berkeley and then to Nairobi Kenya. On the way to Nairobi from San Francisco, I stopped in Colorado to visit Rachel. She had given birth to Phil and I remember being given a demonstration of how to change a diaper.

The years passed……..the next installment of this saga will be forthcoming in Part 3

Give Thanks

Rachel, a close friend has passed away, I give thanks for her life and the joy of knowing her for many years. We first met in our freshman year at Middlebury College in Vermont. We lived a few doors apart in one of the Freshman dormitories – Battell North. Come Sophomore year we both lived in the Chateau, again a few doors apart. In our Junior year we were Junior counselors and we shared a room in Battell South. And in Senior year we lived a few doors apart in Forest West.

During our 4 years at Middlebury we shared many activities, both academic and extra curricular. Rachel’s home in Gardner Massachusetts, not too far from my home in Belmont Mass. Our families got to know each other. And there were even points where the 2 families intertwined (one of Rachel’s uncles was the law partner of my sister’s father-in-law.)

After we graduated from Middlebury, Rachel went far away across the Country to Seattle to teach 6th grade in an elementary school in West Seattle. I went only part way across the country to attend graduate school at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago.

I earned my Master’s Degree in one year and then travelled in Europe in the summer of 1959. When I returned from Europe I went out to Chicago/Evanston to attend another Middlebury classmate’s wedding. In Evanston I contacted some of my classmates from the previous year. That was a pivotal contact. Three of them were driving out to Los Angeles. They were leaving within a few hours and had room for an additional passenger. Well, I was footloose and fancy free and had been thinking of possibly looking for a job in San Francisco, Seattle or Denver.

To cut a long story short, I seized the opportunity to go with my Northwestern friends – on Route 66!

To be continued

40 Acres

The passage of time.


I had to find something amusing from my past posts to boost my spirits today. Here goes!

Today as I drove back home from another day of fishing, I ventured off the main road to look at some estate homes mostly just to see how the other half lives. The homes were enormous (6,000 to 8,000 square feet) and all neatly perched on large acreages. As I completed my tour and got back on the main road heading for home, I mused with my wife about a dream we once shared: 40 acres.

I was brought up in Southern California but spent most of my youth in the wide open outdoors. Ranches, farms and large tracts of national forests were my playgrounds. However, I lived in a small house that my parents had purchased in the town of San Fernando, California in 1950. Because I spent so much time in…

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Pacific Paratrooper


In a lot of Pacific War histories, Guam is swept aside and banished as insignificant.  How soon they forget, many might say.

In Tokyo, soundtrucks festooned with World War II colors still extol those lost in a gallant defeat. In America, elders like Louis H. Wilson Jr. and George Tweed would never forget.

Masashi Ito and Bunzo Minagawa spent young manhood into middle age in the tropical underside of an island that tourists now praise as a paradise. They were holdouts, soldiers who refused to surrender and would forage for
survival for 16 years.

Soichi Yokoi, before and after

The last known Japanese survivor, Shoichi Yokoi, held out until 1972, captured by chance as he ventured out to empty a fish trap. Yokoi had never crept out of dense cover to hear the happy shouts of Japanese tourists and honeymooners. Nor had he walked the lobby of the Hilton…

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About This Photo

What does Katerina see? She has a good spot for keeping an eye on the garden. There used to be another cat that came to visit. The visiting cat approached through the garden of the white house beyond the fence. This is an old photo – that white house has since been painted a dark brown.