Category Archives: Events

Clinton’s Inaugural Ball

In 1997 I (middle of the photo) was teaching the 6th grade with my friend Joan (third from the right in the photo). Her mother (farthest to the left in the photo) was an elementary school principal and through an organization she belonged to procured tickets to a minor inaugural ball for whomever wanted them. I immediately said yes and asked both my mother (second from the left) and aunt (third from the left) if they were interested. Joan brought her mother and another teacher, Caroline (second from right) brought her daughter (farthest to the right).

We had fun (I had too much fun) and we had our photo taken.

Today the only two people from that photo still living are Joan and me. When each person died I remembered this photo and thought of that photo in Back to the Future where the family members disappeared. In our case though, any disappearance was not due to not ever having been, but because they no longer were. I’ve misplaced my photo and just came across Mom’s copy.

Joan’s mom, my mom, my aunt Ginny, Me, Joan, Carolyn, Carolyn’s daughter

Clare’s Most Famous Autograph

Remember autograph books? I still have mine — it’s got the “Love Is…” characters on it. Clare got one at one point — maybe she was in middle school. She had friends and teachers sign it. I just found it during our Great Knee Wall Purge of 2023.

One night I was planning on taking her to go see my favorite singer/songwriter, Dan Bern. Clare was unable to go with me — maybe she was sick. Anyway, I went on my own. We decided that maybe I could have Dan write his autograph her new autograph book.

I got to the venue (Iota Club & Cafe in Arlington, VA) early, saved a seat for myself and grabbed dinner from next door. After eating I sat and listened to the sound check and chatted with my friend Marc (may he rest in peace). I mentioned to Marc that I was going to bring my daughter, but she couldn’t make it but she wanted Dan’s autograph. He immediately beckoned me to approach the stage and ask Dan now instead of later. Dan said he was happy to sign her book and asked what her name was.

I expected him to sign his name, and maybe write a quick note. I sat back down while he was writing — it seemed to take a while and I wondered if he didn’t know what to say and started getting embarrassed. Minutes later he handed me the book and said he hoped it was okay with Clare that he used more than one page. I was dumfounded when I looked at what he wrote. And drew.

What he did was so kind and selfless. I remember thinking that he’d be a great dad someday. And he is! His daughter Lulu is probably about the age Clare was when Dan wrote this for Clare.

[Not] Home for the Holidays

It occurred to me after we returned from our almost spur-of-the-moment trip to Atlanta for Christmas (which was a lot of fun) that we may never again host Christmas/Christmas Eve in our house. It’s pretty clear that Clare won’t be returning for the holidays ever again and Andrew’s fiancé’s folks are quite invested in Christmas, so Andrew and Alex probably won’t be spending the holidays here ever again.

When I made that realization, I was really bummed. I felt sad and a little hurt. After all, we travelled to Illinois every Christmas for at least two decades even though I would have liked to create some Christmas traditions here in Bethesda with our kids.

After thinking about it though, I realized that we did make traditions in our home. It might not be on Christmas day or Christmas Eve (in fact that was a tradition in itself — having our personal Christmas after Christmas) but we still hung stockings on our mantlepiece and unwrapped presents in the morning of the day we designated our “Christmas”.

I don’t know what the future holds for subsequent Christmases — travel probably. Maybe we will go see Clare sometimes. Maybe Dean, Clare and I will rent a house somewhere warm for a Christmas someday. Maybe if A&A have children we’ll all gather wherever they are.