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.
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.
I am not sure how my Mom and Dad knew Phyllis Walters. As far as I know she didn’t live in Elgin. I may be mixing up my parents’ friends, but I think perhaps Phyllis and her husband sold Christmas trees every year and we’d trek there most years to get a tree. I vividly remember sitting in the little shack, drinking something warm. I think they gave my parents Glogg.
I remember my mom talking about Phyllis running for this or that office and being active in some candidates campaigns. I don’t think I listened very closely since I really didn’t remember her that well.
Among the items I brought home from my Mom’s house was a strange looking pen in a canoe shaped box. On further inspection “Phyllis K. Walters, Recorder” could be seen in red on the side. On even further inspection (taking the pen apart), the inside of the top barrel contained three coin batteries, long spent, as far as I could tell.
Curiosity got the better of me so I spent a few dollars to buy new batteries for this strange pen. What do you think? Money well spent?
OMG! It lights up!
I am curious about who was given this pen? Anyone who expressed interest in Phyllis’ campaign for Recorder? Folks who donated to her campaign? Am I the only person who replaced the batteries?
While it came with an extra ink cartridge, it seems to have dried up so I won’t be using this pen for correspondence. I’m not sure what I will be using it for, if anything.