As the creative juices started to flow, I decided it was high time to start to write some of the stories of my past. I began with this one. It’s one of my favorites as it encompasses childhood, and one of the most famous people in the world… Maybe I peaked at age 7…
Dateline Seattle, Washington –
Spent more family time today. Mom was sleepier and less interactive than yesterday, but we were able to eat cookies together so that was a plus. Dad, for his age and the rather interesting year he had health wise, remains pretty spry and independent and has a few more miles left on the drive train.
Went and watched my brother’s soccer team (he’s the high school soccer coach at University Prep among other things) lose in the quarter finals of the state championships. You can’t win them all and they played a danged good game, especially in the second half. One of the players turned out to be the son of an old schoolmate so I was able to connect with him for the first time in some decades.
I spent most of the afternoon driving around North Seattle and stopping at old haunts to see what was the same, what had changed. The house I grew up in has a new paint job, but otherwise seems similar to when my parents left it. My high school has new buildings. My aunt and uncle’s old house is about the same. Tear downs are minimal in my old neighborhood (think Forest Park) but plenty of other North East Seattle neighborhoods are becoming unrecognizable with the modern box houses replacing turn of the last century bungalows.
If I get up early enough, I may head for the local UU church for service. I’ve been before and it’s usually a nice time. Maybe it will spur something in the narrative therapy department for story time tomorrow. I don’t know that I’ll write these recollections every day but they’re kind of fun to put into a concrete and understandable form.
Being back in Seattle, home of my childhood and youth, always brings up conflicting emotions of various stripes. There’s my disapproval at seeing all of the changes that have taken place mixed with memories of the person I used to be (and haven’t been for years) mixed with a dash of nostalgia and the resulting brew is always a reminder that you can’t go home again.
Back in the days of the last millennium, when I was still a wee lad, the two most important structures in Seattle were the Space Needle, built for the 1962 Worlds Fair, and Smith Tower, once the tallest building west of the Mississippi. All of the other skyscrapers didn’t start to go up until the 70s, all within my memory. Little Andy was somewhat enamored of the Space Needle and the idea of a revolving restaurant at the top, that was unimaginable sheer elegance that Little Andy’s parents weren’t about to indulge him in.
When I was seven, the pastor of our church, the Reverend Dale Turner who was later a much beloved columnist for the Seattle Times, announced a contest. He would treat anyone in the congregation who would memorize the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) to dinner at the Space Needle. Little Andy saw his chance and would not be deterred and he spent several months diligently committing three chapters of the Bible to memory.
Little Andy got his dinner at the Space Needle, somewhat to the amazement and amusement of his parents and still holds the church record for being the youngest person to succeed. Among the other diners that evening, who had also accomplished the task, was a 12 year old Bill Gates. (Yes, that Bill Gates).
I still remember the dinner and feeling oh so grown up quite vividly.