Coop5 30 year reunion :: August 2004
Paul's Reflections
  First of all, the reunion thing seems to be a big catch up game, peering down your life down to an elevator pitch. Here is mine to get it out of the way right off. Went to LA in 1978 to work in computer graphics for the film industry. Who thought computers would be used for movie making? Met a woman, Ida, and we tied the knot in 1984. 1988 we had Harley. 1995 we untied the knot. I've been living in some suckass non rent controlled Santa Monica apartment, dyeing to get out, which is what I did July 1st. Rather than move into another suckass apartment, I put my crap into storage and drove me and my computer up to Port Townsend, and setup an office in my friend's garage. I almost pulled it off with telling my clients. I will go back in the fall, because Harley needs me, weather he says it or not. Who knows what lies ahead?

I was really looking forward to the weekend. Been years since I'd been in B'Ham. But I wasn't sure about it. I'd called a few people prior, to see if they were going or not and I really enjoyed that. There were a few people I hadn't talked to for 15 or 30 years, and yet there was this strange sense of it just being yesterday, having married, grown kids and divorced or lost partners, all since yesterday.

I arrive Friday eve. I walked in not knowing. It was weird. It was shocking. I wasn't sure what to make of it. Too many people from the time warp. Names came back, but I didn't recognize Stephanie, even though she was one of the ones I talked to just a day or two prior. After a beer or two and a few glasses of wine I felt much better. The coop kitchen just had one stove, but still had the counters and sink. No big refrigerator, which meant food had to go into the 2nd and 4th floor apartment micro fridges.

I played GO with Jeff Boscole, and didn't even come close to an even game, even with the 9 extra starter stones. (I think the last time I played GO was with Jeff 15 years ago.) Every one left or went to bed by 11:30. What! I was wired, had the energy and took a late night walk to WWU campus. Pretty much as I remembered minus a few extra buildings and an ATM machine where I never remembered there being one before.

Saturday Morning I made off to Best Buys to get a computer I needed. Being in Port Townsend, you take advantage of any trip where you are in a city that has more than Safeway or Swain's general store. Met up with the group at Cloud Mountain Farm in the rain.

Didn't recognize Tip until he spoke. Voices much more familiar and identifiable than faces at this point. Tom and Cheryl gave us the tour. We picked some fruit off the trees and ground, and it was fantastic. For me, I don't get much rain, so I really enjoyed walkin around in the rain. I buzied myself with taking photos.
Tom and Cheryl have been there for at least 25 years now. They have really made something in that time. Tom told me that they are known all over the state (and more), and have a reputation for being a place you can go for quality and having the people know what they are talking about. The staff is there are super college educated and enjoy being part of the place. Tom said they have not been "organic" for a number of years, as thats become a marketing term for the big guys. His reputation means way more than some marketing term.
Tim Thies joined me on the trip back and we stopped at Haggen's grocery store in some place that I'm sure was a field in 1974. I got the feeling that Haggen's typifies the yuppieness of Bellingham, but regardless, I really enjoyed the store. I told the cashier I needed ice, and she had someone bring it to me faster than I could get my bankcard through the slot. They also make a scrumptious grilled chicken sandwich for me.
Later, back at the coop, I met up with Madeline, and we took a walk to see the new sculptures and buildings on campus. It was really weird being there with her. She started to look like she was 20 again. I started to feel 20 again. Yeow.

Dinner was great. Tim told me his story of how he became computer consultant, writing a ten million bond issue and then having to spend the ten million. I made a fire in the fireplace I don't remember being there. I broke apart a bunch of bed boards for fuel, as there seemed to be plenty of those.

David Mason joined us for dinner. I didn't know about his encounter with Parkinson's. He was handing out miniature paintings that he made. Reminded me of Jean-Michel Basquiat selling his miniature paintings to Andy Warhol in the movie Basquiat. I wanted to reach David, but was not the right place and time for me.

I had a hard time at times. What was I doing here? Who are these people? Are they still my friends? Were they ever my friends? Are they going to continue being my friends, or is this just a big waste of time catching up with people who I won't see for another 15 years. Am I that old that I go to reunions? Do I even like these people? I had to escape for a bit.

Back in the Kitchen, Brandon was leaving, but came back in to tell me he remembered my dog, Ali, and told me some stories about Ali and me, that I had totally forgot. I don't remember too much from those days. That moment was priceless. It was probably the first conversation I had with Brandon in 30 years, yet it didn't feel that way at all.

There are a few things I do remember. I told Cheryl, that I think of her every time I wash a bottle, as she told me how to wash the bottles we used for goats milk. I remember Nicky's (now Nicolette) dinner, which was called something surprise, where the surprise was whole peppercorns mixed in. It was that same dinner she made jello squares so full of gelatin that we were able to throw it around the dinning room and back without it breaking apart.

Tip and Frank Reinhardt told boat stories. When time to leave, Tip kept going out to the car, but forgetting things and coming back, then forgetting his girlfriend, Reis, who was waiting for him in the car, until she came in and pulled him back out. (They're so cute together.) Many stories told, and many more coming back to me.

Sunday morning was just the core group again. I wished more people had slept there. Was sad to leave, yet time to leave. I took a walk at the top of Sehome Hill Arboretum, climbed and looked out tower that's there now.

I took a tour of the new downtown old Fairhaven. The food coop is no longer there, but about 20 or 30 tourist stores are. Fairhaven Pharmacy has a display of pictures from the Bellingham High School reunion in their windows. They were all old farts, but I saw them with compassion, realizing that they are just a few years ahead of me, and probably having much of the same funny feelings about reunions as myself.

I took Chuckanut Drive on my way back to Port Townsend. It continues to amaze me the beauty from Cloud Mountain to Bellingham, to Chuckanut, to Deception Pass, to the ferry and on into Port Townsend. So much beauty, lucky to be alive. Spent that time driving reflecting on the coop5ers, their lives, my life, the passage of time, and other existential crap like that.

Looking back, I'm glad I went. We were lucky to have that experience. Was a unique group of people. I've come close to finding that again, but it will never be again.

Do write or call me if you feel the need to reach out and touch.

-Paul August 2004, Port Townsend, Washington.