Sunday, May 17, 2009


OMG! I forgot to post yesterday!

The last two days have been so grand, I feel so ENERGISED!

I got into town and on campus late on Friday morning, and suddenly realised that my body was getting ready to turn "off". I barely made it through lunch and the Alumni Association Meeting then went back to the hotel and fell into bed.

For any of you who don't know, Parkinsons is always full of surprises; you never know until you get up in the morning whether or not you are going to be functional that day. Some days, the Off days, the brain is sending messages like mad, and the muscles are are poised and ready to act on messages received... but the telegraph operator is on strike...

So I took a nice nap, waking up just in time to get dressed, made up, and over to the Salt Creek Grille which was conveniently located immediately adjacent to the hotel.

The nexy four hours were full of good food and drink (they make an excellent Cosmopolitan), good conversation, and a feeling of familial closeness.

After a very nice buffet supper, Mary Dempsey took the lead, and suggested we each take 4-5 minutes and tell what we had been doing since 1969. The richness of experience and achievement which was presented over the next hour was mind-boggling. Here was a group of exceptional people who had made significant contributions to their communities, their churches, and their countries. It was impressive.

Then 'twas my turn. I started out by saying "I've made a few little changes..." which got a laugh. I compared myself to a few people, like Sue Jasperse, who had been Katrina'd as I had been Hugo'd. Linda Euler had related how she had secretly wanted to be a Rockette and appear in their sometimes fabulous costumes, and had finally taken tap dancing lessons.

So I related "...and I worked for 5 years at Radio City Music Hall maintaining the Wurlitzer Organ there. In order to get into one of the pipe chambers you had to go through the Rockettes dressing room, so I had a key. One night, in the wee hours, I succumbed to temptation...and you know what, Linda..." -- the room got absolutely quiet -- "...those costumes are just not AT ALL comfortable...".

And the room exploded with laughter...

What I thought was MOST impressive, though, was the way everyone related the hard times as well as the good times. No one was looking for pity or even sympathy. The heart attacks, the vicious diseases, the infirmities, were all there because they were an integral part of living. Nobody complained. Do you hear that? NOBODY complained. How unlike the mewling self-pity demonstrated on the so-called reality shows seen on the telly.

I feel so blessed, so enriched, and so proud to be a member of this group...and the 40 years disappeared, and we were young again for a few hours...

I think I speak for the rest of the group in extending our sincere thanks to Rich Ludlum and Mary Dempsey for making the arrangements for this evening's gathering.

And we remember with affection the late Cj Sambach, who inspired it.

I said in the first instalment of this series, that I wanted to find out what draws the Westminster grad back to Princeton...well, I did.

It is because wherever we go throughout the world, home and family always beckons.

And home is that magical few acres of ground filled with song at the corner of Hamilton Street and Walnut Lane, in the Township of Princeton, the State of New Jersey, and the corner of our hearts...

-- Olivia

PS...many thanks to my writers, Josh Quip, I.M. Agurl, and Aalto Singer...without whom my luncheon tab would be a lot smaller...

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