Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Return to . . . Oceanside

I'll be true to the title of my weblog and give a Palmdale/Antelope Valley update shortly. 

Oceanside, if you didn't already know, was where I attended and graduated from high school at Oceanside High School, which back in those pre - El Camino HS (I *still* think Rancho del Oro HS would have been a better name) days had two campuses: East and West.  That's how bad the overcrowding of OHS was at that time over 40 years ago.  The school for my Freshman year was on double sessions to accommodate the numbers present at the time.  After that, the East and West Campus operating plan went into effect.  You simply couldn't get us all into one location since we were a large graduating class, as were the classes  surrounding ours.

One of us on our 40th year Reunion Committee contacted the OHS student registrar, and they confirmed the number of students graduating as 587.  My UCCS university graduating class, small compared to other campuses in the system, had around 850 by comparison.  Anyways, for a high school, our graduating class was quite large.

Definitely over 200 people showed up to the "main event" Reunion dinner on Saturday night - I believe Bill Saylor, cochairman for the Reunion, said it was maybe 235.  Fire code allowed 250 into the Elks Lodge in Oceanside, and there were plenty of off duty area police officers ready to enforce the fire code if needed.  None had to, thankfully.  That number includes both alums and spouses, etc. so imagine if we had a turnout larger than this!  Arvli Ward and Bill Saylor, co-chairs, were anticipating 200 or a bit more.  So we had a nicely packed out room/venue that at times got a bit crowded. . . and noisy!  I couldn't believe how much noise we generated both at the Icebreaker Friday evening, and at the Saturday evening reunion.  When you add the DJ and the music being played, it was louder than I perhaps anticipated.  Really had to get in someone's ear to communicate at times.

On to the people I got to see: like everyone else, I saw far more than I got to communicate with.  I had the fortuitous opportunity to express my sadness - at the time over 40 years ago - to a (then) 14 year old girl who was (ahem) violated by a US Marine just outside of campus.  She kept the baby, btw, and would darn socks for the child while taking classes on the East Campus.  I told her I was glad to see that the site of the violation done to her was torn down, and remains an empty lot to this day.  The boy, now a man, is doing well, she says.  Good to hear.  Kinda a "Forrest Gump" story quality to this situation, too.  I'll leave it at that.

Dan D'Andrea, AFS cultural exchange student to Guatamala in our high school days, endearingly graced my wife and I's table.  Dan is an effortless easygoing communicator, and relates well to this day to all kinds of people.  He came complete with his green OHS Letterman's sweater.  I don't remember what sport he ever played in, fwiw.  Great smile, great hugger, and a great friend.  Remember to get your Facebook account and "friend" me and so many other classmates, Dan!  I know you were in China when the whole Social Media thing grew the way it did, and China's government has worked to limit that kind of conversation.  You're in Denmark now. . . no worries!  Come join your Pirate Mateys in Facebookland!  Tons of memories and photos past and present at the Facebook page entitled "OHS Class of 1975."  Yours Truly included.

My wife was seated next to (alum spouse) Elizabeth Creencia, who came with my friend Jessie Creencia.  Those two ladies hit it off wonderfully.  Jessie and I barely got to converse - the room was that loud and our seating positions were not close to one another.  They both profess Jesus Christ, however, and are interested in our work in Ecuador.  Jessie looks well all these years later.

I was seated next to Judy Ross Mildon, who has spent years teaching music to her students.  I've done the same, though not to high school students (elementary was pretty much my music class gig) and not for as long a time.  Judy was - in high school - one of the well put together ladies on campus, and today she still looks quite well.  And yes, encouraging students through music is a wonderful thing!  I can't tell you how many times I have sung a song in a *non* music class I have taught just to relieve the monotony and to refocus my students.

It may have been Michael "Andy" Alonzo who did it - not sure - but I was nudged at one point towards the table in back of me to visit with Dennis Kelly.  Dennis, after all these intervening years, remembered a detail about me I have suffered with my whole life: Pigeon toedness when walking.  This is but one indication of Nonverbal Learning Disorder, or NLD, by the way.  I was finally properly diagnosed by UCLA trained psychologists/neurologists at age 40, who gave a very well worded description of my condition, but never gave it a name other than "PDD/NOS" (Pervasive Developmental Disorder/Not Otherwise Specified).  There's a whole bevy of things different about me due to my NLD, which came about due to oxygen deprivation to the brain as I was being (prematurely) born and underweight.  Dennis was very circumspect, and honoring towards me in remembering and bringing up that detail of my life.  Now that I am out of the workforce and retired to Ecuador, I think I don't have anything else to lose anymore.  But yes, *I* get to make the public announcement - here for the first time in a non NLD webpage.  Thanks to Dennis and his high school friends for being genuinely caring about me - even then so long ago. You are valued and loved, friend.          


  1. Hi David and Carolyn, I hope all is well with both of you. I Just wanted to wish Carolyn "Happy Birthday" and ask how her shoulder is doing. How was your trip back home? Please say a prayer for me on Sept.30th as I will be having cataract surgery on my right eye. Also please keep Barb and Ray in your prayers as they aren't doing so well. Hope to hear from you. Love to both. Maryann

  2. Maryann, I offered a response via private email to you. Thanks!