Posted in Around Town, Lakenheath, Uncategorized

Getting the Message Out…or IN

I’m in the midst of planning my high school reunion. It will start on Guy Fawkes Day – though I don’t anticipate that we will build a bonfire in the hotel lobby.

Among other e-outreach activities, I set up a Facebook page for the event. The FB page contains info about the date, the city, the hotel, etc. I think it is pretty clear. Yet people still leave comments or send me e-mails asking where and when the reunion will be.

This puzzles me. I think I’ve laid out the basic information very clearly, yet some people don’t seem to be able to grasp what it actually right there in front of them.

Come to think of it, the first time “Carolina Logue” (the nom de plume of a parody blog writer) left a comment here, I deleted it. I didn’t read it carefully—it was more like I got a whiff of skunk and my eyes were too busy rolling back in my head to focus on the words. Later, when I got another comment from “Carolina” I saw that “she” was on a computer in Philadelphia. Thank you,, for revealing the IP address of commenters! Feh on blogspot for not doing the same!

So in the plainest speak possible: Aaron Proctor was Carolina Logue, author of the Pasadena Newer Progressive. With no help from anyone but his girlfriend, Kat.  You can read my previous post explaining all this here. Continue reading “Getting the Message Out…or IN”

Posted in Lakenheath

Lakenheath HS Reunion 2008: Awards Edition

The Lakenheath High School reunion in St. Louis was fantastic. There are photos here (scroll down) and Valerie Rogers White posted more photos here.

The 2008 Lakenheath High School Reunion Awards – To honor the Lancers who gathered in St. Louis at the Millenium Hotel on July 31 – August 3, 2008, I offer these awards. If you have any complaints about the award you’ve been given, you’ll have to take it up with me at the next reunion at your own expense over the drink of my choice.

The “You Kept this Secret All These Years?” Award: Junior JC Clemons, who is listed as Harry Lane Clemons, Jr. in the 1977 Graduation program. He really is Harry Lane. You may call him JC. “Junior” has been dropped.

“Hero’s Journey” Award: Scott Harville (below right) for jumping in the car at 2:00 am on Saturday morning and driving from Florida with his son Argus. Scott and Argus arrived in the STL right around 6 pm. Scott, you rock.

“Best Recall of Decades-Old Facts” Award: Also to Scott Harville for his magnificent retelling of some really scary shit—think ‘scared straight.’ (That’s Rick Zarder on the left and Dave Jester in the middle.)

“SBD on the Dance Floor” Award: Two initials—R.T.

The “I Love All Ya’ll but I’m in a New Relationship” Award: Phillip K. Mason. “He plays heart strings.”

“Room With the Best View” Award: Kelly Woodson and Becky Tolley on the 26th floor. Why go sweat at the stadium? Sit here, pop open a beer, watch the game on TV, and glance over at the stadium once in a while.

Best “Random Sighting of LHS Teacher” Award: Marcos de la Cruz, who recently ran into Mr. Chester at the Trader Joe’s in Huntington Beach.

Best “Random Sighting of Fellow LHS-er” Award: Scott Harville, who recently saw Debbie Gunter and her husband at the restaurant where Scott works.

Best “St. Louis Arch Imitation” Award: Alice Spicka, who described what it is like to go to the top of the arch, and told us how we could recreate the entire experience without leaving the hotel. (Step 1 involves getting into a closet.)

The “Thank You for Bringing Your Loaded I-Pod Award”: William Powell (below left, with Jeanine Courtney Krenz), who brought on Heatwave, Earth, Wind and Fire, and others.

The “Song that Stood the Test of Time” Award: Groove Line by Heatwave.

The “Porcelain Goddess” Award: Melinda Brown Taylor.

Honorary Alumni Awards: Jordan Krenz (daughter Jeanine Courtney Krenz & Rob Krenz); and Ian Jester (son of David and Lisa Jester). You know when you hear “Go LHS!” out of the mouths of offspring that there are some effective parents among us.

The “You Get in the Picture Too, Let Me Take It” Award: Jordan Krenz and Verna Spicka (Alice and Sean’s mom—below left with Jeanine Courtney Krenz). Jeanine is the clear winner of the Abba “Dancing Queen” Award.

The “Run to the Store and Fetch Me Some Beers and Stuff” Award: Phil Mason, Mike Mason, Rick Zarder, Donna Lopez Powers.

The “Most Likely to Flip the Bird at Any Given Moment” Award: Mike Mason.

From left to right: Rick Zarder, Mike Mason, Sean Spicka, Marcos de la Cruz.

The “Loud Flatulence Verified By Roommate” Award: Marcos de la Cruz.

The “Your Great Smile Actually Got Better Award”: Rick Zarder (below) and William Powell (back up there).

The “Glad You Showed Up Despite Recent Injury” Award: Annette Bryant.

The “Family Complainer” Award (nominated by Mary Beth de la Cruz): Lisa de la Cruz.

The “Hasn’t Changed One Bit” Award: Becky Tolley.

The “Now That I’ve Been to One Reunion I’ll Never Miss Another One” Award: Rudy Thornton.

The “Best T-Shirt” Award: Chuck Lyons. Dude had a t-shirt of the Hotel California album cover.

The “Most Honest Confession About Lakenheath” Award: William Powell, who said, “I hated it there. Maybe I was sick of moving or something.”

The “Are You Shittin’ Me?” Awards:
Non-fiction – Scott Harville
Fiction – Mike Mason

The “Apparently She Wrote Everything Down” Award: Kelly Russell.

The “Most Worried About What She May Have Written About Me” Award: David Jester, who asked me twice to make sure that at least some of what happened at Lakenheath stayed at Lakenheath.

The “I Will Suggest My Own City for the Next Reunion But Not Actually Offer to Plan It” Award: Names redacted in the hope that someone will actually step up.

Best Clarification of Questionable Event: “They didn’t sleep together, they had a long conversation with naps.”

The “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” Award: Sean Spicka.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Divinity Award: Dean Baines. Serioushly.

The “Pound the Crown (Royal)” Award (cumulative with the 2007 Reunion in DC): Dean Baines. Serioushly.

The “Existing Legislation Noted With Regret” Award: Goes to the State of Georgia, where oral sex is illegal.

Reason Dean Baines drives straight through Georgia without stopping: See above.

Dean Baines on the left, Scott “Mr. Memory” Harville on the right. Serioushly.

Feel free to add your own award nominees in the comments. Lancers, I love you.

Many, many thanks to Verna Spicka who shared her photos with me.  Verna, you rock!

Posted in England, Green & Pleasant Land, Lakenheath, Let's Get Visual, Los Angeles

Union Station, Los Angeles

I’m going to be traveling over the next week. Not by train.

I’m going to my high school reunion – this time in St. Louis. I went to junior high and high school on an American Air Force base in England, RAF Lakenheath. (Sorry to be repetitive, but one must always set the table for the first-time visitor.) It recently occurred to me that I probably can thank Adolph Hitler for this. Or perhaps I need to go farther back to the Treaty of Versailles which pissed Germany off in the first place.  I also lived on a military base in Panama while in 4th and 5th grade.  We’ll ascribe that one to favorable geography.

Art Deco (and passenger trains) make me nostalgic for a time that I didn’t even live through. That’s part of nostalgia, isn’t it?

I’ll tell you something—I have such a raging case of nostalgia that I will probably never leave Pasadena this house that I’ve been in for 25 years. I already miss what I miss—the place I grew up. Time has displaced me from that place. Distance too.

Now I’m twenty-five years on in this place—and I still miss that other place. I couldn’t bear to leave Pasadena and face the prospect of missing it too. Shoot, I still miss Fedco!

My passport does not match the country in which I grew up. (That is an awkward sentence, much like the situation I’m trying to describe.) This makes me a perpetual outsider. When I go ‘home‘ – and it always feels daring to call England ‘home’ – the immigration control folks want to see my return ticket. Still, I feel very content when I’m there.

This weekend, I get to spend time with people who have a similar experience to mine. We are third culture kids, and I blogged about it here in a post called “Is It My England Too? On Being a Third Culture Kid prior to my last high school reunion.

Posting will be light to non-existent during the next few days. Next week, you’ll be seeing the happy faces of my fellow Lancers. See you later.

All photos by Timothy Down.

UPDATE: Wow. I just found out that Edward Lee Howard, a CIA officer who defected to the Soviet Union, graduated from my high school.

Posted in Green & Pleasant Land, Lakenheath

Is It My England Too? On Being a Third Culture Kid

I’m going to Washington, D.C. for my high school reunion. Yes, the mighty Lancers of Lakenheath High School, RAF Lakenheath, Brandon, Suffolk, England –well, we don’t know where we belong on this continent. So this year we’re going to DC (last year it was Vegas, before that San Diego, Dallas, St. Louis…).

RAF Lakenheath (<–that’s the Wikipedia article) is in East Anglia, or what I used to call ‘the ugly part of England.’ With England, it’s all relative. East Anglia really isn’t ugly, it’s just not as pretty as the other parts. Here’s a well-known local saying that sums it up: “Any fool can appreciate mountain scenery. It takes a man of discernment to appreciate the Fens.” [Harry Godwin – pollen analyst – circa 1932]

Here’s a link to what it looked like when I was growing up. Note: amount of sunniness not to scale. Really, would you fly thousands of miles for this?

I guess I would, and here’s why: I moved to England when I was 12 and left when I was 18. It is my home/not my home. It is English, and I am American, with an American accent and an Irish name. But because I was there for a long time during my formative years, I am marked by England forever. Along with many of my classmates, I’m a third culture kid.

From the Wikipedia article:

“Third Culture Kids” … integrate aspects of their birth culture (the first culture) and the new culture (the second culture), creating a unique “third culture.” Sociologist David Pollock describes a TCK as “a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership of any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of a similar background. (emphasis mine).

So I’m going to DC, to see the people who’ve lived what I’ve lived. I’m excited and nervous. I haven’t been sleeping. I’m one of three people on the planning committee. The other two have English mothers. That’s no accident.

Here’s what I’ll take with me the next time I go to a therapist:

As Third Culture Kids grow up they become Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs).

Some of them come to terms with the tremendous culture shock and loss that they have experienced. They gain a broader understanding of the world through their varied experiences, while others spend most of their adult life trying to come to terms with those same issues.

Many Third Culture Kids face an identity crisis: they don’t know where they come from. It would be typical for a third culture person to say that he or she is from a country but nothing beyond their passport defines it; they usually find it difficult to answer the question.

Now I feel as if I’ve just shown you my knickers. George Orwell to the rescue to explain the English (second country) side of the equation: (from
this essay, written in 1941:

Yes, there is something distinctive and recognizable in English civilization. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain. It is somehow bound up with solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and winding roads, green fields and red pillar-boxes. It has a flavour of its own. Moreover it is continuous, it stretches into the future and the past, there is something in it that persists, as in a living creature. What can the England of 1940 have in common with the England of 1840? But then, what have you in common with the child of five whose photograph your mother keeps on the mantelpiece? Nothing, except that you happen to be the same person.

And above all, it is your civilization, it is you. However much you hate it or laugh at it, you will never be happy away from it for any length of time. The suet puddings and the red pillar-boxes have entered into your soul. Good or evil, it is yours, you belong to it, and this side the grave you will never get away from the marks that it has given you.

Meanwhile England, together with the rest of the world, is changing. And like everything else it can change only in certain directions, which up to a point can be foreseen. That is not to say that the future is fixed, merely that certain alternatives are possible and others not. A seed may grow or not grow, but at any rate a turnip seed never grows into a parsnip.

I’m putting my blog to sleep for the week. I’ll report back on the reunion next week. Nighty-night.