Posted: November 17, 2011; Updated: 20 November.
On Thursday, November 17, I turned 78. Half my kids called or emailed or text-ed me as well as two grand kids. I always wonder how many will check in as a measure of how my family is doing these days. Two of my six living children have stopped talking to me for the time being, which saddens me. But I've been on the outs with everyone of them at one time or another over the past several decades. Sometimes the impasse is over in weeks. Sometimes years. It comes with the territory of taking on the dual roles of father and trying to become an authentic person.
But the high point of my day was a surprising call from an old best friend, Cal Wood. We had been out of touch for decades, but today he sang me the happy birthday song! It was like old times when we were young!
Cal and I first met at the Berkeley First Ward of the Mormon Church when I was an engineering undergraduate student at UC Berkeley in 1958-60 and he was a graduate student in physics. I sat in back of him at church one day and he heard me singing. Since he was a pianist we soon collaborated on performing singing concerts for church services and other events.
Years later came a great impasse, which I won't detail here except to say we both went through an existential crisis, ending with leaving the Mormon Church and joining with other main line Christian churches.
I look forward to renewing that long-ago relationship in a new way.