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Wesley and Haven Music: Singing at Smith

When I rule the world, everyone will have a nametag... (rant)

Art comes from being in an alpha state for me, in water.

I learn things backwards sometimes. This was the year I learned about how to really conduct independent study. This was the year I learned about friends and how you don’t always agree. It was a year of listening to music together, and jokes, and studying hard, and working endlessly on projects or papers or dishes (see apron) or figuring out next moves.

I spent a lot of time in the bathtub at Wesley. I didn’t have enough clothes. I could not seem to get warm and stay that way. There was not one I could get to easily on the 2nd floor of Haven. I felt like one of the prune people when I got out, but warmer for a little.

I miss them, even though it has been so long. We learned how to mangle the lyrics to songs we listened to together in our rooms (on stereos! … remember stereos?) including “City of New Orleans” and “Lulu’s Back in Town.”

We heard the Smiffenpoofs (was that what they were called?), and the Princeton Nassoons sing in this house. We heard annoying housemates screeching up and down the halls in their nightgowns very late. We heard the singing and showering and coffee pots and papers of our fellow students and occasionally even their boyfriends.


If they were in San Francisco today. I would take them to Lovejoy’s Tea Room for some beverages and reminiscence. Ply them with truffles. Spoil them with love.

Perhaps it was Carole McSheffrey who invited the jug band to sing in our living room. I will never forget the banjo. I memorized the words to ‘Barnyard Dance’ during long cold walks across the campus to the studio. I think this is the year we were snowed in. People were skiing cross country in to work in Boston. Robert J. Lurtsema was still alive. A heck of a long time ago.

The radiator clanked, so I named it, but it still would not shut up since pressure and cold in 100-year-old houses do funny things to steam heat. Its a wonder I did not burn all my hair off sleeping next to it. I sure did burn my elbows and knees a few times. That sucker got hot!

Remember the Fire Rope Test, team? I felt grateful we didn’t have to dress for it silly gym costumes like I did in elementary school. They were sort of like… rompers.


The Magic Hands of Travelling Nurses Make Wonders To Appear

The Magic Hands of Travelling Nurses Make Wonders To Appear

One of the works of Cousin Cita King Smith, this quilt appeared in my life in August 2009.

The occasion?  We gathered for a surprise party for my cousins, all staying at the Blue Sky Lodge in Carmel in a small suite. Cita and Traci drove down the coast road from Washington. They took their time, enjoying the trip.

Boy were Russel and Karen surprised. When Todd and Karie led them in to the social hall and took their blindfolds off, they walked around the room as though they were dreaming.

Russel and Karen Wolter and their donkey on the ranch, Carmel, summer, 1968

Karen Dawson Wolter, Whoog, and Russel Wolter, Carmel Valley, Wolter Ranch, 1968

I felt like I was dreaming, too.

There were people at the anniversary party that I hadn’t seen since the days when the cuffs of my jeans would bring home a cup of good dirt from walking the rows between the ranch and ODello’s in my Keds. The days when there were too many blue bellied lizards to catch on the path near the creek side of the house, and everyone ran way too fast. The days of long twilight.  Aunty Myrtle would make me either unroll those dungarees or else take them off entirely before coming in off the porch.

We were at their wedding. We were really little, but pretty dedicated to being there. Marguerite had a horrible earache from doing too many underwater somersaults in the Blue Sky Lodge pool, and we had to leave the sanctuary with her in agony before the wedding ended — too much sobbing at any wedding is kind of distracting. We held her on our knees but she was inconsolable from the pain. She perked up a bit later, but it was awful to see her in such pain. Thus we missed the big finale.

Cita and Traci continue to be one of the best things that ever happened to our family. During the aftermath of the weekend of that party, Don Luce said that he was so glad to see how tightly knit we were.

Cita and Traci are like two sisters I never knew I had. I keep trying to figure out how to get all of them (and Owen) in the same room together with my two original sisters to see what kind of a party it will be. Lots of talking and laughing is what I imagine.

Rufus and I will keep cooking until we find the magic recipe. It has to happen eventually.