Friday, February 19, 2016

Class of ?  Maybe 1938? Can't recall ...
Living life "One day at a time" has gained a deeper meaning over past weeks ... .

There are more items on my To Do list than usual, and each holds excitement and fulfillment within, and I wouldn't know where to prune -- were that to become necessary:

l. Tomorrow I will be installed in the Castlemont High School Hall of Fame by the Alumni Association at a luncheon in Oakland, the city where I grew up, but it will be in absentia.  My acceptance speech (4 minutes on a DVD) has been prepared and sent to the organization where Mr. Darryl Bartlow will represent me.  Me?  I'll be at work, as advertised, giving my presentation at two o'clock.

2. On Tuesday evening, February 23rd, we're presenting the story of the tragic fire that destroyed Kaiser Dormitory 0 and cost the lives of 8 black male shipyard workers in Richmond; this in the hope of raising awareness of the community toward the need to memorialize those lives as representative of the 37,600 civilian deaths that occurred on the Home Front during WWII.  That will happen during a study session of the Richmond City Council.  I will present that history through a PowerPoint. It will be this year's observance of Black History Month, and will be reflective of this community's rich history,  to a city unaware of its own stories in many ways -- since the happenings are so recent.

3. Next week I will be the guest speaker at a meeting of the Berkeley Breakfast Club in the beautiful historic building designed by architect Julia Morgan -- at seven-thirty in the morning!  Then will be back at the Visitor Center for my eleven o'clock talk.

4 Then there is the honorary chairmanship of the LifeLong Medical Association at a banquet in the Rotunda in downtown Oakland to be enjoyed.  No speaking commitments connected with this event, just being "honored at," I think.

5. ...  and then we're into March 5th when I'll be the guest at the Boilermakers International Union banquet in San Francisco in the evening -- preceded by filming at the Visitor Center by their team that morning that (I'm guessing) will be shown at the dinner.  The honored dignitary will be the international Head of the Union, President Jones, who will be in the area for this event.

6.  On March 9th I have a commitment to be at the old Mint in San Francisco for an event that I have little or no information about at this point, except to just be there.

7.  Learned yesterday that I will be giving the keynote speech for the Naturalization Day ceremonies on March 24th in the Craneway Pavilion (for the third year), and I'm so grateful that the speech has been saved on my hard drive so needs no further work.  This annual event is co-sponsored by the Office of Homeland Security and the National Park Service. It is such a moving experience for the new Americans who are welcomed into citizenship, and for me, as well. 
From the raised lectern, whatever cynicism I've experienced as an African American over the decades tends to evaporate  before those upturned radiant faces of every race and ethnicity that are before me in that brilliantly sunlit space.  To be privileged to represent my country in this ritual is humbling and dramatically deepens my patriotism to match theirs; a consistently memorable experience. 

During the rest of this month and the next there will be all the usual 3 to 5 one-hour presentations to give in our theater while the team of 3 filmmakers do their work documenting my work -- and adding weight to the proceedings.  They've been accumulating footage for months now, so I suspect that there may not be many more sessions to film.  Then will come the editing and that's something I'm not involved in.  Have mixed feelings about viewing what's been captured thus far, but will either need to step out of the room or willingly expose myself to that experience at the Rosie Trust dinner in April.  I'm responsible for a 15-minute talk -- as a part of the dinner program -- plus being subject to a few minutes of the work especially edited for introduction of the film project at this time.

Somewhere in there -- some time in April -- there will have to be enough space cut out for cataract surgery and recovery.   There's the long-promised trip to Yosemite with Dorian, now scheduled for a couple of days the week of April 5th, returning in time for the Rosie Trust Annual Dinner on April 9th ... .

I really am beginning to see myself in the third-person, since so much of me is now split off into an entity I'm only just meeting along with the rest of you... .

Can't see time to accommodate that deep depression yet, can you?

Maybe next year.

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