My Summer Project

My Summer Project

Well I am certainly much too old for such foolishness as my summer project. I mean, that’s for kids, right? But something happened between my second and third bloody mary on my long flight to California this morning. I started thinking about Calaway Circle and the Earth, Wind & Fire concert I had been at on Sunday. Calaway Circle was the street I grew up on as a very small child. It was my first address, and though I have been gone from there since I was seven, it still is the happiest time of my life. I had a great life there. We played hide-and-go-seek until it got dark, ate mulberries from Mr. Haine’s trees, and killed snakes in the ditch that ran the length of the street. Cartoons were only on Saturdays and early mornings before school, and Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood was huge. Our neighbors who lived across the street had five kids and a color TV. They welcomed any and all who wanted to come and watch. That where I was first terrified of Batman, The Green Hornet, and Lost In Space. All us little kids were small, but not too small that we didn’t have to lick and stick S&H Green Stamps into those books..

The Earth, Wind & Fire concert was at the outdoor festival site Ravinia, on suburban Chicago’s northern lakeshore. It was an adult only function–you know the kind where old friends show up without kids and you have a chance to really notice how fat and old everyone looks now. It was good and it was sad. The band is a shell of what it used to be, but it was still good, and sad. All the friends were twice what they used to be, including me, but it was still good, and sad. About an hour in, everyone stopped holding their stomachs in, and just went with the inevitable flow.

My best friend lived on Calaway Circle. He was born on the same day as me, in the same hospital. His mother and mine even shared a room at the now-torn-down Brewster Hospital. In 1961, if you were colored, that’s where you were born. I won’t name him here, nor the other wonderful folks I knew on that street, for fear of invading their privacy. We lost touch over the years, my best friend and me. When we were kids, he loved Gale Sayers. I loved Bob Hayes, our neighbor  from not-too-far-around the corner . My best friend was faster than me–a big deal when you grow up in Florida–and he just seemed cooler. After all, he had a little brother, a buzz bike with a banana seat, and his dad had a pick-up truck. All the kids used to play in the truck bed. We had an Oldsmobile. I wanted to be just like him, maybe I still do.
He still lives on Calaway Circle. As much as I love it and miss it, I can’t imagine that. I guess I was never quite content, no matter how romantic the memories are. I do miss it though. Everything seemed possible there. We felt very important.
The Earth, Wind & Fire concert brought together friends from another era of my life, college at Northwestern. It was a time before the internet cell phones and computers. EWF was the best band on the planet. We had to get to know each other. It was a short four years, and that’s where I met my second best friend. He was taller and cooler than me. I was from a pretty small Florida town and he was from one of those well known big cities. I wanted to be just like him, maybe I still do. We lost touch after college, even after promising we wouldn’t. Life just seemed to pre-empt all those times we were to get together.

College was good though. It went by so fast, but seemed as though it would never end. One time, my best friend and I took a class together. The class met on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I thought he was attending class and he thought I was attending class.Wrong. On the night before the final, we got together–at 10–to compare notes. He had 3 days worth of notes. I think I had 2. I got a 9 on the final. I don’t know what he got, but he flunked too. But, man the girls liked the way we looked in those Alpha T-shirts.
That brings me to my summer project, or at least one of them. I am going to try to track down good friends I’ve lost touch with from Calaway Circle(like Victor, Billy and Darryl) and from Northwestern. I will share my impressions and my experiences searching for them and catching up with them. Where possible, I will record them on MP3 and make the recordings available on my website. Check back often, there is much more to come.

United Airlines Flight 439

The captain of my flight just extended a wonderful gesture to my seat mate and me. He just sent back an autographed copy of United’s TheAge of Flight. That was a very nice thing to do. Thank you Captain Charlie Dadiun. I hope to fly with you again. Now, mind the controls.
How to Stop The World and Get Off, Just For a Minute
Thats the title of my new ebook, available on Smashwords.com for download. Also coming soon to Amazon.com. Its about forgiveness and taking a different view of the world.

Coming Soon!
My national radio show. The working title is “There It Is”. E-mail me and tell me what you think. If you don’t like the name, I’m open to suggestions The show will feature interesting guests from all walks of life who: 1) have acheived something significant; 2) love what they do and; 3) have a passion and an ability to talk about it. The last hour is open phones, taking your calls on any subject. However, there are three rules. No hockey, no hockey and no @#*&&^ hockey! Great stories and interesting guests. No agenda, just good and comfortable radio. See you next week!

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About vwspeaker

Vincent Williams is an author, speaker, and seminar leader. He was raised in Florida, where the warm nights afforded him plenty of opportunities to wonder if the universe was just an illusion. He lives with his wife and three children outside of Chicago, IL
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One Response to My Summer Project

  1. jamie d. says:

    Ravinia.
    Summer of 69…I had just moved to the North Shore of Chicago cross country from the outskirts of Philadelphia. We hadn’t more than unpacked a few boxes, when I found myself back in the family wagon headed to a concert on the lake. To this day I remember the sounds and smells of that warm summers eve….people were camped out on blankets all around…the wind gently blowing away the heat of the day, my innocent eyes widening into saucers as I walked by a couple entwined, themselves oblivious or not caring, moving under their blanket almost in tune to a most wonderous and yet sad song…

    “Walk on by..walk on by..”

    Is there a more heavenly voice than that of Dionne Warwick? a more heavenly time than to be 9, on a warm summers shore, awakening to life?

    Having just passed the half-century mark, I still am drawn back to Ravinia each and every time, I hear her voice “Walk on by…walk on by…”

    Its a good project Vince…a good project.

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