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Archive for the ‘Farewells’ Category

This afternoon the Jenkins fam headed across the street to Ardeth’s for a mid-afternoon get together.  The occasion was to say “farewell” to Norman, Mito and Sophia Cheuk.   Our longtime neighbors closed on their house and are moving to a 33rd-story condo in Bellevue.

The kids together for one last time.

The kids together one last time.

When we moved to casa de Jenkins we thought the kids would grow up together.

Turns out it wasn’t to be.

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Last night the Jenkins fam hosted a bon voyage party for our dear friends the Moellers. Eli, Veronica, Max and Alex are leaving the gray skies of Seattle in search of more sun in La Jolla. They’ve been in the inner ring of our inner circle for 2-3 years now, and we are very sad to see them go.

Unfortunately, the cameras weren’t cooperating last night, so I snapped very few pics. A few of them:

Caroline's back from the Hamptons. Reese is back from the beach club.

Izzy and Bohdie Ginsburg.

A refreshed Liz, back in Seattle after summering in the Hamptons.

Baby Mo may not like this pic a few years from now.

Veronica's already a California blonde.

Reese spent all afternoon jumping off the dock at the beach club, then spent the evening jumping off the porch with her pals.

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Today Finn and I joined Joel Aro and Norman Cheuk at the funeral of Anthony King, an old friend of ours from Kennedy High School. He passed away earlier this week at the age of 41 after a long battle with a brain cancer. He left this world about a half century too soon.

I was friends with Anthony back in high school. Good friends, really. We hung around in the same crowd — Alex Rivera, Thom DiMitriou, James Langen, Brian Mahn, Romadel del Asalas and Paul Denini being among the others. Anthony, Alex and James in particular were real hipsters of the cool cat ilk. Ska. I hung with them because because I didn’t fit with the jocks, and Anthony and his bunch would have me. I had Anthony in several classes together and sat by each other in a few. Neither one of us were wrong much in those days — I’m making up for it — and we debated often. I remember one in math class — why I have no idea. Anthony’s contention, which I can still hear and see, is that “communism may not be good, but it works!” He was a fair bit — no, a lot — smarter than I was, and he won most of our debates. That wasn’t one of them.

Anthony King (1969-2011). Rest in peace, old friend.

We spent a fair bit of time together out of school as well. He lived down by West Seattle Bowl — like me, a real West Seattle guy in a school full of folks from Burien, Normandy Park and Des Moines. (Of course, Kennedy was located in Burien.) Anthony was a wicked good skier. He always pushed himself on the hardest possible mogul runs while I was on the groomed trails. There were lots of good skiers out there, but I admired Anthony the most because, well, his legs were every bit as skinny as mine. That’s no easy feat.

We both went on to college at the University of Washington. I spent my time partying, chasing girls (mostly without success) and taking the easiest classes I could find to beef up my GPA. As near as I can tell he spent his time — well, getting an education. Engineering, physics — classes I couldn’t hope to pass. Moguls and groomed trails all over again.

We lost touch for the most part after high school. In fact, other than at our twenty-year reunion, I didn’t see him much at all after college except for the occasion bump in. I sort of kept up with his goings-on through our mutual friend Thom and on Facebook. From the looks of it and from the words that were spoken today, he became everything all us guys want to be — loving husband, highly-respected colleague, genuine sportsman/outdoorsman, accomplished at whatever he touched — basically an all-around stud for whom no one had a bad word. I wish we’d remained close. I’m considerably the poorer because we didn’t.

Anthony’s was the second JFK funeral I’ve attended in the last fifteen months — Perry Lorenzo‘s was the other. And as it was with Perry’s funeral, I felt strange going to Anthony’s. I hadn’t seen him in years and we weren’t so much “friends” anymore as “old friends.” But old friends are, well, friends. And funerals aren’t just about current friends saying goodbye. They are about all friends paying their respects.

For Anthony, the respect was great indeed.

UPDATE: Anthony’s family has an About Anthony blog on WordPress.

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This afternoon I joined Ted and Sarah Naff at the memorial service for Perry Lorenzo. Perry – “Mr. Lorenzo” to me – was a teacher of mine at Kennedy High School during my junior and senior years. He lost a years-long battle with cancer last week. He was 51.

Recalling twenty years of education that took me from West Seattle Pre-School to Georgetown Law, Mr. Lorenzo was the best and most influential teacher I ever had.

Perry Lorenzo, as I remember him.

And it wasn’t close.

I can’t sit here twenty-some years later and articulate exactly why that was. But I can say Mr. Lorenzo was a guy who stuck with me. I was a wanna-be intellectual in a school of jocks – he was the real deal, a true renaissance man. To quote a poster on the Seattle Opera blog, “Perry was erudite without being stuffy, polished without a trace of snobbery, and opinionated without making one holding an opposite opinion feel defensive or lacking. Like no-one (sic) else I can think of, he exemplified the time-honored phrase ‘a gentleman and a scholar.'” (I was voted Most Intellectual my senior year largely, I think, because my classmates knew I was one of his followers – and because teachers weren’t eligible.) His knowledge of the arts, literature and Catholicism was encyclopedic even then – and the guy was in his twenties. (A look at his blog suggests that knowledge and passion never waned.) He taught Debate and Great Ideas, among other subjects of arts and rhetoric. My great idea was to not debate against him — a loss was certain.

More memorable than what Mr. Lorenzo taught was how he taught it. My meager words cannot do his charisma justice. His passion for his subjects was unlike anything I had seen before, have seen since, or expect to see again. He just had It — and he oozed it. Had he not had such a love of sharing and teaching he could have pursued a career on stage. If modern American teachers brought even a modicum of the passion and energy to their jobs that Mr. Lorenzo brought to his, our education system would not only not be blighted. It would be the envy of the modern world.

Mr. Lorenzo influenced his students in life-changing and profound ways. He steered Ted toward a Catholic college education, where Ted met his wife Sarah. (They remain deeply in the Catholic faith.) It is because of him that Norman Cheuk went to Whitman and not the University of Washingon, my alma mater. David Legge, two years behind me at JFK, became a priest after attending Claremont McKenna and Yale Law – largely, I hear, because of Perry’s influence. And these are just guys I know.

In later years.

Mr. Lorenzo’s influence on me was more subtle but no less enduring. He steered me to modern, intellectual conservatism. Mr. Lorenzo taught me to think about why I thought what I thought – ultimately, in a world of sheeple, more important than the what. He introduced me to George Will, William F. Buckley and the latter’s National Review. His stiff-lipped impressions of Mr. Buckley I recall today with a fond chuckle, and I read National Review to this day. Mr. Lorenzo once told me – in front of my classmates, mind you – that I had a crooked way about me. That is, when I stood or sat my shoulders seemed to be going one way, my lower body another. He said I was like James Dean that way. Not sure if this was a compliment or insult, but I’ve thought about it often as I seek a reason why I can’t hit a golf ball straight to save my life.

I regret I lost touch with Mr. Lorenzo over the years although, given the number of people at St. James Cathedral today (600+), I don’t think he suffered for want of relationships. I can count on one hand the times I saw him since my high school days. The last time was probably ten years ago at a Seattle dinner club. He was there to give a talk about the Seattle Opera, where he spent the last several years of his life and, from what I gather, may very well have owned the place. Frankly I don’t remember what he said because I was so enamored with how he was saying it. Mesmorizing.

Mr. Lorenzo left this world way too soon, but it was clear even a decade on that he was spending his life doing what he loved.

We should all be so lucky.

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