"The De Anza Trail"

Trekking North Towards San Francisco

by Michelle (Fearey LaGue ) Mock '69

ASM: "The De Anza Trail" - Northern California III "Mini-Reunion"

April 6th, 1999




As I drove North on Highway 101 enroute to San Francisco from Corona, I couldn't help but think of all the people who believe I have completely lost my mind. A year ago I would have had a panic attack at the mere thought of driving any distance at all on California freeways. Since October, I have covered more than 2,500 miles traveling to and from ASM mini-reunions.

Driving north from my sister Cecile's home in Paso Robles, I thought of Spain and how much Central California resembles the Spain I remember. It was a particularly beautiful day, although I was dodging major storms the entire way. The vista was gorgeous. The rolling hills are still green, April storms will delay the day they turn brown, and cattle and horses graze here and there.

I passed a sign for Mission San Miguel and later Mission San Antonio. Perhaps I had not lost my mind ... yet ... the wanderlust may be genetic in my case. I am related to Juan Bautista de Anza, a peripatetic Spanish officer and governor who founded Riverside (the county in which I live) and San Francisco. In the mid 1770s, he headed expeditions which led to construction of the California Missions and settlements throughout the state.

I do not know if he planned his trips or set off, as I did, with a destination and little more. I had driven to my sister's house on Monday, hoping to be able to meet up with former classmate, Frannie Aguinaldo, who was vacationing in San Francisco (from Manila) with her family. I had also just recently located Carlos Lara. Traveling to San Francisco was more or less contingent upon whether I could connect with Frannie. On Tuesday morning, my brother-in-law gave me a message that Frannie had called. I dialed the number and spoke to her ... San Francisco here I come!

I hung up from talking to Frannie and called Carlos ... there would be at least three of us meeting for a mini-reunion. Time and place was yet to be determined. I called Carol Farron in Lodi to see if I would be able to drag her away from work and get her to go to San Francisco. She wanted to go but work was awful and she could not make the trip this time. She mentioned that Michael Dunev '70 had an art gallery in downtown San Francisco on Market Street. Next step: EMAIL.

I had thought about emailing all of California (as I usually do), but decided to email only four from the 60s decade. It would have been quite a challenge to coordinate a mini-reunion via cell phone as I drove north. I still had no idea where or when we would be meeting. El Patio Español, site of the last mini-reunion, was a possibility.

I was driving through Salinas when my phone rang. Leslie (Smith) Deely would be there. She had taken over the coordination effort all she needed were phone numbers. It had just begun to seriously rain, so searching through my purse for phone numbers, with nowhere to pull off the road, was not a great idea. I passed along the Michael Dunev lead and Leslie said she would call me back in about an hour.

I decided to stop at Garlic World in Gilroy. They have a great gift shop and the cleanest restrooms around (Cecile and I stopped there enroute to the last San Francisco reunion). I called Leslie and left a long message on her voice mail with phone numbers for Frannie, Carlos, David Robinson, Conchita Gonzalez, and Jill Echols.

Next time I talked to Leslie, she told me that we would be meeting around 7 at a place called Vino's at Powell and Union. Her co-worker, Chelsea, got on the phone to give me directions. Great directions Chelsea, I drove straight there without getting lost! I love "The City". I had not been to San Francisco in years, but it is one of my favorite cities (right up there with Boston and Madrid).

I arrived around 5:30. Leslie met me and we got a chance to talk, walk and get to know each other better. I felt like I'd know her all my life. A little before 7, we walked Leslie's daughter to "The Club" -- "Do I have to go? NO ONE will be there!" Life is tough when you are a kid.

We headed for Vino's and as we passed by the building we noticed a gentleman in a red vest sitting inside and looking out the window at us. "Do you know what Carlos looks like?" Leslie asked me. "Not exactly, but that could be him." We continued to the parking structure where I had left my car, to retrieve my "baúl de los recuerdos": a suitcase on wheels which carries copies of the yearbooks from 1962 through 1970, photo albums and my reunion journal.

The gentleman in the red vest was Carlos. He thought it was us walking by ... until we kept going. We sat down and just started talking ... and talking ... and talking. Frannie arrived a little later. We all hugged and introduced ourselves (for the record) and the conversation continued to flow. Leslie's husband Tom arrived, and then a phone call from their daughter, pleading, "Please come get me. No one is here!" Tom went to get her and they returned. A little while later, Michael Dunev showed up. "Is this the ASM group he asked?" And the conversation just kept on going.

I had been a little worried that a mini-reunion with people I knew at ASM would be more awkward than at the past mini-reunions, when I did not know anybody. Would we have any preconceived expectations? Would it be a disappointment for anybody? This was the first time I was reuniting with people from my class.

What a relief! There was not a single awkward moment! Why is this? Why do we feel like we have known each other all our lives? The feeling of unconditional love and acceptance is just there. It is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. It seems that we all care more about each other than we ever did, or would have at ASM.

All good things must end, so reluctantly we bid farewell and exchanged hugs. Until we meet again.


ASM: "The De Anza Trail" - Northern California - Apr 6th 1999


Coordinator's E-Mail Address: Michelle (Fearey LaGue) Mock ('69)