Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seattle Sunday

We all awoke hale and hearty Sunday morning none the worse for wear after digesting the 12 egg omelet at Beth's Cafe. Laurie and Tim are both New Orleans Saints fans and wanted to watch their game against the San Diego Chargers live from London at 10:00 a.m. I am not a big NFL fan (pro teams move, colleges do not) but I do watch the Saints because our godson, Scott Fujita, plays linebacker for them.

On a side note, Scott got tickets for a bunch of our Sicilian based Catania Elephant teammates to attend he game. From the initial reports I have gotten, they had a GREAT time, met Scott and some of the other Saints and, most importantly, London is still standing!

I spent the first half of the game making a run for coffee and tea at a local Starbucks and touring some of my old college day haunts for photo ops.


Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church

This fine, old church is near the UW and it was our parish home in the late 1960s. My wife Laurie was baptized here and also received her First Communion in this building.

Fraternity Row

Although I was not in a fraternity, many of my friends were. A lot of crazy things happened here and I suspect they still do!

Debi Murphy, our roadmate on this excursion, asked me why I decided to go to the UW since I was born and bred in Southern California. The answer was simple enough, it involved food.

In 1958, as a 6th grader, I was playing my first season ever of football in a flag football league sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization for my school in Pasadena, St. Philip the Apostle School. I was excited to watch the 1959 Rose Bowl game between Iowa and California on New Year's Day but fate stepped in as Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution officially defeated the reigning Batista regime that day. The result? My dad, a big Castro booster at the time, hauled the family down to a pro-Castro/anti Batista rally in downtown Los Angeles. So much for my first Rose Bowl viewing experience.

The 1959 season rolls around and the University of Washington Huskies are going to play the Wisconsin Badgers in the New Year's Day 1960 Rose Bowl game. Every day of the week, my path from St. Philip the Apostle School took me by the Huntington Sheraton Hotel, the traditional accommodations for the Big 10 representatives each year. One day my friends John Walsh and Craig Sweeney suggested that we should enter the hotel and see if we could bump into some of the Badger players. In the lobby there was a large, slide top refrigerator with a sign on it that read "Welcome to the Rose Bowl Badgers, Enjoy an Apple Courtesy of the University of Washington".

We weren't Badgers but what the hell, free food is not fattening. Naturally, we slowly slid the top open as we looked around to see if we were being watched by members of the Wisconsin State Patrol. No one stopped us as we committed the "Crime of the Century" and each pilfered a crisp, cold, delicious, bright red apple. They were so addictive that we came back every day after school for another shot at spending the rest of our natural lives in Wisconsin's Sheboygan State Prison.

The Big 10 vs. West Coast Rose Bowl contract was signed in 1947. Since that time the West Coast teams had only won one Rose Bowl Game, a 7-0 USC victory over Wisconsin in 1953, in the first 13 meetings. Thus West Coast football was not considered to be anywhere near the quality of the mid-West brand of the game. On New Year's Day 1960 I was glued to my TV set as no major political upheavals occurred anywhere in the Western Hemisphere this time!

The apple giving University of Washington Huskies were magnificent that day completely thrashing the University of Wisconsin Badgers 44-8 behind the offensive fireworks of one-eyed QB Bob Schloredt and RB George Fleming. Coach Jim Owens team was just amazing to watch as they physically dominated the highly favored Badgers. I was young and impressionable but I knew that very day that I wanted to be a Husky some day because of the football team in part but probably more because of the apples.

The Dawgs came back to the Rose Bowl the next season in 1961 and further cemented my decision by beating the Big 10 champion Minnesota Golden Gophers 17-7 with Bob Schloredt winning the MVP honors a second year in a row. A 17-7 loss to the Dick Butkus led University of Illinois Fighting Illini in the 1964 Rose Bowl did nothing to change my decision.

One of the best days of my life was the Saturday morning after our Alemany H.S. game my senior year in high school when my high school coach, Jack Friedman, informed me that the UW was going to offer me a football scholarship...WHERE DO I SIGN!

Dick's was always great spot to get something cheap to eat at 2:00 a.m.

Seattle's Lincoln H.S.
Home of the Lincoln Lynx

I did my student teaching for Bing Nixon at Lincoln H.S. in the Fall of 1969 just before graduating in December.

Lincoln H.S. no longer exists but it is still in use by the Seattle School District as a temporary school. As our friend Mark Johnson explained it to me, as the school district renovates a high school or junior high school during a 1 to 2 year construction project, they bus the students from that school to the old L.H.S. campus while the work is underway.

So I guess, in some odd way, Lincoln spirit never really dies.

The steps leading up to one of Lincoln's entryways.

Lincoln H.S. had very cool gates!

The Blue Moon Tavern

Often the scene, along with Dante's Tavern, of the activities that would lead up to Dick's Drive-In or the Hasty Tasty.

Clyde and Connie Werner

I really love these two people and look forward to seeing them when we visit Seattle. Connie is definitely Clyde's better 4/5's!

Clyde was a GREAT Husky linebacker when I was there and played several years for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Unassuming and quiet, he just played the game the way Amos Alonzo Stagg intended it to be played. The first time I saw him I thought he was Paul Bunyon!

Did I ever mention that Laurie loves Tweety Bird?

Back at Villa Johnson, Sophie and Mallory were busy decorating for Halloween when they brought out this Tweety head that Laurie is proudly wearing. 

The Hiram Chittenden Locks

After the Saints game ended, a 37-32 New Orleans win, we loaded up the rent-a-car to drive out to the Hiram Chittenden Locks and English Gardens in Seattle's Ballard district.

Very Cool Metal Artwork at the Locks...

... or a Jungle-Gym set for Sophie and Mallory?

The locks helps boats go between the fresh water Seattle lakes and the lower elevation salt water Puget Sound.

These fishing boats are headed out to sea today.

It WAS a little windy and crisp at the Locks on Sunday.

The edge of the English Gardens to the north of the Locks.

A Late Lunch at Ray's Boathouse

Ray's Boathouse is located on Shilshoe Bay very near the Chittenden Locks

It has excellent food, fun fish related artwork and a magnificent view of the Puget Sound to match.

The Johnson, Murphy and Contreras delegations
at Ray's Boathouse for the
2008 World Seafood Eating Championships

Thus this meal brought a close to a fantastic weekend in the Pacific Northwest.

A BIG THANKS, as always, to our very special friends, Mark and Susie Johnson, for their fantastic hospitality!


Laurie said...

I wouldn't have to wear the Tweety head if you put better pictures of me on the blog!

George said...

I do the best I can with the material I have at hand.