Thursday, January 19, 2017

35 Years Ago Today

January 19th, 1982 started out as a cold day in LA like any other. It was below 70 degrees. In the morning I was getting ready to attend classes at 'SC. As a commuter student living in North Hollywood, I was prepping for the hour's drive. This raises the question, "Why do they call it rush hour traffic, when nobody moves?"

I was about to go out the door when I heard my father call for me. As a lifetime asthmatic myself, I didn't hesitate to bring him the over the counter pills to promote free breathing he asked me for. I stayed with him for a few minutes discussing various things that were only pertinent to me at the time, and looking back, he was feigning interest.  He was stretched out on the bed, and he sounded fine, so I said, "I'm going to be late for school," and I left, closing the bedroom door behind me.

That was the last time I saw my father alive.

Tuesday classes as a senior in the Computer Science department minoring in Russian Studies were mostly easy to understand. I did do something slightly insane that year as I thought it was a good idea to take two classes whose time overlapped that were literally on opposite ends of the campus.  I did survive this ordeal, however.

Tuesday nights I attended Campus Crusade for Christ meetings normally, however, for some reason, I decided to drive home that day, fully intending to drive back that night, as I had computer work to do, and back then we had dumb terminals connected to a large mainframe and connecting to the 'net from home was one of the things we were creating as well.

When I got home my usual space in front of the house wasn't available, as there were a few fire trucks and an ambulance. I drove an Audi 100LS back then and shared it with dad, as mom didn't drive.  I'll tell the story of the car purchase another day. I didn't think anything was wrong as there was an old folks home across the street, and this was not a regular occurrence, or even frequent, however it did indeed happen every once in awhile. I didn't realize they were there for my father even as I walked up to the house and went in.

I was greeted with my mother freaking out and attempting to relay dad's medical history to the paramedics, and I collapsed in a chair.  I composed myself, and got up and went outside figuring I'd be in the way, and everything would be okay. It wasn't.

I leaned against the Chinese elm outside and prayed.

I went back inside and he was gone.

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