June Alert: There are a lot of sick people near you….

I am at home now all the time. But when I run into people at the El Granada Post Office, with the friendliest clerks honestly, (they make you laugh),  I hear about other horrible illnesses—-and the death of a 16-year-old teenager recently, with his whole life in front of him.

I remember being 16, they used to call it “Sweet Sixteen.” I thought when I reached that age,  I was such a big “girl” ….I didn’t realize how many summers and winters were still  coming along with love, pain, and the great disappointments  perpetrated by human beings. To be balanced, there were a lot of good things to come, of course. 

I’ve experienced some of it but managed to dodge the heavy duty love, pain and disappointment because I am anti-social. Yes. I am a writer and  a lot of writers like to do their work without someone else sitting next to them. I don’t know about the famous writers–they probably hire help and have an entirely different lifestyle. 

I also managed to dodge the heavy duty bad stuff by not going “out there” to find it. I’m the type you have to give a couple of glasses of wine to before I talk about my projects. Which any writer knows is dangerous, as ideas are often taken that way. Other real writers will know exactly of what I speak.

The sudden shock of the death of the local teenage boy is indeed shocking, and I don’t know who the young man was, but I send warm love to his family. I send love and I hope you get more than enough from others.

I also hope Joanne (from the Ketch Joanne Restaurant in Princeton-by-the-Sea)  is okay. Nobody seems to have seen or heard from her. She’s such a great gal….one who went “out there in the world,” and experienced life “full on” and took it like a woman! She wasn’t afraid of anybody or anything. What she created from the bottom up is truly amazing. How did she do it?

But back to the sad death of the teenage boy. He reminded me of a young woman, about the same age, the daughter of Michelle whose last name i can’t remember. Michelle, if I even got the first name right, had something to do with an antique store located in what was then the early beginnings of the  San Benito House on Main Street in Half Moon Bay.  So this would be the early 1970s which sounds like ancient history now, doesn’t it?

This young woman ran across Highway 1, just south of HMB, and was struck by a car and  killed. It was a traumatic event for our very small community, different from the one I see here today. Then, HMB and the Coastside was a landscape in search of itself,  so to speak, to find a new personality, if you will. Today, the Coastside is half- suburbia with, thank goodness, a lot of artists working here.

Today I identify the Coastside  as an artistic/surfing community–but it is also a dog and baby friendly place with broad strokes of what I’d call unoriginal  touches of suburbia. At one time the Coastside was a big empty place. To give you a stronger image,  imagine a blank canvas on which to paint a beautiful picture, a place that was new in an original way. 

Lastly, my neighbor across the street is  Connie Phipps, who is  or was a child advocate attorney. Her husband, Bob, was a motorcycle enthusiast and the owner of “Ralph” the German Shepherd  you had to watch out for.(Ralph liked to hide in the bushes and surprise you.)  Bob belonged to a small cliche of real locals  that met regularly at the El Granada Market where Duane was in charge of the meat department (and maybe, for recreation,  some poker games. This was way back in the 1970s, remember. Duane is no longer with us.) 

One other memory about Duane who, I think, at one point, owned the El Granada Market (which, by the way, was built by the Miguel family, the same folks who built the fabulous Palace Miramar Hotel, later known as Alberts.) Duane was a smoker and he wanted to quit, but like so many others he worried about gaining weight. He already was a pretty big guy! 

I was so involved with my sick life partner, that I only noticed Bob being picked up and taken to the Senior Center in Half Moon Bay almost daily. I thought he had lung cancer. But I talked with Connie yesterday and he has, among other serious illnesses, Parkinson’s. We spoke and hugged for a few minutes. It was good to talk to someone who understands the special nuances of the caretaker language.
. Like, “What do I do next? Do I do this or that? ” Believe it or not, these are important questions, things that a caretaker when he/she wasn’t one, didn’t have to bother with. Not so, once you cross that line. It’s a different and confusing world. So to you, Connie, brave woman that you are, I wish you love and strength. She said I could come over anytime and cry in her kitchen. 

At this point in time, the professionals can only give calming drugs or tell you that it is a process that could take a year or more. But there are memories that nobody can forget and the brain stores these images  like the horrific death  “death rattle,”  and brings the unwanted scene up for you to remember.  For anyone, unless you are feeling-less,this is unbelievably painful and I have witnessed medical doctors turn away because they can’t even  take it. And I’m not even referring to the famous “death rattle,” which is exactly what it sounds like, something no living person should have to hear.

P.S. One of my docs told me in the old days when spouses, or children, died, the grievers wore black for at least a year. This black was a symbol to others that they were grieving and to leave them alone because the people in black could not communicate with others until the “process” was over.

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About June Morrall

1947 - 2010
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