November 15th, 2009
On my 99th day of my 365 blog entry challenge, it only seems natural for us all to revisit the melodious sounds of "99 Luftballons”, German singer Nena’s Cold War-era protest song (and later re-recorded in English as "99 Red Balloons".)
Come on readers..let’s sing!
99 red balloons.
floating in the summer sky.
Panic bells, it's red alert.
There's something here from somewhere else.
The war machine springs to life.
Opens up one eager eye.
Focusing it on the sky.
Where 99 red balloons go by.
Now in German!
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Hielt man für UFOs aus dem All
Darum schickte ein General
'ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, wenn's so wär
Dabei war'n da am Horizont
Nur 99 Luftballons
Good hustle Y'all( and for you non southerners.. that means You-all”.) It’s always nice to connect with my readers through songs that reached #1 in West Germany in 1983. Ahhh…musique. We all love it. BUT no one appreciates a good musical composition of words and music than my high school friend Dana Lanier Schaffer. As teenagers, She loved to introduce us to the hottest new bands as we drove around the metropolis of Greensboro, North Carolina. Her passion was so consistent that she earned herself the nickname, Dana “just one more song” Lanier. As I mentioned yesterday, I joined her and some other high school friends for the VisionWalk--a 5K in Valhalla, NY to raise funds to support research for Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative retinal disease that is currently affecting her peripheral and night vision and will eventually lead to blindness. She handles her diagnosis with such grace and humor that one can’t help but be envious and inspired by her leadership, determination and fervor as she fights the disease. In fact, I see greatness in all my old friends that I reconnected with yesterday.
Since the weather was on the inclement end, the 5K ultimately ended up being something like a 1/2 K. The event was organized to celebrate the money raised for research and Dana raised over $11,000. There were tents with “energy foods”, local middle school cheerleaders and, for the kids, volunteers making balloon animals(that ended up resembling mangled falic symbols and intestines.) The setting couldn’t have been more perfect to just catch up with my friends who knew me before puberty. The Change.
First off, it is fascinating that so many of my formative year comrades ended up in the northeast. That is not the norm when you graduate from public school in North Carolina. Everyone is kind of exceptional in their own way. So..here were the cast of characters.
Dana and her Husband Sam live in New Haven Connecticut. She’s the Assistant Director at The Gildar Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition Yale University. Her Morehead Scholar (nicest guy in the world) husband is also at Yale getting his phD in history. I wish they’d aim higher
Laura Walters. Laura and I met when we were about four and used to hang out under tables at potluck dinners when our older brothers were cub scouts(boy scouts for younger people.) A few years later we reconnected in ballets class, then middle school and high school. We also went to the University of Georgia together. Spring Break our junior year we went on a cruise and Laura entered a dancing contest on the on board discothèque. Her partner didn’t possess “mad skillz” and dropped her on her head. This incident was captured on film and played over and over on the 24 hour cruise channel in everyone’s room. She has recovered from the trauma and went on to get her Masters at Oxford University and is currently getting her phD in political science. Laura is getting married in May and lives just a few blocks away from me in Brooklyn. It seems that I can't quit her.
Kerry Schwarz. Kerry and I met at Kiser middle School when we were eleven. She just finished traveling the world, living in Israel and recently moved to Boston to get her Master’s in Public Health. At Harvard. Oh yeah, she already is a pharmacist and toxicologist. Have no doubt about it, this woman will blind you with science.
I just wanted to give a casual shout out to some of my favorite ladies and celebrate their admirable uniqueness and awesomeness . There is more I can share but don’t want potential employers discovering some of our exploits in Google searches. In the meantime, I just want to say that I am blessed to have you all in my life and hope to meet up with you again in sixty years at some rockin’ assisted living. Laura will enter the geriatric dancing contest.