Funny the World...


These are the folks who show up most often in this journal. Others who pop in from time to time will be identified as they make their appearance.

The Piñata Group - We were a group of five couples who met as ten single people while we were members of the Newman Club on the University of California, Berkeley, campus.  We dated together, married within about four years of each other, and together have raised 22 children.  We were bridesmaids and groomsmen for each other and godparents to each other's children.  We went camping, had dinners, lived in the same neighborhood (most of us) for the kids' younger years.   Our kids went to the same schools.  Every New Year's Day we had a big party at which there was a piñata, which is how we came to call ourselves the Piñata Group. Piñatas were a part of every group gathering, even as the kids became adults (we had a piñata when the five kids born in 1966--the only year we doubled our numbers--all turned 40; there was a piñata at Jeri's wedding; there was a piñata at Bill's funeral). The oldest of the 22 kids is now looking at her 50th birthday in the foreseeable future, but we still call them "kids."  Now when we get together, we have piñatas for the children of the original group.  We have seen one divorce, the death of three children and one spouse since the 1960s.  Some of us have traveled together all over the world, some of us lived together (platonically) for short periods.  It's rare to have such lifelong friends, and I consider myself so fortunate. 

The original Piñata group is Walt and myself, Char and Mike, Pat and Rich, Audrey and Gene, Jeri and Bill (Bill died a few years ago and Jeri is now remarried to a man named Phil, which is very confusing), and Concetta (who died a few years ago). After our kids got into nursery school, Michèle and Richard became part of the group with their son Eric. Michèle died a couple of years ago.


Walt - long-suffering husband since 1965. I’m not sure why he puts up with me, but he does. He once made a web page in a class, but never went back to do anything with it again.  His web page is proof that nothing is ever lost in cyberspace!

Jeri - born 1966, living in Boston. She graduated from Berklee College of Music and is now Assistant Professor at BerkleeShe  plays clarinet, saxophone and flute in pit bands for various theatrical productions in and around Boston when there is no pandemic..She also has a couple of degrees in theatre design and in her spare time does lighting design for small theatres in the Boston area.

Phil - Jeri's husband, as of August 2008.   Jeri and Phil have been friends since junior high school and he has lived with her in Boston for several years now. 

Ned - born 1967, and his wife Marta, along with their dog Bouncer, have lived with us for the past two years.  This is being calledl "the 10 year experiment.  They moved here to help us as we get older.  It's been a blessing.

Paul - died at age 30 in 1999

Thomas/Tom - born 1970, lives in Santa Barbara and works for an international computer sotware development company as a Senior product manager, whose specialties are "Software; Product Management; Product Design & Development; Implementation; Consulting Services; Sales; Human Resources; Finance; Compensation Management; Performance Management; Talent Management; Human Capital Management; HCM; EPM" (from his Linked-in profile)

Laurel - Tom's wife, the Chief Risk Officer at a local bank.

Brianna - Tom and Laurel's oldest daughter.  Naturally she's the most beautiful, most intelligent child ever born.  I'm not prejudiced. Not me!

Lacie -  Tom and Laurel's youngest daughter. Adorable, very smart, and mischevious.  A voracious reader.

David - died at age 24 in 1996

Peach & Bob - My cousin (whose given name is Carolyn), and her husband.  Both have now died.

Norm and Olivia (generally come as a set) - Walt’s brother and his wife.

Alice Nan - Walt’s sister

Joe - Alice Nan's husband

Ed - My mother's stepson

Sandy - The man who runs the dementia facility where my mother lives.


Char - We have been friends since college and with her I have gone on some of the weirdest and most fun adventures of my life.  The stories in which Char is a co-star are always the best ones. 

Mike - Char's husband, who died in 2014

Steve - Singer/songwriter Steve Schalchlin, one of the "grand old men of on-line journaling," whom I’m proud to call my friend. His song cycle, "New World Waking" was performed in December 2008 at Davis Symphony Hall in San Francisco, by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.

Jim/Jimmy - Steve's partner of more than 20 years, a fabulous actor who won tons of awards for his one man shows Zero Hour and Character Man. He knew/knows every big name in show biz and writes about them in his book "WATCHING FROM THE WINGS: Fifty Years of Working With The Stars ."

Shelly and Ellen - good friends who have been activists for gay rights forever and together as a couple for more than 30 years.  They were the very first couple in Yolo County to be married when it became legal in California. Ellen died in 2020 of Alzheimer's.

Kathleen - My friend of some 50 years.  We have had lunch together every month for more than 20 years (and rarely see or speak to each other otherwise)

Gilbert - Once my best friend, an actor and the longtime Musical Director for The Lamplighters, who died in 1986

Peggy - Was my best friend in Australia for 13 years.  The friend I knew died in 2011, due to a defective heart. I miss her every day.  She still lives in Australia, but she is not the friend I knew any more.


Polly and Bouncer - our current dogs
Toby, Seymour, Benjy, Buddy, Kimba, Sheila, and Lizzie - our dead dogs

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edited 7/23/21 by Bev Sykes