ALIVE 0816 Pages 3-30.p25

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and received a small stipend. The money, however, paled beside the adventure. The following year the organization offered me a position as principal, but I did something else. What was it? Oh, yes, we got married. The year after that, however, I went back as a principal, accompanied by my new bride. We spent three weeks in Melun, a suburb of Paris, then another three weeks on the French side of Lake Geneva at Evian-les-Bains, where the girls’ dormitory was a renovated 12th Century castle. Talk about wonderful experiences— and I got paid nicely. Small children prevented a return for other summers. About a decade later, while at Purdue University, I taught a full semester, four credit hour course in American Musical Theater. After my retirement in 2000, I adapted the course for Elderhostels (now called “RoadScholars”) and for the Diablo Valley College Emeritus program. In April of 2004, while reading the Travel Section of the San Francisco Chronicle, I found a story detailing lecturing on cruise ships, listing two agencies that contracted lecturers. I sent resumes to each of them. About three weeks later I received a phone call asking if I could do the musical theater program on an Alaskan cruise out of Vancouver, Canada. A quick check of our calendars (four seconds flat) prompted a loud, definite, joyful “yes” answer, beginning a four year love affair with virtually free cruising. Of course, I had to adapt what had originally been a full semester course, later four to eight hours, in order to accommodate cruise schedules that varied from two to five hours. I never knew what my schedule or hours would be until we were on the ship itself. The number of people attending the lectures ranged from twelve to 200, and we met some fascinating people, including the mayor of one of the largest cities in the U.S. and a retired sports editor of the New York Times. In the four year period from 2004-08 Shirley and I enjoyed eight cruises: two to Alaska, two to the Mexican Riviera, two backto back in Hawaii, one from Florida to San Diego through the Panama Canal, and one from New York City to the Caribbean. We had to pay the agencies $25 or $30 per day per person, but, with one exception, we had ocean view cabins with everything available to us that any other passenger enjoyed. Actually there was one and only one restriction: we had to agree, in writing and notarized, that we would not play Bingo, which is not much of sacrifice to people who do not play the game. Why no Bingo? I never did get a definitive answer to that question. When the recession of 2008 hit, however, the cruise lines stopped contracting lecturers in the arts, and we had to pay full price (ugh!) for any subsequent cruises, including the one this month. Additionally, the cruise lines insisted that lectures all be on Power Point, which I find boring and too regimented. One other factor dictated that it was time to “pack it in”: I turned 78 in early 2009. When we cruise now, we have to balance the budget, the calendar, and our aging bodies. But, it was sure fun while it lasted. Anchors Aweigh! a u g u s t 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 27


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