THE REUNION, PART TWO July 28, 2014
There was enough food at the reception on Friday evening that you didn’t have to go off to a restaurant for more. The Warden and I went directly to The Best Western so I could get lots of rest for all the activities planned for Saturday. The only trouble was, these rooms at the motel had been refurbished, and the beds are way up off the floor like the old mile high 4-posters in days of yore. Right away I thought about how my son, Gary had fallen off our 4-poster when he was not much over a year old, landing on his head probably; and I kept thinking, “Now here I am in San Juan Capistrano, same scenario as with Gary, with an accident waiting to happen. I should call the Office to see if they might have a restraint to keep me safe for the night. Oh, nuts, just sleep tight, and the bedbugs won’t even bite.”
Saturday would be a long day for me. We had to get moving to be over at the Mission San Juan Capistrano by 10 AM. It is difficult for me to get moving since I arise feeling like my parts are glued together, but we did make it, and all these Forsters were streaming into the entrance with backup line half a block long. It’s a good thing I have “Traveller,” my wheels, to lean on for walking.
All the Forster people were in their new T-shirts so it was easy to spot them, and with the name tags, you could even call them by name as you read the tag.
The gorgeous gardens inside the walls surrounding the Mission complex will take your breath away, and I want to say right here and now that if you have never visited this “Jewell of the Missions,” you should make the effort — it is so worth it. The buildings were so tenderly refurbished, the docents so helpful, so now I’m pushing a tour of the Mission.
The leaders of our group herded us like the cattle that Great Grandfather Don Juan would herd around with his Vaqueros, when he was living at the Mission for 20 years or so back in the 1800’s — and they packed us in tight for a Family photo to commemorate our Reunion. After the photo, we could roam around as we pleased to see everything. Two Forsters, Juan and Christa, were in a good-sized room where they talked to about 40 of us at a time, and told us a lot of history of the Family. It was great of them to give us their time.
I didn’t want to get all worn out, so I chose only a few rooms to visit, and they were the ones that Don Juan and Doña Ysidora had used as living quarters. And then there was the Serra Chapel, my very favorite Chapel in the whole, wide world. The last time I had visited the Mission, they were doing a lot of refurbishing in the Chapel, so I was a little disappointed to find scaffoldings, and workers cluttering up the place. But at last, I have made it back there to see it in all its glory. The golden altar which came from Spain in time for the Church to open its doors in 1776 was in full view, and I could spend a little time meditating and remembering — this is where I had been baptized in 1918 by Fr. St. John O’Sullivan, who was really the force behind this Mission becoming “The Jewell.” This is where my brother, Buddy, would sing with his most beautiful tenor voice, the Avé María, at Midnight Mass.
I have to close off this story. I am trying to paint a picture of the Reunion, but my memories keep flooding back and interfering with these present-day happenings. I apologize. So, next week we will have a Part Two of Day Two. So, go figure.
MELITAS FORSTER MONDAYS WITH MELITAS