For the second year in a row, Delaney took part in “A Night to Remember” Prom. Weeks ago, she selected her dress from hundreds of donated gowns, and it was tailored to fit perfectly by a volunteer seamstress. (Boys receive free tuxedo rentals.) Tonight she showed up with 400+ kids with special needs and the same number of teen volunteer buddies, who also probably have needs but not special ones.
After pairing up with a same-sex buddy, the girls were taken to have hair and makeup done. Each pair of “honored guest” and buddy embarked in a limousine for a short drive to the start of the red carpet. There they walked through a cheering gauntlet of “paparazzi” on their way to the dance. If a guest was sensitive to noise, a volunteer preceded the pair with a “Quiet” sign, so the crowd would know to wave their hands in a silent cheer.
Some, especially boys, really ham it up. One walked the red carpet at least 10 times while we were waiting to see Delaney.
Once inside, the group danced for an hour and a half and stuffed themselves with chicken nuggets. At 9:00, families were allowed in to pick up their “honored guest.” Each one departed with a goodie bag that included a framed photo of him or her with their buddy.
The couple who developed this event have triplets, but no children with disabilities. They just felt called to do something for their community, and over the years it has evolved into this evening that draws teenagers with and without disabilities, not to mention adult volunteers, from all over southern San Diego. As we have been shown repeatedly over the past 16 years, people are surprisingly good.
I found some coins in a piece of furniture I acquired from Roger and Sara: Three tarnished silver dollars; a 1926 Peace Dollar, a 1927 Peace Dollar, and a 1921 Morgan Dollar. They’ve been lying around, and I finally decided to do something with them. I found a coin trader who was close to where the kids have swim practice, and I went to his house today.
Ted’s a retired Navy Commander, who was formerly an enlisted Nuke. Which means, after high school in PA, he enlisted in the Navy and was selected to be trained in the same nuclear power school that JJ went through. He ended up on submarines, and not only met Admiral Rickover, he ran him over in a passageway one day, getting back to his duty station. He thought, “that’s it, I’m fried!” But instead he was identified as “dedicated.” He was encouraged to attend college on the Navy dime, so he did and got commissioned as an officer. After tours in Italy, Guam, (Vietnam), Japan, Hawaii, Connecticut, Virginia and San Diego, he ultimately commanded a destroyer. When his next tour was to be in D.C., he retired after 32 years. He’s been collecting coins since he was 10.
When I told him what I do, he invited me to join his networking group of small businesspersons (they aren’t small, their businesses are), who meet for breakfast every Wednesday. He then invited me to the back of his house to meet his wife, Mary, who has been “sick” for 2 years, but is on the mend. She was happy to meet me, and laughed frequently as Ted told stories of deployments, their children’s jobs, and their 3 forthcoming great-grandkids. One of their grand-daughters was a scholarship swimmer at USD, “this close to making the Olympics.”
This picture is of a bronze coin commemorating the 1901 Pan-American Expo in Buffalo NY. (Someone created a website devoted to the event, that’s worth checking out.) I don’t know where the coin came from, but I found it among jewelry that I inherited from grandmothers and great aunts. In the photo, it’s on Ted’s kitchen table, where he does business. The coin itself is not that old, but Ted gave me $5 for it. He knows people who collect these kinds of things. He bought the Peace dollars for $17 each, and the Morgan dollar for $18. I’d say overall, the visit was worth it.