The Event

Day of the Hawk 2003

I want to welcome all of you and thank you for your assistance to this first Day of the Hawk.

I wanted to hire a professional MC, but I found out Bob Hope just passed away, Billy Crystal wanted too much money and Whoopi wasn’t available, so…you’re stuck with me.

Before I get going, and I start believing my role as MC, I want to thank a few people who did a great job helping make this event a reality.

I want to acknowledge Paxton Mobley, where are you? He built our website

Sheila and Gaston for advising on the music.

Griselda for the cooking.

I want to thank RB for organizing the hike yesterday. The few participants described it as memorable. I looked up at the highest hill there, and I thought, that is tough. But then, there was a fork; we went to the neighboring hill, much shorter. I thought, “great”. I got to the top of that hill, and I realized there was another, higher hill. Then another, and to make a long story short, there were five hills higher. The first hill I had thought was tough, was way, away and below me. Then, I am not sure how it happened, Jake got in the lead. He confidently told us about how easy the way back was. We followed. The trail became sparser, then he took a detour, a deer trail, then there was no trail.

I had checked the weather and I knew that sunset was at 4:26. Now I started to worry. Could we make it back before dark? No problem, dash down the hill, breaking through brush for three quarters of an hour, and then walk another half hour at New York City pace to get back. We made it in daylight.

I want to thank you guys for making it so memorable, that I can hardly move today!

I also want to acknowledge Shelly and Jim for the great centerpieces.

And tomorrow at eleven am, Jack Camp has organized for anyone that wants to assist, a picnic at the beach in Carmel at 13th st.

Originally, I had thought that on the Day of the Hawk, we would have one or more people that we would celebrate and have several volunteers speak about them. This didn’t quite materialize. I say didn’t quite, because, Freddy had three nominations, RB had one, and Freya had one, but I never heard of anyone (except for Freya offering to speak on behalf of Freddy) volunteering to speak on behalf of these candidates.

Also, I didn’t want to have The Day of the Hawk tainted with nepotism. How would it look, if the first nominee were my son? But still, I would like to acknowledge that Freddy did have the most nominations, and he is a great guy.

Some people felt that singling one person out was too much. Others, felt that celebrating a generation was too vague. The Day of the Hawk, I feel, should be a day of fun, a day of sharing. So, we’ll learn slowly what the best format should be. What works this year, will be used next year. What doesn’t work, we’ll eliminate. It is no big deal.

I originally intended this party to be for Freddy and Mitch’s friends. However, they insisted, that one of the things that would make the day more special was to get to know better some of the “older”, meaning young people like myself.

Since we’re not going to honor anyone specifically this year, but still, the idea was to share, the question became what is it that we are going to share? I asked some of my friends to share with us some story or anecdote or formula for success.

But what is success?

A few years ago, I was in Mexico at a family gathering. I was talking to one of my uncles. He was boasting, as all fathers should, about his sons’ accomplishments. One of my cousins had just been promoted to the post of President of a big hotel chain, with the prestige, and salary increase, that this entailed. His younger brother was close to finishing a 14-story office building and was going to make a lot of money.

Without any malice, my uncle turned to me and said, “I always thought that of all the cousins, you would be the most successful.” As if implying that I wasn’t the most successful.

I answered, “How do you measure success?”

And by that, I was thinking, who has been married the longest? I had been married longer than my cousins; I was older; who has the biggest house? My uncle hadn’t been to my house; who has the most beautiful yard? At least I had the biggest yard. How high was the educational level of our children? Freddy was about to graduate from Berkeley, and Mitch would probably graduate from UCSB in a couple of years. Money in the bank? Perhaps, in this category, my cousins would have more in the bank than me. For some reason, I never seem to have money in the bank. The fastest car? Who is happier?

What is the measure of success? And what is success?

To my uncle’s credit, he quickly realized, that his comment could be construed negatively, and that my question gave him a way out, he quickly answered, “yes, of course. You are right. I wasn’t thinking.”

So, I can’t, yet, today, tell you who is more successful. Success depends on your point of view.

And now I will let Gaston share his story…….

A beautiful story of a pilot who says that 98% of the time he is off course, but always correcting and eventually always gets to where he is going. A story of success one day at a time and all that is needed to finish each day, one by one successfully

Since we changed the original idea of celebrating an individual on this day, I would like to combine a success story with the celebration and praise for a group of young people that have stayed together over the years. Friends are always a part of success. The group I’m referring to is Freya, Freddy and Tim, Scott, Claire, Ian and Jake.

I was in New York in our store a little less than two years ago and Mr. Wandke walked in. For those that don’t know who Mr. Wandke is, let me explain, that he is the main fund-raiser for RLS and he likes to call himself the Principal.

Mr. Wandke goes every December to New York to a dinner that RLS organizes there for fund-raising purposes. He comes to visit me every year at the store and invites me to this dinner.

I had a number of disagreements over the years with RLS when my sons were students there, not too mention that tuition was more expensive than the UC system. So I am not too big on fund-raising for RLS.

I had specifically let Mr. Wandke know my opinion on how schools should be institutions that help individuals realize their maximum potential, more so than an institution that guarantees getting your children into college, or worrying about how they dress, or that they never drink.

One source of friction with the school was over Freddy, Scott, Tim, Jake and Ian’s habit of wearing their pants low, skateboarder fashion. Keep in mind, that in those days this was cutting edge fashion. I told Wandke they need to express themselves.

Jake, in his freshman year, decided he was going to Southern California. I think he liked the weather better.

Another source of friction I had, was when Mitch wasn’t accepted as a freshman at RLS. He had better grades than Freddy, and more importantly, he wanted to go to RLS. I still have the nagging suspicion that this had to do with the way Freddy wore his pants low on his but.

I went to see Mr. Wandke, and he obliquely answered that the level of students they were accepting at RLS was much higher, somewhat implying that Freddy and his friends had been accepted on lower standards, and that Freddy, Tim, Ian, Claire, Freya and Scottie, at present, would not have been admitted to RLS.

A year later, when Mitch re-applied, he was accepted. This time, the battle of the pants continued with Mitch. Pat went to RLS to deal with this. When Pat arrived at RLS, the first thing she noticed was a girl in tight shorts, with half her buns hanging out, with her nice flat belly exposed. Pat wanted to know what Mitch’s male critics were going to do about that. That ended the pant discussion. They were obviously not going to do anything about those girls. This was one time I did agree with Mr. Wandke!

A couple of years later, I was saddened to see Freya leave RLS for reasons, that, to me at least, were ridiculous. I always thought that one of the main goals of a school is to educate our young, not only academically, but socially and culturally as well. At RLS, the thinking was otherwise. Zero tolerance, as if RLS was New York City.

On another occasion, Tim got caught doing exactly what Wandke’s son had done, but only Tim suffered the consequences. That was totally unacceptable, especially when you considered everything that Sally, Tim’s mother, did for RLS.

Scottie survived RLS with his attention deficit disorder intact, and without getting any special help.

Claire… what can we say of Claire. Of Ian? Both, smart, good looking, good natured, friendly, always in a good mood…They did managed to stay out of trouble at RLS.

The fact is they were all good kids, normal kids. The kind of kids that I want to have. If I had kids that weren’t like them, then I would really worry.

But anyhow, back to Mr. Wandke in my store.

I said to him, “Mr. Wandke, if you’re going to a fund-raiser you are going to need a good belt.” I then proceeded to sell him a belt. I figured it was time for him to contribute to my finances and not the other way around. He then, of course, proceeded to invite me to the fund-raiser.

I responded obliquely with a question, “Do you know where Freya, Tim, Ian, Scottie, Claire, Jake and Freddy are?” referring to my buddies that RLS had considered problems.

He did know that Freddy had graduated from Berkeley, but not the fate of the others. So I proceeded to tell him.

“Tim is down in LA, he’s made some money in the stock market, has put together a band and is on the brink of getting a contract with Virgin Records.

Claire is modeling and working here in New York.

Freya? Is at Law School!

Ian has started a small business and is making furniture and surfboards.

Jake, he still is in Southern California working for Activision; he is some sort of software mogul.

Scottie? Well, Scottie is Scottie, he’s working at Pixar and playing golf.”

Mr. Wandke realized I was not going to his fund-raiser. He paid for his belt and left. I think he got the main point, that each and everyone of them, were successful in their own way.

I would like to make a toast to all these fine young people and wish them success in everything they do.

Since we decided that we were not going to honor anyone specifically, I would like to honor all our friends. Remember, the measure of success, is your friends. We couldn’t be luckier.

Thank you!

I received an e-mail from anegelsgrow; Aaron has offered to read it. ( a story of a woman whose father visits her as a hawk every time she plays golf (see attached)

Jack Camp will share another hawk story with us and he will read the poem of The Hawk (you can read it at

Pat introduced Laurie as her friend and thanked everyone for their support in the last year.

Laurie Mcpherson will share with us a beautiful poem and a dove experience.

If anyone else wants to share something, please fell free to do so now.

Bill Soskin spoke about friends and sharing.

Freya spoke about how wonderful we all are and how much she has lived and learned with us.

Freddy Spoke last: He spoke about how important our friends are because of the impact they have on us and how they mold us.

You will remember that I asked all of you to bring three photographs. There is a form I would like you to fill in, and then turn them in. The category is best picture, best supporting actor in a picture and the least recognizable person in a picture. The winner of each category, gets a $100.00 gift certificate at Pat Areias Sterling.