We might never have been part of the Gang if Woody had not been able to overcome his prejudice. Story and Dennis lived next door to Woody and Judy in Wellesley, Massachusetts, beginning around 1980. On the comparatively infrequent appropriate days, I washed my car in the driveway. Unfortunately, I whistled while I worked, and I chose to whistle fragments of Beethoven symphonies. Woody found this so disquieting that he kept his distance. We knew that Judy’s work as a flight attendant kept her frequently away from home, and so we offered Woody and his children the opportunity to join us for meals. Woody remained aloof.
When Woody’s surprise 40th birthday came around, Judy assigned me the job of cooking the pig. This was a substantial increase from my experience with hot dogs, and I was nervous. An A-frame spit over a tray of coals had been rented, and the pig was properly spitted. It did not seem to me that the coals would be sufficient, so I draped heavy duty aluminum foil over the A-frame, and reflected all the heat onto the roasting pig. It worked incredibly well, and the pig was done well before Woody was brought home from the Red Sox game. I had sufficient leisure that I could sample the various beers that were assembled.
Story was late to the party, and had trouble finding anyone who could speak in complete sentences. She learned to introduce herself as “the pig cooker’s wife” and all went well.
We become good friends with Woody and Judy, and eventually were invited to join them and the Dannes family at a communal condominium rental in Bethany Beach, MD. This became a treasured annual event, and we continued our July vacation together for many years. Our children grew up in the gentle tides and dunes of Bethany, and the adults solved many philosophical conundrums.
On several occasions, driving home from the beach, we visited with George and Linda in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Woody, Judy, George, Linda, Al and Judy had all known one another at RPI or in associated parties. I have hoped for years that I would be taught the fraternity handshake, but this remains elusive. Linda and George completed the Gang of eight, and a new tradition of New Year’s with George and Linda was happily established and maintained.
The Gang of Eight will assemble at the (new) home of George and Linda in New Hope for our New Year’s celebration. All the various offspring will be elsewhere. We hope to be able to stay awake until midnight. We share our resolutions, and have found that the resolutions are repetitive.