After I left Jacksonville, I lost track of almost everyone I had worked with there with two notable exceptions: Roddy Morris and John Balcom. Between 1973 and 1980 I made probably five trips back down to Jacksonville to visit one or the other (oddly, although I was good friends with both of them, they didn’t and don’t hang with each other).
John, after his divorce from Barb (with whom we’ve also kept in touch) came to visit once (probably around 1975) and we introduced him to an acquaintance of Linda’s and they hit it off instantly. They’re still together. Although we’ve exchanged Christmas cards over the years, it wasn’t until we moved to Ormond Beach (2003) that we hooked up with them again.
Roddy came to Chicago a few times in that period, too, and there was never a span exceeding five years that we didn’t at least talk on the phone. He and his wife (!! never thought that would happen) and Linda and I have been getting together every week for more than three years. Those outings ended around December 2009. It was nothing to do with us—the trivia games we’d been meeting to enjoy became more and more pop culture oriented, and neither our wives, nor Roddy and I are conversant in that topic. We’re classical trivia people—knowing, for example, that Westminster Abbey is technically in the City of Westminster, not in the original City of London (which it abuts) but which was virtually 100% unknown by the trivia preparer.
We also noticed at parties that both of us in the same room tended to empty the room of guests in short order. Type A? Whatever it was, it sometimes made our relationship uneasy because we think so very much alike but are pretty unyielding in our positions when we don’t. A rift ultimately developed between us, the details of which are private and which I will not report, which was probably almost inevitable. The once-every-five-years interval was much more sustainable than once a week, given the personalities.
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