This is a Christmas Eve meditation on where we’ve been and where we’re going. The three of us first met at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, USA. My, oh my, what a truly wonderful life it has been since then.
We spent our first few years together on Fremont Street in the “Near North” neighborhood of Chicago. My slick, new, red, British, Triumph sports car, a “TR-4,” was just too small to carry wife, baby, me and the groceries, too, so we sold it and got a more practical car later.
About 1969, we moved to West Carmen Street, one block south of Foster Avenue, one block from Lake Michigan and two blocks from that friendly old Edgewater’ Beach Hotel, where I once served as a lifeguard at the indoor pool. I have many fond memories from that time. I recall Thalia’s first experience of a playground at the northern end of Lincoln Park. She delighted in trying to catch pigeons, all of which would fly away just before she got to them. We all rode bicycles in the park and occasionally rode all the way down to OAK Street Beach, some forty blocks south.
In 1972. we bought a really big, really old house on Sherman Avenue in Evanston from Northwestern University. It had been used as a fraternity house and an international students house. It was a miserable mess inside. Lots of purple and white, the NU colors. Lots of damaged walls. It took us several years to remodel the whole interior, but we did. We transformed it from a junkyard to a jewel box. What a terrific home. It had 14 rooms on three floors. There were 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 large art studio and a meditation/massage room on the third floor, a sewing room, a library/office room, spacious living and dining rooms and a basement that we almost never used. When we sold it 7 years later, it had appreciated by more than 100%. While there, Thalia went to Martin Luther King Lab School. Angela produced and showed her artwork in several galleries and took several photography classes, and I traveled around the country on one of the most fun work assignments I’ve ever had, visiting 10 National Parks for 2 weeks each to evaluate their hazards and recommend ways to reduce them.
In 1977, I had reached about as high as I was going to get at the National Safety Council. It was time for a change. We decided to vacation in San Diego. Henry, Isabel, Angela, Thalia and I drove out in our big brown station wagon and spent about 30 days in Southern California. There had been a drought in the state for the last 7 years, but it broke when we arrived. It rained 25 of the 30 days we were there, almost every day in December. I interviewed at several companies but didn’t connect with any then. But the rolling ball of fate had been set in motion. In February of 1978, I went back to San Diego for a training class and connected with the Association for Holistic Health. They needed an Executive Director and I was their man. In May of 1978, I started with AHH. It was the job that allowed us to establish roots in the city and move into the area. I have never regretted the choice we made to come here to wonderful, warm, sunny San Diego. It wasn’t easy, but the results were worth it.
In 1978, Angela sold the house in Evanston and soon we purchased a ranch-style home about 2 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean on Mooney Street. This house had fruit trees, a swimming pool, fire place, a canyon in back and if you stood on your tippy-toes on the roof, a view of the ocean! It was here that we all became Californians.
Twenty years later in 1998, we sold Mooney Street at a handsome profit and moved to a 2-story townhouse on Mt. Alifan Drive in the Pacific Bluffs complex right next to the large Balboa/Genesee Shopping Center.
On December 31, 1999, the eve of the new Millennium, we used inheritance money to purchase a 3-unit commercial property on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach. This property will provide a welcome revenue stream for years to come.
I know I’ve left out lots of important events, but I just wanted to “hit the highlights” of where we’ve been and where we’ve lived. I find it fascinating to look back and see what we created for ourselves. But my MAIN REASON for this “meditation” is to stimulate your thinking about what lies AHEAD for us. How can we think more grandly about the future? How can we have a bolder vision? Where will we be in 5 years? In 10 years? What would our “ideal life” look like? What features will it have?
Sun Yat Sen, the great Chinese leader, observed that successful people “think large.” If you think small, he noted, you will act small, occupying your life with trivial detail, never moving to the thrill of larger visions, larger accomplishments.
Plato. the great Greek philosopher, said that the only way to live an ideal life is to plan your ideal life, and act on your plan.
Soooo. first. let’s talk residence: the ideal house. Perhaps we could combine some of the best of the above! We can plan to achieve this in 5 years, by January 1, 2009.
Angela’s concept: a large, organic, Gaudi-esque, half-ovoid homemade of poured concrete over an arched-ribbed structure. It would have a large art studio/courtyard space in the center. covered with a huge stained-glass skylight. Various rooms would open to the sides of the main central space. It would look like an irregular, upper-half of a football shape. growing out of the earth She of course has much more detail. 11 sounds fantastic and incredibly powerful to me. I’d love to see it materialize.
Gerry’s concept: I envision a large. “GeoHouse West,” Arts and Sciences Complex. It will contain a total of 33 rooms in six separate units: A main building. with a connected 4-car garage; A guest house to accommodate 4 persons comfortably; A workshops building with separate areas for painting, sculpture & woodworking; A storage building; Servant’s quarters for a cook/maid, butler/chauffeur and personal trainer/masseur; A small animal shelter for small animals.
The main building will serve as our living quarters. It will be a solidly-built, slick, modem, 4-bedroom, 4-bath, ranch home, one block from the beach, with a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. It will have a library/writing room, a magnificent kitchen, a music room, an exercise room, and a meditation/massage room. It will have a special room for technology, telecommunications, teleconferencing, business meetings, viewing of films and virtual tours of art studios and museums around the world. This room can accommodate 20 persons.
The $6,000,000 home will have multiple, alternative energy systems including wind power generator, solar electricity from photovoltaic cells, solar hot water and geothermal piping 10 feet underground that provides heat in the summer and cool in the winter. In a power outage, we will be self-sufficient and independent of the main utility grid. We will have a water desalination unit to allow self-generated, potable water as needed.
Designed with seniors in mind, the home will have ramps, grab-bars, and numerous other accessories to make living easier for older occupants. It will have an excellent security system. Of course, it will have a year-round, solar-heated, self-cleaning swimming pool and Jacuzzi close to the main building. The house will have lots of natural lighting from skylights throughout. There will be a “patio view deck” on the roof, next to a 30′ tall geodesic dome serving as an aviary, and, a 30′ tall pyramid built with metal steps allowing a person to climb to the top and sit in a special, 360-degree rotating chair at the apex, with a strong telescope attached, to allow daytime scanning and nighttime astronomical viewing. There would be a sculpture garden and pet play yard outside.
The complex will be within 2 blocks of a large shopping center. It may be located in Ocean Beach, La Jolla, Solana Beach, Laguna Niguel or Huntington Beach, California.
Second, consider our personal status: How about being, happy, healthy, trim, wealthy, cancer-free, diabetes-free (from pancreatic cell implants), energetic, productive, and active. 1 will have just completed my second tri-athalon event. I will weigh 180 pounds. Angela will weigh 130 pounds. Thalia will weigh 120 pounds. We will all have a completely clean “bill of health.” I plan to live to 2027, when I will have reached the excellent age of 92. Angela can stay vigorous until 2030 when she will be 101 years young. Thalia, having the advantage of more modern medicine, will live to 2037, reaching the age of 120 years. Rather than cremation, I prefer being buried on a hillside near the Geo-House, looking out over the ocean. Nearby would be a set of stones listing my many patents, my many contributions to humanity and a few wise sayings.
Third, consider our occupational status: Angela will be a prominent and successful Master Artist, Painter, Sculptress and Real Estate Investor. Thalia will be a prominent and successful Master Designer of publications, products, web sites and Real Estate investment strategies. I will be a prominent and successful writer, Real Estate investor, safety consultant and inventor. My inventions will include patents for solar toys, solar tools for cooking and heating, water desalination devices and other useful items.
Fourth, consider our financial status: Each of us will be earning at least $200,000 per year, after-taxes, from our individual publications, artworks, designs, web businesses Real Estate investments, patents and licensing royalties. We will share a large revenue stream from 40 self-maintaining commercial rental units in San Diego.
P is for Planning
L is for Large and Long Term
E is for Effective Efforting
A is for Action, Jackson!
S is for Signatures needed on the contracts
I is for integrating the vision with practical actions
N is for New, Novel and Innovative solutions
G is for Gratitude on completion of all the many steps along the way
I love you both, with all my heart.
Pleasing in thought. Pleasing in deed. AMEN’
Copyright Gerald T. Driessen 2003 All Rights Reserved