50th Reunion Letter to the Class of ‘67

It’s amazing how the years have melted away.  I’m sorry I can’t be there with you next weekend, I was just in Columbus last weekend to march and play with the Ohio State Marching Band Alumni.  I would have stayed through the week if my mom still lived in Pburg, but the only remaining family that would host me are in the cemetery.  It’s a lovely cemetery, but my superannuated slumber there would most likely be interpreted by the employees there as inventory.

After PHS graduation, I attended Ohio State, eventually graduating in 1971 with a degree in Accounting.  Along the way, I got to do something I’d lusted after in high school as much as that Raquel Welch poster from One Million Years BC - I tried out for and made the Ohio State Marching Band.  Biggest thrills: playing in The Big House at Michigan, and the 1971 Rose Bowl and Rose Parade.

After graduation, I worked for a (formerly) Big Eight accounting firm in Toledo for about a year and a half, but I really didn’t like it, and quit before the onset of my second “busy season”.  I’d had this idea from high school that I really wanted to be a writer, and enrolled in courses at Bowling Green for writing, and reading literature that I was supposed to read in high school but never did.

Betsy Piez and I had our first date around Thanksgiving of 1966.  It was really glamorous.  I was editor of the Somethin’, and was covering the basketball game at Lake, and I dragged her along.  Must have been the cachet of that byline, we stuck together even after I left for college (she was a sophomore).  She was her class valedictorian, and went to the elite college (Carnegie-Mellon), while lazy me got the default state school.  Pittsburgh’s not that far from Columbus, and we did lots of weekend commuting.  After she graduated, she joined me in Bowling Green and we moved in together, to the consternation of both our families.  We eventually relieved the familial tension and married in June, 1974, more detailed story here: http://perilsofcaffeineintheevening.com/2004/06/07/on-this-day-in/

The writing thing never panned out for me - lazy again, probably - and we arrived at a restless stage.  However, when I was working in Toledo, one of my co-workers got a job teaching accounting at Seattle University, and we took him up on an invitation to visit, driving across the country in 50 hours.  He took us on a 3-day bicycle trip, and a backpacking trip.  We fell in love with Seattle.  We were outdoors types, even in Bowling Green, daily runners and frequent bicyclers.  We drove back reluctantly to Bowling Green and, a month later, loaded up a 5×8 U-Haul and moved to Seattle.

I worked fitfully as a bicycle mechanic for a few months, then went back to work in accounting.  I still didn’t like doing taxes and auditing all that well, but it was a living.  Then, in the early 80s, people began buying IBM PCs and asking us how to do their accounting on them.  I migrated to systems consulting, and that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing ever since.  I started my own business in 2001, and finally found professional fulfillment by doing so.

We’ve had a sweet life here in Seattle.  Shortly after moving here in 1975 we rented a house near Greenlake about 4 miles north of downtown because Greenlake was a popular running venue, and bought it (the house, not the lake) later that year.  We still live there, with 42 years’ worth of detritus filling the basement and threatening any fondness our son (see below) might have had for us.

Our son and only child, Andrew, was born in 1981, and lives close enough to visit on a weekend, but far enough away to have his own life.

Betsy and I met in high school band, but after college, didn’t play our instruments (clarinet for her, trumpet for me) except for Ohio State band reunions.  In 2009, I decided that I’d like to find a community band to play with, and that spurred Betsy to exhume her high school clarinet, and we both joined a band http://rainbowcityband.com/ here in Seattle that is LGBT-based.  We’re a marching band in the summer, playing in parades from Seattle to Vancouver, BC, and in fall, winter and spring we’re a concert band that I think Frank Menichetti (http://perilsofcaffeineintheevening.com/2004/09/02/a-musical-interlude/) would be pleased to hear, and it’s become a major hub of our life. We’ve been calling it our Reunion Tour.

Last summer I had an unexpected opportunity to connect with Perrysburg.  I was notified that the Ohio State Alumni Band would be playing in a parade and concert for Perrysburg’s Sesquicentennial.  Since my younger brother Brian was in the OSU band, we decided to come back and participate.  Details here:  http://perilsofcaffeineintheevening.com/2016/08/09/home-once-more/

Besides playing my trumpet, I love sea kayaking, and exploring the incredible coastline of the Salish Sea.

In high school, I was a band geek, and band was my primary social life and the primary object of whatever effort my lazy ethos might engender, so I didn’t socialize as much with you non-band classmates.  I have immensely enjoyed acquainting with many of you on Facebook and hope you will continue to stay in touch even though I’m not attending the reunion.  Be well, and have a great reunion.  Send pictures.


  1. Les Robertson:

    Hey Phil .Remember that poetry class @ BGSU in the fall of 73? I was looking for direction in my life after getting out of the army. Never really found it . However the currents of life have been pretty good to me. Glad to hear you’re in a good place. I have found the Black Swamp flatlands to be the spot that suits me. Take care, Les

  2. Tim Quilter:

    It was a privilage to attend Jr. High, and High School with you, Phil, and Betsy.

  3. Phil:

    Les, a few years ago my mom & I toured the Toledo Art Museum, and observed a glass-blowing exhibition that you led. Very impressive. I also remember de-tasseling corn on you dad’s farm south of the burg with Dave Stebel and, I think, Bill Theilman.

    Thanks, Tim, back atcha, you wrestler rowdy! Do you remember Chuck, Betsy’s brother?

  4. Patty S Bellfy:

    Boy you do have a beautiful grasp of words with which the Mungers would have been so proud.Had forgotten that you and Betsy hooked up.So enjoy your adventures on FB.I also never played the cello again after high school.

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