S: Happy 35th Birthday Justin
FC: August 14, 1977 | Justin is 35
2: Left in the Park Justin was three years old, looking much like he does in the attached picture. He was with our babysitter, who had taken our three kids and many of the neighbors' kids to Goebel Park to play (about 7-8 kids altogether.) As they were leaving the park, one of the other kids' mothers saw them and asked them if they'd like to ride home. All agreed and they loaded themselves into her van and drove back to Russell Street. No one noticed that Justin was not along. When they returned to the neighborhood, they decided to walk about half a block to a little neighborhood park to continue their games. The babysitter told me they were back and were going up the street to the Hargraves Park. Because the kids didn't come into the house, I didn't realize that Justin was NOT with them.
3: Meanwhile, a very kind woman who lived near Goebel Park saw Justin standing alone in the park crying. She comforted him and called the police, staying with him until they arrived. The investigation was on to figure out who this abandoned child was. As luck would have it, Justin was wearing a t-shirt from his Montessori school. The policeman knew that a local newspaper reporter had children who went to that school. He called the reporter, who checked with his wife and confirmed that their kids were accounted for. The reporter suggested that the Sanders kids also attended that school and the police should check with us. | About that time, I got a phone call from the Covington Police asking if I was missing any of my children. I told them my kids were all outside playing but I would go check on them. Maria and Rob had just come home and I realized Justin was not with them. They weren't sure where he was or when they had last seen him. The babysitter didn't know either. Just as we were going back outside to begin searching the neighborhood for him, a police car pulled up to our house. A policeman got out of the car and carried a scared, but unharmed, Justin towards me.
4: Our Worst Fight Ever It was during one of my first overnight play-dates with a girl friend from school. I was probably in the fourth grade, and Justin was in second. My friend Tina and I were dressing Barbies in my bedroom and Justin wanted to come in too. For whatever reason, we wanted our privacy, so I tried to make him leave. When Justin wouldn't go, I forcibly pushed him out, both of us hollering at each other all the while. Just before I could slam the door shut on him, Justin snatched what was easily my most prized possession at the time - a "vintage" issue of Soap Opera Digest with Bo & Hope on the cover. He grabbed it and ran for the stairs, and I chased after him. I caught him on the landing and, unable to wrench the magazine from his hand, I bent down and bit him as hard as I could. I can still visualize my teeth marks on his arm. He screamed bloody murder and my Mom came running. We both got in HUGE trouble, but my real punishment was the devastating realization that I had done something to really hurt him. I was horrified that I was even capable of it, because he was truly my sweetest, best friend.
5: Heartache By Proxy As a kid, Justin felt nothing short of hero worship for the Cubs' second baseman, Ryne Sandberg. I mean, seriously, his adoration for #23 is probably what created such positive associations for me that I actually gave my own son the name "Sandberg". So imagine the thrill when Poot learned that Ryne Sandberg would be speaking at his own law school - within reach! Justin, Meredith, and I went to Pepperdine to see the event, and afterwards, Justin stood around with a gaggle of other young adult men each waiting for his turn to get perhaps 10 seconds of the legend's time. Justin got to meet Ryn-O and tell him what he meant to him...but received a fairly generic nod and mumble of appreciation in return. He walked away from that brief meet-and-greet looking devastated, knowing that Ryne Sandberg still didn't possibly understand all that he'd meant to him. My own heart nearly gave way too. I wanted to shake ryne Sandberg and make him understand that Justin's love was special. That JUSTIN was special. It's a lesson I have never forgotten - that sometimes, words. just. fail. | Love, Maria
7: KRABI, SOUTH END | November 9
9: Tianjin, China The year was 1999. Prince was partying. We were in China. I think we all agreed this was the coolest trip we never want to do again! The locals thought Colonel was a giant. Mickey was introduced to tea bags. The coffee looked like motor oil. Government secrets were revealed. We discovered a common interest with the Chinese National team (WWE). We climbed The Great Wall. We toured the Forbidden City. We dominated the Hard Rock Café. Lots of great memories! Happy birthday, Colonel! From Patrick Mahan (aka "The Warden" Jack Riley)
10: MEATBALLS | Klauhn | Baseball | Cheers | Stupid Rain | Building, Building, Building! | DJ COLD WAFFLE | In a bag | Look into it | COLONEL
12: WEST KRABI COAST | November 10
17: ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL SUNSET OFF KRABI POINT | November 11