August 16, 2004

Happy Birthday Chris, Paul And Monica!

I'd like to wish a Happy Birthday today to three people -- a good friend and former student, an old schoolmate and friend, and an excellent dancer/choreographer who I've run into from time to time since the '70s! In order, they are Chris Putnam, Paul Pacior and Monica (Parra) Ballon.

Chris PutnamChris Putnam was one of my journalism students from St. Augustine High School. He was one of only two people (along with Patty Deyling from Our Lady of Peace) who wrote for The Oracle all four of the years I was the paper's adviser. Chris and I stayed in contact after he graduated in '84 and we became good friends. I saw him in March when he flew down from his current home in San Francisco to join Rich Campbell and I at the Aztec Invitational Baseball Tournament that opened San Diego's new Petco Park. I shot this picture there of Chris sporting a new '84 Padres cap.

Paul Pacior was a freshman at St. Augustine when I was a senior there (1966-67). I got to know him then as a really nice guy and a great football player. In 1972, Paul's friend and classmate Frank Kloberdanz recruited me into a pyramid marketing system named Sta-Power, and the two of us eventually talked Paul into joining the company also. Alas, none of us got rich from that venture. Eight years later, in 1980, Paul became a math teacher at Saints and I joined the faculty at OLP. I stayed four years, but Paul also was a lawyer, so he left after one year. He eventually moved east to Indiana, where last I heard he had his own law practice.

Fall Fling '81Monica (Parra) Ballon is a member of the Parra family from Kalmia Street, who sent a bunch of kids through OLP and Saints in the '70s and '80s. I first met her in 1974, when she was a grade schooler who danced as a Wah-Tah-Nee Girl in Tom Rusch's first big Covenant Ark Theatre summer musical, "The Music Man" (which also was the very first of 28 plays I've photographed). Monica and several of her sisters became great dancers, and I saw them perform in various productions over the years as they grew from girls into beautiful women! I shot this photo during a rehearsal for OLP's 1981 "Fall Fling II" show. According to my program for the event, Monica choreographed this number, and that's her kicking high on the right. I used to run into Monica at OLP graduations and Saints homecomings, but I hadn't seen her in many years, until she came up and said hello to me at Pixie Warren's August 6 performance at Schroeder's Club and Cabaret, which is why she rates a mention here.

Happy Birthday Chris, Paul and Monica! Thanks for all the memorable moments!!!

Posted at 8:36 AM in Birthdays, DMG's Friends, Theater