Catalina High School, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Phil Limbacher

    After graduation, I went straight to Stanford.  My junior year, I met my ex-wife, married, dropped out of school.  I converted my student job at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center to a regular job as an electronics tech.  My son was born; later my ex and I divorced.  My ex remarried and they left the state with our son with my approval, she and her husband being extraordinarily good persons.  I didn't miss the Sixties and became a working hippie. (I didn't have the courage to quit my job at the Accelerator.) I joined the counterculture with gusto and have stories I'm willing to tell, but not document here(!). (Well, I will note that I have seen an orange breathe and heard a cloud about to speak.) A few examples in the public realm:  A friend and I snuck into a Ken Kesey ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") Hell's Angels party in La Honda (it may have been the only one); I attended an "Acid Test" at the SF Longshoreman's Hall; was at Altamont; took part in the biggest SF Anti-Vietnam War March, other protests (I was never violent or disrespectful).  Given my upbringing and years at CHS, taking part in the Sixties was quite a break with my past!  I don't regret those experiences. 

    However, soon after I turned thirty I noticed that I had gotten into a rut that would not be so much fun at forty.  I got scared, went back to Stanford, working nights at the Accelerator (my job was not demanding), finished in psych in 1973.  (I had also taken up SCUBA and free diving for four years, was planning to be a marine biologist.)  I noticed my rut working at the Accelerator had lasted 10 years!
    Feeling the need again for a discontinuity, I flew to Europe, bought a 10-speed and camping gear in Amsterdam.  I bicycle camped around Holland (the Dutch are the most civilized people on Earth), Germany, Denmark, and Sweden.  (Most of the flattest parts of Europe!).  Wonderful!  I felt as free as I could ever be.  I ran out of money and weather, but didn't want to go back yet.  So I worked in Hamburg as a manual laborer (often in the snow), then an electronics tech, got conversational in German.  I was a guest worker instead of a tourist!  That next summer, I saw I was in yet another rut, got really scared.  At Xmas I left to backpack to India through Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  Probably $200 in train and bus fares from Greece to India!  Many wonderful people (only a very few, not).  Adventure of my life.

    I returned to the SF Bay Area in '75, attended San Jose State 5 years (another rut), studying biology.  I got into a biology Ph.D. program at UC Santa Cruz (a much longer rut) at age 39.  In 1988, I graduated ("Distribution of a spin-labeled local anesthetic in phosphatidlycholine bilayers").  I was prepared for biotech, but I took menial tech jobs until I got into software quality control (yet another rut).  I bought a condo in San Jose, CA, with a view of the eastern hills, where I am now.  My job went to India in 2002 and I prematurely retired.  Since then I have worked on two mechanical inventions  a rugged terrain walking vehicle and an industrial crane.  I have recently received one patent, and have two more in the works.  I see in my life a series of ruts, often lasting too long.
I enjoy reading history, lately also economics, work out some.  I should have gotten a history Ph.D., because that's what I really love.

    My dad had his heart attack and was forced to retire at 59.  He and my mom were able to enjoy life, including travel, until he died of pancreatic cancer at 67 in 1980.  My mom  moved to San Jose in 2000.  She was always cheerful and undemanding and grateful, as am I, for our time together.  In 2007, she died after a short illness at age 94.

    My sister Jeannie was also at Catalina, four years behind us.  After graduation, she was in college in Missouri, where she met her husband.  They have a son and have lived in Las Vegas for many years, where her husband is a professor of mechanical engineering at UNLV.  They have traveled all over the world for conferences, where he is an invited speaker.

    My son moved to San Francisco when he was 18 to study at the SF Conservatory and we became very close.  He became a bass trombonist, graduated, married, and had a son.  Now he plays in the orchestra for the province of Castilla y Leon in Spain, where three more grandchildren have been born.  My son is well known in his field and has students in brass from throughout Spain.  Wonderfully, I was able to bring my mom to visit my son and his family the spring before she died.

   My life and that of our classmate John Hibbard have intertwined through the years.  We met in junior high.  He transferred to Stanford our sophomore year and we shared a dorm room.  Next year, he went to West Berlin, crossed the Middle East on a motor scooter to India.  (He missed the Sixties.)  I know his example affected my decision to travel.  We kept in touch and in 1999 he needed a place to stay for a few months, after his second divorce, so I offered to put him up.  He has three children from two marriages.  He's still here!  Amazingly, we get along very well, and I'm happy to share my condo with him.  We've been friends for 54 years!  He has been working as a very successful real estate appraiser for decades.

    Throughout my life, I have known a number of really good women - some I still know as good friends.  But I never made the changes I needed to be able to create a life-long loving partnership.  I am truly delighted that so many of my classmates have achieved such partnerships.

    Regarding politics, I recommend without reservation a book which explained American politics for me with startling clarity several years ago.  It's by George Lakoff, "Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think".  Previously, I experienced conservatives  though often very nice people, some of whom are my friends  as just nuts in their political opinions!  After reading this book, I still often don't agree with them, but at least they don't look nuts to me anymore.  I'm hoping that my conservative friends who read the book will no longer see me, a moderate liberal, as nuts, also!

    In the interest of full disclosure, and to prepare my classmates at the 50th Reunion to recognize me, I have included two photos.  The second one reveals that I have gained over a hundred pounds since graduation, and demonstrates that exercise is not enough!