Well, I could stop there but I had better explain what this message to the past in a reverse time capsule is about.
A few months ago I ran some kind of contest here (its details have already slipped from my memory) and the contest was won by Carol Anne of Five O'Clock Somewhere, the wonderfully diverse blog on which Carol Anne covers such subjects as Etchells sailing, New Mexico rural life, pole dancing, grammar, and motivational messages on the wrappers of her feminine-hygiene products. "You go girl!"
Where was I? Where am I?
Oh yes. Carol Anne won the contest and her prize was to choose a subject about which I had to write a blog post. (Note the careful placement of the preposition in that last sentence. Carol Anne teaches grammar and knows that a preposition is not a thing to end a sentence with.) Anyway, Carol Anne assigned me the subject of Who Inspired You? or something like that. It's been a while. My memory isn't what it was.
Anyway. She had probably forgotten that I had already written a post about who inspired me to take up sailing, the punningly titled Men from Mars in which I credited two former colleagues, who also happened to be Olympic sailors, with inspiring me to try out this wonderful sport of sailboat racing.
Then, a few weeks ago, I received an email from a member of what is now called Taplow Lake Sailing Club but which, when I was a member, went by the snappy title of ICI (Slough) Sailing Club. I wrote about their club, my first sailing club, in Where It All Started.
The email rather aggressively asked..
Who are you Tillerman?
I am Redacted Redacted. Do you remember me?
Or Redacted Redacted, my husband? Redacted Redacted, Redacted Redacted, Redacted Redacted, etc etc? Please reply and identify yourself. I would like to know who you are and get in contact.
I'm sure lots of other older members would like to know too. Maybe I can fill you in with whats happening at Taplow Lake.
Awaiting your reply,
Redacted et al
(These people weren't really all called Redacted Redacted. I am just respecting their privacy.)
Actually I didn't remember Redacted. Or al. It's been a while. My memory isn't what it was. But I replied to her and explained that I was the tall skinny (I really was skinny back then) guy with glasses with the orange Laser and mentioned a few names I did remember... Redacted whom I met in Minorca... and that old Redacted guy who was the secretary... and Redacted Redacted who was the club hotshot. I was looking forward to a friendly email exchange that would jog my memory about happy days at my first sailing club in the 1980's. No such luck. I heard nothing more from Ms Redacted. Or al.
Anyway (geeze this is turning into a long post) I've been racking my brains for how to give Carol Anne her prize (remember her? the one who shared the messages from her feminine-hygiene products with the world? "Reach for the finish line!") and I thought, "Ahah. I should write about the members of my first sailing club. They might not have been the ones who inspired me to take up sailing but they were certainly the ones who really showed me what a terrific sport this is and motivated me to make it the primary sport of my life."
I almost wrote a post along these lines until I looked back at Men from Mars, and saw that I had effectively already written that story in the last section of that (also way too long) post. I had totally forgotten doing this. It's been a while. My memory isn't what it was.
Anyway, now I can give Carol Anne her prize by recycling that section slightly and saying...
To the Members of ICI (Slough) Sailing Club c.1983-1985,
You inspired in me a life-long passion for the sport of sailing.
You passed on to me your sense of fun and enthusiasm for sailboat racing.
You taught me tactics by pulling moves on me on the racecourse and then explaining to me afterwards how I should have countered them.
You taught me respect for the rules by winning protests against me but always treating me in a friendly and sportsmanlike manner.
You encouraged me to travel and to compete with sailors from other local clubs.
You showed me that ice and snow are no reasons to stop sailing in the winter.
And every other place I have sailed since then I have found sailors just as welcoming, just as helpful... and just as competitive as you.
Thanks to all of you.
From the tall skinny (yes I was) guy with glasses and orange Laser.