Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Kurt, Sluggo, and me

Spring break 1971.

Kurt Legler, Pete "Sluggo" Moore, and I did the obligatory senior trip driving from Albany New York to Daytona Beach Florida. We stayed in a place that as I recall was called the Seahorse. The objective was to do what college students did in Florida during spring break. We left around midnight on a cold Albany night and arrived early evening in Daytona.  I remember stopping at a package store when we got into town and being amused by the owner's drawl and shorts in March.

My recollection of the week is fuzzy. Some clear moments, but they fuse together with others.  We ran into, surprisingly, some fellow Albany students who we did not know were going to be down there.  Daytona, then and I suppose now, had one hotel after another right on the beach and the place was jammed with college students.  Just jammed. There was one forgettable night when students at an adjacent hotel had a party where a vat of what tasted like grape punch was available for the gulping.  It was loaded with toxins. I recall bumping into a few fellow Albany students at the party and we stayed up all night to watch the sun come up.  Earlier in the week I spotted another Albany woman whom I'd seen around campus.  When we returned to the university we became a happy couple towards the end of my senior year.

The drive back was not as much fun. The car had some engine trouble early on. We got into a spirited, but not uncivil, debate with the owner of the service station about the Civil War (and this was only 100 plus years after it was over) during which he told me to hold onto any Confederate money I came across because the south would rise again.  Despite the chuckling, I am not sure he was kidding.

We hit murderous traffic on the Belt Parkway and then Southern State as we were finishing the journey.  Eventually, Kurt dropped Sluggo off, and then me, and then headed to his home in Rochester.  I last saw Kurt at a reunion in 2012 or so.  He seemed great but a few years later I received the news that he had died at 65.  This morning I read a group e-mail informing all that Pete passed as well earlier this year.  He was only 68.

Both Kurt and Pete had been very successful in their businesses and family lives.  Kurt had started as an insurance agent for a major company, and then established a lucrative insurance business of his own.  Pete I had not seen since graduation, but I read today that he had had an excellent career in Pensacola owning his own automobile dealership as well as being a generous contributor to charities and his community.

Let's hope things don't happen in threes.

Seize the day.

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