In the summer of 1984, Los Angeles, California hosted the Olympic Games. It was also the summer after I graduated from law school and was set to take the Bar Exam, a three day pencil and paper marathon which law school graduates must pass before they can actually practice law. I knew that fate had consigned me to spend a couple of hours each day in a "bar exam review course" learning precisely what I would need to know to pass the exam and then lots of other hours studying and taking practice exams. I didn't know that my fate also include a summer filled with fun.
I suppose I could have lived with my parents and taken the review course somewhere near their home. But, for some reason which remains blurry in my memory, I decided to go live with my brother Petey and take the review course near him.
Perhaps the reason was because Petey had gotten me a job in his law firm. He worked in one of the most prestigious law firms in Los Angeles - not as an attorney, but in their mail room. When he learned I was thinking about getting a job, he made several copies of my resume (which was good but not really impressive enough to work at Munger, Tolles and Rickerhauser) and put one in each attorney's mail that day with a note that I was studying for the bar but was interested in working a bit that summer. One of the partners hired me to do some document review. To this day, when people see that I worked at that firm and then look at the rest of my resume, they sometimes ask how I managed to get that job. I reply with a sly smile, "I knew someone who worked in the mailroom." They don't believe me, but that's okay.
Petey's apartment was a rocking place, located one block from the beach. He and his friend John originally rented the two bedroom apartment, but when it got to be too expensive, they took in two more roommates to help share the rent. Shortly thereafter, they took in another renter, who was to sleep on the couch - he was an athlete in town to watch several of his friends compete in the Olympics. Which meant that my "official" bed was now a mattress under the stairwell. But that was okay.
Because it was a summer jam-packed with work and studying and countless hours of awesomeness. I remember the night before July 4 when we stayed up late, marinating ribs for the next day's BBQ, playing poker and drinking beer. And I'm pretty sure I won at poker that night! I also remember making chili for a chili contest and hours spent playing on the beach. Not to mention all the good times hanging out in the apartment, watching TV, talking politics and being part of a really vibrant life. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't pass the bar exam, what with all this living going on. But, I passed the exam, and that turned out okay, too.
Because each week day morning, Petey and I would climb into his little white pickup truck and drive to the office. I'd do some work, have lunch, often take a nap (I didn't bill those hours), do a bit more work, and then Petey would drive me across town to my bar review class. He'd come back and pick me up three hours later. Four nights a week, he'd add another two hour's worth of driving to his busy day just to help out his little sister. Because that's the kind of guy my big brother Petey is . . . salt-of-the-earth, kind, helpful and giving.
My big brother was born on November 13, 1959. If you look on the calendar, you'll see he was born on Friday the 13th, which is supposed to be unlucky. For all of us who know Pete, we know the opposite is true. We are very lucky to have him in our lives. His birthday is next Sunday, and I dedicate this Storytelling Sunday to him. Happy Birthday Petey! Thanks for everything.
Today I am grateful for yoga, especially the new class added at my local exercise studio.