John Sorian was a friend at La Fetra Elementary School in Glendora, CA (https://les-glendorausd-ca.schoolloop.com). I remember John picked me early in the rotation for his kickball team one day at school, though I wasn’t very good. I appreciated that. I remember John and I sitting at the dining table with my father at our house on Hicrest Road, sunlight streaming in, carving racers for the cub scouts pinewood derby. In junior high school and high school John and I didn't hang out together, but I liked John.
My next memory of John is from the summer of 1977. I was on my USNA summer cruise aboard the USS Tuscaloosa (LST-1187), a tank-landing ship, which I had caught in Okinawa, after a very long and noisy flight from mainland USA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Tuscaloosa_(LST-1187)). After Okinawa, there were stops in Pusan and Kamakura, with day trips to Tokyo and elsewhere. I learned about sea showers, which I still practice. There are good stories in these memories, which I simply bookmark here for later.
Within a day or two of leaving Okinawa, I was walking across the deck of the Tuscaloosa, and I heard someone yell “Doug!”. I turned and sitting in the shade of the superstructure at the midsection, were a bunch of marines, and one was waving at me. It was John. I remember walking up and seeing him close — a broad, smiling face. At some point, perhaps even that day, because I don’t remember how long we were on the ship together, he asked me to take a blanket to his mother in Glendora. The blanket, bought somewhere in the far east, had a silky texture and a beautiful floral pattern. I stowed the blanket in my duffle bag and when I was next in southern California to see my girlfriend, which wouldn’t have been very long after returning to the US, even though my parents had moved to northern California, I took the blanket by John’s mother’s house, somewhere in the vicinity of Meda and Pennsylvania, not far from the Plaza Theater (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/3989). One of John’s brothers answered and brought John’s mother to the door. I don’t recall us talking, but I remember her smile. I waited until she unfolded the blanket, and looked it over, before I left — I remember great happiness. There is no other unabashed pride like a mother’s.