Musings on the Coast

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‘Lost’ is Days Away  

By Michael Ray
By Michael Ray

My daughter Gabby graduated from college in Portland this month and we were at dinner with her friends.

At the time, the “kids” were two nights away from their graduation ceremonies and they were done with freaking out. That was three months ago. They also were beyond “what is next in my life?” That part was all of the last year. Now they were into “My God, my best friends in life soon will be gone.”

So they clung to one another.

It was beyond beautiful or lovely or innocent or even your best dreams.

The kids will hang around Portland as long as they can. Then they will begin the gradual dispersion. It will be in slow motion and then speeded up and it will be painful. Portland is a small place and they will run into each other and their non-college friends frequently. Each time each will ask if this is the last time.

A few intend to stay there. Many want jobs in brewpub distilleries because that is one of the hot industries in Portland and because it is very “Portlandia.” Others want to drift to Seattle or other similar, but bigger cities. Portland does not have much big-time opportunity. It runs at a pretty slow pace. Its people are friendly and open, but none seem to burn.

So the kids clung to one another. They knew it could not last. The graduation was a process. First there were finals, then goodbye parties, then parental arrivals, and then finally graduation.

I arrived earlier than most parents and deliberately made reservations that night at a cool college-type place, but upscale, one they normally would avoid because it is too expensive. My invitation was a lure. I wanted to see them, all of them, in their natural environment one last time. I took many photos.

I tell them nothing, but I hope they stretch it out. The world still will be there. It keeps moving. Their job is to stop the movement for one last moment. Savor every second. Soon it too will be lost.


Michael Ray grew up in Corona del Mar and now lives in Laguna Beach.  He makes a living as a real estate entrepreneur and is involved in many non-profits.

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