'No Ferris Wheel'
Charlie in Napa

What Virgil's Sibyl Said

Charlie's first week back in summer school after three weeks of 'school camp' was tough so --it's time to quote Virgil.

facilis descensus Averno:

noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;

sed reuocare gradum superasque euadere ad auras,

hoc opus, hic labor est.  

The lines are said by the Sibyl to Aeneas and a translation is here; the gist of it is 'getting there is easy, making your way back up to where you began is a lot lot more work.'

Charlie had very bad stomch distress early in the week and, while he was certainly feeling better after a day, I think we may have overlooked his having residual queasiness. At school-camp he had had almost all the same staff and started his days in his classroom, without the more structured lessons and routines of a school day and we sensed he had missed this --  but re-entering order isn't so easy. There is a new student in Charlie's class and some new staff members.

On Tuesday, I met with Charlie's new case manager from the Regional Center of the East Bay to talk about services. It was a very good meeting though Charlie was wary of seeing someone he didn't know at all talking to me at the kitchen table.

He did shake the case manager's hand and said 'bye' at the end before heading out for his customary Berkely-plus-Richmond bike ride with Jim. As the bike mechanic whom Jim's gotten to know stopped over just as Charlie and Jim were about to leave, Charlie found himself having to wait for a bit in the driveway, which he did very well. 

Throughout the week (and starting from last week), Charlie called for the 'ferris wheel.' We've figured out the one he has in mind -- the one that is his (and our) favorite carnival -- was the the one at the Petaluma Fairgrounds in Sonoma County where Frank Sinatra was playing as the ferris wheel turned.

Jim had concluded that the best way to show Charlie that fair is gone for the year was to drive back there and show him the ferris-wheel-less fairgrounds. I was wary of how Charlie might react. We kept postponing the ride, especially in light of Charlie transitioning back into summer school.

Thursday night Charlie didn't go to sleep till after 4am on Friday morning. Friday evening, Jim and Charlie picked me up at BART and, after a brief stay at home, we headed north over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, driving towards the mountains and past farms with cattle sheds and twisting trees and vineyards on the hills. The area around the Petaluma Fairgrounds is suburbanized (I knew we were in the right place on spotting a FedEx outlet) but there's a racetrack with viewing stands and a permanent structure marking the entranceway. We saw all these and Jim pointed out where the ferris wheel was and that it'd be back.

Then we asked Charlie (who'd been looking closely around on both sides of the car the whole way) if he'd like to get a burger and fries at the Five Guys next to the Target whose lot we'd parked in to go the fair. Charlie said yes.

We drove home under a full moon that lit up the water under the bridge and by the port of Richmond.

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