Remembering Arnie

Navyman Arnold Munchalfen


Arnold Munchalfen died September 13th, 2010.  It was a sad time for my mother’s side of the family and we all gathered together at my uncle’s home next door to my mother’s to celebrate and honor his life.

My grandfather had nine children, was the grandfather to twenty one, and, at the time of his death, had twelve great grandchildren.  (My oldest son would be his first.)  He left a huge heritage to follow in his eighty one years of life.  A heritage which still is growing strong and thriving now three years after his death.

Grandpa Munchalfen was a very quiet and reserved man.  He didn’t seem to talk much at all.  I remember hearing a few stories here and there, but for the most part, he was pretty quiet, at least from my perception of him.

My grandfather loved to work on watches and spend as much time with his wife, who spent their last years cross country in Florida, as possible.  Their marriage would last over six decades before he passed.  It would leave my grandmother very bitter and broken, as some pieces could be expected.

In my childhood I was given an army shirt with his last name.  The day he died, I wore it proudly.  For the longest time, I thought that was his.  It wasn’t.  My grandfather served in the Navy.

Now, I always knew that grandpa had served in the military, but again, he really didn’t talk about it too much either.  He was glad that he did it but glad it was long over.  He told all of us grand kids that getting a tattoo was the stupidest thing he ever did.  (Of course that was one of the things we found coolest about our grandfather.)

I might not be the best person in the family to write this memorial.  I was not very close to him.  I know that many of my family remembers more of him than I do.  It was something that was brought to my attention quite often growing up.

A couple of weeks before he died I did something to start the path to change it.  I have sent my other grandparents postcards frequently on my travels around Los Angeles and other places.  This time after attending a classical concert in the park, I started to draft a postcard to Grandpa Munch.  I had unfortunately forgotten about it, as it would get buried in stacks of papers on my desk.  When I returned from his funeral however, I found it.

Today, on Memorial Day, I want to thank Grandpa Munch for his time serving his country.  No matter how much I remember of the man aside from that and his nearly always smiling face, today grandpa is your day.  Thank you so much for what you did for this country and my mother’s family.  Know that you are not forgotten.


Vlog: Time outs- Manhattan Beach (pt 1)

This year, my Memorial Day plans did not include bbq’s with friends and family or my significant other.  Instead, it was a bit of a time out.  On Friday, I was brought to Manhattan Beach for a job fair.  Since I’m still a bit leery about driving the bike on the freeway, I elected to take an alternate route.  This one in particular rode along the coast.  Miles of road and beach… and then industrial zones before beach community again.  It’s a windy and gorgeous stretch of road that has just as quickly become an integral newfound piece of solace.

On Monday, I took the drive again.  This time, taking the time out to walk around and document and talk a little bit about the journey.

In rememberance

Memorial Day.

The day we take the time to remember all those dear to us and lost.  A time to think about the things we once had and cherished- the things we should have cherished when we had them.

Today is not a sad day.  It’s one of looking back and also looking forward.

“I’m just a fucked up girl who’s looking for her own piece of mind.”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of both.  I’ve been trying to find myself.  Where have I been?  Where am I headed?  Where do I ultimately want to be?

The grip and I have been having some major conversations lately.  It hasn’t been a secret that for some reason I keep going back to him.  What’s the reason?  It should be obvious.  I’m madly in love with him.  Today is the day I admit it.

I’ve been in other relationships in the meantime since our more semi recent breakup.  For some reason, I am just unable to connect the way I did with him.  And when it finally got to the point where it was looking more serious, I freaked.  I’ve been holding a torch for this man even when I’d been trying to get over him.

Love or stupidity?

In the heat of an argument he told me to watch a certain movie.  He said that it was exactly how we were.

I have a confession to make:

I hold grudges.  Very… specific… movie grudges.    Or three in particular.

It should not be a bit unsurprising, given my love of film and art, that I would have an argument based on movies with very specific roots only to never recover from them.

This movie was one that my ex husband and I had argued about.  I knew when it came out that it would be one of my favorites.  He not only refused to watch it- calling it artistic saccharin induced dribble… but to insult me, actually rented it and shoved it in my hands to insist I watch it alone.

I’m not/I haven’t been:

  • the greatest girlfriend.
  • Wife.
  • Significant lover.
  • Insignificant other.

It’s in realizing what you’ve lost that you can focus on what you need to do to get to where you want to be… and sometimes, that’s exactly where you were before.

The movie?  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Sure she’s nuttier than a loon.  But for some reason… despite all of it, he loves her.  He’s the rock of stability and she’s this stream of color and chaos.  Combined, their adventures are both… “volatile and scandalous.”

The story is told through the eyes of the man, Joel who has been broken up with and soon realizes that his girlfriend has gone through an experimental procedure to have her memory of him erased.  In his frustration with her, he decides to get the process done to himself as well.

While it is going, you will see, at the start of the movie, the woman, Clementine appears to be this insane psycho.  She’s a mess.  He’s quiet and introspective with artistic tendencies.  She’s philosophical and eccentric.

As the movie progresses you see it’s quite the contrary.  They had a rich love affair, that, sure, wasn’t always perfect… but it shined.  It was magical.  And Joel realizes that he doesn’t want to forget her.

A few parts of the movie really stick out in my mind.  But this one, where they are in a house and he runs away…

HE: I wish I had stayed.

SHE: Was it something i said?

HE: Yes.  I was scared.

SHE: I’m sorry…  Joel? What if you stayed this time?

What if…

I watched the movie in revered silence.  As I recommend that you do as well.  Think about the courses of actions that you take.  Think about the memories you are building your future on.

SHE: It’s almost over.  What do we do?

HE: Enjoy it.

I screwed things up before.  I made the wrong choices.  I need to make them right this time.

I’m not/I haven’t been:

  • the greatest girlfriend.
  • Wife.
  • Significant lover.
  • Insignificant other.

Against much resistance and turmoil, I’m going to give this one more try.  I may be an idiot, but there have been crazier things that have happened before in the name of love…. So this should be nothing.  Nay.  It isn’t.  It’s more than that.  It’s the first real, unselfish something I’ve done in a long time.

Here’s hoping for a happy ending… with a new beginning.

It’s in realizing what you’ve lost that you can focus on what you need to do to get to where you want to be… and sometimes, that’s exactly where you were before.  Never to be taken for granted ever again.