Seattle 2003

September 29, 2003

The 2003 Lansing reunion was held from September 17th to September 21st in Seattle, Washington. This was the first reunion we have held in the Pacific Northwest and, contrary to urban legend, it did not rain at all (at least during the day) while we were in Seattle. In fact, on three of the days we were able to see the summit of Mt. Rainier, which is apparently quite unusual.

Registration began on the evening of September 16th and continued through the 17th.By the time registration was completed 36 crew members and their spouses/guests had registered. Additionally one crew member came for one day, and four relatives and/or in-laws attended parts of the reunion.

The reunion opened with a trip to the Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair. This center features the Space Needle, the most recognizable feature of the Seattle skyline, as well as a monorail that connects the center to downtown Seattle.

The highlight of the day was an unplanned dinner in the revolving restaurant at the Holiday Inn. Songs were sung and stories, which seem to become more interesting as the years go by, told. Fortunately, the Inn management was very tolerant of our actions.

The Lansing, as we all know, was a small ship. This is in sharp contrast to the largest building in the United States that we visited the next day, the Boeing assembly plant at Everett, north of Seattle. We were given a very interesting and informative tour of the assembly line for the 747, 767, and 777 passenger jets. A huge buffet lunch followed at the Tulalip Casino. Although there were many claims of wins by crew members, I suspect that the Casino, as it usually does, came out ahead.

Upon returning to the hotel, the ladies held their annual gift exchange. As usual, Renate Mannes did an outstanding job of hosting the event. I understand that the exchange sometimes becomes quite cutthroat, but that is only second hand knowledge, which I cannot confirm personally.

While the ladies were holding their meeting, the annual business meeting was held. This meeting is covered in detail elsewhere in this newsletter.

The highlight of the reunion is usually the welcome reception and this year was no exception. Everyone attended, old friendships were renewed, and all had such a good time that even the bartender stayed on an extra two hours.

On Friday morning we visited the Imax theatre for an up-close and personal viewing of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, a truly awesome experience. After visiting the theatre, some went to the Pike Place Market while others toured the Boeing Museum of Flight.

In the evening we boarded the “Spirit of Washington” dinner train. We had dinner while traveling to the Columbia Winery. At the winery, we had a brief talk on the wine making process as well as a wine tasting. Wine was also available to be purchased or shipped home. While on the train we discovered that simple activities, such as pouring wine, are not as simple when the train is moving. Using the ‘facilities’ was truly an adventure. Dessert was served on the train ride back to Seattle.

On Saturday we took a harbor cruise, after which there was free time to shop and tour Pioneer Square and visit such sites as Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park and the Underground area of downtown Seattle. Some die-hard shoppers even talked the bus driver into stopping at Cosco on the way back to the hotel.

On Sunday the reunion ended with a Memorial Service for our departed shipmates conducted by Ken Hill, Ron Bond, Ken McKinney, and Ed Rother. Everyone reluctantly said good-bye until we meet again in Jacksonville.