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UCLA Magazine Summer 2004
Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
The Providential Scholar
Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community
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The Perfect Storm
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Summer 2004
Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
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Photograph of the Polaris
The Polaris sits anchored as a brown pelican takes flight.

Strangers when we boarded the Polaris, the coming days are so filled with eye-popping sights and life-altering experiences that we feel like old friends by the time we exchange e-mail addresses and hugs at the airport for the return flight home. We have swum in the blue water with playful sea lions, giggled at the mating dance of the blue-footed booby and tiptoed among marine iguanas sunbathing in perfect stillness on lava rocks, oblivious to the Teva-wearing invaders.

"You know what? This is exactly what I worked 40 years so I could do," says Chuck Goodman '60, who recently retired as president of the Syracuse China dinnerware company.

The Bruins mingle during a Monday evening cocktail reception hosted by the Alumni Association. The festivities start at 6 p.m. on the sky deck, just at sunset. We had quickly showered after a day of snorkeling and a long walk through the saltbush and scrub on Española Island. It was here that we first watched the courtship ritual of the boobies — the male lifts one very blue foot and then the other, spreads his wings, points his tail skyward and whistles. This romantic overture looked silly to us, but who are we to say? The females — boobies not Bruins — joined in the dance, honking excitedly.

Up on the sky deck, Goodman and his wife, Karen '59, stand against the railing, posing for a picture under a star-filled sky. Goodman, 66, is a big bear of a man and his wife, two years his senior, is petite, with reddish-blond hair and an unlined face. As the photographer counts to three, Karen Goodman leans in close to her husband and rests her head against his chest. The chemistry between the two was obvious the first time they met at a music class at UCLA in the late 1950s, but both were dating other people so nothing happened at the time.

About a year later, one of Goodman's fraternity brothers ran into Karen, who asked about Chuck in a way that suggested she had feelings for him. "Why don't you give her a call?" the fraternity brother prodded his friend. "I did," Goodman says. "And that was it."

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