In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Rose School of Karate, one of my senior black belt students who has been with me for 26 years now, Sandan Tim House, organized a dinner get together at Cartelli's Bar and Grill here in Dover. Cartelli's has long been not only one of my favorite Italian restaurants, but just a really nice place with absolutely super food.
I started the Rose School of Karate almost immediately after moving out to New Hampshire in August of 1972. I had just graduated with a B.S. in physics from Eastern Illinois University and had come out to attend graduate school in physics at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. I rented a beat up old trailer at 8 Grande Hill Mobile Home Park in Madbury, NH, and would train by myself under the rather dim street light at the end of the little road I was on.
I met my first student out here, Paul Dusenbery who was also a first year graduate student at UNH, and we started training together and getting others involved. Duesnbery remained my student until 2005 when he formed his own association with all of his disciples.
We started with just a couple of us pushing the furniture around in my small trailer, but as the group grew to a half dozen we had to move class outside into one of the rural fields nearby. As Fall came and the New England weather closed in, it became too wet and cold to continue outside. As I looked for a place to rent, we found a temporary home in the basement of one of the university's frat houses. I officially opened the Rose School of Karate at 8 Bow Street in Portsmouth, NH on October 24, 1972,
Around 1978, we moved to 124 Congress Street where it flourished in the heart of downtown Portsmouth until around 1995 when my "day job" as a software developer required more time than I had to run a full time business as I was now commuting to Peabody, MA. Since then, I have continued on with a small dedicated group working out in so many different locations and many of my students starting small programs of their own around the area.
So this dinner celebration represented quite a milestone in our long history. We had a wonderful time, and dinner couldn't have been better. One of Cartelli's signature dishes is a "penne ala vodka" - a marvelous blend of vodka, butter, tomato, Italian cheese, hot pepper flakes, and cream that I just couldn't pass up. Several of us shared a couple of wonderful bottles of 2004 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.
The students presented me with a picture album of all of the pictures going back to 1973 that we had displayed on several large wall hangings. What a trip it was to go through those at the table!
After dinner several came back to my place to play some combat backgammon. I popped open a bottle of Merlot and we had a grand time. We even went down in the basement and did some karate. No lack of fun or things to do with this group!