Time Travel to the 50s
I graduated from Lowell High School in San Francisco in 1952, which was in those years, in the Haight Ashbury district. We’re having our 55th – ulp! – reunion this year and I’m somehow on the reunion committee. I’m the only person in a class of maybe 300 who dropped out in the ’60s. Smoked pot, rock and roll, homesteading in Big Sur – changing course on the high seas of life at age 28, giving up a well-paying job as insurance broker, oh yes! All my friends from high school and college, with the exception of maybe two I can think of, became extremely wealthy. I’m the only guy with long hair and an earring, etc., but what’s cool is we all still have those 4 years in common, we’re all San Francisco kids, and I enjoy their company. This year I’m in charge of music so I’ve been going back to the ’50s. Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra. In retrospect it’s great music. Opus One & Once in a While, by Tommy Dorsey. Moonlight Seranade by Glenn Miller brings tears almost to my eyes. Romance was a strong emotion in those days, Saturday night outdoor dances at the Fairfax Town & Country Club, with music like this playing. I’m also going to throw in some Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Aretha, Otis, Al Green, rhythm and blues…I’ve hired Zorro, a young reggae DJ from my town, to control the music and I’m giving him lists.
Speaking of Lowell: Jack Patterson was the journalism teacher then, and I realized years later how he influenced my life. I learned the who-what-when-where-how-why of the opening paragraph (then it was supposed to be in the first sentence), and that a reporter’s job was to report it as it is and save opinions for the editorial page. Patterson was a decorated ex-Marine captain and we called him Captain Jack. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye. He was gay, but made no moves on us.
One day a few years back, three of us on the reunion committee (Lord, have I written this up before? – my memory is shot…) discovered that each of us were in in our present jobs because of Capt. Jack: English teacher, advertising, publisher. Well, Jack eventually got fired, and ended up robbing a bank, going to jail, and ended up his life doing gardening work at Stanford. Dude! Is this not the wild west? I wish I’d sought him out to thank him.
And yes, I realize I’m prone to repeating myself, not only in conversation, but in print. I think I’ve written about this before. C’est la vie…