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A Case for the Beatles

A Case for the Beatles:

I was talking with some friends a couple of years ago who are, oh, 10 to 20 years younger than me. They said they didn't like the Beatles and that they didn't get why they and their music were and are so popular. I can understand not caring for their music but the Beatles were so much more than just another “pop band”. They changed pop music and influenced most of the music that followed. I guess to fully appreciate the Beatles you needed to have been coming of age in the 60's. I was almost 15 when the Beatles hit America. I first remember hearing the Beatles (I Want To Hold Your Hand) on the radio in December of 1963. Beatlemania had already hit England and was about to hit the United States. I was never a big fan of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” but I did like the “B” side “I Saw Her Standing There”. My friend Eddie as well as my younger sister, Babs, liked the Beatles from the get-go but I needed to hear a few of their songs before I jumped…
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Alone For The Holidays

Alone For The Holidays

I like to think that if something rings true for me then it must be true in general for others. While this may be often true. I have found, much to my chagrin, It's not always the case.
Every year when the holiday season starts up I hear about people who have no where to go for the holidays. It's presented in a way that elicits both a feeling of sympathy for those in this situation and a realization of how blessed the rest of us are. I too think these things but it's more an intellectual thought than a feeling. Part of me is a little envious. I have liked all the holidays I experienced alone without family or even friends. I like having time alone. I have never been a big fan of holidays, other than they can mean no school or work. Now that I am retired I find holidays more enjoyable, but prior to retiring I saw a holiday that involved a family gathering as more of a time waster. Getting together with the whole family was not something I looke…

Hitchhiking to Terre Haute

Hitchhiking to Terre Haute
I've always liked that feeling of freedom I got whenever I hitchhiked. I could choose to go any direction, I did't have to worry about a car, and I never knew who I might meet. Hitchhiking to Terre Haute in the fall of 1967 stands out especially in regards to the latter.
When I was seven my family moved from Levittown to Huntington, well I should say Huntington Station as Huntington proper was a little too upscale for us. Huntington Station was a whole 12 miles away from Levittown. It was about 25 miles, by car, from my grandparents house which was about a stone's throw from the NY city line. I remember my grandparents saying we moved to the country, but it was, in fact, still the suburbs. The area had once been called West Hills and was once home to some guy named Walt Whitman. At the time I really didn't know anything about Walt Whitman but I knew he was notable because my high school was named after him. His old home (birthplace) …

Hello Eugene, I'm Home

Hello Eugene, I'm Home Photo by Andy
It was the fall of 1974 and I was back in Eugene. I had been dreaming and plotting to get here for what seemed like years. One of the main reasons I chose to attend the University of Oregon was I wanted to live in Eugene. This was going to be my home and in fact Eugene did become the first place other than my parents house that I thought of as home. Dottie was out of my system. Lisa certainly helped with that, but Donna was still with me. I still was holding on to my feelings for her. I still held our relationship up as the ideal with the thought that I would never have another like it again. I believed I was lucky to have experienced that kind of love once and the chances of it happening a second time were remote.
I was now living in a house with four others on Hilyard street. (For those of you who are sensitive about these things – yes, I misspelled the street name it an earlier post,) . My roommates were Mary, the head of the house,…

The Facts of Life

The Facts of Life
When I was young, like 9, my Mom, trying to be progressive, bought a book designed to teach children about the facts of life. This was in the 50's. My Mom had been brought up in a household that had Victorian type views on sex. The only sex advice my Mom received from her Mom was sex was something she had to submit to and endure as part of her wifely duties. It was in general a dirty, unpleasant, but necessary task. My Grandmother had never actually had sex herself. She was only repeating what she had been told. It had sounded so repulsive to her that she could never let herself engage in the act. She adopted two girls, one being my Mom. I can only imagine my Mom's surprise when she found out that sex was actually fun and pleasurable. After she was married my Grandmother asked my Mom what it was like and was appalled to find out my Mom actually enjoyed it. At this time I did not really know anything about sex. I had once overheard a friend's …

Adjusting to College at Valparaiso

Adjusting to College at Valparaiso
Me at my desk with my Remington typewriter and the phonograph to the right that I once thought might be a typewriter (see blog post My Favorite Typewriter posted 5/29/17) - that's laundry drying in the foreground  
I had graduated from Walt Whitman High School in June of 1967. At the time it was a highly rated school even if it was a public school. I expected college to be about the same as high school in difficulty. Much to my chagrin, I found that was not the case. College proved to be a bit eye-opening. On the academic side classes were difficult and came with high expectations. On the social front getting a decent date was even more difficult.
English was always one of me weaker subjects. Can't spell, not the greatest vocabulary, slow reader, etc. Once I got to Valparaiso I had to pass an English proficiency test; otherwise, I was going to have to take a class entitled Grammar 0. OK, it's bad enough you are required to take a c…

My Sister's Wedding, Connie's Vacation, and The Return to Eugene

My Sister's Wedding, Connie's Vacation, and The Return to Eugene Babs giving the bridesmaid who missed rehearsal some of those 85 instructions
1974 is famous for two events. The Patty Hearst kidnapping that February and Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9th. His resignation was followed about a week later by an important event for our family, my sister's wedding. I was getting set to return to Eugene. I was busy the last couple of weeks visiting and saying goodbye to my friends in the Albany area. I had to be down on Long Island on Saturday in time to make the wedding. Right after the wedding I was going to head back out to Oregon.
I stayed up late my last night in Watervliet and with just a few hours sleep drove down to Long Island early the next morning fully packed. Well it was early for me, but not as early as I had originally planned or had told my sister. When I arrived at the family home on Long Island my father and brother were both out front waitin…

Summer of 74 and Free Love

Summer of 74 and Free Love It was May, 1974 and I was back in Watervliet. I was still in the apartment but without Dottie. I found a job with Lathem Electric working in their warehouse. It paid pretty well although not as mush as Freihofer”s Bakery, but the bakery job would have been only for the summer and I needed a job right away. Lathem Electric was an electrical equipment wholesaler. It was a pleasant enough place and since it was working in a warehouse I could wear jeans and t-shirts to work, my favorite mode of dress. I am a total jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. I quickly became friends with one of the owner's sons who also worked in the warehouse. We would frequently have lunch in his van listening to Pink Floyd's “Dark Side of the Moon”. You likely can imagine what kind of lunch we were having...
After Dottie left me my neighbor Angie, who lived in the apartment above me, hung out with me to commiserate and cheer me up. She had just recently had a breakup with …

Eugene Oregon Take One

Eugene Oregon Take One

The winter of 1973/74 I packed up my stuff and went up to Watervliet to say goodbye to Dottie. A friend of mine, Joe, was going to ride with me out to Ypsilanti, Michigan. His girlfriend was attending East Michigan State there. I still had my Saab 96 so I was limited as to how much I could pack. The Saab 96 is not much larger than a Volkswagen Bug. I was not going to be able to get everything in the Saab so I organized all my stuff and packed things in priority order. That meant I packed my stereo equipment first and then all my records. I had about 100 albums, so after those items there was not much space left. I packed a few more things and then, in order to make the best use of the space left, I packed all my clothes loose. I stuck them into every nook and cranny filling all the space I had left. I held out a small gym bag that was just large enough to carry some toiletries and additional clothes I would need for the trip. I carefully closed the ba…