So there I was… Without a job… without income… and unable to make the $7.00 monthly guitar mortgage payment to my dad…
Life, as I knew it, was at an end. My music career was not far behind it. The one thing you might call a bright spot (I’ll just call it a “spot”) was that Mr. Powers granted me what today would be referred to as a “Severance Package” – He paid me for the TIME I had spent destroying his tomato garden – $5.00 – on the condition that I never set foot within 50 feet of his house again. (This was to come into play a few years later when I decided that I actually liked Terry Powers for more than just her dad’s tomatoes – but that’s another story, and is not within the scope of this current biography. Hence, no further mention of this shall be made at this time – maybe for ALL time.)
OK, so here’s the situation: I could make the first payment to my dad, but after that the prospects of me living up to my agreement with him were bleak… You have no idea the things that were going through my mind.
I thought of asking him for an allowance. He was a Democrat at that time and I thought it might fly. I decided against that course after thinking about it a little more. It was a bad idea at so many levels, but the bottom line was that his shoe was somewhat larger than my butt.
I actually thought of selling the guitar back to him and asking if he would loan it to me for an indefinite period of time when he wasn’t using it.
You’d have to know my dad… suffice it to say that neither of those ideas would have succeeded.
I am the first Grandson of a real Irish Grandmother – from Ireland. To say she was Catholic is something of an understatement – somewhat akin to making a statement like “You know, Clem, I think there are other planets out there in the solar system somewhere.”
I only bring this up because to say I was influenced by her is somewhat akin to making a statement like “You know, Clem, I think there are other planets out there in the solar system somewhere.” There have been very few times in my life when that influence grabbed me with the same veracity as it did at this time. I began to pray…
“Dear God, Is there any way you can turn back time by a week, just this once?”
“Dear God, I don’t suppose you can loan me $99.95 plus tax and shipping, can you?”
“Dear God, Why didn’t you just let me use the Sears catalogue for it’s intended purpose (refer to “The Cowboys” starring John Wayne, Roscoe Browne and Bruce Dern – 1972) and strike me blind before I got to the “guitar” page?
They say that God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says “Yes.” Sometimes He says “No.” And sometimes he gives you next door neighbors named Tom and Kaye Fenton with a newly adopted baby boy named Robert. And sometimes they just have to go out for the evening and need a baby sitter…
Yep, that’s right. I started baby sitting for the Fentons, God Bless them. Wherever you guys are, I owe you my life, and I will love you forever. (I hold absolutely no malice toward you whatsoever for finding a baby sitter who didn’t eat nearly as much as I did – you got me through a tough time in my life, and that year + was a great gig). Thank you both…
Then Fentons referred someone else to me. Then someone else. And then everybody started referring everybody else to me – It was like Amway without the soap. I was working steady for $.50 an hour – Week in and week out. I pretty much had the entire East end of Ventura, CA as customers. Once I even baby sat for 20 couples at once on New Years Eve (That actually about did me in – can you blame me for eating so much? What I really needed after that was to start drinking – which I rarely have ever done – but that would have been a good time to start if I was going to do it)!
Well, long story short, I actually paid off my guitar within three months just from babysitting. Oh yeah, and my “severance Package” from Mr. Powers…
Next: The adventure begins…
February 10, 2008 at 6:07 pm editi’m enjoying the memoir…drop me a note when you post chapter 3…btw, you didn’t have the entire babysitting buisness in the east end of ventura sewn up–i managed to extract about 5 bucks a week (at 50 cents an hour of course ) from my neighbors…
February 11, 2008 at 10:03 am editAnyone who has ever heard and/or been the subject of one of your famous and/or infamous birthday songs has a much better understanding of life. Chapter 4: Songwriting will focus on your unique rhyming abilities!
February 11, 2008 at 3:12 pm editDidn’t Pat get mad at you for taking all the baby sitting jobs?
February 13, 2008 at 7:07 pm editBill, you are amazing!!! What a gift of writing (and singing AND playing the guitar) God has given you!!! I always enjoy hearing from you!!!Keep the chapters and music coming!!