I had a Senior Year once in high school. Now, I mostly have senior moments… – The Very William H. Kammerer, Jr. Esq. (not,)

 

Advertisements

Living At Home…

August 29, 2017

Here I am, sixty-six years old, and I’m still living in my kids’ parents’ house…

Continued from part 5…

Or click here to go back to the beginning…

And then…

We emerged to this…

The last four hundred feet of the hike up Half Dome is pretty much vertical. You pull yourself up using cables. Unfortunately, those cables are not visible in this shot because, at that time, the rock was situated inside a cloud. 

2011-07-15_07-38-56_930

View from the bottom of the cables. This is what it looked like at 7:38 AM, July 15, 2011 when we arrived at this point…

 

If you look closely you can see the cables as a dark smudge looking thing running up the center of the rock.

278231_235613109802436_100000612455805_778176_7159218_o

Here we are getting ready to go up the cables. Donna has a better camera than I do…

279617_235613863135694_100000612455805_778192_233704_o

Preparing to make the ascent up the cables…

Once we were all gathered at the base, we were ready to go up. (By the way, the reason I did this hike the first time is that I hate heights. I don’t like high places. I figure if God wanted me to like high places, He would have made me an eagle or a mountain goat. But He made me another kind of animal. He made me a chicken. I did it to conquer my fear of heights. I still hate high places, but I did get over the cables on Half Dome.)  

The trek up was uneventful. I didn’t faint, fall or throw up. Once we got to the top, we could relax. Here are some photos…

265787_235649696465444_100000612455805_778569_2154264_o

Shawn letting everybody else know that he made it to the top.

266319_235613543135726_100000612455805_778186_7944546_o

Somebody else let everybody else know that they made it to the top.

me halfdome 1

Man of Action letting everybody else know that he made it to the top.

2011-07-15_09-07-38_990_2

Every body letting everybody else know that we made it to the top. L to R: Nicole, Shawn, Man of Action, Megan, Brian, Lauren.

278835_235613443135736_100000612455805_778183_2907333_o

Everybody else letting everybody else know that they are either very brave or very stupid.

IMG_0841

Shawn convinces Man of Action that he should let everybody else know that he is either very brave or very stupid.

At one point, the cloud began to dissipate and some pretty spectacular scenery began to poke through. Unfortunately, the camera couldn’t begin to capture the power of the moment, but here it is anyway…

2011-07-15_09-11-27_9

View of peaks across the way through the cloud.

Then the cloud dissipated rather quickly…

2011-07-15_10-02-47_742 2

It was right about here that the first indication that something was wrong with me made its appearance in the form of three major charley horses in my legs… 

2011-07-15_08-52-36_700

Breakfast time!

I managed to get the pain to settle down and go away. Walked it off. 

And then it was time to start back… 

2011-07-15_09-19-19_837

Headed back down the cables. This is the relatively flat part at the top.

The trip down the cables was also pretty uneventful, other than two people who had started up when we were almost down at the bottom who turned around and decided that the climb was not for them…

We reached the bottom and headed back down the way we came, passing a couple of rangers who were asking for ID and checking us off the list of permitted hikers. (In order to do the hike, the National Park Service has instituted the requirement that you register several months ahead of time and reserve the date(s). They want to limit the impact of too many hikers – not a bad thing, I think, and they want to know who’s body they are looking for if you fall.)

We all stayed together until we came to a stream. Shawn had a filter system, and we all filled our water bags. This is a good thing.

Then we all took off back to camp. After a few miles, I, as is typical for me, fell a bit behind. Fortunately Shawn stayed with me. I say fortunately because I would still be up there somewhere if he hadn’t.

Seriously. 

And that’s where we’ll pick up next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I originally posted this 12/1/2016 on my Facebook page. Thought it fit… 

NBA Friends – Merry Christmas! Some of you will remember this and some of you won’t. Some of you will know some of the people in here and , maybe not others. If you were there, you know what a blast this was to do. If you weren’t, try to imagine… And eat your heart out! LOL
Back in 1994, the Beach Boys played a concert after a Padres game at Jack Murphy Stadium. Channel 8 decided to put together a contest and asked for people/groups to submit videos of them performing Barbara Ann. The winner(s) would perform the song on stage with the Beach Boys at the concert!
Retired Corporate Mom, Barbara Brumfield, thought it would be fun for us to submit an entry, so she showed up one day with her movie camera and asked for volunteers.
Nobody wanted to do it (yeah – right!) so we got some ideas together, wrote down the words and shot three takes. Then we had to get back to work.
They get better as the the number of takes increases.
The third one is the one we submitted.

Did we win? We were sooooooo close! 

Who won?

Well… It was some drunk guy. Knee deep in the Pacific Ocean. Wearing a straw hat. Playing a ukulele… Really.

And then he never showed up for the ball game or performance!!

Oh well – we had a ton of fun doing it!  

Anyway, enjoy…

I’m going to start out by admitting something that has been rolling around in my head for a week or two.

For a long time, I didn’t think I was getting any older, and the thought that I was not getting any younger never made it’s way into my head. However, that has changed, and I am ready to go on record as believing that I am, in fact, not getting any younger. 

At first, I was disappointed that I was not aging in reverse, but after some consideration, I have decided that that’s not a bad thing, and here’s why…

When I thought about it, I realized that time only moves forward, never backward, and the only way one can expect to be around tomorrow is to move forward with it and get older. When you stop moving forward with time and, therefore, stop getting older, you die (not necessarily in that order). The only way that anybody who is younger than me can catch up with me in years is if I stop aging (die). I figure it’s pretty much the same for all of us – you included. 

Once I figured that out, I realized that failure to get younger is not a bad price to pay for waking up tomorrow. And once I realized that, I was able to embrace getting older with a modicum of grace.

Moving forward in age is actually pretty cool. It presents us with a whole new set of things to think about when making plans for down the road.

One of those considerations is retirement…

Some day, in the next several years, I hope to retire (it’s either that or work until I die, and I much prefer the retirement route for as many years as possible before I finally bite the big one – but that’s not up to me, and I’m working on being ready when the big one gets bit), and when retirement day arrives, I’m gonna need something to do with whatever time I have left on this Earth. 

Up till now I haven’t actually given much thought to how I’m going to spend that time. Oh, I have considered volunteering and hiking a lot. Take up photography. Find some other frustrated musicians and start a 60s rock band (60’s meaning our ages, not necessarily the brand of music we would play). The usual stuff, I guess. 

But as far as serious activity plans, just about nothing has come to mind. 

Until today…

Yes, today. And, as is the case with most of my best ideas, it came to me in the grocery store. This time I never even got to the checkout stand before it hit me. This time it happened in… 

… The magazine isle. Yes, the magazine isle…

Judy was looking at some magazines in the magazine isle, and I was biding my time (being the patient husband) while she perused through publication after publication. Waiting… Waiting… Waiting. 

After approximately two weeks of wait time, I decided that if she could peruse then so could I.

And so I did…

Peruse… Peruse… Peruse until –

 – Whoa! I had perused myself through all sorts of works having to do with how to have the greatest marriage in the history of marriage, how to have muscles in places that do not currently exist on your (or anyone else’s) body and how to acquire millions in the house flipping industry –  when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a nine dollar rag with my future right there!

Yes, my quest (you know – the quest upon which I had not yet embarked) had been successful, and all I had to do was to go to the grocery store! 

Oh yeah – and wait patiently. Good things come to those who wait patiently. 

I was astounded at how easily I had patiently waited my way to revelation! Seriously, folks, forebearance really works. We should all try it sometime…

Anyway, back to my story…

At the exact moment that my eyes landed upon this magazine cover I knew that my life’s plan had been revealed to me. One look at the guy on the cover and I was thinking, “Holy cow!! That’s me! That guy in the picture is my doppelgänger! This is what I am supposed to do!” All I had to do now was to convince Judy that allowing me to make the nine dollar investment required to obtain the document that I would use to map out my future retirement activity program and I would be all set…

It took some doing, but after agreeing to never again go shopping with her after we are both retired she permitted me to spend the money. 

And so I did.

By now you may be wondering how I am going to spend my golden years. Well, here it is…

 

 

What to do on my permanent vacation

 

Yes, that’s right! I am going to become a modern day pioneer! I have already started reading up on skinning and selling furs and searching Craig’s list for classic guns and powder horns and leather leggings and jackets with fringes hanging down everywhere and other great backwoods companions! (I already have a couple of cowboy hats so I figure I’m off to a great start!)

I think I’ll probably start small on the “furs” thing. We have a couple of squirrels living in the back yard, and I can practice on them when I get my musket, slug making gear and Bowie Knife. 

Man, I’m totally stoked that I have finally found my true calling in life! I only wish it had come to me three or four decades sooner! I could already be living the good life climbing every mountain, fording every stream and following every rainbow until I find my dream… (Hmmm.. I wonder if there’s a song in there somewhere… Nah – it would never catch on…)

Anyway, I have bids in on ebay for some bear traps, whiskey and a fur hat for Winter trapping trips, and I want to make sure they don’t get away so I am going to sign off. 

But just one word of advice before I go. 

Guys, If you’re not the patient type when you are shopping with your wife, you may be missing out on opportunities that might not come your way again. Make the occasion a time of searching for that one thing you are missing in your life.

You will probably find it in the magazine isle…

 

 

Bio – Chapter 26

March 2, 2011

Would You Like Mustard With That Foot, Sir?

Posted 3/2/2011

The loudest machine on Planet Earth is the Saturn 5 Rocket.

The loudest machine, pound for pound, on Planet Earth is the motorcycle.

The advertised loudest animal sound on Planet Earth is the call of the Blue Whale. (Some would dispute this and say that the loudest animal sound is the Tiger Pistol Shrimp, and gram for gram that might be true, however, if you go here, you will see that, in real terms, this is simply not true.)

The actual loudest animal sound on Planet Earth is the 2:00 AM “feed me” call of the one month old human infant.

And the loudest group of four or five human beings on Planet Earth is a rock band… It’s just the nature of the entity – it can’t be helped… Rock music, generally, employs things like electric guitars, amplifiers, drums, electronic keyboards, etc., and this was no different in the 60’s.

This is common knowledge among most Americans. But, as we were to learn on this one fateful night, not ALL Americans were aware of this fact… One example of this might be the Amish, who don’t use anything really modern to any great extent (cars, televisions, electricity).

But the Amish are farmers in remote parts of states like Pennsylvania and far removed from more modern society, so They would have no reason to know that rock music is really loud.

But you might be surprised to learn that, in 1968, there was a group of people in Los Angeles, CA who were somehow unaware of the decibel potential of a four man rock group…

We got a gig to supply the music for a dance.  This was not unusual.

The dance was an “experimental” event sponsored by a church for their youth group.  This was unusual (the ‘experiment’ part, not the church youth group part).

It was experimental because the organization had never had a dance, and the adults in the congregation were suspicious of ‘Rock Music’. I think they may have allowed themselves to be talked into it by the kids in the group.. (After we left, I doubt they ever had another one. And it was probably my fault… Sorry about that.)

The evening started out wonderfully. We were cheerfully greeted by the adult supervisors  as we walked into the auditorium. They were very nice and thanked us profusely for agreeing to play for their teen-agers. Really wonderful people.

Then we set up our gear, and turned it on..

Soundcheck…

“Excuse me, I wonder if I could get you to turn it down a bit.”

“Oh. Sure, no problem.”

“Thank you.”

Further sound check…

“Excuse me, again.”

“Yes?”

“Can we turn it down just a bit more, please?”

“Uh – sure, OK.”

At this point, we decided to forego any further sound checks and commenced to tuning out instruments, behind the curtains.

Finally, the kick off time arrived. And we started our first number, “I’m So Glad”. To the chagrin of the chaperones, “I’m So Glad” is not a quiet song. Especially the way we played it.

We were somewhat dismayed when our theme song did not receive the positive response that we were used to . It was sort of negative, actually..

“What do you think you are doing?”

“Pardon me?”

“I had respectfully requested that the sound be turned down, and here you blasted us halfway home!”

“Oh.. I’m sorry. We didn’t realize it was so loud.”

“Well, please lower it more.”

Of course, it wasn’t loud to us – in fact, it seemed pretty tame. But in the interest of making the customer happy, we pulled back a few notches more..

We proceded with a couple of numbers that were a little less rambunctious, and things seemed to be moving along more smoothly, if not quite to our own liking.

I think, though I could be wrong, it was “Born To Be Wild” that brought out the noise pollution police again. This time, however, it wasn’t just the volume, but also the lyrics that caused another visit to the stage.

At this point, we got fed up and turned off the amplifiers and sang the rest of the dance (thankfully, it was only a one hour deal to begin with) at vocal levels just a tad above a whisper.  It was a sort of “take that!” thing to do, but we did it. Really – we did.

And it gets worse…

(Keep in mind that we were all brought up to be respectful to our elders, and polite to everybody in general, so this was a major breakdown in our usual etiquette.)

Interestingly enough, the complaints stopped, and the chaperones actually started to look like they were enjoying themselves.

Eventually, the dance was over the curtains were closed  and we were behind them taking down our gear. The normal vague ‘after show’ chatter was heard on the public side of the curtain, when suddenly there were a bunch of “shushes” and “hold it downs”.

This is where it gets worse…

I, in my youthful exuberance and desire to make a point, decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to let my true feelings be known to the world. So, in my very loudest and most sarcastic voice, I let out the phrase that still rings in my ears today –

“Don’t break his ear drums!”

Silence.. Muffled voices..

I then stuck my head through the curtains and heard the audience’s words:

“…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven…”

Boy… That was fun…

______________________________________________________________________________________

NextWho knows?

If you would like to start at Chapter 1, just click here…

Click here to hear actual non-church related songs by Bill Kammerer

Click here to hear actual songs by Bill Kammerer with a spiritual emphasis,

Click here if you’d like to see some of my favorite Youtube music videos

And if you want to start this whole thing from the beginning, just click here…

If you would like to contact me directly, just click on the email address below, or send me an email from your own email account. my email address is:

billk@sti.net

I’m down a few things with six strings..  Bummer.. At least nobody got hurt, so I’m good…

After the fire... One guitar left, but all family members are still here, including Max...

…The Flag Was Still There…

The one thing in my office that didn't burn - there were three of them and they all survived.. A firefighter stuck this one in the wall during mop up...

Is There A Downtown Moorpark?

Posted 8/7/2010

There are times in everybody’s life when something you say doesn’t have the desired effect – it just doesn’t come out right.  This even goes for me.  And it, at least once, 40 plus years ago,  also went for Scott…

Meet Scott Mclane, bass player in a 1960s era small time rock and roll band looking to make it big in a beach town somewhere in Southern California – land of meteoric rises and even faster crashes; where success and failure often intersect and occur simultaneously in a fleeting moment of time when somebody should have kept their mouth shut…

The band, Glad, has just finished a successful opening act in a place that exists outside of normal sensitivity; a place where a sense of humor should be included in the price of a movie ticket, and where the popcorn should be worn inside the ears of anyone who cannot take a friendly joke…

A place known as… “The Moorpark Zone”….

I don’t remember a lot of the town, but I’m pretty sure I remember a lot more of it than Scott does.  That’s because my view of Moorpark was enhanced by the fact that I was seeing it through glass windows in the car.  Scott’s view of it was somewhat impeded by all of the carpet and underside of upholstery that one would see if one were hiding as far under the back seat of a 1941 Ford as one could squeeze one’s body in order to avoid detection by the crowd carrying torches and pitchforks…

“What was he doing down there?” “Why was there a crowd carrying torches and pitch forks?”, you ask.

I’ll tell you…

It all started when the management at the Moorpark Theater wanted to enhance the Friday Night movie experience a bit and decided that a pre-movie concert might be a great way to increase the take at the ticket window. I’m guessing they put out some feelers and let it be known that they might be interested in hiring a band to perform before the main feature on a given Friday night.

I don’t remember anything about what got us there or the run-up to the gig date… It’s a complete blank to me.. (I suspect that Daamen’s dad may have gotten wind of it and got us in there.)  It’s like time started with the first note of the first song… We didn’t audition, we just appeared there and started playing…

And that’s where my memory begins…

I have friends who have opened for monster bands and acts, and in fact, who have actually toured and played WITH these guys. What a great experience that would be, just one time.

The only other time we had opened for something was for the opening of the apartment building back in chapter 13… That one didn’t go well…

(It should have been an indication that things were not going to be completely wonderful that the film for which we were opening was “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”.  If you have never seen that flick, it’s just about the most depressing film I have ever had the pleasure of suffering through… I highly don’t recommend it, especially if you are in any way suicidal.)

We showed up and started playing.

We got well into the show and things were going great! We were all right on in everything we did.

We finished to rousing applause.

We took down all of our gear and packed up.

This is where we screwed up – we should have just gotten into the cars and left, but we didn’t.  We stayed for the movie…

After the movie, we were standing around talking with some of the people who were there, making friends.. After a bit, some of us left to load up the cars while Scott stayed behind as our good will emissary, chatting and influencing people.

At some point, he must have run out of things to say and shifted into humor mode. He inquired as to the location of Downtown Moorpark.. Scott was a great joker, and that’s what he was doing here – making a joke..That fact was lost on the group he was addressing…

And THAT fact was lost on Scott, so he followed up with “IS there a Downtown Moorpark?”.

That question didn’t elicit the expected laughter, so Scott decided that he would go ahead and throw the Hail Mary pass and go for the touchdown by saying “Did you know that Moorpark spelled backwards is Kraproom?”.

Sadly, this question was met with a highly negative response by a couple of the more hot-headed students from the local high school, and a push or two took place…

It was time to leave…

Most of us had missed these festivities because we were loading up, so we didn’t know about the joke-a-thon put on by our bass player. We just hopped into the cars and went home, excited that we had been so well received by the crowd.

A few days later, we received a call from the theater management requesting a return engagement! Way cool!  And this time there were RADIO commercials on all over the county advertising our “sure to be triumphant” return to the Moorpark Theater! The management LOVED us!

But the management hadn’t heard the rumors going around Moorpark High School that we had attacked one of their own, and caused him bodily harm (apparently he had actually faked some injuries with a false sling and some glue applied to his face and arms painted to look like cuts scabbed over).

So two weeks later we returned to the field of our great victory, excited because we had a full house to play to! Really – the place was stuffed with high school humanity and we were ready to rock!

But… And it’s a big but…

Just before we went on, someone who knew what was really going on came back stage to warn us about the crowd.. It was at this point that we heard about the rumors that the kid had spread around the school.. And it was at this point that the we learned that the house was full because they wanted revenge.  And it was at this point that we learned that the guy they wanted was “The Big Guy” with the four string guitar..

Great… We went on knowing that the crowd wanted to kill us – or at least Scott…

It was stressful… Our concentration was shot… The crowd was not appreciative of our efforts, to say the least, and threats against Scott were coming from the gallery between each number, with explicit descriptions of what they were going to do to him…

We finished early, packed up as quickly as we could – except for Scott.  He bolted immediately after the last song… We didn’t see him again until we opened one of the cars to load up and found him on the floor in the back seat…

He stayed there until we were well out of town…

Never to return…

Did I mention that “Moorpark” spelled backwards is “Kraproom”?

______________________________________________________________________________________

Next: I eat my own foot… In front of God and everybody…

Click here to hear actual non-church related songs by Bill Kammerer

Click here to hear actual songs by Bill Kammerer with a spiritual emphasis,

And if you want to start this whole thing from the beginning, just click here…

If you would like to contact me directly, just click on the email address below, or send me an email from your own email account. my email address is:

billk@sti.net

Bill’s Bio – Chapter 24

January 27, 2010

Chapter 24

A New Guitar Player, An Old and A New Guitar Player

and

An Old Guitar Player

You’re probably reading this relatively soon after you read Chapter 23, which means that you are expecting me to pick up from right where I left off…

That’s all well and good, but while you just read chapter 23, I wrote it about 8 months ago, and I have to get back into the swing of the story… Give me a minute…

I have a cat.  My cat’s name is Panther… Here’s a picture…

Hello! My name is Panther... I have killed coyotes, rattle snakes, cows and bears... You don't want to mess with me...

The reason I bring this up is that my son, Billy, and his wife, Lacey, have a dog. His name is Monkey.

Hello! My name is Monk. I have made friends with a mouse, another dog, and various forms of wild animal excrement in the back yard... I wanted to be friends with Panther the Vicious, but she didn't see it that way...

I know what you’re thinking… So what?

Well, Here’s so what…

Billy and Lacey decided to go to Alcatraz a couple of days ago, to see Shawn and Megan (another set of married Kammerer boy and wife).

OK – to be truthful, they weren’t going to Alcatraz to visit Shawn and Megan, they were going to visit Alcatraz WITH Shawn and Megan…

Anyway, the point is that they were going to be away a couple of days, and they needed a Monkey-sitter. That turned out to be me, for the most part… And Panther…

Monk is a very HAPPY and FRIENDLY doggy, and is really a lot of fun to be around.  But he is still a very young pup, and has not yet learned that some animals do not want to be friends with him.

Panther, who is ten years old and has had many an encounter with coyotes and other wild animals, and so is a master of feline self-defense, just sees Monk as another potential way to leave the earthly life of a cat… She is wary of poor Monk…

So, when Monk came into the picture on Monday night, Panther was understandably nervous…

Things weren’t all that bad, actually.  Panther spent most of the next day perched high above the floor staring down at Monk and Monk spent most of the day perched low below the ceiling staring up at Panther.

This arrangement worked well until two things happened…

  1. Monk ate something and had to go out for a “walk” in the backyard.
  2. Panther took advantage of the missing dog, came down from her perch, ate something of her own and visited her litter box.

These two event’s were pretty much mutually exclusive until I decided that it was time to bring Monk back into the house… Through the “mud” room…  Which happens to be the exact geographical location of the litter box… And Panther was just finishing up…

Not surprisingly, this led to a, somewhat, tense encounter between the two…

No violence actually occurred, but there was a sort of stand-off / stare-down, accompanied by some meaningful circling around the kitchen floor.  It was really quite educational…

After the stare-down / stand-off, Panther just jumped up to her high perch and Monk resumed his spot on the floor…

Later that night, Judy brought Monk back to Billy and Lacey’s…

And all was back to normal…

I had, of course, let the rest of the guys know that I was coming back to town.

The rest of the guys had, of course, not let me know that I had been replaced by a new lead guitar player. I wish I remembered his name, but I don’t.  I know, I’ll just refer to him as “Monk”…

The first practice after I got back was awkward, awkward, awkward. Yeah, that word comes closest to fitting the situation, though there’s a certain amount of tension and stomach illness that isn’t quite covered with that term…

After introductions were made, there was a lot of “er-ing” and “uh-ing” and avoidance of eye contact going on.  Except between Monk and me… We actually looked at each other a lot… No violence actually occurred, but there was a sort of stand-off / stare-down, accompanied by some meaningful circling around the garage… But we got through the practice..

(I should interject here that Monk really was a better guitar player than I was.  But this wasn’t a talent dispute – it was a territorial dispute – and he was invited to encroach into my territory and he did so, willingly…)

The real fun came when we had our first gig together… That was a real hoot…….

If you think there was nervous tension during my first practice with Monk, you should have been on stage while setting up for the first gig… Not a lot of talking going on, just quietly going about the business of setting up.

Sound checks, Lighting checks, tuning up, etc.

Then we started to play…

Things were going OK.  And then for some reason Monk decided to take a break in the middle of a set.  He just put down his guitar, left the stage and went to the back of the hall to stand all by himself.  I thought that was a bit odd…

While he was back there, we went into a song with a long guitar solo part in the middle.  It came time for me to do my solo and it was going well.  So well, in fact, that Monk came running back up to the stage, picked up his guitar and joined in the solo…

After a minute I realized that people had stopped dancing and were just standing there… Looking at us… No, they weren’t just watching – they were looking amazed and I couldn’t figure out why…

I started listening to what we were doing… Wow – that sounds pretty good!  In fact, it was AWESOME! We had found a new sound and it was really good!  In fact, I think that Monk and I connected during that solo – all the tension had disintegrated into space… We were playing off of each other like we had been doing it for years…

I became amazed!

I decided at that moment that I could live with another guitar player…

Then it came time to come out of the solo and there was supposed to be a change of beat… And Mike lost his timing on the drums… And it all went away…

And so did Monk… Yep, right there in the middle of the set, he just stopped, packed up his stuff and we never saw him again…

And all was back to normal…

______________________________________________________________________________

Next… Chapter 25 – “Is there a downtown Moorpark?”

Chapter 546

Skipping Ahead A Bit

Posted 5/1/09

I know that the previous chapter was Chapter 23, and you are probably wondering what happened to chapters 24 – 545.  Keep in mind that Chapter 1 started more than half way through the seventh grade, and Chapter 23 is the beginning of my senior year in high school, and that was 41 years ago.  Allowing for some really short chapters, none of which have yet occurred (unless you count Chapter 21, of course), I’m just taking a shot in the dark and guessing, off the top of my head, and without incorporating the number 17 (see chapter 19, where I explain the derivation of the Third Fermat Prime Number – see footnote at the bottom of this page) that right about next weekend, Chapter 546 would be rolling around…

Hence, Chapter 546…

Knowing that, I think I can correctly surmise that, you are also probably wondering what next weekend is doing in my biography, especially considering that it hasn’t even happened yet…

Well, to repeat what I said in the addendum to Cow Facts 3, I’m glad you asked…

This will be an adventure full of Firsts (good ones, I hope)… It will have, as do all future events, things that have never happened before…  Sweat that has never been perspired… Pictures that have never been taken… Stories that have never been told… Food that has never before been eaten… and even people I have never met in my entire life (and one who I met “once…  long time ago…”)…

And it has the benefit of being in the future, so I can take a week off from writing, to recover, without feeling all that guilty about it…

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls – Children of ALL ages – you are about to witness biographical history in the making!

I’m not absolutely certain of this, but I may be the first human being to actually biographize events in his life that haven’t yet taken place.  (I am fairly confident that I ‘m the first person to use the word “biographize” in a sentence relating to life not yet lived, though.)

That behind us, I shall now proceed to regale you with history not yet existing…

One week from this Saturday, I will be embarking on a journey that, frankly, I have made three or four times before, though not in the past few years…

I have been invited by one of the many the sisters, Lori, of my friend, Koni (who will be appearing in future – or is it past? – chapters of this seemingly endless history of my musical life), to join her and some of her friends and hike the Upper Yosemite Falls trail in Yosemite National Park.

For those of you who have never hiked this trail, take my word for it when I say that it’s not an easy trek.  It’s about three miles with an elevation gain of a little over three thousand feet…  that’s about a thousand feet per mile, which roughly works out to about a 20% average grade… And it’s fairly rugged… And I hope I have at least one more in me…

I invited my son, Shawn and daughter-in-law, Megan, to join me and keep me company…  These people do ALL of the trails in ALL of the places they can get to – and they do the Half Dome trip a couple of times a year…  When I invited them, Megan responded “I hate that hike”… that’s how tough it is… I agree – it’s one third the miles of Half Dome with two thousand fewer feet of elevation gain, and it’s at least three times as tough as Half Dome…

I have warned Lori that I will not be keeping up with the group (who, after seeing some of their pictures on her Facebook page, I truly believe probably have some mountain goat in them – that’s not a slam – that’s a testament to the shape they must be in), but she has implored me to “suck it up” and I have made the mistake of saying that I can do exactly that…

I had actually challenged one of my many brothers, Tim, to this same hike last September, and, in preparation for that, I went to the park several weekends in a row, and trained by seeing how fast I could get from the valley floor (the parking lot at Camp Curry) to Nevada Falls.  I actually made, what for me, was pretty good time the second weekend out – I got out of my car, made it up the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls, and then to the top of the Nevada Falls, ate lunch, Stuck my feet into the water, came down the John Muir Trail and started my car for the trip home in well under four hours.

Unfortunately, the September trip never happened… Then winter hit and my training skids got equally hit…

In the winter around here, I tend to be a bit sedentary.  Not too many trips to the park to hike (slide) around the valley floor, so I’m not in the shape I usually would be in for something like this (although, as they say, round is a shape), so…

Over the past week (we’re still in the past, and the here and now), I have decided that I should start to train for this adventure…  It’s weed-whacking time in my neighborhood (that’s exercise, isn’t it?)… I also took the trash out this morning (well, OK – I loaded it into the back of Judy’s car so she could take it to the bottom of the driveway on her way to work.  But I carried the empties back up the driveway, and that’s 364 feet up hill, so I actually did the hard part)…

OK… Here we go… Here’s how I see this going down Saturday after next…

Sometime early in the morning, I will arrive at Lori’s camp site, or maybe at the trail head, at Camp 4 and hope I don’t look too much like I’m not a rock climber… At any rate, we’ll all meet up to start the mosey up the hill…

At this point, I will refer to the group as Group Zero – when we are all together…

** Note:  I consider a person to be part of a group if they are within the length of my driveway, or three hundred and sixty four feet, of that group.

Approximately twenty minutes up the trail, we will diverge into two separate and distinct groups:

·    Group Two, the lagging behind group, will consist of me
·    Group One, the lead group, will consist of everybody else

At about the time that Group One hits the middle falls, Group Two will be hitting Columbia Point, and pretending to stop to take a picture.  Then I’ll pretend to take about thirty more pictures from different angles.  When I run out of nature to shoot, I will open my backpack and take a picture of my lunch…

After shooting my lunch sitting on a rock, and my lunch sitting on a fallen tree branch, and my lunch sitting on the ground, I will take a picture of my lunch back in my back pack.

Then I will continue on…

Sometime later, Group One will reach the top of Upper Yosemite Falls.  They will take lots of pictures of Yosemite Valley, three thousand plus feet below.  They will eat their lunch.  At least one of them will read War And Peace while relaxing in Nature’s wonderland… Cover to cover… The more fearless of them will leap over the guard rail and onto the ledge below to get a closer view (I know they will do this because I once had to follow (chase) my youngest son, Steve, out onto the same ledge to make sure he didn’t do something stupider than jumping over the guard rail onto the ledge).

***  Note:  Steve is why I don’t mind being slow when we hike together… I figure that by the time I get to where he is, he will have either already done the stupid things I know he is doing or has killed himself attempting to do them… Either way, I don’t have to actually watch…  He is our “Envelope Pusher”… I, on the other hand, have to work hard to drag the envelope behind me…

Groups One and Two will eventually converge and become Group Zero once again.  This will actually happen twice on the hike… This first time will be at the “seven eighths of the way up the hill” point as I am on my way up, and they are on their way down.  We’ll stop, exchange pleasantries, and I will tell a story or two of the magnificent wonders I have encountered along the way.  Then, in an effort to stall for time and rest awhile longer, I will show them the unbelievable pictures I have taken along the trail…

“Look at this one of this rock!  Isn’t it spectacular?”

“Oh, and here it is again, but the lighting is a little bit different, and there is a nice tree in the background!”

This will go on for as long as I can stretch it out, until they can’t take any more… that’s when I’ll pull out the BIG GUNS –

“And here’s my lunch, sitting on the nice fallen tree trunk – check out the way the peanut butter is starting to slime over the edge of the bread crust…  Oooooo…”

At this point, we’ll, reluctantly, bid each other “See you at the bottom of the trail”, and I will be forced to continue the struggle upwards alone…

And three hundred and sixty four feet later, I will be back in Group Two…

By the time I actually get to the top, Group One will be back down as far as the Middle Falls, and may take a few minutes to frolic and put their hot, tired feet into the soothing, ice-cold water.

I, finally at the top, will NOT jump over the rail this time.  But I will take the opportunity to take some more pictures – the view really is spectacular – and maybe even get one of myself with nothing but air behind me..

Then I’ll pick a spot by the water (above the falls) and eat my oranges, trail mix, and my lousy peanut butter sandwich…

Then, rested and refreshed, I’ll begin the long walk down…

This is actually the hardest part of the journey…

About half way down, I will don my favorite Knee braces (assuming I can get them back from Shawn before the trip – I know – maybe he will mail them to me!  That would be nice!), adjust my shorts and prepare for the loose and crumbling (that’s why they call it “decomposing”) granite along the trail.  This is one of the many places my official Yosemite Park hiking stick has literally saved my life in past years – I’m not kidding.  Shawn and Megan got Judy and I the telescoping “ski pole” type of sticks a few years ago – One of mine doesn’t stay telescoped any longer, so I won’t bring them with me.  If I rely on them, I’ll be dead before somebody has the opportunity to carry me down the hill.

About three quarters down the trail, I will trip over my own two feet and start cannon balling down the path.. I will gain speed and, at last, the second of the re-convergences will occur as I bowl my way through Group One… this will change the entire dynamic of the hike – Here’s how…

As I roll down the hill toward the other Group, I will eventually come within three hundred and sixty four feet. At that point, there will no longer be two separate groups, but only one – Group Zero.

They will hear me singing “Climb Every Mountain” at the top of my lungs (I have to get something musical in here somewhere) and, perhaps a bit startled, or perhaps unwilling to take another look at the pictures of my lunch, will get out of the way and let me pass.

At some point, I will, once again, break the three hundred and sixty four foot barrier and we will become two groups again… BUT…

Did you notice?  What happened here?  Think about it… It was actually quite subtle – almost insidious – a metaphysical phenomenon…

And it puts me in my rightful position…  I will have become…

Group One…

Yes, ME – Group One…  Buahahahahahahahahaha – I’ll teach them young whippersnappers a thing or two about hiking the trails in Yosemite….

Buahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

So Lori, what’s for dinner?

__________________________________________________

Footnote re: the Third Fermat Prime Number…

Back in Chapter 19, https://billkammerer.wordpress.com/2008/09/ I discussed the importance of the number 17.  And I explained, in careful detail, the Fermat number:
In mathematics, a Fermat number is a positive integer in the form:   f_{n}=2Ù {2Ùn} + 1
where n is a non negative integer.

Some of you thought I was pulling your leg… Not so, and now I have absolute proof…  Because I own my web site, I have access to statistics… Somebody actually was directed to my site by looking for an actual Fermat Prime Number!  Here’s a screen shot from my statistics page:

Proof that Fermat Numbers exist... So there...

Proof that Fermat Numbers exist... So there...

So there you have it… I truly am some sort of genius… Or, at least, I can use Wikipedia…

Addendum #2 – Actual footage actually shot by me at the top of the falls during the above described adventure…


Bookmark and Share

Add to Technorati Favorites

Blog Directory & Search engine

Adsense Alternatives

Blog Directory

Music Blog Directory


Becoming  Megowan

Part 1

Posted 4/11/09

Well, I gotta tell ya, getting to this chapter has been difficult… Not because I didn’t want to write it, but because I’ve been busy… distracted… unavailable… lazy…

So, ready to proceed to the next chapter, I showed up at the front door of the Megowan estate…  It was the beginning of  just about the best year of my life up to the time I went into the Navy… It was a blast!

I must have knocked on the front door, and somebody must have answered because I ended up inside the house. Honestly, the first thing I remember is not getting to the house from the bus station, not being greeted, not walking into the house, not meeting everyone in the family – I don’t remember any of that stuff…

The first thing I remember is Mr. Megowan and I alone in the rec room with the door shut… He had a pipe in his mouth…  I had teeth in mine…  He looked me in the eye… I looked him in the eye… And Then it began… The inquisition…

“So tell me about yourself”…

“So tell me about yourself.”?

I wasn’t actually expecting that exact question, and I went into an immediate Brain Fart – and it was about a twelve on the Richter Scale… This wasn’t just a deer in the headlights moment.  I don’t believe that the analogy has yet been developed to adequately describe whatever it was… I literally saw my life flashing before my eyes in an attempt to pick out something good to say…

So, with Kathy from the seventh grade in mind, all I could think of to blather was “Well, there’s not much to tell.”

Looking into Mr. Megowan’s face, I could easily see that this was not really the answer he was hoping for, so I continued the mental review of the events of my life in hopes of, quickly, coming across something that might be more acceptable a response…

Finally, after a mercifully short eternity, I clearly remember picking out what I thought would be appropriate facts about Bill.

  • I told him that I was the oldest of eleven living children.
  • I told him I was heavily influenced by my Irish Catholic grandmother.
  • I told him that my dad worked for Sears.
  • I told him that I played the guitar.
  • And, culminating my litany of self aggrandizement, I proudly proclaimed that I was way out of his daughter’s league…

Of all of the facts I had just put forth, this last one seemed to brighten his face up more than the rest…

I should interject here, that when I was in high school, I was the guy that all of the girls mothers wanted to have date their daughters.  Why was that?  It wasn’t because I was rich, or smart…  Pathetically, it was because, when a parent got to know me, I was generally considered to be safe.

Yes, I was the safe choice for a boyfriend for your daughter… Some parents even had a nick-name for me.  I was called… (Eesh – Do I really want to do this?)

They called me… They called me… This is difficult… They called me…(Deep breath)…

“Harmless”…

Yes… “Harmless.”

And, for better or for worse, it was true… I had never met a girl’s mother who couldn’t trust me.

Anyway, the point is that Mr. Megowan allowed me to stay.  The deal was that I could stay until I found another place to live…  That actually happened about a month or so down the road, but I’ll get to that later…

Just about immediately after my initial conversation with Mr. Megowan, I was made to feel right at home.  It was almost as if Mr. Megowan had exited the rec room and loudly proclaimed to the entire family that “You can all relax! This guy is way out of Colleen’s league!”

I would be bunking in with Colleen’s younger brother, Patrick, and one of her older brothers, Blair.

Pat was just starting the seventh grade, and Blair was home from college for the summer…

Blair had an interesting summer job, actually.  He was a courier for the blood bank (I think – or maybe the local hospital), and was on call just about 24 hours a day.  If I remember right, a shipment of blood would arrive at the Greyhound Bus station, Blair would get paged, hop in the car, get to the bus station, pick up the package and deliver it to the hospital or other appropriate place.

The interesting part was that he often got paged in the middle of the night, and being roomies, when he got paged, I got paged. There were some sleepless nights until he went back to school…

Being the curious sort, I asked him if I could go along with him sometime just to see what a blood courier did… Who knows? It might be something I might be interested in pursuing some day when I went away to college (it could happen – I was already away at high school, and it didn’t seem like that much of a stretch to going away to college.  As it turned out, it was a pretty long stretch…).  And it wasn’t long until I got my chance to get a first hand look at the intricacies of moving blood from point A (the bus station) to point B (the hospital).  (It would be a few years before I got to see the journey from point B to point C (the patient).)

I remember it like I was awake at the time…

…3:00 AM – the pager went off.  Blair and I each sprang from our respective beds, put on our respective pants, etc. and headed out the door…

What we encountered when we walked out the door was exactly reminiscent of the phenomenon known as Tulle Fog (pronounced “tooly fog”).  Tulle fog is an extremely dense, low lying layer of fog that inhabits the Central /San Joaquin/Sacramento valleys of California during the fall and winter seasons. I have driven through it from below Bakersfield almost all the way to the Oregon border.  The stuff may rise only ten feet above the ground or go as high as a thousand feet, but the altitude isn’t what gets you…

For those of you who haven’t experienced tulle fog, imagine a thick coat of oatmeal spread out over your windshield as you drive down the road.  Visibility can range from literally zero (0) to maybe six hundred (600) feet.  Most often, I have experienced between ten and twenty feet…

Ventura doesn’t get much, if any, tulle fog, but they do get sea fog, being on the coast. For some reason, tulle fog is what the sea fog was pretending to be on this particular edition of three O’clock in the morning…

Blair drove slo-o-o-o-wly…

We eventually got to the bus station where he picked up the package and headed out to make the delivery at the hospital…

We quietly drove along the freeway, not seeing where we were going but doing a good enough job of getting there anyway.  After awhile, we actually started a spirited conversation…

The topic of the newly invented and installed “lane bumps” came up immediately after we woke up…

__________________________________________________

Next… Chapter 24 -I meet my replacement…

 

Bookmark and Share

Add to Technorati Favorites

Blog Directory & Search engine

Adsense Alternatives

Blog Directory

Music Blog Directory

Megowan – Megowan…

Posted 11/23/08

-e driveway in my dad’s trusty (though somewhat damaged) steed and, once we launched onto Highway 99 in a Southerly direction, plotted a course for and headed toward Ventura. I knew that, a mere twenty-four hours later, my migration to the netherworld would be complete…

I had been mourning the fact that I was finished with Glad and that I would have to start my senior year at a new public high school (I had actually grown to love St. B’s).  I was pathetic… Poor little Billy… Tough guy Billy…  Going to throw himself a pity party…

But, with a heavy heart, I was ready to pick up my stuff from Scott and head back to exile in Stockton. 

My dad was going to pick up Pat at Shanne’s house and then we would go to Scott’s, and from there, back to Siberia .

But first I wanted to stop by St. Bonaventure.  It was a week before the new school year was going to start, and I wanted to see if there were any teachers, administrators, office personnel or students there – I wanted to say “hello” and “goodbye”.  Dad was in a hurry, so he just dropped me off on his way to get Pat. 

I don’t remember the exact details or sequence of events, but my expectations for my senior year were about to take a completely unexpected turn, and the initiation of that turn was to come in the form of one of my classmates…

For some reason Colleen Megowan was at the school when my dad dropped me off.  We bumped into each other, struck up a conversation and the subject of me not returning to St. Bonaventure came up… 

There were a couple reasons for my untimely departure…

  • No place to stay
  • No steady job to pay rent and expenses – like tuition, which was a bit of a stretch for my parents, and I really didn’t want them to have to pay it just because I wanted to live 1.2 light years from them, though they would have. (money from gigs mostly went to equipment and things like that, and would not cover all of my expenses when you threw in tuition)

When we got past that point of the conversation, Colleen said something that took me completely by surprise –

“Why don’t you stay at my house?”

“Huh?”

“I’ll talk with my parents and see what they say.  It couldn’t hurt!”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, of course!”

I was completely floored that she would even think enough of me to suggest that – We were friends and had been in several school plays together, but we didn’t share that many classes  because she was in all of the advanced classes, and I, of course, wasn’t.  And we didn’t hang out together… 

Sidebar:

Colleen is excruciatingly smart and I didn’t even come close to being in her league intellectually.  As it turned out, she is also excruciatingly gracious and a wonderful friend.  And as it also turned out, she learned that from her parents, and her brothers and sister all learned the same thing. 

Interestingly, in my mind, most of my closest friends in life out-brain me by a factor of about 2  – 1, including Judy, my wife.  (Though I DID marry her, so I can’t be that badly brained.)

End of sidebar…

Well, as grateful as I was for her offer to bring it up to her parents, I wasn’t too confident in the outcome of the conversation.  And even if they agreed, there was still the dollar angle to deal with.  But I was also completely wanting to stay in Ventura, so I said “Gosh, thanks!”

While I was there, I also ran into Fr. Thomas A. Meskill, the principal.  We got to talking and he asked me if I was looking forward to my senior year (which happened to be starting the next week).  I told him I wouldn’t be returning to St. Bonaventure for my senior year, and why. He expressed his disappointment that I wouldn’t be returning.

BUT he also offered me a job on the spot, working after school…  And I would be working with my best friend, Bob Moraga, who had graduated the year before and was going to be attending Ventura College!  Way cool!

“Huh?  Seriously?”

“If you can find a place to stay, I will give you a job working 10 hours a week around the school, mowing lawns and keeping up the landscaping.”

Landscaping?  That sounded a lot like “Gardening” to me…  Old feelings returned… My stomach bounced off the soles of my feet… Please, God, don’t let him tell me they grow their own vegetables for the rectory… I decided that I would not tell Fr. Meskill about my adventure with Mr. Powers’ tomatoes. 

“And I’ll pay you $2.50 and hour,” he continued.

Using, once again, my superior mathematical skills, I quickly calculated that this would get me $25.00 a week.  That probably wouldn’t cover tuition, etc., but it was good of him to offer.

But that’s not where he stopped – He suggested that I go see Monsignor Hurley, pastor of Our Lady Of The Assumption Parish – next door to the school.  That’s because he was in the habit of granting scholarships to deserving students at St. Bonaventure…

“You’re kidding!  Really?”

“Yes, and I will give you a good reference.”  (I had no idea how he was going to do that part of it and keep a straight face, but whatever he said, did the trick.)

“But my dad will be here to pick me up in about 30 minutes!”

“Then we had better hurry…”

Somewhere in there, Colleen must have gone home – she only lived a block away -, asked her parents if I could move in, incredibly gotten a “Yes” response (*albeit with conditions) and come back to the school before my dad returned to pick me up. 

* Mr. And Mrs. Megowan agreed to let me move in until I could find a more permanent place to spend the school year.  And they wanted to meet me.  There wouldn’t be an opportunity on this trip because my dad was pressed for time, but they agreed that our meeting could take place when I returned the next week.

So, in review, in the hour that passed between my dad dropping me off and picking me up, I had

  • Found a place to live
  • Found a job
  • Found tuition assistance

And the final part of the miracle was:

  • My parents agreed to allow me to come back to finish high school in Ventura

(This wasn’t the last miracle that year in which the Megowans would play a major role.)

A few days later I returned to Ventura, ready to begin a new year of school, start a new job, meet my new “family” and pick up in the band where we left off. That’s when I discovered that I had been replaced in the band by a new lead guitar player…

That was sort of a shock…

Bill’s Bio – Chapter 22

November 15, 2008

What happened to Chapter 21?

Posted 11/15/08

“Huh? What happened to Chapter 21,” you’re probably thinking. Well, the fact of the matter is that:

  • There wasn’t anything that really applies to this biography that happened in that chapter
  • I didn’t feel like writing about it
  • I thought I would just go directly to Chapter 22 to skip having to write chapter 21 and still feel like I have been keeping relatively current when I look at the list of Chapters on the page (meaning Chapter 21 makes a good place holder for the nothing I have written lately, and I don’t feel so negligent about the vast spaces of time that have been passing between chapters)

OK, if I must, here it is…

Chapter 21…

 How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Early the morning after the last day of school, I woke up on a Greyhound bus bound for Stockton, CA. I had all of my worldly possessions with me, except for the two most important ones – my guitar and my amplifier… I had left them at Scott’s house because I couldn’t fit them into my suitcase… or my other suitcase… or my pocket.

It was bad enough that I was leaving the band, but not to have my pride and joy was nearly intolerable… More on that later…

That summer was somewhat, though not a lot, interesting… The “highlight” was a hitch-hiking trip to Lake Tahoe. My sister’s boyfriend, Danny Johnson, and I took off one day to get jobs at Lake Tahoe. We brought everything I owned (somehow Danny didn’t actually own anything himself except a car that had a great 8 track sound system, but not a working transmission – which explains why we were hitch-hiking in the first place. But it was awesome for “cruising” the curb in front of my parents’ house – which was where it was stuck – and listening to really good music, well presented).

List of what we had with us:

Five suit cases

One suit bag

Two sleeping bags

One duffel bag

One $15.00 Sears Silvertone acoustic guitar that my brother, Bob, owned.

Seriously, that’s what we were dragging along with us. We must have looked honest (or pathetic) because we actually got a ride all the way to the lake within thirty minutes of the time we stationed ourselves on the Hammer Lane onramp to Highway 99 North…

The unfortunate part of “everything I owned” was the cash part… We had exactly $11.00. And with nothing more than that $11.00, a dream and everything I owned, we headed out.

We weren’t complete morons, though. We had a plan… A plan of action… A financial plan… And as a public service to those of you who need to know how to develop a financial plan, I would like to divulge, in sub-atomic detail, our plan for financial solvency for the rest of the summer…

It was simple, really – a two step approach:

Step One – Make my $11.00 last as long as humanly possible.

Step Two – Get jobs as quickly as humanly possible.

In order to get to Chapter 22 sooner rather than later, I will now summarize what would have been the rest of Chapter 21, had I decided to write it:

Got to Tahoe

Found a place to “camp” on the beach

Found (literally) something to eat

Went looking for jobs

Didn’t find jobs

Kept our (my) belongings in an old beached boat

Slept on the beach

Put on some slacks, ties and sport coats

Went looking for jobs

Didn’t find jobs, but got complimented on the improvement in our appearance (if not our smell) since the last time we went into the same places looking for jobs

Ran out of money

Drank the lake water – reputed to be 99% pure – I must have found the impure 1% because I –

Ended up in the hospital

Got “adopted” by two families with cute daughters who felt sorry for us

Hitch-Hiked home after three weeks of basic starvation and scuziness

Got home, expecting to find a refrigerator full of food

Had to break into my own house because nobody was home when we got there

(How can a house with 13 people plus dozens of neighborhood kids living in it be devoid of all life except the dog?)

Figured out where everybody was when we opened the refrigerator – they were grocery shopping

(I’m not kidding – there was literally nothing in the fridge or the cupboards)

Almost got into a fist-fight with my dad when they got home because I was starving and wanted to eat something and he made me wait for dinner!!

Danny’s Powerglide Transmission fell on my face when I was under his car helping him work on it

End of the summer…  On to Chapter 22

I wasn’t too worried about never seeing my guitar and apmplifier again because my sister, Pat, was spending the end of the summer with the family of her friend Shanne Dickfos**, and my dad was going to be driving down to pick her up and bring her home. I would come along and pick up my gear.

Well, the day finally came and my dad and I hopped into the family station wagon (I left out the part about the dent we put into the front of the car… It’s better that way…) to go fetch my stuff… Oh yeah, and Pat…

We pulled out of th- Whoa… Look at the time! I guess I’ll have to pick this up later…

 

 

** Shanne’s is an interesting name, if for no other reason than the fact that she had four siblings, all of who’s names rhymed with “an” – Dan, Fran, Nan and Jan. Collectively they were the Dickfi (plural of “Dickfos”).

Bill’s Bio – Chapter 21

November 15, 2008

 Nothing To See Here…

Move along… Move along…

Bill’s Bio – Chapter 20

October 25, 2008

Interplanetary Travel

Posted 10/25/08

 

With the addition of Daamen, the subtraction of Tim, the newly named Glad, the incorporation of Burnt Tripe and the hiring of a manager – Daamen’s dad, the configuration of the band was now pretty much set for the next three years… There were occasions when we would have a “guest” member along, but mostly it was the five or six (including Al and often Bob and sometimes Tim) of us.

We did everything together – not just music… Beach… Disneyland… Movies… TV dance shows… Family relocations… School plays… Looking for Sheep Man… Everything.

There were lots of good times and a few rough ones, too, I guess, though I really don’t remember many of those (well, there was the Vox amplifier incident, but I’ll skip the more lurid details on that one. Basically, I bought a new amplifier without my dad’s permission.  That was bad enough, but Daamen’s dad co-signed for it.  That was pretty rough… Suffice it to say that my dad brought it up to me a couple of weeks ago… It’s been over forty years and he’s still ticked.  But there’s a nice picture of it at the bottom of this page.  Dad – don’t look there…). We went along for a couple of years adding songs to the list and playing gigs around Ventura County, and a few in LA, but nothing extraordinary happened until the middle of our Junior year in high school…

That’s when something really extraordinary happened – or, I guess I should say, something really ordinary happened…

As was his custom during his tenure with Sears, my dad was transferred half way through the school year. This time to Stockton, CA. (For those of you who don’t know where Stockton is, it’s about 1. 2 light years from Ventura – about a parsec further even than Bakersfield, where my Beach Boys albums lived.) The chances of me getting to band practice and gigs, much less to school, were somewhat limited if I moved to Stockton…

Once again, there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part. And the world was about to come to an end… Again… Woe is me… Bummer…

“Moving??!! What do you mean we’re moving?? We can’t move! It – it – uh – it’s not time to move yet,” I complained.

“Well, Bill,” my mom said, “actually we CAN move. We’ve been here five years and that’s longer than we have ever lived anywhere before.”

“What kind of logic is that,” I responded.

“I’m your mother, and I don’t need to be logical,” she retorted, “but the logical thing would be to go where the food is. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a few more of us in the family now than when we first moved here.”

I had to admit my mother had a point. We were now up to eleven living brothers and sisters (not counting the three stillbirths/miscarriages interspersed in there. There wouldn’t be any more, though, largely because my mom kept dying on the delivery table with the last three, and the doctor decided that he had revived her for the last time – she had a hysterectomy about ten minutes after my youngest sister, Debbie, was born – right after he re-started her heart again.)

That, of course, wasn’t the only reason for my dad to accept the promotion, but it was enough for me to accept the situation.

Especially after what happened next…

Somebody came up with the idea that I should not leave in the middle of the school year. (Considering I had been in over 20 schools before I got to high school, that sounded sort of ridiculous. I had NEVER before NOT changed schools in the middle of the school year, but now someone thought it was a bad idea to do so, and who was I to disagree?)

I actually had friends who had parents who liked me and, to make a long story short, Scott’s parents offered to let me stay with them for the remainder of the school year! And for minimal (token) rent!

Surprisingly, it was not at all difficult to convince my dad that this was a good idea.

There were a lot of benefits to the idea:

         My parents would have one less mouth to feed (more or less) because…

    I could stay behind when the rest of the family moved to the Degoba System. 
    Scott could have a brother with whom to share his room and his chores. 
    I could have continuity in my junior year in high school. 
    And, oh yeah, we would not have to break up the band and I could continue to   make the payments on the briefly mentioned Vox amplifier. 

So that’s what happened – I stayed on Earth when my family moved away.

God Bless the McLanes…

It was a great few months. The McLanes were terrific people for letting me stay with them – they made me part of the family, and I am very grateful to them. Still, it was the first time since I was very young that I lived in a house that wasn’t completely overrun with humanity, and it took some getting used to.

There was no scrambling to get to the bathroom in the morning ahead of my sisters (never mind my brothers – they were mostly younger than my sisters and they didn’t stand a chance). Scott and I weren’t around that much, but when we were, everybody had a place to sit, and in the same room, if we wanted. And discussions were…organized? (I can’t quite put my finger on the exact term, so “organized” will do fine.)

It seemed quiet… Almost too quiet… But it was nice, and I have a lot of good memories of that time.

One great memory I have is of Scott’s reel-to-reel tape recorder. We used it to record some of our practices, and even a gig or two. And we also recorded some songs off the radio. Each night after the lights went out, in the darkness before we fell asleep, we would listen to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side Of The Moon”… Back then, it kind of creeped us out… so, of course, we then had to listen to The Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin” to clear the “moon” out of our heads… When it was over, one of us would ask the other “You want to listen to it again?” and the other would answer, “OK.” Most nights it was a one “moon” and two “knights” thing.

But, time goes on and, sadly, the school year ended (that was the first time I was sad to have the school year end)…

…It was time for me to move to Stockton… And so I did…

Second star to the right and straight on until morning…

My Vox Berkley II Amp

My Vox Berkley II Amp

3 Responses to “20 – Bio – Chapter 20”

  1. Bert Says:
    October 26, 2008 at 7:40 pm   editYou mean you STILL have that Vox amp????? I can’t believe that it would still be in one piece. Remember the guy at Vox Hall “I think Vox is great stuff.” (We didn’t dare look at each other when he said those words.)
  2. billkammerer Says:
    October 26, 2008 at 8:13 pm   editI don’t have it – I thought YOU had it!! (Technically, it was NEVER in one piece…) I just found this picture on the internet. I DO have a Vox Valvetronix modeling amp, though.

Ype, I remember that, now… Thanks for reminding me! )

  • Kathleen Marsh Says:
    October 27, 2008 at 11:21 am   editI know what you mean about keeping up with a variety of conversations all at once. However, by growing up with the ability to converse in six different conversations at once, it has helped me in not only with my parenting skills but my keeping up to date on work projects and office politics.