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Surrogate Fathers

I’ve had a couple of surrogate fathers in my lifetime.  Why?  Because my own father was either on business trips, working, or wrapped up in his sports addiction.  Even the bonding time we did have was surrounding his sports (going to hockey games, where he was in charge of the off the ice officials, fishing – where he required silence so he could drink beer and fish).  When I became disabled at age 11, he was no longer able to teach me sports.  He couldn’t relate.  You get the idea.

I’d two surrogate fathers – Wayne Taysom, who had been my seventh grade homeroom teacher, and Kenneth Wells, my high school choir teacher.

Mr. Taysom and his Mormon family happened to live on my way home from high school.  How fortuitous for me!  Wayne and his lovely wife Jeanne would welcome me in whenever I stopped by.  To talk, have a healthy snack, sometimes even dinner!  In spite of the large family running around!  (Come to think of it, Jeanne was a surrogate Mom, as well!)

Kenneth Wells was my high school choir teacher extraordinaire!  He offered me one of the few highlights in my high school life, teaching me how to sing, read music, perform in the Baroque manner and how to appreciate such diverse music as J.S. Bach and Stan Getz.  He pushed the Concert Choir into taking All State, and singing on Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium in 1970.  It was one of the highlights of my life.

These men gave me both discipline and direction when my own Father was unable to.

I salute them!

Yep. It’s March 18th And 19th, Again


Twenty two years. Since we were in an accident on a Saturday.

And she left us on a Sunday.

Forever to be age 12.

There have been many memories. And many tears.

And many sad days and nights.

I miss you and love you with all my heart. And would trade places with you in an instant, were that possible.

You out there know what I’m going to say next.

Please, tell those whom you love that you do love them. And hug them if at all possible.

Because you never know.

I LOVE YOU MOLLY! ❤️

 

Toy Gun Memories

As it states in the ‘about’ part of the blog, I’m a child of the 50’s.  Television, movies, play, were all about The Lone Ranger, Space Command, Warner Bros. cartoons, Forbidden Planet, The Untouchables, and all other manner of sanitized violence.

And my green, wooden toy box reflected that.

It was filled with cars, trucks, robots, construction equipment, tools, and yes, toy guns.  Including a multitude of cap guns and rifles-that-made-noise, play bullets and all manner of boy’s toys.  Not a doll in sight.

Sadly, when my Dad married my step-mother, the toy box was moved to the exterior of the house.  Wouldn’t want Guffaw’s toys to clutter the house, now would we?  😦

And, as I advanced in grade school, I played with them less.  This meant my Mattel™ Fanner Fifty (with left-handed holster!), Detective Special (both re-loadable with Matty Mattel bullets and ignited with Greenie Stickum Caps), the construction gear, cars, tools, and everything else were subjected to the elements.

And eventually discarded.  😦

(My friend Leigh’s parents did film me in full cowboy regalia once, reenacting some scene from a forgotten cowboy TV show, running, jumping, rolling into prone, drawing and shooting one of my cap guns.  Of course, the 8mm home movie is probably long lost.)  😦

This was when children played outside!

But, boys are nothing but ingenious!  🙂

My friends and I began constructing rubber-band guns, using scraps of wood we ‘found’ at housing construction sites.  (Hey, we had to have guns!)

a less-refined version of this

a less-refined version of this

Affix a spring closepin to one end, stretch a rubber band (or a series of them for greater distance) and viola’!  A toy gun with which we could play cowboy, or soldier, or spy, or whatever.

Of course, we were never happy with the limited distance or inaccuracy.  (Sound familiar?)

As we got into the 5th and 6th Grade, we clamored for more.

So we attached the rubber bands to the wood (ala a slingshot) and began looking for projectiles to shoot!  Obviously, after a few misadventures with pebbles and bent bobbie-pins, we made the universal decision to not shoot one another.

For safety sake.

Of course, escalation lead to model rockets, amateur rockets, BB guns, and eventually real guns.  Always something to shoot.

And, we still don’t shoot each other.

This isn’t South Chicago…

 

A Possible Explanation

I used to LOVE the rain!  Growing up in the desert, it was rare.  Coupled with the addition of huge thunderheads, lightening and sudden downpours, it was the BEST!

Then, I got older and two things happened.

  1.  With age and illnesses came THE arthritis. (It’s a rule, once one reaches their sixties, one is required to put THE in from of the infirmity, i.e. the flu, the AIDS, the arthritis.)
  2. As people in Arizona don’t get rained-upon very often, unlike Midwest, South, and East-Coast people (and pretty much everywhere else!) they are less familiar with the process of driving in the rain.

AND PRETTY MUCH BECOME DANGEROUS IDIOTS ON THE ROAD, WHEN WATER IS INVOLVED!

So, rain isn’t as much fun for me, as it was when I was age eight.

BUT, I’ve developed a theory.

Remember, when it rains, how earthworms surface on sidewalks?

a-rain-worm

I’m now convinced that those that escape the sidewalks make it to cars, and start driving like maniacs!  Obviously they have less driving experience (with the rarity of precipitation).  And many don’t even have licenses!

THIS explains how there seem to be more idiot drivers during rainy weather, than when it is dry!

It’s The Beginning Of That Time Again…

…Actually, the beginning was last Halloween.

Yeah, I know, I can be a bit maudlin.

Time marches on, things change, people pass away.

It’s one thing when it’s an aged relative – that’s unpleasant, but expected.

But when it’s a child or a dear friend in their prime.

THAT’S when it gets me.

Recent Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas aside, now it gets more personal.

For the next six weeks, or so.

Today is Ground Hog Day.  I hear tell he saw his shadow – six more weeks of winter.  Perfect!

Yesterday was, by my recollection, Ground Hog Eve.  Marked on my calendar to remember a dear friend.

MARK BELL

As previously recounted in these pages, Mark passed in 2012 a from a sudden, unanticipated heart attack.  We had gone shooting together the previous Sunday.  His passing happened on Ground Hog Eve.

I have had many friends over the years.  Mark was one of the best, the most kind, giving, and funny.  A USN veteran.

His definition of guffaw remains at the top of this page in his honor.

I love you and miss you, my dear friend.

Mark Bell, R.I.P.

 

Sometimes You Find The Ark Of The Covenant…

Sometimes, you are digging in the wrong place!

It was FIFTY YEARS AGO (1967!) that my interest obsessive-compulsion in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy began.  That, coupled with my family history in police work lead me to security and investigation work, an associates degree in Police Science, and my private investigation business.  Followed by a career as a credit card fraud investigator.

But I always came back to the JFK thing.  As a ‘hobby’.

It began when I was in high school, newly disabled, complete with a pair of crutches and my right leg in a steel brace.  For a year.  I’d read the condensed ‘report’ in the high school library, and soon walked the two miles to the university library.

And I found the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission exhibits and testimony.  And proceeded to read them all.

See, not compulsive at all!

Years passed.  Books and films critical of the Warren Report came out,  And I devoured them – to the best of my ability.  And kept notes.

But, there was one problem.  I had no copies of the 26 volumes in my home.  I couldn’t afford them, and my parents would not spring for them.  (I think they were $185 at the time).

This meant many a trek to the university library, and having to deal with my regular high school work, my family, friends and life.  What a P.I.T.A. !  🙂

Time passed.  I still occasionally dabbled in the JFK stuff, when my marriage, fatherhood, auto accident, etc. didn’t get in the way.  I DID recognize I could be obsessive about it and would voluntarily pull back when I felt it suck me in for more than a few days  weeks  months.

But, I never had my own 26 volumes.  And the price went up when they went out-of-print.  Even with the advent of the Internet, it just seemed they weren’t available.

Sigh.

I recently had a birthday.  Good friend Biff, lauded often in these pages, and I met for coffee, and he gave me a birthday present!

wp-image-1034841587jpg.jpg

Apparently, I was digging in the wrong place on the Internet!  Now I can return to my obsession in peace!  With my forty or fifty Warren Commission critic’s books, the few by apologist’s, the Internet, my notes, and MY 26 volumes!

(Maybe life would have been simpler had I eaten the bad date?)

 

Radio! Radio!

I was never a big radiophile growing up.  Probably because the focus was AM radio, and I preferred classical and jazz to rock-and-roll. (My older sister worshipped Elvis, however.)

I did remember my Dad telling me about his youth, having a crystal radio with which he could listen to AM channels in the evening, especially ‘on the skip’.  He would then write the radio station and they would confirm what he heard by mailing him a QSL card!  (Much as Amateur radio operators do today).qsl
I even have a collector’s book (somewhere) of my Dad’s QSL cards, like from Pittsburgh and Chicago. (He lived in Providence, Rhode Island!)

So, in high school, instead of listening to the Monkees, the Beatles and Herman’s Hermits, I ‘borrowed’ my Dad’s AM tube radio.  I connected the foot-long antenna to my window screen, shoved a robe under the bottom of the door (to prevent radio light leakage) and listened to late-night AM radio ‘on-the-skip’, like KSL (Salt Lake City) and WFAA (Dallas)!  I remember even hearing some Chicago stations! (I was in the Phoenix area.)

This worked well for a long time – at least until an errant robe sleeve found it’s way into the hallway, and my radio privileges were taken away!  😦

I never wrote away for a QSL card, though.

Now, of course, one may turn one’s cellular telephone into a virtual AM/FM radio, with huge range.

It was a more primitive time.

As with dial telephone land lines, and pre-Internet, the youth will never understand.

 

Another Night As A Security Guard

I think I was first employed as a private security guard in 1972.  Last, in 1987.  For about six different companies over the years.  Interspersed with being a process server, private investigator, security consultant and numerous other jobs.

Consequently, sometimes my memories conjoin, and sometimes fade.  Sometimes, they make me cry (like restricting access to the urgent care facility to allow access for a seriously ill cancer patient – because the cancer made them stink!), and other times they make me chuckle.

Why haven’t I posted about this funny ever before?  I’d forgotten about it.  A recent course of Nyquil™ helped me to remember!  😛

Well, anyway…

I was a graveyard shift guard for an urgent care facility three days.  And substitute guard supervisor for two.  Often filling in for sick, ill, and lazy guards.  And those who just decided to quit at the last minute.

(If I couldn’t bribe someone else to fill in…)

One of the offices for the urgent care was adjacent to a popular stage theater/movie house.  And sometimes, the audience parking would bleed over into our lot.  Our job, as security, was to make certain they simply didn’t restrict patient parking.

Usually no issue or biggie.

But this was Phoenix’s Sombrero Playhouse!  Where much of central Phoenix ‘old’ money would go to watch plays, and sometimes first-run films.  Then they’d go up 7th Avenue to The Islands for a nice dinner out.

sombrero

Generally nice, older folks who didn’t want to be annoyed.  And had money to enforce that.

And, I was a conservative, somewhat sheltered young lad.  Just trying to do my job.

As a last minute aside, I was told there was a new movie at the Sombrero.  And some of the patrons ‘dressed in costume and makeup’ to see the film.  I was not to express alarm at their ‘getup’.

O-kaay.

I’d not heard of the film.  It was THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!

So, a guy pulls in and asks me if it’s okay to park in the clinic lot.  I apologize and say no.  The first of many times that evening to people who looked (somewhat) like this:

rocky

I didn’t express alarm, but did have to stifle laughter!

And my boundaries were again widened.  Not because I wanted them to be, necessarily.

And Rocky Horror became an underground hit.  And took over ‘Midnight Movies’ at my nearby theater, The Valley Art.  The used to run indy films, then it became nothing but Rocky Horror every Friday and Saturday midnight!

Times were a changin’…

 

But Wait! There’s MORE!

(Oft heard tag line on late-night TV infomercials)

And, apparently, my Life!  🙂

Dave the Genius Mechanic was in town last night, and collected me for our all-less-often dinner out together at Red Devil.

We get together a few times a year to trade stories about the progression (regression) in our lives, friends, relatives, etc.  His work, not mine. (as I am on disability).  Sometimes we touch on taboo topics like politics, too.

With his busy interstate work/home schedule, and his many other interests (like boat building), his shooting has taken a back burner.  As far as I know, he’s not shot or purchased a firearm in some time.

Dave was kind enough to loan me a gun when I was ‘gun poor‘ in the distant past.  I’d sold all my handguns, and was in need of one for a security guard job.  I carried her for a number of years, and even shot her competitively.

Eventually, she was returned to him, no worse for wear.  (Well, hardly!)

SO, Dave’s in town, and going through his stuff, and finds this gun.  It occurs to him that he’s shot and carried her much less than yours truly.  And he really doesn’t have a use for her…

PLUS, he read my recent post regarding my roommate’s gift to me of one of her firearms.  And for him, that cinched it!

As he dropped me off after dinner, Dave announced “I have something for you.” (in that understated, low-key Midwest style of his).  And he reached into his trunk and hands me THIS!

ruger_security_six_357

not exactly as pictured

A revolver I carried and shot a lot, but never owned!  But, now I do.  (Dave mentioned something about Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday when he gave her to me.)

She needs improved stocks, and maybe a little gunsmithing.  But, she’s mine.

In 2009, I had over 50 firearms.  Then came the vault burglary.  Until Thanksgiving, I had two firearms.  Now I have FOUR.

Sure, I still rent a room, have a beater car, etc.  But my firearm inventory has doubled!

And, more importantly, I have friends!

Thank you, Dave!

(for the uninitiated, she’s a 1972 Ruger Security Six – old frame)

 

 

Again With The Gratitude!

I’m disabled.  For a number of reasons, including lymphoma.  I don’t make much money on disability.  I’ve an old, beater car, without working A/C.  I rent a room in which to live.  I’ve no romantic relationship in my life.  I have chronic pain issues.  They will never get better.

Sometimes, as above, I whine about these things.  The holidays do not help.

But, The Universe usually doesn’t let me sit on the pity pot too long…

Some time back, I reached out to a friend-of-long-ago on Facebook.  And, he never responded.  Oh, well.  He was a college classmate, who became my boss (for a time) then a good friend.  And we lost track of each other because of Life.

I was always a little envious of him.  In college, he was in good shape, having just left The Marines.  He

Archer

Archer

was handsome.  Sparkling blue eyes, a shock of black hair, chiseled jaw and a permanent five-o’clock shadow with a blue/black beard undertone.  He kinda resembled the adult cartoon character Archer.  And his wife was gor-geous!  (Maybe that was the most envious part?)

Well, I finally heard back from him on Facebook!

We all have our ‘stuff’.  He is no different.

He’s divorced, and NOT friendly with his ex. (I am with mine.)  He, too is on disability, brought about by his military service.  He has a type of chronic leukemia.  Not necessarily lethal, but in need of regular treatment. (Which he now receives).

And he told me he had been homeless for ELEVEN YEARS!!!

He is now working with other homeless veterans to help them get back on their feet and find places to live.

And to think I was whining earlier…

GRATITUDE

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…