Archive for September, 2016

A Temporal Progression…………….#143 (the 70’s)

September 14, 2016

Returning to the Piano Bar

.  Gary no longer an aviator of the road having removed himself from the  band, realizing it’s been over ten years since enacting a solitary performance.  But once seated behind the pianobar  at the Congress Inn on the Northwest Expressway,  the melodious conversation flowed from the keyboard with appreciative acceptance.   The musician was thankful for his Penn Apartment rent painting agreement,  and had a good working relationship with management.  The couple having set their sights on an  upstairs  balcony endowed, 2-bedroom apartment with a fireplace and street entrance,  if and, when it became available.  As temporal progression would have it,  it became available,  the manager agreeing to let the couple make the  move.   Life at the Penn Apartments improving, Jan  responding to a motel front desk clerk position,  acquiring some front desk experience working with band member Bob Wallace’s lady companion Vicki,  at a motel north of the Oklahoma State Capitol on Lincoln Blvd.

.  Paul Ambrose, the cousin of the anomalous Glenn Froman also finding  residence at the Penn Apartments,  his latest project being to purchase a parcel of rural property and construct a residence.  Paul succeeding in his prospective,  acquiring land in nearby Cleveland County, the property just south of the small community of  Noble,  asking Gary if he would be interested in assisting with the project for a token reimbursement for his time and mileage, Gary accepting, supplying his cement mixer from his once residence. The construction of a cement block reside beginning.

.  Paul having use his Kerr McGee eighteen wheeler employment as a stepping stone to a  trucking company who had turned him down for lacking sufficient road experience,  his new employer, the  nationally celebrated TransCon, Paul acquiring a  Oklahoma City to Los Angeles route.  When working for Kerr McGee his deliveries were deadhead, one way deliveries, no return load back, but not so with TransCon, sometimes having to lay over in Los Angles awaiting  a return load.  With layovers limiting his availability for his building project and,  to top it off, discovering his live in girlfriend was involved in extracurricular activity during his long absence.   His disparity bringing a halt to both ambitions.  Gary somewhat thankful to be relieved of his commitment to Paul,  the laying of the blocks wasn’t as difficult as he had anticipated, but the time to commute to Noble and the lifting and pouring of the 94 pound sacks of cement in the mixer was a physical challenge.

.  A return to the memories of the past, the pianist accepting a pianobar nightly performance at an old club, the Hi-Lo, with a new name, The Fifties Club.  Gary with the Untouchables having played this Classen Boulevard Circle club over ten years ago.  What was ironic,  the new owners Bob and Julie, a couple from Boston remembered Gary from the old Hi-Lo Club days and him recalling their Bostonian accent.  Gary and Jan both having employment success.  Jan’s finding a front desk assignment at another Lincoln Boulevard motel which looked to be a steady position.  Gary having visited with the two young owner entrepreneurs Art and Don on several occasions while waiting for Jan to finish her shift,  the two very much aware of Gary and Jan’s relationship.  Gary did have some reservations about her fraternization with guest after discovering a letter written to a visitor from Australia, worded such as for him to believe there was more going on than a platonic relationship,  but he and Jan worked thru the event.

.  Gary was blindsided,  Jan announcing that Art and Don had acquired an additional motel in Albuquerque, and that Art had asked her to join him.  Gary at first being naive at her leaving,  and at a loss to understand the unfolding events, then the cloud lifted,  there was more going on than just a job opportunity,  recalling an earlier past event.   Having arrived a half hour early to pick her up, waiting,  then watching as her and Art suddenly descended from an unoccupied room,  not having seen them  enter,  and when questioned,  she shrugged it off,  the two were just checking a vacancy.  With the news of Albuquerque, Gary confronted her about her and Arts relationship,  she answered by gathering her clothes and other items from the apartment,  loading them in her car, apparently having made up her mind to end her and Gary’s yearlong relationship.   Not wanting a further confrontation,  he remained outside the apartment until she had finished, then watched as his new found meaning, her dog Mitzi and the Ford Torino left for  Albuquerque.

.  With Jan’s sudden departure the increments of despondency prevailed,  the bereft of her presence giving misguided delusional thoughts about Gary’s worldly presence.  The Fifties Club nightly engagement and his music  providing a solace in attributions of despair, the club owners recognizing his despondency,  introducing the musician to an unexpected person, Arts previous girlfriend.  Gary not interested in dwelling on subject of her and Art’s relationship,  but remained in conversation long enough to determine she wasn’t surprised at what had transpired.  Gary making  a last effort placing a call to Albuquerque,  being told that Jan was unavailable,  but found Art coming on the line,  the conversation was brief,  confirming Arts’ interest in Jan but when asked, non-committal as to his intentions. Gary upon hanging up  placing a call to a florist sending a dozen roses to Albuquerque.

.  The musicians nights at the club were tolerable,  a result of meaningful resolve,  it was the daytime hours of painting in the solitude atmosphere of a vacant apartment,  that he would browbeat himself searching for an answer to whether he was the perpetrator or victim of the turn of events.  Gary having finished his responsibility at the Club for the night,  owners Bob and Julie,  and another couple just having extended the musician an invitation to join them for a bite to eat, when he was told he had a phone call.  Gary perplexed, in all his years of playing,  never having received a phone call while at work.  Answering,   it was Jan.   She was calling from the 7 11 across the street from the Penn Apartments,  unable to get in because she didn’t have a key to the deadbolt.  Gary was dumbstruck,  “what happened?”   Jan replying   “We can talk when you get here.”.


The Impossible Dream…….#144 (the 70’s)

September 12, 2016



Gary having been blindsided by Jan’s abrupt decision to leave and even more awestruck with her return from Albuquerque.  Her arrival was short-lived, her Father to undergoing surgery in Wichita, feeling it was essential to be with the family.  Their renewed convergence found a lot of water under the bridge to attend to, but brought forth a promise and a pledge of certainty, including the enraptured vowels of matrimony.


The evolving circumstances having come unexpectedly, Gary acknowledging it was time to finalize his year-long emprise of marriage separation from Kaye with a final decree.  Having maintain a cordial repose with her, but uncertain on how to approach the subject of initiating the legal aspects to recede their 14 year marriage.  The two coming to an agreement, meeting in concert with her attorney on Classen Blvd,  Gary releasing the house and all possession, save his 10-year-old pickup, band equipment and clothes, the question of custody and child support a non-issue.   The meeting was  congenial with no animosity.


 At its conclusion,  they were within walking distance of a Beverly’s at 23rd and Classen Blvd.,  Gary asking, and Kaye accepting an invitation to dine, no longer as husband and wife but as friends.  Gary walking back to his pickup questioning a hollowness that came over him, a loss, experiencing an unexplained solemn emptiness or was it explainable?




Bud Murrow having come thru his surgery but remained in the hospital for an extended stay, Jan returning to Oklahoma City.   The couple discussing the  legal albatross that hovered over their heads,  not being able to marry in Oklahoma until the six month waiting period was absolved, Gary coming up with an alternative solution, the state of Texas.


Together the couple were on a mission, together shopping for the necessities to endow a marriage ceremony.  Jan discovering a pair of matching 16 kt. gold wedding bands embossed with a striking one of a kind rose design at Kay Jewelers and relegating their wardrobe to JC Penny’s, the bride finding a wedding suitable dress adding appropriate headdress, Gary sporting a new three-piece european style suit.  A decision being made, the couple deciding to journey to Wichita Falls, setting Thursday December 8th as the day of matrimony.  Gary researching Texas matrimonial law somewhat concern about any special out-of-state resident requirements.  The only Texas out-of-state requirement applicable to him was providing a copy of the divorce court filing which he had yet to receive therefore deciding it might best not to mention a previous marriage, let alone a divorce.


Gary calling upon Jerry Willis, his best friend and the best man at his marriage to Kermece (Kaye) 14 years ago to once again acquire the role of best man at a wedding.   Gary, Jan and Jerry engaging the Torino for the morning  2 1/2 hours matrimonial journey to Wichita Falls.  The threesome advocating a stop on the H. E. Bailey Turnpike for breakfast, glancing at the menu, the group was made aware they were traveling south, grits were available.


 Arriving at the  Wichita Falls County Courthouse, directed to the county clerks off in room 250 on the second floor,  the couple initiating the paper work being directed to a waiting area, their name to be called when a judge was available.  The small wedding party entering the judges chambers, a very congeal judge introducing himself , giving a brief explanation of what was to transpire and remarking that couples dress appearance was very presentable. Gary gathered from the intonation of the judges voice that not many Texans dressed for the ceremony.  With the Judge’s pronouncement, “I now pronounce you husband and wife”,  it seemed like the clouds of uncertainty had parted and a basking sun now lit the road of life.


 The drive back to Oklahoma City was somewhat anticlimactic compared to the anxiety on the way down,  upon arrival at their apartment Jan placing a call to her parents home in Kiowa discovering that her father who remained in the hospital had taken a turn for the worst, making a decision not to add to the families turmoil by disclosing the events of the day.  Gary wasn’t surprise,  during a visit to her parents overhearing a conversation between Jan and her mother that she could marry anyone she wanted to, but not that musician.  Jan’s decision not to mention the marriage wasn’t the worst news that day, informing Gary that she hoped he would understand but because of her dad’s condition she was leaving for Kiowa to be with family.


 Gary’s wedding day just got rained on, there were no words for his disconsolateness, spending his wedding night alone,  but even with this turn of events every cloud has a silver lining, including this day. The groom having achieved the impossible dream,  reaching the unreachable star, Janet Lea Murrow.



Confronting A Challenge…..#145 (the 70’s)

September 10, 2016

The 3216 SW 41 St. rental

.  With Christmas falling on a Saturday in 1976,  Jan insisting they drive to Kiowa for Christmas Eve,  spend the night and return after Christmas afternoon dinner, Gary knowing he would feel more like a spectator than a participant .   Upon arrival the musician noticing,  with no formal announcement of their marriage,  there certainly wasn’t any congratulatory conveyances from the family, it was almost like,  if they ignored it, it would go away.  He knew the family was aware of it,  because when the time came to spend the night, Jan’s Sister Gayle, her husband Steve Robb and family took the guest rooms, and there were no raised  eyebrows when Gary and Jan spent the night at the Guest Lodge motel. Gary realizing,  the families acceptance would come with time.

.  It caught Gary by surprise, a change of  management at the Penn Apartments , adding a second alteration to his  and Jan’s life.  The first being when she confirmed her suspicion that she was  expecting,  the second being, Gary’s rental agreement with the apartments manager, who had secured his vacancy painting,  in exchange for his rent and utilities , was no longer acceptable,  the new manager no longer interested in validating the agreement.  The couple beginning a search,  scouring newspaper housing ads for available rentals,  desiring to remain on the southwest side of Oklahoma City.  After several weeks, discovering a suitable three bedroom unfurnished house on Southwest 41st  that accepted pets, the landlord mentioning,  the previous tenants were a rowdy undisciplined group,  and that he and his wife were happy to have the young couple as tenants.

.  Gary asking the congeal owner if there was any way he could waive the deposit, that his wife was expecting their first child,  and there would be a lot of unforeseen expenditures, the owner agreeing to waive the deposit.  The couple encountering a challenge,  having little or no furniture moving from the furnished Penn Apartments, their rental having a lone appliance, a kitchen stove.  The Blind Store,  a composite facility of charitable exhibits,  similar to the salvation army used furniture outlet,   was located at short distance away on Southwest 29th  and Woodland.  The store accommodating most of their larger item needs,  refrigerator, bedding, divan, table, chairs and other household furnishings, all well aged but useable, the  accommodations beginning to project the semblance of a home.

.  Band member Bob Wallace having returned from California, looking up “the Coach”,   Gary having mixed feelings about Wallace after the stunt he pulled,  pawning Marino’s Drums for gas money to drive to California.  Wallace having found work singing with a trio,  headed by a guitarist with a nefarious repetition named Joey Lee, the group working three nights a week at a club on South Shields.   Gary’s Fifties Club booking was about to conclude as was the club, owners,  Bostonian’s Bob and Julie, having made a decision to relinquish their lease.  With the return of  Wallace to Oklahoma,  Kenny Cannada still in the city,  and Jerry Willis still available on weekends,  Gary once again began mulling it over about putting the band back together.  Joey Lee offering Gary a job to play piano with his trio,  after the first week,  letting the bass player go, Gary’s once again adding the keyboard bass.

 .  Joey Lee was going with a striking girl name Fran,  working from 5 to 7 as a nude dancer at a strip club on SW 44th and High St,  on occasion she would sing a few songs with the band, her and Joey able to sound identical to Dale and Grace when singing I’m Leaving It All Up To You.   Gary never felt comfortable around Joey, the pianist aware that Joey and Bob shared the same smoking habit and on one occasion stopping at Joey’s house to meet Wallace,  finding Joey at the kitchen table with two piles of black prescription capsules. It appeared he had bought a ketch of Black Mollie amphetamine’s to sell and was opening each putting half their contents in new empty capsules, selling the cut product, doubling his profit.  Joey Lee  discovering the bands drummer was mesmerized,   coming to work hours early to watch Fran, and fired him.  Bob Wallace resumed playing a make shift set of the drums.  Joey Lee discovering Fran had disappeared, supposedly with a customer,  entering the club with a gun, asking about her, then dropping out of sight.   With Joey not to be seen,  the band continued three nights a week adding a Sunday afternoon jam session. .  

.  The weekend nights going well, but Thursday was slow,  Gary coming up with an idea about an audience participation night based on the popular TV Gong Show, after several weeks his idea got gonged.  It was during a Sunday afternoon jam session,  Joey Marino who’s drums Bob had pawned on the way to California found Wallace,  the drummer sending a person in to tell Bob that he wanted to talk to him outside.  Gary and Jerry both suspected something was up,  expecting  Bob to say something about going with him, but  Bob went outside on his own.   About ten minutes later a battered and bloodied Bob stepped back inside, Gary was concerned with the open gash above Bobs eye, telling him he was going to need stitches, the drummer refusing.   Joey having beat the crap out of the street savvy Bob, Gary suspecting that Wallace offered financial restitution and probably didn’t put up much of a defense when Joey wanted satisfaction,  as well venting all of his accumulated pent-up anger.

.  An outward appearance having arrived, the maternal expediency of Jan becoming prevalent,  accepting an offer from Art and Don to resume a part-time front desk appreciation at the Lincoln Blvd Motel,  the couple welcoming the  financial endowment.  The second bedroom having been spoken for with the upcoming even, the remaining third bedrooms rendering a prospective room for an additional occupant to assist in the rental cost.   Julie, the daughter of the owner of the Island Club on S. Pennsylvania  seeking refuge from a dissevered home life experience  in search of  a  temporary residence finding the Willson’s offer accommodating.  The Islands club providing the introduction of a new drummer, Wallace renegaded to vocals.  Richard an expressed smiling vibrant personality, a definite plus for the band.

 .  The temporal experience during the months of his wife’s pregnancy,  the couple acquiring meaningful time together exploring the realm of Oklahoma City,  the museums,  touring the governing capitol buildings,  traversing to the  surrounding public attractions and a host of opportunities and if nothing else  just browse together at Crossroad Mall.  Gary participating in a new experience,  hand in hand a regular advance to the library on south walker or a preemptive journey to the Blind Store for the low-cost necessities to provide for the coming event.

 .  The musician introduced to a new source of income for the band, the Canadian Club,  an after-hours club just across the Oklahoma County line on highway #152 in Canadian County not far from the small hamlet of Mustang Oklahoma.  The unique club  procuring entertainment commencing at 2:30 a.m. and concluding at 6:30 a.m. but was better known for its backroom wagering sessions, invitation only poker, high stakes pool,  the club dutiful patrol by several well-endowed bouncers.   It wasn’t unusual for disputes to be settled in the parking lot, the Canadian County sheriff’ deputies staying clear of the club, but a hundred yards east just across the county line you could count on a plain clothes or  Oklahoma County sheriffs car on duty monitoring those leaving,  probably more interested in the gambling participants than the afterhours band nightlife.

 .  The double exposure on Friday and Saturday nights, the two gigs encompassing ten hours,  the band finishing at the Island Club at 1:30 a.m.  giving them enough time to tear down and travel the 12 miles to the county line and set up, Gary concluding the monetary compensation was worth the added effort.

Not A Tiffany Rose……………………#146 (the 70’s)

September 8, 2016

Enter Robert Garald Willson

.  Bob Kneemiller was a very accomplished person with two portfolios’,  a small attaché containing a cue sick,  and a larger case, accommodating a trumpet.   His occupation bearing no conformity to their proprietorship,  both acquisitions being of a recreational status.   The astute pool player and trumpeter was employed as a structural engineer for the TG &Y Corporation, their headquarters being in Oklahoma City, Bob participating in developing a worldwide presence for the enterprising company of over 900 stores.   Gary availed on Bob’s trumpeting talent to encompass the band when an allocation of his appearance could be obtained.  Gary interceding for Bob at the Fairgrounds Arena, a RCA Rodeo National Finals entry desiring  a trumpet solo,  a fanfare announcement for the participant and his equestrian mount,  the trumpeter  performing the very familiar toreador bullfighter trumpet entry for this event.

.  Bob and his wife Pat living in the Twin Lakes area of North McArthur and northwest 63rd,   an exclusive residency with a waterway expansion adjoining the acquired residence.  A flag pole adorning the premise would find Bob raising and lowering the flag every day,  a nightly condenses of retreat being performed on the trumpet.  The trumpeter’s pretension, his pride and joy,  a 1973 Jaguar XKE,  V12,  a one of a kind for Oklahoma City,  the British mobile endeavor being remitted from the British Isle’s on one of his business excursions for TG&Y.   Bob handing Gary the keys and the opportunity to navigate this capacious transport,  a lasting impression of possible luxury being instilled in the musician,  an cordial friendship between the two and their wives being established.

.  Gary’s wife Jan, the mother-to-be having a chosen a signature name for her new-born arrival, with an unwavering  ‘aire of certainty the world will be graced with a Tiffany Rose.   Jan’s maternal expediency was approaching termination,  an apprehension of interrupting  labor pain signaling the approaching event.  Gary’s Friday night after hours musical obligation at the Canadian Club continuing, the two deciding the possibility of Jan accompanied him  but  considering her condition, it might be best to stay with   drummer Richard’s wife at the  Clubs nearby Mustang residence.

.  The band was in its final hour of  playing when Richard’s wife called the club,  the mother-to-be beginning labor avidity.  Gary telling the band they could either call it a night or continue on their own, he was on his way to Richard’s house.  Gary arriving,  Jan’s labor pains less than 5 minutes apart serving notice of immediacy, and with a phone call  an ambulance was dispatched to the Mustang residence.  The couple experiencing a red light and siren  journey to Presbyterian Hospital at 13th and Lincoln Boulevard on the eastside of Oklahoma City.  Gary signing the admittance form,   joining the mother to be in the labor room,  but her contractual  pain frequency  remained the same, a hold put on a delivery room entrance, the waiting began. Gary having attended Lamaze classes with Jan and was prepared, but when her labor pain resumed, it was with an intensity, the expectant mother no longer able to focus on the lamaze breathing exercises,  just struggling to endure, wanting it over with when the labor room nurse entered.


.  On the evening of July 2nd 1977 at seven oh two, with the assistance of doctor charles taylor the world was introduced to, not a Tiffany Rose, but a 7 pound four ounce, 20 inch radiant  boy.    Jan was somewhat disappointed,  having maintained a conviction with presumed certainty, her blessing would be a girl,  having never considered a boy’s name.  The new mother at a loss,  Gary conjecturing an adulation to the grandfathers, their first names a lasting  endowment  to both the Murrow and Willson family heritage.  The Universe greeting Robert Garald Willson,  the Hospital greeting Gary for five hundred, seventy five dollars and 50 cents,   a small price for such a precocious gift…

Demise Of *Ole Blue…………………..#147 (the 70’s)

September 6, 2016

Old Blue - 1966 Ford F100 - V8

Ole Blue – 1966 Ford F-100 – V8

.  Ole’ Blue was stationed at the Murrow’s residence in Kiowa,  the acronym given to Gary’s blue 1966 Ford pickup by the bands Bob Wallace.  Gary, Jan, their new infant Robert and four legged  Mitzi having journeyed from Oklahoma City to acquire  household items, including bedding  her parents had stored in their basement.  The embodiment of furnishings and other articles surfeited the bed of the Pickup, Gary humorously remarking about the load looking like Okies from the movie The Grapes of Wrath.  Sunday after church,  the family embarking on the 175 mile encompassed journey, Gary opting to take highway 11 east rather than 58 thru Cherokee.    Approaching an area just north of the Great Salt Plains State Park,  a sudden clatter resonated from  the V8 engine.   Gary’s first reaction was one of disbelief, receding the accelerator,  engaging the clutch, turning the engine off,  the Ford coasting to a stop at the road.  Making an attempt to see if the motor would turn over, from the response it was pretty much locked up, Gary almost certain Ole’ Blue was about to throw a rod.

.  The summer afternoon heat suddenly becoming a proponent, Gary activating Ole’ Blue’s under dash CB radio,  a call on channel 19,  the trucking industries channel, but being a Sunday there weren’t many 18 wheeler’s or CB operators on the road.  Switching  to  channel 9,  the emergency frequency, still getting no response,  deciding to raise the  hood and flag the first approaching vehicle.  As the time passed a concern was beginning,  but then from the east a pickup appeared, and from the markings on its door,  it was a ranger from the State Park.  Gary explaining their situation and the need to make a phone call to Kiowa, the ranger suggesting they accompany him to the Park station to make the call.  Jan holding Robert, Gary holding Mitzi, the family squeezing in.    Gary placing a call to Kiowa, the resolution activated, Jan’s Father, his pickup and a tow rope on his way to their location.  With Bud’s  arrival, Jan and little Robert finally out of the heat in his air-conditioned pickup,   Gary and Ole’ Blue at the end of a 10 foot rope, the towing endeavor commencing for the slow journey to Kiowa.

.  With Ole’ Blue incapacitated, the bed of the pickup still fully loaded,  a plan to resolve the situation to get Ole’ Blue and the furniture back to Oklahoma City was contemplated.  The Willson’s would stay the night, Gary calling Greyhound in Alva to see what time the bus heading to Oklahoma City would arrive.  The morning finding his father-in-law Bud transporting him to the convenience store on Oklahoma Boulevard that served as the Alva Greyhound stop. Once arriving in Oklahoma City,  Gary giving Jerry Willis a call to retrieve the Torino at their rental. Gary conjecturing the Torino should have the ability to ferry the fully loaded Pickup to Oklahoma city, securing a tow-bar.  On the 175 mile trip back to Kiowa,  he began to question whether the Torino with its automatic transmission was up to the task, finally concluding, the results would be soon be known.

.  The morning Kiowa sun giving new light on the day, the journey beginning, the family once again attempting to traverse to Oklahoma City, only this time in the Torino with Ole’ Blue in tow.  Gary driving with kid gloves on, manually shifting the cruise o’matic transmission, gradual accelerations and braking, having noticed the Ford stressing under the load.  Once back home, making  some inquiries about restoring the ailing pickup, with most of the estimates being questionable until they tore down the engine,   but even then,  the ballpark estimates were financially unattainable, a decision was made to sell it as is.  By chance, gary running  across Glenn Froman’s cousin Paul Ambrose, and when told of the fate of Ole’ Blue, mentioning he might be interested,  and later after a look was confident,  over a period of time he could repair it, but the only foreseeable problem,  was the rule about working on cars at the Penn Apartments where he still resided.  Paul asking if he could leave it at Gary’s rental and work on it on his day

.  Gary mulling over the idea, not too keen on having what could be a long-term automotive project on the rental property,  but an idea occurred to him.  He still maintained a very cordial relationship with his ex-wife Kaye, approaching her about Paul’s dilemma, Paul,  like his cousin Glenn were like family when Kaye and Gary were married.  Kaye agreeing to let  the pickup park on the extended wide part of the driveway  Gary had poured for their boat and trailer.   Paul was not without accountability, Kaye securing an agreement that he would help with any needed household projects.  Paul’s weeks of diligence paying off, having only to replace a rod and piston, no damage to the cylinder or crankshaft, the total amount for parts being cost-effective’s off.

.  Gary was sadden with the departure of Ole’ Blue.  thru the recent-past troubled years, a comforting refuge.  a haven, having  spent untold solitary hours behind the wheel, and within its confines,  able to process, analyze and rethink outcomes, events and future possibilities. The bright note, Ole’ Blue had been restored to serve another.

Jan’s Unequivocal Welcome……#148 (the 70’s)

September 4, 2016


Mom, Jan and Robert

.  Gary and Jan having decided to make a brief visit to California and introduce the newest Willson to his grandmother and namesake grandfather.   Richard the bands drummer  facilitating the Willson’s departure,  his 1973 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser stopping at  their southwest 41st residence to provide transportation to the Will Rogers World Airport.  Richard’s occupation, when not playing drums,  was transporting the U.S. Mail for a trucking enterprise between Oklahoma City  and outlying mail distribution centers, the drummer having become close family friends,  even to the point of offering to help Jan and Gary with the airfare expense. 

.  Arriving at Will Rogers,  Gary never ceased to feel a sense of vividness when gazing at the row of signs designating the entrance to the many airlines,  the gateways to the wonders of the world.  Standing at the Braniff reservation counter,  the memory of the four engine turboprop Lockheed Electra of the 1960’s coming to mind, it presence having inherited the past, a  Boeing 727 its replacement,  and with it came what Braniff called,  the ‘Jelly Bean Fleet’, the end of the plain plane, a host of rainbow colors, each craft painted a bright solid hue and the added attraction of boisterous flamboyant fashionable uniformed stewardess.

.  The Boeing 7 27 making it’s 5 mile approach to  the Dallas Fort Worth Regional Airport, a first landing at DFW for Gary,  who was impressed with its  vastness in comparison to Love Field,  noting it seemed that each major airline was provided its own tarmac and stand-alone terminal.  Disembarking,  the family soon discovering the only way to get to the American Airlines terminal was to board a driver-less tram,   the tram ride providing a new experience.  Arriving at the terminal to begin boarding for their nonstop flight to San Francisco.  It was another first, a McDonnell Douglas DC 10 Luxury Liner, having two aisles, five seats across in the center, seating over 200,  cruising at 37,000 feet at 600 miles per hour, finding it hard to believe the flight would take less than three hours, mentioning to Jan,  it took over six hours for him to fly in a DC 6B  from Oakland to Dallas,  on his way to Fort Sill in 1959.

.  The DC 10 setting down in the city by the bay,  Gary discovering a new inheritance at SFO,  the arrival of a  commercial helicopter line providing services to Oakland International, having never flown in a helicopter before.  The San Francisco Airlines helicopter rides was a disappointing short one, the trip but a hop, skip and jump across San Francisco Bay, the craft continuing on to Walnut Creek and Concord.  An ovation of predominance, Gary’s father having arrived as the official greeter at the airport.   A slightly different situation with the couples baggage, it failed to get unloaded in Oakland and apparently was still aboard the helicopter on its way to Concord.  The bad news being,  it would be over an hour before it could be returned to Oakland, but the good news, they would dispatch the luggage in a cab to the Greenly Drive address, the Pianist concluding, all’s well that ends well.

.  Gary noticing that his childhood home seem to have diminish in size thru the years, each room smaller than he previously remembered or could the remembrance from his childhood be over-shadowed by the  expanse of his world today.  Looking down Shone Avenue from his boyhood home, the possession of eminence once provided by Mountain Boulevard, the two lane  blacktop that snaked  below the Oakland Hills no longer in existence,  the 580 interstate freeway a replacement.  The adjoining wheat field affiliation,  once view from his bedroom window, it’s fragrance of recently mowed hay able to infiltrate his childhood room, now expletive with development,  the memories having been absorbed, but the reality snatched away with life’s temporal progression.

.  The dawning of a new day,  Gary and Jan with an armful named Robert,  Grandma Betty sporting as tour guide as they set out for San Francisco,   Gary’ Dad depositing them at the Bay Area Rapid Transit Station at 98th and San Leandro Boulevard.  This being a first for Gary, a journey beneath the waters of the bay aboard the Rapid Transit, better known as Bart.  The underwater venture,  no comparison to his youthful view from the lower deck  aboard the key system bay bridge electric train where one was able to gaze upon Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the majesty of san francisco bay.  Disembarking at the Market Street terminal, Gary very much surprised at his mother knowledge of public transportation, then realized he has been gone for 18 years, his mother’s life having graduated from rising a family,  to one of joining the world of commerce, having worked and conducted business in San Francisco.

.  The transplanted Oklahoman back on youthful san francisco familiar territory, the traveling family desiring the presence of Golden Gate Park,  leaving the Bart station, it was up Market Street to McAllister and the number 5 bus, it’s numeral still remaining the same after all these years.  The electric  bus with its rear mounted  telescoping arm,  reaching upwards embracing the power lines, acquainting Fulton Street, which  journeys the full length of Golden Gate Park to its greeting with the Pacific.  Jan being taken back with the coming and goings of the passengers on the bus, the small town Kansas girl never having experienced so many different languages being spoken.   The familiar 10th Street stop unchanged, but the pedestrian tunnel under the roadway circling the park to enter having changed to an auto entrance.

.  With the day’s activity to include, the De Young Museum, the California Academy of Science with the Planetarium, the Steinhart Aquarium and Natural History, the giant Kodiak Bear still standing guard at the entrance.  A visit to the Japanese Tea Gardens, the three adults having a toast of  refreshments of the Gardens delicacy

.  Gary’s youthful remembrance,  his monthly ventures for so many years to san francisco,  golden gate park, playland across from the breakers of the Pacific, his thoughts, a sharing experience,  but found that many didn’t grasp the significance it played as  a youth.  The  late afternoon found a retracing of steps to return to Oakland,  deciding to stop at Jack London Square.  Another memory, a boy name Mike touring a Coast Guard Cutter with his Burckhalter fourth grade class.  The family could feel the leeward breeze giving notice of the late afternoon incoming fog,  an essence of the water accompanying them on the bay boardwalk,  viewing  the many small sailing craft.   The three deciding on an early dinner meal at the Bow and Bell restaurant, Gary placing a telephone call,  beckoning the elder Willson to chauffeur them back to Greenly Drive.


.  The hastily arranged  visit, the lack of time engulfing the couples inherent return, only instead of returning to San Francisco,   they left from Oakland on PSA to Los Angeles, once again boarding the large DC 10 for the journey to Dallas  and a  Braniff flight home to Oklahoma City.  Gary understanding his west coast family proclivity was  not invective of a Oklahoma or Kansas aptitude.  Having experienced the conjectured impression made by his parents from his previous marriage to Kaye, concluding although this first introduction was brief,  his parents welcoming Jan as family without qualification.

Prodigious Acknowledgment…………#149 (the 70’s)

September 2, 2016


.  It wasn’t surprising as life is full of surprises, a wedding announcement.   Gary’s ex-wife Kaye’s father,  Kermit Van Leuven , who thru the years had never acknowledged his presence until eleven years ago, making a decision to renew his acquaintances with Kaye’s mother Helen in Oklahoma City.  Helen,  having initiated a meeting between Kermit and Kaye years earlier in Long Beach after the birth of  grandson Scott, a meeting arranged during a family vacation to Gary’s parents’ home in California.   Kermit’s wife of 47 years Violet, having passed away in Long Beach, Kermit having retired as an attorney and head clerk of the Los Angeles County Superior  Court.  It wasn’t long after his Oklahoma arrival nuptials were proclaimed, and Kermit and Helen Pirie Street were united in matrimony,  39 years after the birth of their daughter,  Gary privileged to attend the Oklahoma City courthouse ceremony.

.  On occasion Gary was called upon to provide transportation for his daughter Marlo’s dance class attendance,  when her mother was unavailable.   He was very much aware of an upcoming dance studio event, the dance studio students would be performing a full dress rehearsal at the Civic Music Hall for an upcoming recital.  Gary aware he couldn’t make the recital date, but could attend the full dress rehearsal.  The afternoon found Gary’s and Jan joining the many relatives of the participants in attendance. When the curtain was drawn for the opening act the background adorning the stage was simplistic but commanding, as was the stage presentation for each class.  The music addressing their choreographic was most impressive, the musician expecting a continuous flow of Swan Lake or similar classic instances, but was delightfully surprised at the inventiveness of the dance instructors selections.  The theme music chosen for Marlo’s class was very inventive, and the audience as well as Gary was literally knocked over when a dance routine was presented to the theme from the television series,  The Rockford Files.  Gary, noticing his ex-wife seated up front, stage right,  deciding  not to acquaint the viability of  his presence,  but savoring this visual event and his daughters capacious performance.

.  The evening was about to be enhanced, Gary and Jan entering the auditorium at U S Grant  High School, at Southwest 50th and South Pennsylvania Avenue,  the couple attending a capacity filled presentation of the high school stage-band.   The encountered group of student musicians were the corps d’elite of the high school band class,  the assembly presenting a program of songs featuring the big band sound from an earlier era.   The meritorious conclave of musicians that made up the Stage-Band were all junior and seniors,  but an exception having been made, discovering two freshman,  a procurer of the trombones,  Scott Willson, Gary’s eldest son one of the two.  Seemingly, it was apparent that Scott was an inheritor of music ability,  but that could be questionable, the father apprehensive of his son’s ability was one of prodigious acknowledgement and  recognition, but he was more of a listener than a creator,  and within,  Gary held an abjuration and hope that his son would not proceed in a like profession.    The stage band’s performance was provoking,  the talent on stage instilling an aura of a bygone time, the youthfulness of the musicians giving hope to those in the audience for a better generation of application, and a proud father witnessing a talented son.

.  It had been twenty year since he initiated this, telling himself the paper route wouldn’t be arduous.  Gary having volunteered for this short termed endeavor, his responsibility for a three day weekend,  substituting for his son Scott on his morning paper route.  He found himself reminiscing his junior high years delivering for the Oakland Tribune,  his route being in the afternoon,  an aberration from this morning delivery circumstance.  Scott giving hiss dad a list of customer addresses and paper placement instructions to adhered to,  but soon found difficulty in reading the customer’s home address in cimmerian shade of darkness in the dawning morning hour.  Scott’s route enduring southwest 45th to 47th street between south agnew and south Youngs,  a scant distance from the youth’s  home.  Jan offering to be a willing assistant, but after an initial experience,  Gary deciding it would be best to go it alone.  Scott,  returning to his appointed  paper dispensing  task,  the father gratefully alleviated from this capacity,  a willing subject,  but in the future he might have second thoughts, recalling the words of his Oakland Tribune’s District Manager, Scotty, “Paper delivery is not about service, it’s about customer satisfaction”,  and like the dawning of a new day the same can be said about music.