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Ten Album Turning Points – Desert Island Discs

In Tom Stoppard’s play, “The Real Thing,” the lead character, Henry can’t figure out which songs to pick when he’s slated to appear as the castaway on Desert Island Discs.  The problem is Henry likes mindless pop music, but he’s a snob who’s afraid to admit he like pop music, so struggles to find songs […]

Alone Again, Naturally

Fifty years ago, a schmaltzy song by an Irish balladeer topped the pop charts for six weeks.  Gilbert O’Sullivan’s surprise hit, “Alone Again, Naturally” ranked number two on Billboard for the year 1972.   Because it doesn’t fit into the classic rock genre, the tune soon faded in popularity and is generally unknown to anyone born […]

Back in the Summer of ‘69

I didn’t get my first real six-string.  And Enumclaw’s five-and-dime was the last place this teenager wanted to be.  The allure of candy cigarettes and cheap toys had long since passed.  They may have been the best days of Bryan Adams’ life, but for me the Summer of ’69 was a middling byway on a […]

Come Saturday Morning

One’s 15th year of life is particularly fraught with change.  Childhood dreams give way to adult realities.  Adolescent collections such as baseball cards, coins, and comics sadly fall out of style – better left to tweens and those still trapped by out-of-fashion obsessions.  Jobs and college take center stage.  College prep means growing loads of […]

Epistle for Mr. McGreen

Have you ever wished you’d said “thank you” but never did?  For me, it wasn’t too late.  This essay was adapted from a letter* sent to my favorite teacher.  I just learned Mr. Wally McGreen passed away on March 19, 2022 at age 83, so share this essay as my parting tribute.  Dear Mr. McGreen:  […]

Poetry by Pauline

A photo album Pauline assembled during high school years yielded two of her poems.  Her first was brash and bawdy  while the second reflective and self-assured.   “Boyfriends” likely dates to her junior year (1944) judging by who’s mentioned in the poem and her album photos that year. The second, “This world that we’re livin’ in” […]

‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’

Some say it was ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played.’  I was there but have no memory of its magnitude. All I can remember is a box of Cracker Jack and a burning desire to own a bobblehead. Allow me to explain. On July 2, 1963, San Francisco’s Juan Marichal faced down Warren Spahn’s Milwaukee Braves […]

My Week in Ireland with a Welsh Rugby Team

This essay came from a letter written to my parents from Middle Mille, Wales.  It was completed from memories of what I left out.  Back then, I was too embarrassed to tell Mom and Dad the rest of the story.  April 24, 1978 Dear Mom & Dad: Well, it’s been some time since I last […]

Abraham, Martin and PCC

In the fall of 1968, Dion released a song that touched my soul.  About the same time, I started working Saturdays at a job that defined my life.  I still work there today.  This is the story of the song, that job, and a 15-year-old boy. The Beatles’ single “Hey Jude” backed by “Revolution” dominated […]

First Tastes of Mortality

“Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one, a moment, in childhood when it first occurred to you that you don’t go on forever.” – Tom Stopppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead More than fifty years ago, two grandparents died on the same day.  It was the last […]

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