May 7, 2013 — I’ve never shaved my head or looked like a ripe bowling ball — until now. Oh, back in the good old days of the 1950s my brother and I used to get pretty-close-to-shaved military style, high and tight, buzz cuts every couple of months. It was the style in those days, and if we could convince our dad to take us to a real barbershop and get a flattop, we were living. But we were mostly poor in those days, so we usually got an old, holey towel, a rickety stool in the middle of the kitchen floor and mom pushing the noisy, whirring shears.
As a guitarslinger wannabe at Fresno High School a few years later, I wanted my hair to be as long as I could grow it. Unfortunately, my alma mater was hair hostile. We students constantly struggled against a strict dress code that was lifted a year after we graduated. A boy’s hair was deemed too long if it touched his ears or his collar.
May 7, 2013 — Maybe it’s only the beginning of May, but a long and potentially devastating fire season may have already begun in the state of California.
At deadline last Thursday, firefighters in Southern California were battling a scary blaze they fear may burn all the way to the ocean. Hundreds of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes. Closer to home, two fires raged last week near Quincy and other fires burned in Tehama and Butte counties.
April 30, 2013 — I realize ‘Bob’ is a common name, but my life seems to be peppered with an uncanny number of them.
There’s probably always been a Bob somewhere in my life; the first one I remember was ‘Bobby,’ the kind, handsome man who married my older sister. And I was married to a Bob for a good long while.
But, lately, at least for the past year or so, the Bobs have been proliferating. They seem to turn up everywhere.
April 30, 2013 — When I graduated from the ninth grade at Washington Junior High School in Fresno way back in June 1965, they put together a yearbook of sorts in which they asked every student what they wanted to be when they grew up. I cheerfully responded I wanted to be a novelist, and I was the only person in the whole school who expressed any literary ambition, but my writer dreams got put on hold.
You see, five months earlier I’d gotten my first guitar as a Christmas present — an $89.95 sunburst, two-pickup, solid body, mail order beauty made by Harmony from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog, a very playable knockoff of the much more expensive Fender Jazzmaster. (The vintage pickups from that guitar are highly collectable these days.) After watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, the music bug bit me hard, just like it had millions and millions of other teenage, wannabe, moptop guitarslingers all around the world. The first incarnation of my first band, the Ravens, had five ninth-grade guitar players. That’s right, just five guitarists. No bass. No drums. We were terrible.
Page 2 of 87