Tag Archives: Sarah

“smoke ’em inside”

I’ve talked to Jeremy and Sarah, too, about my job travails. Sarah has been conventionally supportive. The last week of the Symphony season in July she was in the orchestra while I was running the last three shows. She gave me good, practical advice on some technical things but also a lovely text which I will not quote here. She stopped by my post at the stage manager’s desk often with a quick smile.

Jeremy I only talked to once or twice. His advice was more metaphorical. We had only a couple weeks before noted the death of Jim Bouton, author of the seminal baseball memoir, Ball Four. Jeremy reminded me of Bouton’s mantra as he struggled to revive his baseball pitching career in Seattle: “Smoke ’em inside.”

Zach’s spot

I visited Zach’s spot Wednesday. It doesn’t sound right to say it but I don’t know what else to call it. It’s where his earthly remains are. It’s not his gravesite but it’s something like that.

Three years ago, a group of us gathered there early on a July morning and distributed his ashes in and around Eagle Creek Falls above Emerald Bay. This year, Sepi and I had driven up to Grass Valley to catch Jeremy and his family at Tom’s house. That was a wonderful visit but I had to get back to work by Thursday. Jeremy was going on to Yosemite and we were going back to the Bay Area.

I decided I wanted to go back through Lake Tahoe, though, to stop at this place and remember Zach. Sarah is gathering people at a campsite up there again as I write this so others will do as I did soon.

It was early afternoon and the area was packed with people. We found a parking place quickly, though, and I decided that I would not go to the falls, where I had left my portion, but up the hill, where others had. Fewer folks up there.

I took a few moments to think of that day and Zach, then took a quick panorama, then headed back down the hill. the less said about the drive home the better.

It sure is a beautiful spot, Zach! I love you, son.

Clark is gone

Clark Ewing, the other grandfather of my children, died this morning. It ‘s been a tough couple of months for Jeremy and Sarah. I’ve been thinking about the similarities and differences between the two men.

Clark was three years older and started his family sooner, so he had had his fourth child before I was born. Both men worked hard establishing themselves and their families in the 1950’s and were firmly established in the suburban middle class by the end of the decade. Both came from rather conservative Christian backgrounds and moved to more liberal interpretations as they got older.

Both were active in their respective churches but the nature of their activity reflected their personalities. Dad taught Sunday School and edited the newsletter. Clark led public campaigns.

Dad eventually branched out from the Church activities and became active in the Movie Club and some local charities. Clark was a member of Rotary Club and was prominent in the Toledo YMCA.

I believe Clark’s greatest achievement was his stewardship of the camp run by the Toledo Y in southern Michigan. I tend to refer to it as a ‘summer’ camp, but in reality it was a year ’round operation at the time I came into the family in 1981. Clark had been director for many years by that time. He was passionate about the place and had been instrumental in expanding into its current state. He was not shy about talking about where he thought it should go from there.

Where Dad was solid and careful; a craftsman, with hidden talents, Clark was ebullient and was the first to stand up and say ‘Follow me!’ Perhaps some might say he moved too fast, or reached farther than he could grasp, but he relished the challenge.

At Dad’s funeral, we had a hundred or so people attending. A dozen or so spoke afterwards and were highly complimentary. As word of Clark’s death goes out, there will be thousands of men and women who will reflect back on their experiences with Clark and know how he influenced them positively. Many will travel to Michigan, I predict, to participate in whatever memorial is planned.

Neither is better than the other. We all take our paths in life influenced by opportunity and our own personalities. Both are being mourned by their families and many others. I am the child of my father. He influenced me more than anyone else. Clark showed me another way, and influenced my children profoundly as well. I am happy to have known both men.

I found a little appreciation I wrote about Clark a couple of years ago. Here it is.

politics

I was upset enough about the way the Supreme Court nomination hearings were going. I shouldn’t be surprised at how brazen the Republican Senators are in hijacking our democracy but I guess I still am. Bush v Gore was nearly 20 years ago now. I keep coming back to the thought of how people in other countries left to come to America when their home was going crazy. The most obvious is Jews in Germany in the 1930s but there are many other examples.

What if I had to do it? Could I give up my family, my livelihood, my friends, the land that I love? Where would I go? These thoughts run through my head when I get too deep into the political news.

So I went to FaceBook and saw this at the top of my timeline:

He was a classmate and known gang member. It was during 8th grade homeroom when the assault happened. The teacher had only been gone a few seconds. Some of my friends laughed as they witnessed it. I had trust issues and became quite withdrawn for a long time after that. I was ashamed and embarrassed and scared of retaliation.

#whyididntreport

Ashley wrote that! My own daughter-in-law. Daughter-in-love. OMFG!

Since her marriage to Jeremy, Ashley has shown me again and again what a high quality person she is. As I’ve gotten to know her better over the years, my respect and love for her has grown by leaps and bounds.

And now I discover that she has been carrying this. OMFG! The sweetest, purest person I know had this happen to her??

Perhaps equally unsettling is the thought that many, maybe even most, other women are carrying similar burdens. Sarah doesn’t like to talk to me abut such things, but she has had similar experiences over the years. Sepi has told me of some things that happened to her as an adult. Men power tripping with sex.

None of these, as far as I can tell, were actual rapes, but where do you draw the line? There are some incidents in my past where I went across the line for an inappropriate touch or a kiss (I realized later). I have tried to reach out to those women in recent years to apologize and take responsibility.

Dear Ashley, thank you for having the courage to speak out. Love, Dad.

4 years ago

I have my screen saver on my main computer set to show random pictures from my pictures folders. When I walk back to that machine after I’ve been gone a few minutes, the screen saver is playing old pictures. Sometimes I watch them scroll by for a bit. Sometimes I even hit the cursor key to scroll back one or two.

Today there was a picture that I want to share. One of the things I always look forward to when visiting Rosalie is tickling. Ashley has gotten some good pictures more recently of us laughing uproariously.

Here’s one from last November:

The one that came up on the screen saver today was this one, from Rosalie’s visit to California in July of 2014. I was keeping my hair short then, but the rest was much the same:

The pictures from my camera are numbered sequentially so I know this came from my camera. Who took the picture, then? Ashley never uses my camera. Then I saw another picture from the same day and remembered that Sarah was there that day. She took the picture!

Here’s how I know. This is still one of my all-time favorites, taken on the swing in Teresa’s backyard July 4th, 2014.

 

Hal

I’m never quite sure how to handle writing about other people in these days of identity stealing. I’m following my general rule of no last names. Hal is a colleague of mine and a friend. He’s been the primary SF Symphony sound man since Davies Hall opened in 1980. I had worked on his crew for Symphony Pops at the Civic Auditorium in the late ’80s as well as some other jobs around town. When I came back to San Francisco ten years ago and got sent to a call at Davies, it was good to see him again.

In 2012, my involvement with the Symphony grew and I found myself working with Hal much more. Our birthdays are only about a week apart and our professional paths have some similarities. Neither of us had family or neighborhood contacts to help us get started in the business. We were driven by an intense interest in sound reinforcement and became successful by determination and hard work.

Our experiences coming of age in the ’60s was another commonality. The San Francisco music scene then was world class. We’ve had a lot of fun in the last few years talking about arcana from those days. He grew up in the City and I was on the Peninsula so he had more opportunity to see the various venues but I knew the names of who was in the bands, what instruments they played, and on what albums.

My first day back at work after Zach died was helping to put in the PA at Davies for Hal. (That was before we got the permanent one we have now.) When I asked to leave early he defended me to others who did not understand my grief as well. Over the next few months he showed me constant compassion and understanding for my grief.

After Sepi agreed to marry me, I started to think about the wedding and realized I needed a best man. Hal was an easy choice and he did not hesitate to say yes.

Last week I talked to him about some details of the wedding day and he told me he would take care of them because that was part of the deal. My nature is not to ask for help but, as he did before, he stepped up because he knew it was the right thing to do.

As of a couple of weeks ago, Jeremy was able to get his work to release him so he will be standing with me as well but Hal is still the best man. Sarah will be up there too. I am proud to be supported by such fine people.

quote

Our last SoundBox for the season opened last night. Someone said to me, ‘Last of the year.’ and of course I had to correct her. Unlike this time last year, we do have a SoundBox scheduled for next December. This is an improvement.

For myself, I’m not sure if I will continue working SoundBox. I enjoy it tremendously but the thrill I’ve had for 45 years working in live theatre is diminishing and I have begun thinking seriously about my next chapter.

Sarah had been scheduled to play for the movie in the main hall but someone dropped out of the SoundBox orchestra and she got moved over. It was her first time playing in SoundBox. The music was difficult and there are only a few players so everyone’s playing is exposed. She handled it with grace and aplomb. Perhaps she was churning inside but I didn’t see it.

Aside from the fact of her continuing to get hired by the Symphony, the best thing about seeing her with this orchestra is seeing her interact with her fellow musicians in a friendly and relaxed way. They like her!

Now for my quote. This was posted about a friend of a friend of a friend on FaceBook but it caught my eye just before I deleted it. Credited to Daisaku Ikeda:

In the Buddhist view, the bonds that link people are not a matter of this lifetime alone. And because those who have died in a sense live on within us, our happiness is naturally shared with those who have passed away. So, the most important thing is for those of us who are alive at this moment to live with hope and strive to become happy. By becoming happy ourselves, we can send invisible ‘waves’ of happiness to those who have passed away.

Rose revised

I wrote a post on Monday about Rose. I thought it celebrated her and my relationship with her. Rose felt otherwise. In fact, Rose was furious with me. Although she was very angry, she told me not to take it off the blog. So I left it. I thought she might leave a comment but she has not. After hearing from other family members that the post was not what I thought it was, I have now removed it.

So everything I thought I knew on Monday is in question. The solid relationship I thought I had with Rose is in tatters. My whole concept of this blog is in disarray. What can I write about? My thoughts?I think about other people. Other people are part of my life and thus my thoughts.

I wrote a post last week based on Zach’s journals. I quoted extensively from his writing. Zach almost certainly never intended his journals to be distributed. Am I trespassing on his rights?

I had a good talk with Sarah today about some of this. She told me she keeps a journal but does not expect anyone else to ever read it. She has asked me before to not be included in this blog. I’ve told her I don’t think that is possible. She is an even bigger part of my life than Rose. How can I not write about her? I certainly would not betray any confidences. I try to be discreet, with Sarah especially but also everyone else I’ve written about. Maybe I should have been more discreet writing about Rose. Everything I thought I knew is in question.

Why am I writing this blog? For me? For Zach? For Rosalie or Noah? For their children or grandchildren? For someone I might meet someday? I told Sarah that I have had great pleasure reading letters and journals of our ancestors and I thought my descendants might enjoy doing the same. Yes, I want to be remembered. I think the only way for humans to continue to survive is to share their experiences with other humans. It’s kind of cool to write and have the potential for a large audience but the same potential can be frightening. There are literally no restrictions on who might read these words. And, although I put a copyright notice at the bottom of every page, the reality is that these words would be ridiculously easy to copy and re-purpose.

I’ve kept a journal sporadically for many years. I have writing from my high school days. Perhaps I should look it over with an eye towards posting it here. Perhaps it would drive the few readers I have away. I thought when I started this blog that I might engender some discussions. That has not happened. I’ve gotten some good comments and other feedback but no discussions. No one has ever gotten angry with me about a post like Rose has.

I have a few days off work. I will be thinking on all this. Everything I thought I knew is in question.

emotions

The cycles of emotion are strange. I know I’m more likely to get weepy when I’m tired but it still comes on me at times when I do not expect it.

Friday morning I came into Davies Hall to go to work. Past the guard station and down the hallway by the orchestra managers’ offices are the bulletin boards with the lists of who is playing what in the weeks to come. I almost always stop and look to see if Sarah’s name is on the lists. I knew she was playing this week.

Her name was on for the next two sets and as I walked alone down the backstage hallway I found I was tearing up. Why now? She’s been working pretty regularly so it’s not really a huge surprise. It just happened.

Sometimes when I’m talking with Jeremy and he tells me about how busy he is trying to establish himself in a new home and still be a good husband and father I get choked up. Not all the time, just sometimes. Strange are the cycles of emotion.

The SoundBox set last week included a group of short compositions that were pretty unstructured. For the dress rehearsal Friday, the last piece had the 20 or so orchestra members scattered around the SoundBox space. There were a few moments of silence and then they started to play slowly, each musician listening to the space around them and contributing their feelings in sound. For no reason I could identify, I began crying. Although I was sitting off to the side I wondered if people were looking at me. I didn’t move but I tried not to make a sound. I kept saying to myself, ‘Oh, Zach. Oh, my Z.’ over and over. I wanted to let the emotions flow but I was also a professional on the clock. The ethereal music went on for three or four minutes then morphed into a louder, more rhythmic pattern. By the time it ended, I was still teary but under control and I went back to work. No one said anything to me about it.

NAMM

NAMM stands for National Association of Music Merchants. The other day when I said to Sarah that I had just gotten back from NAMM, she gave me a big cocked eyebrow. No, not Nam, NAMM.

Regrading Vietnam, I was lucky to get a high draft number in 1971. It was only the first or second year of the numbers and the troop levels were already being drawn down from their maximum. My friend Bruce had a low number – around 20 or 30, if I recall correctly. The options were to allow yourself to be drafted for two years, and likely go to Vietnam, or enlist for three years and have some control over where you were assigned. Both sounded like forever to my 18 year old self. Bruce enlisted and went to Germany and we lost touch with each other. I’ve been forever sorry for that.

I think the estimated highest number that was expected to be drafted that year was to be around 100 and my number was around 175 so I was clear. I had my CO papers ready though.

I first went to the NAMM show two years ago with my colleague Jack V. Neither of us are really the right type of person the show is designed for, but then neither are many other attendees. Originally intended for guitar, bass, keyboard and drum dealers, NAMM has morphed into a huge exhibition of all that plus all the accessories that are needed for today’s rock musicians: effects pedals, amplifiers, straps, picks, cables . . .

In addition to all that, the Audio Engineering Society has now piggy-backed onto NAMM and now there is a significant pro audio presence among the exhibitors. Jack and I were interested in that, of course, but we also wanted to see the guitars (Chris) and keyboards (Jack).

This year, Jack was supposed to go with me but he had some last minute work issues that could not be avoided so I went by myself. Luckily, our mutual friend Uwe W. was in Southern California to visit friends and was able to join me at the show.

Uwe and I had a grand time walking back and forth through the huge expo halls mostly just gawking at everything. Neither of us had any real interest in purchasing anything either for us or for our employers. Because I agreed to have my picture taken at one booth, I was given a T-shirt and later won a guitar cable. We saw a few people we knew, but only because we went to the booth of the company that employed them. Even getting the two of us together by texts and phone calls took almost a half hour.

It was a long day. I flew out of Oakland at 8:30 am which meant getting out of bed at 5:30 to make BART to go across the bay in time for security and all that. Going home, I left the show for the John Wayne Airport (JWA) at about 5:30 pm for a 9 pm flight. I had seen all I could and didn’t want to miss my flight due to transport issues. I ate dinner in the airport then had to wait another hour for my flight. BART and the drive home took until about 11:30 pm.

The show was interesting and fun but getting in and out of the convention center was very difficult. There were no shuttles from the airport to the show so everyone was trying to park their cars in the garage. There was no place for the taxis to drop people off. They had to wait in lines along the street with all the other cars to get close.

Maybe in two more years . . .