Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

Hello, it’s me…

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

“Think of me
You know that I’d be with you if I could
I’ll come around to see you once in a while
Or if I ever need a reason to smile”

Todd Rundgren
“Hello it’s me”

I’m back!

For those who didn’t realize I had been gone (which includes most of my Facebook friends, who never really had the luxury of a vacation from my ranting) let me recap some pertinent events:

  • last spring, after a few years of maintaining this blog as a means of giving the Mariner High Class of 1976 a waypoint on the Internet – a place to find one another, or at least something to keep from getting all the Google hits when you search “Mariner Class of 1976” – I took a bit of a hiatus this summer.
  • I spent the summer discovering that I have a love of portraiture, taking pictures of roller derby, people with tattoos, and rock bands.   Sometimes all at once.   (for those who are interested in seeing some of my portraits, including some of our own classmates, here’s a sample:
  • Oh, and I spent a short bit of the ensuing months hanging 500 feet above 5th Avenue in Downtown Seattle from a rope.   Yeah, don’t think I’m doing THAT again anytime soon.

But it’s November – and the hits on my blog are leading me to believe that interest in a 35th reunion is starting to pick up.  More on that later this week, I promise.

For now, I wanted to make my first blog post of the season about something that I care about deeply: music.

Though I cannot carry a tune, keep time with the music, or sing in public — I can’t remember a time when music WASN’T important to me.

So it’s not too surprising, perhaps, that I have a large collection of songs in my head (fortunately, backed up on my iPod, as my head is no longer the reliable container it once was) that I can instantly pull lyrics from, that tie me to places, events, and most especially people, from my past.

Indeed, memories stick to these songs like lint to a pocketful of gummy bears.

So, without further adieu, and in no particular order (save the last one), I give you 14 songs that bring to mind 14 people.   Where I can, I’ve included links to Facebook profiles.   I’m sure we all have a list like this in our heads.  I’d love to hear from you all about what songs are tied to people we all knew…

1.       Suite: Judy Blue Eyes/Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Judi Hallenbeck). I’ve already written about this one in a previous blog post.   Judi and I spent a LOT of time together in senior year, partly because we worked on the yearbook together, partly because she dated my best friend.   I cannot possibly hear this song without thinking about yearbook deadlines, driving to Trout Lake in the dark and seeing the northern lights, and Judi’s infectious laugh, which I miss dearly.    Now that I think about it, I may need to take a trip to Houston sometime soon…

2.       The Boys are Back in Town/Thin Lizzy (Keith Knol). OK, there are a number of guys I knew in high school, who had cars cooler than mine (actually, pretty much everybody who had a car had one cooler than my 1965 Ford Falcon).   But of the people I spent time hanging out with, Keith’s 1965 Ford Mustang, Navy Blue, with a 289 V-8, was the coolest.  For some reason, this song evokes an image of us sitting outside of Woodway Bowling Lanes, late at night, waiting for the police to finish questioning Keith about the tape deck that someone stole from his car.

Maybe it evokes that memory because Keith and I just laughed about it a few hours earlier this evening on the phone; maybe we laughed about it 35 years after the fact because the song is always on the classic rock stations.

As always cause and effect are not as easy to untangle as we’d like.

3.       Willie and the Poor Boys/Creedence Clearwater Revival (Les White). A whole gang of us grew up on the fishbone pattern of dead-end roads that jutted off from Upper Ridge Road:  myself, Ozie Greene, Brad Meacham, Sue Stefanini, Darli Lund, Kim Turnipseed (well, OK, Kim and Darli actually lived ON Upper Ridge) to name but a few.   We all rode to school on Bus #38, and one thing you could always count on even as early as elementary school, was that when Les White got on the bus at 73rd street, he’d be singing a song.  Often, a Creedence Clearwater song.    As faithful followers of this blog already know, Les (who goes by his full name, Lesley, these days) has gone on to record and tour professionally, but I can say that “I knew him when.”   Actually, I guess we all can.

4.       Stranglehold/Ted Nugent (Brad Meacham). Oh man.   There are SOOOOO many songs that bring Brad, and his 1964(?) Impala  to mind..half of the Aerosmith catalog, ZZ Top, David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” album….we spent huge amounts of time riding around in Brad’s car, and the tape deck was playing most of the time.   It was like a classic rock station, before any of the songs had become classic.   But this song by Ted Nugent is the one I’ve chosen to stand in for my friend Brad,( who should call me sometime).

5.       Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter/Herman’s Hermits (Darli Lund). Darli and I grew up just a couple of blocks from one another, and candidly, by the time we got to high school, our groups of friends and interests were different enough that we didn’t spend a lot of time interacting with one another.   But (and her version of this story will differ from mine, I am sure), in second or third grade, I remember her chasing me around the playground a few times.    Oddly, this song didn’t come out ‘til we were in fourth grade – but she must have made an impression on me because this song still reminds me of Darli every time I hear it.

And yes, I know: her name was “Lund” not “Brown” – but they were both monosyllabic, and it didn’t take a lyrical genius to figure out that you could do the substitution without breaking the meter of the song….

6.       Going up the Country/Canned Heat (Dave Cernich). The first time I realized that some of us were destined to be the cool ones, and the rest of us – myself included – well, not so much, was in Junior High, at Olympic View.  In the locker room, Cernich would do a dead-nuts perfect imitation of Bob Hite (lead singer for Canned Heat)’s vocals in the locker room after P.E. class.

I always wished I could be that cool.  I still do.

7.       Waiting for the End of the World/Elvis Costello (Dave Austin).   I bought my second car – a black 1968 Plymouth Fury I that, remarkably, once topped 100 mph without falling apart – from Dave for $150.   Any sense of “coolness” that I had in high school was probably just residual cool that transferred to me by osmosis from him, or from Ozie.   But what I really remember best about Dave is that he had – still has – incredible “radar” for good music (Bat for Lashes notwithstanding, Dave).   Dave introduced me to the music of Elvis Costello during Costello’s first US tour – I have since gone on to see Costello in concert 9 more times, and anxiously await the next show now that he’s got a new album out.   The first album, which featured songs like “Alison” and “Watching the Detectives” had great songs on it – but it is this song, among them all, that reminds me of Dave’s subversive streak and brings him to mind every time I hear it.

8.       Good King Richard/Steely Dan (Gary Campbell). Remember Gary?  Something of a class clown, but also, as it turns out, the school’s music critic on the Natsilane staff.  Since I, too, worked on the paper with him, we spent a lot of time hanging out in Room 209 and the adjacent darkroom/graphic arts lab, and I remember very clearly sitting in the photography room discussing this album as he was writing the review (which I actually still have, in my only surviving copy of the Natsilane).

9.       Cinnamon Girl/Neil Young (Randy Zimmerman). OK, yeah, I had a crush on Randy during our senior year. It was pretty embarrassing.  Especially for her.   But we survived it and I hope she doesn’t hate me for mentioning it here.   Anyone who remembers Randy, or has a senior yearbook at hand to look up the color pictures of our homecoming queen,  will have no problem figuring out why a song titled “Cinnamon Girl” would bring her to mind.

Plus, it’s got a kick-ass guitar lick at the very end.

10.   Strawberry Letter #23/Brothers Johnson (Ozie Greene). Ozie and his family lived 3 houses up the street from us on 78th St SW, and because he had a pool table, lots of food, and a cute older sister,  we hung out there a lot.  We listened to a lot of rock (the first time I ever heard Nilsson’s “Jump into the Fire” was  one evening at Ozie’s and I am still haunted by that song every time I hear it) and a lot of R&B that I might not have heard otherwise, until much later.   While there are any number of songs I could and do associate with Ozie, this one, from 1977, is the one that most evokes my good friend’s face – usually singing along with the song, trying to look smooth but basically being a dork.

11.   Lola/Kinks (Kevin Kurtz/Mark Schwemm). Lots of Kinks songs out there, but this is probably the iconic one for those of us growing up in the 70’s.   I saw the Kinks live a few times at the Paramount, and remember seeing Kurtz and Schwemm there and thinking they looked a little surprised to see a math nerd at a Kinks concert.

12.   Living in the Past/Jethro Tull (Arlene Bopp). Poor Arlene.   A sweet, shy young lady destined to have a nerdy photographer harboring a terrible crush on her, through most of high school.   But at least the flute section of the band was always well represented in the yearbook!   Of course, there are lots of Jethro Tull songs that feature flute, and there are  lots of their songs that I like better than this one.  But perhaps because “Living in the Past” actually made it onto the charts (and the radio) this is the one that reminds me of her.

That, and the entire Johnny Rivers “Changes” album.  I wanted to be deep.   The fact that that album  seemed “deep” to me just goes to prove that I never succeeded.  But I still love it.

13.   All Along the Watchtower/Bob Dylan (Dave Dickson). Dylan.  Dickson.  Do I need to say any more?

No.   I didn’t think so.

14.   South City Midnight Lady/Doobie Brothers (Laura Stephens). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s not only my old crushes and high school buddies that are linked inextricably to certain songs.  In a lifetime together (33 years so far!) Laura has dozens of songs that are stuck to her like auditory Velcro.   Including, I might mention, most of Al Green’s mid-70’s recordings (hubba hubba!).   But this song instantly takes me back to our first apartment on Casino Road, and even after all these years, warms my heart every time I hear it.

I gotta say….some of you were just adorable!

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Well, that was your mother
And that was your father
Before you was born dude
When life was great
You are the burden of my generation
I sure do love you
But let’s get that straight

That was Your Mother
Paul Simon

I was going to write a nice little essay this week for y’all — but then in my inbox this morning I found these great pictures from Rich Sherlock, who dug through his relics and sent these scans of class photos from Olivia Park — the missing classes.

I may still get to the essay, but that remains to be seen.   The spirit is willing but the flesh is 51 years old and feeling it tonight.

I did an awful job on identifying names on most of these — feel free to send me any corrections and/or additions.

As always, I welcome any photos you want to send me — however, I may not always be able to turn them around immediately since the coming weeks are going to be busy, travel-wise (I am going to Washington D.C. Feb 28-March 4, Phoenix March 17-18, Washington D.C. again March 31-April 2, and probably to Golden, CO sometime in March as well….and those are just the trips I know about!)

Oh, and we have a couple of new additions to our list this week:  Billie [Alf] Clark and Danny (now Dan) McNutt have joined us — welcome!   And thanks to my goat-herder friend in Stanwood (you know who you are) for doing a little recruitment.   If any of  you know of  others from our class who  might be interested in joining us, please pass this along and invite them to contact me.  So far,  I have (by most accounts) remained, in the words of Douglas Adams, “mostly harmless”
As always with these posts, if you click on the photo, you’ll be taken to my Flickr site, where a larger res version resides.

Your ever-rambling font of useless information,
Scott Butner (
Mariner High Class of 1976

ever wake up one day, and realize that something’s got to give?

Monday, February 1st, 2010

“If you gotta play at garden parties
I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang
I’d rather drive a truck”

Garden Party
Ricky Nelson

I’ve heard tell that at our age, self-examination is a common thing.

And I’m not talking about prodding around, looking for lumps.  Unless you’re talking about the psychic kind.

No, more like re-examining my priorities, and how I want to spend my time remaining on this earth.

So, at the age of 51, with one full time job and another part time obsession, a grandchild on the way, and juggling at least  three different volunteer projects, I did what so many of my age cohorts are doing these days, and  took stock of my life the other day.

Not quite a mid-life crisis.  Not hardly — for one thing, I consider myself well past the mid-point.

I didn’t buy a Corvette. Though I did suggest to my brother that I ought to borrow his for a week or three.

I didn’t dye my hair (why bother?  my hair is the one thing that doesn’t seem to be aging that much!)

But I did look myself in the mirror, and declared:

SOMETHING’s got to change!”

So, realizing that I was hopelessly overloaded, I did what any normal middle aged guy would do:

I signed up for a college course and decided to go back to school.


It’s a distance learning course, leading towards a certificate in “Green Design” — something I’ve lectured at at various universities across the country for the past 15 years — but figured it would be fun to see how others are viewing it.

So far, getting back in the swing of doing homework is NOT easy.   Then again, I was never exactly a disciplined student….

All this is a roundabout way of making excuses for not spending a lot of time writing a good tale to tell with this latest batch of photos, which comes from my very own photo archive, along with a contribution from Michelle [Waggoner] Williams.  The photos follow below, and I must apologize for my incomplete naming of people in the pictures — anybody who can add to the ID’s is welcome to send me more info.

As always,  if you click on the photos, you can download the larger version.

I should also mention that I invite any of you who have class photos to share — I’m happy to post them to the blog.   The more info you can send about who, when and where — the better.

So here’s the first — Olivia Park, Mrs. Henderson’s class, 2nd grade 1966

Ms. Ness, 4th grade, 1968.  I remember that Ms. Ness had a complete fixation on the state of Hawaii, and had the bad judgement to force 4th grade boys to learn to dance the hula.  To this day, Hawaii is the ONLY state in the union that I have not visited, and I hold her responsible….

Mr. Anderson, 6th grade, 1970.

And from Michelle, a 7th grade (homeroom?) class photo, from Olympic View:

I hope that you guys are finding these as entertaining to receive, as I am to send them out.   It’s amazing how quickly some of the names come to mind, and how others lurk just at the edge of memory…..

Why Kim [Koplitz] Summers is my hero

Friday, January 29th, 2010

“I get the news I need on the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.”

Simon and Garfunkle
“The Only Living Boy in New York”

Have you listened to that song recently?   Have you ever stopped to appreciate just how much like an angel that Paul Simon sounds as he sings the words “fly-y-y down to Mexico?”

Amazing how a song can blaze a neural pathway directly from your eardrums to your tear ducts.

And as it turns out, I am getting all the news I need from the weather report this week — between the need to drive across the mountain passes early in the week, to the Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, watching the weather has consumed about all of the time I can budget for news this week!   Life continues to be busier than I’ve anticipated — welcome news in a slow economy, to be sure.

Which is why Kim is my hero this week.

See, back in November, Kim sent me a boatload of class photos from Fairmount Elementary School, capturing our classmates each year from 1964 through 1970.  Someone — Kim, or maybe her mom? — had the foresight to write people’s names on most of the photos, so she also included names of most of our classmates.

Between a busy schedule, a severe case of CRS (”Can’t Remember Shit”) syndrome, and a propensity to procrastinate, I’ve sat on this treasure trove for several months — not out of lack of appreciation, Kim, believe me! But this evening, as I contemplated doing my homework assignment for the distance learning course I’m currently taking from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, I fell victim to one of the important truths of my life:

“when there’s something important to be done, everything else becomes very interesting”

And so, I did a little straightening, a little photoshopping of dust spots,  and some copying and pasting of Kim’s notes on who’s who and am happy to be able to share, thanks to Kim’s hard work, the following photos.  Some of the naming of students is incomplete, so if anybody wants to fill in some blanks, I’m all ears….

Note: you can click on any of these photos to get a larger version.

Who’s in this picture?

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Some are bound for happiness,
some are bound to glory
Some are bound to live with less,
who can tell your story?”

Neil Young
See the Sky About to Rain

OK, so I have been sifting through old pictures lately, trying to locate some slides that I took of the original Seattle Sounders playing in Soccer Bowl 1977, against Pele and the Cosmos.   The pictures are going to be up on the Sounders web site soon, if any of you are fans of the new team — and it looks like I’ll be doing some action photos for the team during the upcoming season.

Talk about a flashback!   But it will be a respite from some of my recent photo projects, which you’ll hear more about in the near future.

In the process of digging through these ancient photos I ran across the following photo of the seniors from the 1976 MHS Varsity Football team — and was looking for some help in verifying identities.

So I will send a $10 Starbucks gift card to the first person who sends me an email which correctly identifies, in sequence, all of the individuals in this photo.

(a larger version is available, for those of us with middle aged eyes, on my flickr site — here:  )

Or you can just click on the photo.

You’re welcome to use the yearbook as a mental crutch if you want.  I will admit — not sure if this is a good thing, or a pitiful waste of brain cells — that I was able to name 15 of the 19 without even pausing to think about it, but ran into trouble after that.   I can even tell you stories about most of these guys….some of which just might be true.

In that spirit — a second $10 Starbucks card will be sent to the person who sends me the most entertaining, touching, or humorous story that somehow ties back to this picture, or the people in it.  However, in order to get the prize, you’ll have to agree to let me share your story with everybody else, so if it’s not true, it should at least be a shared delusion.

it was the 70’s.  I think there were a lot of those back then.

back here in the — what ARE we calling this new decade, anyway?  — well, back here in the 21st Century, we may not yet have the jet packs and hover cars we were promised, but we are nonetheless living through interesting times.   And in the “interesting times” category for this mailing, I’ll note that we’ve had a few new people join us — Alise [Fliger] Schmitt; Bethel [Davidson] Hart;  Kim [Koplitz] Summers, and Kathy [Beams] Hinderman.  I’m also “closing in” on a few others, who I’m able to get word to indirectly without actually having them on the list.

Whatever works.

I have lost track of a few people I once had working e-mails for, so if you know how to reach Steward Woods, Scott Larson, or Venecom Griffin please drop me a line, or ask them to contact me directly.   I’d like to update their information on my list.  

I am thrilled to report that there are lots of things happening that DON’T involve my blog site, so if I were to vanish from the face of the earth tomorrow (always a risk with us aliens) there are plenty of other things happening to keep our class in touch.  One of the best is the “Mariner 1970’s Band page” on Facebook — don’t know who put it together, but they did a nice job.   You can visit even if you don’t belong to Facebook:

The new year promises to be an eventful one — lots of new challenges at work and with my photography, and of course I will become a grandfather for the first time this June.   But I am cognizant of the fact that planning for a 35th reunion will also need to begin this year (albeit probably not ’til October), and hope to increase the frequency (and information content) of my posts to you folks in anticipation of that planning.   Trying to help get you in the mood, so to speak.

So expect more posts and more requests for y’all to get involved — stories you tell are the best of all.

Ode to Upper Ridge Road

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

“The problem with the youth of today’ is that one is no longer part of it.
Salvador Dali

So for the last couple of years, a big part of my job is to think about how ideas connect to one another.  More specifically — how do we teach computers to move beyond treating ideas as mere strings of characters, to treating them as statements about the objects and relationships we see in the world?  How do we teach computers to understand relationships — between people, organizations, and places?  How do we teach computers to reason about the meaning of words — things we take for granted with every act of communication?

Much of this work has focused even more specifically on the basic question of “How can we ‘connect the dots’?” — whether those connections are between scientific observation and theory, between the smokestack on the horizon and that nagging cough you’ve had; or (more recently) between violent intent and action.

To me, they are all interesting “dots,” and finding the connections between them is what makes going to work each day worthwhile.
Given that background, I guess it was inevitable that I’d find fascination in the Nexus application in Facebook.  Nexus allows you to generate a diagram of your social network, showing the connections between the people who you know on Facebook.

Here’s what my graph looks like.  You can click on the picture to get a version with added annotations to depict different parts of my life — the upper right are friends from my extended professional network in the environmental community; the bottom right are my office co-workers and fellow research scientists at the Lab; over in the lower left are two different sets of online fly fishing buddies — one made up mostly of Washington State fishermen (most of whom I’ve taken fishing at one time or another), the other made up of people scattered across three continents and 30+ states, guaranteeing me a warm couch to stay on and a boat to float in no matter where I might want to fish.

In the middle, appropriately enough, are my family members — wife, sons, siblings, cousins, etc.

Linking them to the upper left is my brother, Bill (MHS Class of 1978).

The map of Facebook friendships looks a little like a star map, don’t you think — like the ones in one of my favorite books from my youth, H.A. Rey’s “The Stars,” from which I learned enough of the constellations to be able to find my way through the sky at night.

“Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me”

Everybody is a Star
Sly and the Family Stone

And in the upper left, occupying their own little constellation of memories, are you guys.  The folks I went to school with.

Here’s a close-up of that particular constellation (you can click on it to get a larger view):

Some bright stars, indeed.

Now, point the telescope in the direction of any one of these stars, and you’ll find a whole solar system of memories circling around it.

Indulge in this act of celestial re-creation for too long, though, and time and space can begin to lose their definition….kind of evocative of Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory.”

“The difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad.”
Salvador Dali

I love this painting, by the way.  So much so, I even have a necktie depicting it.

A real classy tie, needless to say — reserved for the handful of times in my career when I’ve been able to work Dali into one of my lectures.

A quick aside:  if you think that working Dali into a lecture on finding terrorists doesn’t takes some verbal contortions, give it a try sometime…if only my body were still as  flexible as my gift for bullshit, I’d look like one of Dali’s watches.

Anyway, I digress.  The topic of this post was SUPPOSED to be my childhood friends from Upper Ridge Road.

So look back at the constellation above, with your names on it.  Down in the lower right, connected to my brother Bill, you’ll see a handful of folks that I share a special link with — Linda Stefanini, Les White, Richard (Dick, back then) Nichols….

These are some of the Facebook contingent of the Upper Ridge Road gang.  These are the kids I grew up with.  There were many others — some of whom haven’t really gone online much — but we’ll talk about them momentarily.  First, a little geography lesson.
Upper Ridge Road, in case you haven’t been home for a while, marked the northern part of the eastern boundary of the Mukilteo School District.  In the old days, Upper Ridge ran pretty much due north from Casino Road to Glennwood, which rumbled with the sound of Associated Sand and Gravel trucks all the way down to Mukilteo Boulevard.  That was before the Boeing Freeway cut off Upper Ridge from Casino, and before Associated dug their way through the northern end of Upper Ridge.

The curse of living on a terminal moraine.
As its name suggests, Upper Ridge Road runs along a high ridge, falling off towards Evergreen way on the east side, and into what was then an extensive wooded area on the west.  Each morning the kids in the neighborhood would dutifully trudge up their gravel roads to where they intersected Upper Ridge, where we’d wait for the bus.  I loved the walk to the bus stop, because as I passed Ozie’s house on the right, Sue Stefanini’s on the left, I could look ahead and see the sun coming up over the Cascades, look behind me and see the clouds resting on the Olympics.   What I wouldn’t give for a view like that today.

From the air, Upper Ridge probably looked a little like a fish bone, with little dead-end spur roads running off in either direction (but mostly to the west) from the ridge.  When my parents moved to 78th Pl SW in 1965, I’m sure they felt like they were moving into the wilderness (especially my mom, who had grown up in Manhattan and only left New York City 8 years earlier).  And sure enough, we saw deer, and coyotes, and even a bear (once) in those woods (and sometimes, our yards) over the years.  Much later, when I was about 15, I would follow Merrill and Ring Creek — just a line on the map for much of it’s length — through the abandoned gravel pits and fenced-in back yards, all the way down to salt water, where I emerged from the woods — muddy and nettle-stung and dehydrated, but feeling like Lewis and Clark on reaching the Pacific — just south of where Glennwood intersects the Boulevard.

But this post is not in tribute to Upper Ridge Road, the place — but to the people.  Because lately a bunch of us have been talking about holding a sort of mini-reunion, a get together to celebrate and look back upon the ties that link us all together.

And since there was a whole bunch of us who grew up together through elementary school, junior high, and high school together, there are lots of memories, and lots of ties.

  • like riding around with Ozie Greene and Brad Meacham in Brad’s old Impala, listening to Aerosmith’s “Big 10 Inch (record)” and Thin Lizzie’s “The Boys are Back in Town” — over and over and over again.
  • like riding the bus to Olivia Park (Bus #38, with Busdriver Judy) with Les White in the back singing Creedence Clearwater songs.
  • like being chased through the playground by Darlise Lund in second grade, simultaneously fearing that she might catch me (she claimed she wanted to kiss me!) and hoping she wouldn’t stop chasing.
  • like playing all-night long poker games at Ozie’s house, listening to Al Green records on the stereo and talking about girls.  Maybe that association — between Al Green records and girls — is why the good Reverend Green would supply so much of the soundtrack to my wife and I’s courtship…?
  • playing football down at Apker’s field, across from Darli’s house, and hoping that the Bennett sisters or the Stefanini’s would show up –  because, at some point in our youth, we discovered that it was always more fun to get tackled — or even just chased –  by a girl
  • like riding bikes out in the woods with Dick Nichols and the rest of the guys in the neighborhood.
  • or subverting our chemistry sets to make fireworks over at Doug King’s (Class of 72) house, across the street from John and Janet Jaeger and the Bucholz family.
  • or (and I hope this doesn’t embarrass anyone other than myself), riding the after school activity bus and hoping that Arlene Bopp would be riding it home from band practice — I harbored a horrible, multi-year crush on poor Arlene (who lived on the part of Upper Ridge cut off from the rest by the Boeing Freeway) through all of junior high and most of high school, and never had the nerve to talk to her.  Looking back, I’m sure that crush kept me out of a lot of other entanglements, for which I’m retrospectively grateful.

If I’ve overlooked anybody — like the Alinen brothers, or Kim Turnupseed, or Gemma Bell, or the Whismans….it’s only out of consideration of how far along I’ve already rambled.  And there’s a whole group of folks from the Class of 1976 — Eric Goodrich, Jerry Scheffler, Chuck Foutch — who were in that same basic neighborhood, just a short bike ride away.

These people, and many more, impart a very personal resonance to the words of Herb Caen, a long-time columnist in the San Francisco area:  “I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.”

As I’ve heard from so many of you, many of the friendships that have lasted over the decades have been the ones that began in the neighborhood — even though “the neighborhood” may have been nothing more than a bus route, or a shared refuge in the woods somewhere…

And for an information junkie like myself, who spends more time looking at computer monitors than at the sky these days, it’s fascinating to watch the constellations emerge from out of that past — like light from distant suns.

So keep on shining.  Out there, somewhere, someone is enjoying the view.

Could these guys be the cure for the common cold?

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

So, if research out of Carnegie-Mellon University has anything to say about it, it could be that renewing old friendships might keep the cold away???

A paper by Cohen, et al (”Social Integration and Health:  The Case of the Common Cold”) suggests that those who had few social roles were nearly twice as likely to contract a cold as those who had a high degree of social role diversity.  (

Look — there’s an actual bar graph.  So it must be science, and therefore true!

So maybe occasionally expanding your social role diversity by renewing acquaintances with old friends can keep you healthy?

If so (and the scientist part of me feels compelled to insert the disclaimer “it’s a BIG if”), then the picture below shows a little preventative medicine at work.

From left:  Dave Van Beek, Ozie Greene, Richard Nichols, Jerry Scheffler,
and some fat dude who wouldn’t get out of the picture…..

In case you don’t recognize anybody in the picture, or any of  the names, this is a statistically skewed sampling of the Mariner High class of 1976, seen at a recent “mini-reunion” (appropriate for a school that had mini-term, don’t you think?) at the Everett Mall Starbucks on March 3, 2009.  Notably absent are approx. 80 other members of our class who are on the mailing list, but weren’t able to attend.

(though, truth be told, if everybody had shown up I think we’d have had a problem fitting them into Starbucks)

A date has not yet been set for the next of our informal get togethers — but I am open to suggestions, and perfectly willing to announce similar events organized by others.

Now, if only diversity of social roles could stop male pattern baldness…..

Think spring!

Mariner High School Old Farts Fishing Weekend — an Annual Tradition?

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Remember our reunion last year? It was fun reconnecting to the past, wasn’t it? Maybe some of you even rediscovered something about yourself — for many of us, reunions are a way to reconnect with people who have known you since you were small, who were present while you became the person you are today. Maybe even helped to create that person.

Well, last year a few of us got together a few months after the reunion for a fishing trip — you might remember seeing something about that (if not, scroll down this page). We had so much fun that we decided to do it again this year.

And thus was born the “Mariner High School Old Farts Fishing Reunion” — what we hope will be an annual get-together for people who went to Mariner High School in the mid-70’s.

The event is small, informal, and pretty much unorganized — like the rest of my life. This year’s participants included Ozie Greene, Dave Van Beek, Keith Anderson (Class of 1977), Jim Roberts and myself. We arrived in the Yakima Canyon, traveling from points west, south, north and east to converge on the Canyon this weekend for two days of fishing, and a night around the campfire, retelling old stories and catching up to speed on the new ones.

Between the five of us, we had accumulated approximately 9 marriages, 8 kids, and maybe 200 pounds under our more expansive belts since high school. We all feel our 50th birthdays breathing down our neck. But most of us had known each other since grade school, and certainly all through high school. So that extra baggage tends to be of secondary importance, and we spent Saturday night in front of the campfire and under the stars. We told stories, exchanged gossip, showed battle scars, and just watched the fire until, one by one, we drifted off to our tents, campers and SUV’s to sleep.

Being sleep-challenged, I roamed around the campground until 2 a.m. taking pictures in the dark. See photos below.
We also came to fish — I will admit, the fishing was not terrific, but not half-bad, either — we ran into nice PMD hatches both days and a decent baetis hatch on Saturday. Both hatches seem to overlap to a large degree, and from one spot to the next it’s hard to know which will get the trout’s attention. In general, I had more luck with PMD’s in the slower, froggier water, baetis in the slightly faster (but still no more than walking speed) stuff.

Jim had never fly fished before, but he didn’t let that stop him! We had to go into town to buy him a fishing license, but he was rewarded with the largest fish to hand for the day, a fat 17 inch trout taken on an October caddis.I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Saturday we met up around 10:30 a.m. and after a little farting around, were ready to get on the river before noon.

when 5 middle aged guys try to tie on tiny little dry flies, there’s a lot of squinting going on…..

OK, I hardly ever take fish pictures, so I don’t have any photos of the few fish we did catch — but believe me, we DID catch a couple. Eventually though, we got back to camp, and settled in around the campfire….

From left around the fire: Keith Anderson (Class of 1977), Dave Van Beek, Ozie Greene, and yours truly.

we talked until the embers were low.

The best thing about getting outside the city is remembering what the sky looks like.

Jim came up Sunday morning from Yakima, and joined us around the fire before we all headed into town for breakfast.

Sunday, we went fishing again.

Late on Sunday, the clouds started coming in over the canyon walls, but we escaped before the rain hit.

Ozie and Jim share a river bank during the brief PMD hatch on Sunday.

I tried to concentrate on coaching the other guys, but did manage to cast a line from time to time. Shortly after this shot was taken, I broke off a large trout under the red bush, victim to my over-eagerness. The resulting cursing was audible in the next county.

We didn’t catch that many fish, but we saw tons of bighorn sheep in the distance, and lots of herons up close (the bighorn picture was from earlier this year, by the way).

Oh, and even though I don’t take many fish pictures, Keith Anderson does — here’s Jim’s first trout ever on a fly rod!

Planning for next year’s Old Fart Fishing Weekend will begin — well, probably next year. But if you’re interested in coming along for the camping trip or the fishing, drop me a line.


800 lbs of memories….

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

It was the nicest fish of the weekend.

it was far from my finest hour.

We’re 2 miles into the second day of a 16 mile float down the Yakima river, four middle-aged men in an 18 foot drift boat filled with 800 lbs of memories.

The passengers on this trip are Keith, myself, Dave, and Ozie — four friends who have known each other since we were 7 years old:

The fact that we’re floating down the river in a rented drift boat on this cloudy October day is the result of a nostalgia-fueled conversation at our 30th class reunion this past summer — and the realization that 25 years of living largely separate lives does not unravel the threads that have tied our lives together.

In this boat are two of my groomsmen from my wedding; I’ve fallen off of mountains and been chased by bears with Keith; braved swarms of yellowjackets and hunted coyotes with Ozie, flashlights taped to our BB guns so we could hunt at night.  Dave and I set up filmstrips and risked being labeled nerds as A/V boys at Olivia Park Elementary.  At one time or another, I’ve sworn allegiance to each of these guys as “my best friend” with the sincerity that only an 8 year old can imbue those words with.

Back in the boat, I’ve been trying to do my best guide imitation — though we’ve fished together as kids, none of these guys has fly fished much, if at all.

On day one, we floated 10 miles from Ringer Road down to Red’s, and despite the bright autumn sun managed to find a few pods of rising trout, and everyone in the boat caught at least one.

After a night under starry skies — or, at least, what would have been starry skies had the clouds not moved in, thankfully keeping the thermometer above freezing overnight — we hit the river for a second day, taking our time in breaking camp and timing our departure for the leading edge of the mayfly hatch.  We’d stayed up ’til nearly 1 a.m. the night before, talking around the campfire of friends who had passed, or triumphed, or both.  We talked of crushes we’d had on girls in junior high (finally able to admit them after 35 years of keeping them hid), of our families, of stories and scandals long since forgotten.

In rehashing these shared memories, we realized how much each of the others had to add to the telling — details lost or never known,  another point of view on tales that had started to grow stale from retelling to our kids and our wives, and other people who weren’t there to witness.

Which is why I’ve come to think, as I row downstream against a brisk autumn wind that seems to have come from out of nowhere, about how cherished this cargo of 800 lbs of memories really is.

Which brings us back to the start; to the nicest fish of the day, and my hesitance to admit to catching it….

We spent the first hour of the morning fishing with indicators and nymphs — way out of character for me, but I thought it might help my friends get into more fish.

It didn’t.   But hey, we tried.

But about a mile downstream from the camp, we ran into a pod of rising trout in a swirling whirlpool and backeddy — tucked up against  a cliff face, with foam lines that intersected at crazy angles and current that was moving upstream one moment, downstream the next, it was not easy fishing, but the fish looked to be worth catching.

Keith hooked up first, a big fish from the look of the pull on his 5 wt, but it stayed deep and kept its secrets.  Dave hooked up next, a little fish that stayed on the line a bit longer than Keith’s but still didn’t make it to hand.  I tried my hand at a couple of persistent risers, tucked up in the brush where the current doubled back on itself, and came away with 14 and 16 inch rainbows to hand.

Ozie had gone downstream, around a bend where I’d mentioned a good feeding lie could be found that was a bit less technical.  Unfortunately it was occupied by a couple of folks in another drift boat, who had pulled at least one fish out of there.

Still, we decided it was worth working it once they left.  Ozie tried his hand at a high degree of difficulty fish, rising steadily six inches in front of a log snag, and had it up once or twice before loosing his fly and heading back to the boat for a tippet transplant.

Dave fished a nice foam line that ran parallel with, and about 3 feet out from the bank, and eventually hooked up a nice trout.

Meanwhile, downriver where Dave’s foam line ran into the bank, Keith and I spotted a gorgeous specimen of a fish, rising steadily in front of a rock which was about 6 inches out from the bank.  We waded as near as we dared, and I stood by and coached Keith as he took his casts at it.

Getting the proper drag-free drift was not easy, but no one said that big trout should be easy.

Still, after Keith had casted for about 5 minutes and had a couple of snags on nearby brush, I (politely, I hoped, but in my lust for big fish, I fear not) asked Keith if he minded if I took a crack at the fish before it got spooked.

Keith, gentleman that he is, said “sure, go ahead” — and on the second drift, I tightened up on a legitimate 18 incher which may, or may not be captured on Dave’s digital camera — it squirmed loose just as I removed the size 18 CDC baetis from its lip, and I won’t know until Dave sends his pictures to me whether he has immortalized the moment or not.

And hence the source of my shame.  In all candor, I’m not sure that Keith would have caught the trout even if I’d given him another 20 minutes to work on it; but in all fairness, he deserved the chance.

But at the end of the day, we all had a great time, and everyone went away agreeing that this ought to be an annual outing.  Keith and I hope to hit the St. Joe’s river next fall — as an avid backpacker, he has fished its source on multiple occassions, and left me drooling at the tales of overeager cutthroats.

And maybe — just maybe — when we do, I’ll “let” him steal a big fish from me.  To balance out the scorecard, just a bit.

thank you!

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

I expect I’ll have more to say about the reunion soon. For now, suffice it to say that everyone who showed up seemed to have a great deal of fun — I know that I did!

To those who didn’t find out until too late, or weren’t able to attend — my apologies. We tried to notify everyone we could find, as soon as we found them.

To those who did show up — my sincere thanks. Your presence was the most gratifying thing I’ve seen in a long time.
To those who helped with various aspects of the reunion — Kevin Hayes, Dave Cernich, Zoe Leonard Acheson, Janet Carlson, Kristi (Holtgeerts) Rosenberger (in absentia, but absolutely invaluable for her help in contacting people), Keith Lawler (great smoked salmon, Keith!) and all of you who sent pictures, personal updates, and the like — thank you so much!

For anyone I’ve forgotten — oh my gosh, I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone! But I’ve slept about 4 hours in the past 3 days, so anything is possible!
Finally, though they were equal partners in setting this thing up, I’d like to especially thank the other two members of the “disorganizing committee” — Sharon (Verg) Johnson and Ozie Greene. You guys turned this from the late night ramblings of a marginally sane computer geek, into an actual event that dozens of people clearly enjoyed. We all owe you a big debt of gratitude.

Among other debts.

I’m probably going to take a day or two away from this site, but I’ll leave the lights on. I’ve also left information on how to send your classmates a short update on what you’ve been doing. Please send us stuff to post on this site!

There was considerable enthusiasm for another reunion in the not-too-distant future. I don’t know when that will happen, or who will organize it – but I am confident in asserting that you won’t have to wait another 10 years this time!

We’ll start posting some information about how to make sure you get adequate notice for the next reunion sometime in the near future. We’ll also start “trickling” the reunion photos onto the site over the next few days.

Take care, friends…


Shoulda been there…

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

A few preliminary pics from the Friday night get together at the Oxford Saloon in Snohomish (thanks to Dave Cernich for putting that together!).

More will certainly be coming. And if I’ve goofed up any captions — mislabeled people or forgotten people — please let me know; it’s late and I’m operating on very little sleep.

Oh! And don’t forget — there’s still time to attend the Sunday family picnic at Martha Lake County Park, Sunday July 16 starting at 11:00 a.m.!

From left: Dave Cernich, Brad Meacham, Syd (LaRue) Hudson, and Darlise Lund look over a yearbook 

From left: Janet Carlson looks — dubious? incredulous? — while Kevin Hayes weaves a tale…

From left: Paul Novak reviews the yearbook with Dave Van Beek.  I believe Paul’s exact words were:  “dated her.  dated her.  dated her.  can’t remember…oh yeah, her too!” 

From left: Mark Schwehm, Brad Meacham, Sue (Anderson) Schwehm — and I believe Syd (LaRue) Hudson’s husband, whose first name I regretfully failed to write down…

Speaking of the class of 1976

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Zoe (Leonard) Acheson sent me the following picture — how many faces can you name?

(click on the picture for a larger version)

click on this picture to see a larger version


30 years ago, I’d be admiring the Cheerleaders…

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

now I sort of miss the lighthouse!  :)

ok, the cheerleaders were cute, too

(thanks, Zoe, for the picture!)

Know where anyone else from our class went?

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Just a reminder — if you’re aware of any public web sites, photos, or other online traces of our former classmates, which you think might be nice to share with the group, be sure to send me a link, and I’ll do my best to get them on this blog.

Or just post a comment to this item, and you can do it yourself.

Flashback picture of the day….

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

oh hell, why not?!? I will try to post a picture every day or two until the reunion. Anyone who has a picture they’d like me to post here, just send me jpeg file of the image and I’ll be happy to put it up. Be sure to include a caption unless you want me to make something up…(which could be dangerous).

my hair.  my beautiful hair.  oh how I miss it!

oh man…

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Haven’t seen this picture in 20 years….

(Left-Right) Scott, Ozie and Brad at Lake Valhalla

If you could invite just one person…

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

If you could invite just one person from our class, to make sure they showed up, who would it be? And why?

For me, I think it would have to be Dave Austin, so that I could thank him properly for the very generous hospitality he and his family showed us when my family and I visited London in 2003. I never really did a proper job of that, and at the very least I could buy him a beer.

And you?

Make another list — 10 “must hear” songs for the reunion

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

If you’re like me, music was an important part of being in high school. Songs we listened to back then, for most of us, hold a special place in our memories.

What songs absolutely must be played at the 30 year reunion? Not necessarily songs that were popular in our senior year, but songs which bring back memories of your high school years.

And why are the songs special?

Here’s my list.

  1. The Boys are Back in Town” — Thin Lizzy. This was practically an unofficial theme song for Ozie Greene, Brad Meacham, and I. We’d play it loud in Brad’s old Impala, no matter where we were driving.
  2. Walk This Way” — Aerosmith. Ditto above.
  3. Living in the Past” — Jethro Tull. Hey — I had a thing for flute music.
  4. Hejira” — Joni Mitchell. The album came out our senior year. I don’t recall listening to it in high school, but in the years since, I’ve probably worn out more copies of this album than any other album I own.
  5. Watching the Detectives” — Elvis Costello. Dave Austin introduced me to a lot of good music (he had — and as recently as 2003, when we last met — continues to have — mostly — good taste in music). Most importantly he turned me on to Elvis Costello. I’ve seen EC live nine times since then. It will be ten times once I see him in Woodinville on June 25 of this year.
  6. Reeling in the Years” — Steely Dan. There were lots of great Steely Dan songs, and they seemed so deep at the time. I don’t remember what seemed so deep, anymore, but I do remember spending hours in the graphic arts lab, discussing the merits of the band with Gary Campbell.
  7. Stranglehold” — Ted Nugent. What can I say? He’s the ‘Nuge! I may think he’s a kook these days, but the boy could play guitar, and on long trips across the desert, I still turn him up ’til my ears begin to bleed.
  8. Tired of Being Alone” — Al Green. I spent some of the best days of my childhood hanging out with Ozie and Brad, often up at Ozie’s house. Motown music was often on the stereo there, and much of it imprinted itself on me for life. Al Green practically sang the soundtrack to my wife and I’s early years together, so how could I not put him on the list?
  9. I’d Love to Change the World” –Ten Years After. First of all, I would. Maybe now more than ever. Plus, I always sort of idolized Doug King, a friend from the class of 1974(?) who was really into Ten Years After and Alvin Lee.
  10. For What It’s Worth” — Buffalo Springfield. “What a field day for the heat — must be a thousand people in the street…” If you were a self-fashioned student radical wanna-be, you had to like this song. I was, and I did. Still do.

OK, so I’m expecting some push-back on this list, folks. Use the “comment” feature to add your own.

Otherwise, be forewarned — I’ve got an iPod, and have all these songs (and a couple thousand more) on it, ready to be played at the reunion. If you want to hear your favorite, you’re going to have to list it!


Where’d we all go?

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Due to the nature of my job (I do software development for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), I spend a lot of time on the Internet.

A few months ago, I ran across a site called Frappr. At the time, I was impressed with it’s innovative use of Google Maps to allow groups to easily create online maps showing where their members live.

Cool! I thought. I created one or two maps of networks that I am involved with at work.

Then it occurred to me — why not use this to figure out where the MHS Class of 1976 lives?

Here’s the result: Mariner High School Class of 1976 Frappr Map .

As of today, just a small handful of people have added their names to the map. But the number appears to be growing, and it’s a fun way to see where everyone lives.

Give it a try. Takes about 30 seconds to add yourself to the map.