Tuesday, October 30, 2007

50 year-old plumbing...

this past weekend martha and I drove the Mighty Crossfire SRT-6
to the Holiday Inn Airport in Northern Kentucky for our
Boone County High School class reunion. Class of '67.
I was 17 when I graduated and as you can see I looked like I wore a squirrel on my forehead.
those were the days.

my classmates certainly are some of the nicest people. after all, we were the "summer of love" kids. it was great to see everyone. my best friend kenny nevels (and his long-suffering wife christy) were our companions for the evening. kenny and I began sharing classes in the sixth grade right on through high school. (see the blog "Ludlow Marching Panthers" from April 26). we had so much fun growing up together.

apart from kenny and a few other friends, in my high school daze I kept mostly to myself. the friends I had were social "outcasts" just as I was, but because I was in The Denims and because The Denims were such a popular band in our school, I was tolerated. many years later I found out my classmates actually respected me.
they called me "the quiet revolutionary".

I was in the first year firing line of kids who were in trouble for having their hair "over their ears". I was always in trouble for my bizarre clothes, beatle boots, and "long" hair (which barely crept over my ears). one day near the end of my senior year I heard my name called over the loudspeaker (causing the usual eruptions of laughter) as I was commanded to appear in Mr. Jones' office. Rector Jones (yes, Rector) was our school superintendent. between Mr. Jones and our principal Mr. Norman I was being squeezed into cutting my hair short one last time for graduation. Mr. Jones actually excused me from class to take me to the local Dairy Queen where he bought me a chocolate milkshake! this was highly unheard of. as we sat in his car nervously talking, he finally revealed his true agenda and the reason for being so gracious.
"steve," he said slowly, "you make decent grades and seem like a nice enough fellow; why do you have to be such a martyr?"

it didn't work. having been suspended one too many times for "dress code violation" I was in no mood to compromise. after all, my "long" hair was part of my vocation. every weekend while all the other kids were busy figuring out the dating game, I was playing music for them. in those days the length of your hair was the big concern. these days it's the caliber of weapon you carry.

at the reunion martha was talking to one of my classmates who remembered this story:
he told martha he sat behind me in English class. he remembered how often I was called to the principals office and how outrageous some of my sartorial choices were. he said one day in English class the teacher suddenly stopped, took a long look at me, and said, "do you think wearing those clothes you'll ever make something of yourself? people can't depend on making a living in rock music."
and I said, "I will."

another classmate surprised my memory bank by reminding me of a game we used to play in my neighborhood on Valley Drive. it was a kissing game played at dusk by the neighborhood teenage boys and girls in which you chased each other around in the wooded areas behind the houses. when you caught a girl (or she caught you) you were supposed to kiss her. a better version of hide and seek no doubt, but much more innocent than it sounds. she said when I would catch her my kisses were the best. she remembered they were
"soft and sweet".

on the "memory board" I was very surprised to learn of the death of one of the few people I hung out with. a very strange girl named Diane Warner. she was a self-imposed outcast and best friend of another of my close friends Sharon Patrick (more on her in the next post). Diane was indeed unusual. she smoked a pipe! a strong-willed loner, Diane didn't suffer most people. she kept to herself. but because of my friendship with Sharon, Diane accepted me.
sadly, I found out she committed suicide at age 44.

I have never been able to truly see myself as a "grown up". the adults I revered in my youth were such a strong and responsible bunch. they had lived through the Great Depression, fought in World War Two and set into motion a life of ease for us "boomers". despite my parents cavalier humor they seemed like responsible adults. I have always felt more like a kid.

my only complaint about aging: 50 year-old plumbing.


  1. Seems like you have a lot of material there, Adrian, for some new songs.
    I just turned 49. Been using my acoustic drum set for 30 years. Gonna buy me an electronic kit as a present to myself! (Learnin' bass guitar, too, after all these years.)

  2. Hold the red peppers!

    Sorry about the loss of your friend. The reunion sounds wonderful. Wow... Forty Years.

  3. I had the pleasure of attending my 25th high school reunion last month. It was great to see my old friends, especially my fellow band geeks! One of the girls in attendence, I'll call her Janet because that's her name, accused me of stealing the boy she liked when we were in 11th grade. The sad thing is.... I barely remember him and certainly never knew she liked him when he asked me out all those years ago. Funny how things can fester for years and years! Janet did ok though, she married a doctor. ;-)

    Feeling like a kid is good, even if it's just in spirit. I'm glad I went to my reunion, it was fun to reconnect with everyone and see what they're all up to. I was just happy everyone recognized me and that I was able to remember just about everyone's name --- that's a feat in and of itself! :D

    Thanks for sharing Adrian, you've made me revisit high school fun once again.

  4. this calls to mind a very famous dour-faced aunt's comment, " a guitar's all right, John, but you'll never make a living with it." (or something like that)
    Look how far you have come, Stevie! You are responsible AND you still act like a kid. It doesn't get any better than that!

  5. High School... A good high school memory is the Monday that my friend Clayton (drummer) and my friend Steve (guitarist) both converged on me in Jazz Choir class and asked if I'd seen "Those guys" on ABC's "Friday's". I had.


  6. Adrian's "aways felt like a kid" comment reminded me of something. I've seen Adrian play several times, the latest with The Slicks 'bout a year ago. I was fortunate to meet him afterwards and wanted to tell him something ... but worried it'd be taken the wrong way. I wanted to tell him "you're finally playing with people your own age!".

  7. The squirrel on my forehead has long departed my noggin and now resides somewheres between my shoulders. Luckily – my eyebrows have become so long, they cover my forehead on blustery days.

    The fact you included Diane in this post is very considerate. At my recent reunion the 'memory board' was full of news and difficult to digest. Still trying. Need some emotional fiber, or something.

    Nice post.

  8. Adrian,
    Reunions can be tricky, but fun. I can't believe no one has commented about the " soft and sweet " my favorite part, aren't you the tease :)
    I can't speak to the plumbing, but the rest has aged quite nicely. Thanks for sharing.

  9. well--you've touched my world--PLUMBING----yep--that's my biz---
    oh you mean---the personal stuff--
    robbi and i have had a few---reunions--high school wise-we graduated together--"SWEETHEARTS"-
    from 12th grade--i was the highschool-troublemaker also-more-
    radical-though-my LENNON SIDE-I WOULD ORGANIZE-SIT-INS-antiwar protests-and the like-robbi-was my yoko-(sorry yok-robin's cuter)-but she was more -on the quiet side--
    but an artist/folkie-anyway--i'd be walking down the hall-from the pricipal's office-"SLICK-WHATS UP FOR TODAY"-?-ANYWAY--years later we
    would get a card in the mail-such and such reunion-15th-we'd sign up
    another card would come--sorry couldn't get it together--and we'd have a 16th--20th came along-that one went ok--but our 30th-if i remember was more like a 32nd--truth was--our class was great-just bad organizers--and follow through-ers---sorry ade--my squirrel's still there--just overgrown-(i'd probably give it up-to play gitbox like a particular-"steve")gettin old is fun-'cept-i'm still-17--maybe 18--like yourself-and if our two-youngin's-energy--level-hasn't kept you shape-(and i've seen enough shows-to know the truth)THEY HAVE!!--

  10. From one outcast to another...why doesn't that surprise me. I and my bunch of "outcasts" formed our own faction - the Nongroup(as opposed to jocks/preps/geeks) - so that we could belong to ourselves. Turned out to be a very diverse and supportive bunch to have at your back in high school. I wonder if something like that is what helps suppport one's quest for musicianhood. The tools of rebels and revolutionists. Glad you survived it all to grace us with your talants.

  11. Adrian, i lived about ten houses away from you on fair ct. I was friends with your brothers. your younger brother was marky right.Its great to know someone from my old neighborhood has done so well.I am a bit younger graduating in 1975.Hope the rest of your family is doing well. sincerely, Frank Becker

  12. Hi,
    Nice information posted here..really very interesting ..Thanks for sharing ..


  13. Hello, Such a wonderful blog i ever read. Please keep posting good blogs. Thank you very much..