Thursday, April 18, 2013
Remembering Margie Black - Ken Linville
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Dan Donlan - Coy's Highline Theater
So how many remember, "Charge Feather River in 3-D?". Indians charging across the river shooting arrows at us the cowboys. It was realistic enough that we would duck and scream. One of my friends younger brother was especially taken in by the fright. I took my 3D glasses off and pointed this out to my friends and said, "Watch this!" As one stream of arrows came from the river I took my fingers and pounded them on his chest. It was a foolish thing to do as he hyperventilated and they nearly had to bring the aid ambulance. Forever he awaited his chance to get even with me.
This time it was just a regular movie. But a popular one with the adults not so much the kids. He said to me, "Open your palm!" I should have been leery. He laid a huge piece of cotton on my open palm and whispered, "Bet you a dollar I can move the cotton to the end of your finger without touching you?" I noticed he had something with burning embers. But before I could react he touched the cotton. All my friends bailed out. There was a huge flash of fire going to the ceiling and then smoke. When the smoke cleared. I was standing there holding my palms in the air and everyone was yelling for the ushers to throw me out.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Diana Carson McKinley - My Grandpa Hi
When my grandfather was around 16 years old, he ran away from home and joined the circus. Once integrated in the circus life (I don’t know how or why they accepted him) he became the elephant trainer for the Barnum & Bailey Circus. One night one of the lions escaped from the circus zoo and was hiding under a house in the neighborhood where they were playing. No one wanted to go in after that lion. My grandfather, who had had a few too many drinks, said, “I´ll go get him!” He went under the house and the lion bit him on the thumb, going right through the fingernail. Somehow, he managed to get that lion out without getting himself killed. The circus took one of the lion’s claws and made it into a key ring for grandpa. My brother and I would often ask to see his special key ring and his thumb nail which was permanently split. Then we´d listen once again to his story.
So why was he called Grandpa Hi? Well, he was 6 ft. 6 inches tall. Now you can guess why I ended up at 6 ft. Some of the midgets in the circus were pick-pockets. They couldn’t reach his back pockets to steal his wallet because of his height, so they called him “Mr. High Pockets”. Eventually the name was reduced to Hi and from then on that’s what everyone called him.
From working in the circus, Grandpa went on to work for the Standard Oil Company in Seattle. He took care of the horses that pulled the oil wagons. That was the day before all the big trucks on the highways…excuse me, “roads”. He worked his way up in the company, don’t ask me how. He certainly had no education to speak of. When he retired at 65, he was the Superintendent of the Seattle branch of Standard Oil. When I was a sophomore at Highline, Grandpa helped me prepare a study on the many different by-products we get from oil. It included samples for each one. A photographer came to the class, took my picture with my grandfather and my project and I ended up on a page in the Standard Oil Company magazine.
Grandpa was quite a character. All of our extended family lived to the south of White Center. After his retirement from Standard Oil, Grandpa told everyone that he was the mayor of White Center. They must have believed him. In those days, White Center was a pretty decent place and the fruit and vegetable man and the fish man would give him bags of food when he walked by. Granted, he spent a lot of his free time in the taverns but I never, ever saw him drunk. That was just his social life and it was always during the daytime. He used to say that he was going down to “chew the fat.”
Probably, due to his beer drinking, he came down with diabetes and had to have a daily shot of insulin. One day he was walking down the alley to visit one of his cronies and one of his slippers came off. By that time, his diabetes had got to the point where he had lost a lot of feeling in his feet. He wasn’t aware that one of his feet was bare and he had cut it up pretty badly on the rocks and gravel on the road. Eventually, the unhealed sores turned to gangrene and he ended up in the hospital where he remained for the 3 months before he passed away. The day he died, I was to play piano for one of the school dances with Jerry Bayne´s band. It was something I had always dreamed about. Lind Boyd was the regular pianist but he had a date that night, so Jerry asked me to step in, in his place. I had been playing regularly with Tony Murphy´s band, so this wasn´t something entirely new to me. But I felt so privileged to have been asked and was really looking forward to this. So what should I do? My dear grandpa had just died and I wanted to play for a dance? I presented my problem to my grandmother and she said, “Your grandfather would have told you that the show must go on.” So I played.
Grandpa was definitely a showman at heart. He would often say, “Bring on the dancing girls!” and my brother and I would look around trying to figure out where they were going to come from. He instilled in me a sense of showmanship that put me in the variety hour programs and the school plays at Highline. He always encouraged me when I had to play for a recital. When I was a youngster, he took me to every circus that came to town…Ringling Bros., Shrine, Barnum & Bailey…and anything else that even smelled of acting or theatrics. And we always went back stage to meet the stars because he knew most of them personally. My Grandpa Hi Carson has stayed with me throughout the years in a lot of ways. When I have encountered difficulties in life that could have shot me down, I have often remembered his words, “the show must go on.”
Friday, February 15, 2008
Ken Linville - REMEMBERING DICK TRISLER
I'm going to claim the distinction of having known Dick longer than anyone else here today, except, of course, for some of my Angle Lake grade school classmates. Since I knew him early on, I'm just going to reflect a little about back when we were kids in McMickan Heights up on the hill from the new Bow Lake Airport (SeaTac now). Bobby Goldsboro wrote a song years ago called 'Childhood-1947' and that was the year I first met Dick Trisler. It's kind of a nostalgic piece. The lyrics mention flyin' kites, pillow fights, skippin' rocks, kickin' cans, marble sacks & jumpin' jacks; we did all that stuff and a lot more. Capt. Marvel flyin', Joe Palooka fightin', Owls that Hoo and Lash Larue & heroes gone asunder.
Dick had just moved up here from Oregon and his dad, Steve, was building a great big brick house up on S. 172nd St. They lived in the garage until they could move into the house and Dick and his brother Jerry grew up in that house and I spent a lot of time up there, too. Dick's mom, Marion, was one of the sweetest people I ever knew. She was so good to me; I wished sometimes that she was my mom. The house is still there; probably always will be. I lived down in the cheap seats on 33rd Ave and 172nd. The first time I laid eyes on Dick was when he walked into my 3rd grade class room at Angle Lake Grade School in the spring of 1947. We were nine. I didn't think much of it until recess when we got into our game of 'work-up'. Remember that version of softball? When the bell rang, all the guys would race out to home plate and the order in which you got to bat was determined by when you stepped on the plate yelling your number out after hearing the guy who'd arrived just before you did. Unfortunately, in those days, the girls didn't get to play so they had to jump rope or play hop-scotch. Some of the bolder ones would watch the boys play ball. I was usually 3rd because I could run faster than anyone else except for Larry and Jerry Holmes, the identical twins, but they were a year older than us. The first 3 guys got to bat and no. 4 pitched, 5 played 1st base and so on. You stayed at bat as long as you hit safely. The Holmes twins and I usually were batting most of the time 'cause no one else was very athletic. Rudy Kleingartner, my best buddy, usually stepped on the plate about 17th or thereabouts being exiled to the outfield for the duration of recess. This particular time a big, husky guy edged me out just before we got to the plate and got to be no. 3. That was Dick, of course, so now I had some new competition. As No. 4, I had to pitch and when Dick got up to bat, he hit the damn ball all the way to the other side of the school yard for a home run.
As it turned out, Dick and I became pretty good buddies and I finally had an ally to help me keep the twins from controlling the playground all the time. They were tough and they always stuck together. Larry and Jerry's gracious mother was our Cub Scout den mother and Dick and I were enthusiastic cub scouts but, when it came time for boy scouts, we kind of figured they were a bunch of sissies. By then we were pooling our nickels and dimes to buy cigarettes. With 4 or 5 of us sharing one cigarette, the ash would get up to an inch long and glowing red hot. We're lucky we didn't have 3rd degree burns in our throats. Dick took me fishing once down at Bow Lake, the 'bottomless' swamp down across from the new airport. After one cast, I had everybody's line all tangled up in mine. I guess I was a lot better at throwing a ball than a fishing line. Dick told me he'd never take me fishing again. He never did but I was still working on him when he had to go and throw in the towel.
I remember Dick as being very industrious. He got a paper route so he always had some spending money and when he was old enough, he worked in the grocery store on 170th St. for quite a while. When we were 16, he had enough money to buy a perfectly cherry 1946 Ford 4-door sedan, shiny black with dual pipes, cherry bomb mufflers, skirts, whitewalls and the whole nine yards. Fords were so cool 'cause you could rotate the column shift lever over to the left side of the steering column so low gear was back and up, second was down and forward and then high gear was straight up. This made it much easier to keep your right arm around a girl, if you were lucky enough to have one sitting next to you, and still be able to get a little second-gear rubber pulling away from a stop light. How cool! He kept his car clean & shiny and pretty much saved this classy chassis of his for dates so, when it was just us guys out looking for trouble, we usually had to take my old wreck of a '40 Chev. We started smoking cigarettes and drinking beer much earlier than we should have but we sure had a lot of fun. I was frequently in trouble when my dad found my car smelling like a tavern with Oly bottles and cigarette butts all over the floor. At least we didn't litter.
One day at football practice, Alf Hempstead, the head coach, came over to me. I thought he might give me an 'attaboy' for catching that last pass from Bahrenburg but that wasn't what was on his mind. He just said, "Hey, Linville, I understand you know these Trisler brothers pretty well, is that right?" By now, Dick probably weighed in at a little over 200 and Jerry, (class of '57) was around 230 and all of these pounds could be attributed to hard muscle. In those days that was pretty big. You didn’t mess with the Trisler boys. That’s partly why I hung around with them, I guess. I never had to worry about bullies when I was with them. When I told the coach I was pretty tight with them he said to me, "Why in the hell aren't they out here playing football? Get 'em out here! I want 'em at practice tomorrow afternoon!" Before I could answer, I think he was screaming at Bahrenburg for screwing up some play that they were running but I knew I had my marching orders. They were going to come out for the team anyway but I was happy to take the credit for getting them to play. I was deliriously happy for Dick the night he recovered that fumble and scored a touch down. That's quite a clever trick for a left guard. Bob Smither reminded us how long it took him to get that football 80 yards to the goal line. The whole team was doing plenty of blocking as Dick ambled down the field. Sprinting was definitely not his forte'. I had a great view of the whole play from my seat on the bench. It reminded me of one day at practice when Alf told Dick, "You know, Trisler, the only thing wrong with the way you run is that you stay in one place too damn long." I always remembered to use that one on my boys when they were growing up. We downed more than our share of beer later that night to celebrate Dick's TD.
I never had a better, more faithful friend than Dick Trisler. I'm so thankful for the time we got to spend together during the last 10 years since I retired. When he couldn't play golf any more, I recruited him as my golf cart chauffeur just to get him some fresh air and so we could spend some quality time together just hashing over the outrageous things we did as kids. We’d get to laughing so hard I couldn’t swing a golf club let alone hit the ball with any consistency. Through all his pain and sickness and suffering these past few years, I never once ever heard him utter a discouraging word or complaint.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Cooper and Linville - Relationships with Lowell Wiggins
Linville - I must admit we thought Lowell Wiggins was a twit but, he had a job to do and you may as well pick someone nobody likes anyway to administer the discipline. The last thing on our minds at lunchtime was eating. One day during lunch hour, Winschell and I were nosing around nooks and crannies which were generally off limits to students. We stumbled onto some passageway that led up to a trapdoor which, in turn, led up to the area above the roof of the auditorium. It was a huge dark attic of sorts and we lit matches or our lighters to find our way around up there. We got quite disoriented at first but, before panic set in, I said, "Follow me, Winsch! Stay close and don't step between those joists 'cause it's about 40 feet down to the seats." (I liked hanging with Winschell because he always let me be the boss.) We formed the Dark Dungeon Club and dues were your lunch money. Some guys couldn't afford it, (they preferred to eat lunch instead,) so we swore them to secrecy before letting them resign. I finally got us across the entire width of the auditorium ceiling and discovered a narrow opening above the attic wall between the studs, just barely big enough to slide our skinny asses through into a room which looked like an unoccupied faculty office of sorts and was kept locked from the hallway. We could open the door from the inside but we peered through just a crack before we exited to make sure no faculty members were snooping around. After that, we started charging kids two bits to take the tour with us. I think we had damn near $50 before we got caught and they were waiting for us in the room we used to exit through. Wiggins wanted to expel us for a week. I thought, oh shit, my dad isn't gonna like this! I think Leonard Johnson intervened and let us off if we promised to keep our noses clean. Johnson was one hell of a guy. We were lucky to have him. Anyway, Wiggy is offering you a godamn job out of one side of his mouth and kicking my skinny ass out of school with the other. What a two-faced jerk! I bought my red basketball shoes at the book store with some of our proceeds. They sure looked good with my red junior high basketball uniform. I think Winschell bought us some cigarettes and French fries after school with his share. We were hungry having been too busy for lunch.
On Mac Malone
My first contact with this great man was in the summer of 1952. I was playing ball for Val Kirk’s American Legion team in Burien. Remember Kirk’s Drug Store? I think it was on Ambaum Blvd up by the Burien Garden apartments where I lived for a short time while my dad was building the house on S.192nd St. just south of the airport. I was 14 years old playing with kids who were 17, a huge difference at that age. I wasn’t a starting pitcher but I played a lot as a reliever. I was so skinny I was only effective for 3 or 4 innings anyway. I was playing mostly with guys from the classes of ’53 and ’54, Bud Ennis, Joe Tomita, Claude Murdock, etc. Mac wasn’t a coach of the Legion team but he was there watching us, scouting upcoming talent. The next summer I played Babe Ruth League which was brand new in ‘53. It was called Little Bigger League for kids 13, 14, and 15. That’s the year I played with Owen Jackson, Bill Brown, Al Bahrenburg, Keith Davison, Don Keppler to name a few. Again, Mac was there watching us pull off a successful season. In ’54, as a sophomore, Mac brought me up to the varsity baseball team and, instead of giving him 110%, I began slacking off, not hustling, breaking the rules, smoking, drinking beer, thinking I really had it made now. What a naïve idiot I was. I had the best coach I’d ever had the privilege of playing under and I blew it all away. The sad thing is, I didn’t even know enough to care. I learned more about baseball from Don Malone than I ever even knew existed. I learned more important things from him, too, but I never realized how essential they were until years later.
Mr. Malone bought a 5 acre tract of wooded land in about ’53 or ’54 right about where S. 188th St. met with Ambaum Blvd south of Burien. It’s part of the airport now but I remember when I was riding my bike past there, and later on, driving by, if he wasn’t coaching or teaching, Mack would be out there cleaning the land off by hand and I’d stop to talk with him. I should have been picking up an axe or shovel and helping him for all I was worth for what I owed him. He built a warehouse there which he sold, and which later became part of the airport just as did my place over on S.192nd St. across from Angle Lake Grade School.
Mac married Carol, a very attractive young lady who worked in the office at Highline. She was a graduate of Highline's class of 1949. When they started dating, around 1952, they had to be very careful. Although she wasn’t a student, it wasn’t then considered proper to be dating another member of the staff. They had to pass secret notes between them to arrange their trysts and keep their relationship secret. None of us had a clue. Mac taught math, but his forte’ was coaching and I’ll never be able to go back and take advantage of what he was trying to offer me. I shall always regret it. There were two people at Highline who influenced my future the most, I think: Miss Dorothy Cope and the great Mr. Donald Malone.
Deanne Blakley Bellemans - Margie Black and I had algebra with him, must have been in our junior year. Mack could see Margie and I had no interest in math of any kind, so he came up with a math test, just using true and false questions. He reasoned we had a better change passing any test this way. We both passed! I wish I'd known he was still alive because I'm actually quite good at math. No, no one else had the true or false test, just Margie and me. He called us Judy and Irma, he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him! You're right, it doesn't sound like we were well served by that, I still don't get algebra! If a teacher had done that to one of my girls I'd had a fit!
OBIT - Donald Mack Malone - Born in Lincoln, Nebraska on Aug. 26, 1925, a long time resident of Burien, passed away June 22nd from the effects of Parkinson's. He graduated from high school in Harrisburg, Oregon and joined the Navy. After leaving the Navy and completing his education, Don taught math and coached baseball and basketball at Highline High School for 9 years prior to going into private business. He is survived by Carol, his loving wife of 55 years, as well as his children, Toni (Duane) Kiehle, sons, Bob and Kal, and grandchildren, Courtney, Katherine and Jennifer.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Ruthie Quinill Larson - Police Riot at Lou's
Monday, May 14, 2007
Rope Swing History in Modern Application
[Lola Lemieux Kindly requests information] Since searching seems to be your bliss, I venture to ask your help. I need either a) a zip line like at outdoor adventure places; or b) a rotating swing hook from which to hang a swing-and-drop board. Our pool - it's a long and gripping saga - is now complete again, except that I need something with which to swing out over the pool and drop in. It's true there are glass windows on all sides of the pool, so one will need to zip or swing with some caution - well, either caution or finesse. But I do think it is an essential piece of equipment, and I don't know where to look.
[Noting the finese requirement, Chuck Cooper offers historical perspective and questions] The swing and drop idea is tough to conceptualize for a small private pool, both from the necessary orbit and from safety issues. First, a story. I was in grade school, maybe 4th or 5th grade, at Sunnydale, and Glen Ellington and some neighbor guys (Larry Parker?) who lived across the street from Sunnydale had rigged a rope swing tarzan style over Millers Creek. The banks were fairly high on both sides, so the idea was to reach out with a stick to catch the rope, which was slung from a tree limb that extended over the creek, then grab the rope and swing to the opposite bank. At the bottom of the arc your feet were about 2 or 3 feet above the water. Well, at least the other guys were. When my turn came I made it half way, my hands slipping from the rope, and landed at high velocity in the creek. To this day I have an image of that gravel bed coming up to meet me. The creek was running only 8 or so inches deep in that wide spot.
Now this illustrates several problems. First, assuming you have no tree next to your pool with a branch extending over it, to what will you attach the swing rope? The bottom of the arc has to be over the pool, and so does the point of attachment. Second, how will you make sure that people let go of the rope at the right point? Too soon and you break your back or your head on the edge of the pool. Too late, and it is the other side of the pool. Further, the arc dictates that you have a high place from which to swing, and that is not safe unless it is right at the pool edge, so that those falling immediately miss the pool edge. Assuming you have such a platform, just how long is your pool? You don’t want anyone making it to the far edge. Or maybe the shallow end could pose a problem. And what about someone that forgets to let go and swings all the way back. What about the edge of the pool then, should their let go timing be just right?
[Ken Linville brings a more powerful historical prospective] Bringing into the equation, of all things, a rope swing, to an old fool that’s lost in nostalgia, (moi?), is like throwing gasoline on the fire. I had many terrifying experiences on rope swings. Down behind my house in McMicken Heights on 33rd Ave South, in the verdant forest that stretched all the way down to the Pacific Hiway was the mother of all rope swings. It actually was a rusty old cable tied to a branch of an ancient Doug fir at least 150 ft. high. Whoever tied it up there, we never knew. It had been redundantly fixed to two branches for safety but one branch had broken off so, still having the cable tied around it, swung freely and the end of the cable was now tied to just one branch and the broken branch swung around wildly as the huge pendulum swung out and back. The broken branch cut the safety factor of the contraption in half. Maybe more. Of course, on the other end of the cable, sitting on an old stick that was inserted through a loop in the cable, flying through the air with the greatest of ease, grasping the cable for dear life with both hands, was none other than one small boy at a time on the wildest ride of his life. This was on the thrill scale of the roller coaster at Playland. To start the ride, it was necessary to wrap a long rope tied to the end of the cable around your waste and climb about 25 feet up another tree about 30 yards north of the tree supporting the cable to a small platform which was attached to the trunk. Then, as you gingerly got up on the platform, you put the cable with the stick lodged between you legs so you could sit on it, screamed “BONZAI!!!” and stepped off into space. By the time you reached the bottom of the swing arc, you had accelerated to approximately warp 5 and had no doubt that you were going to die as you began the upward swing which took you 20 feet or so above the ground again. Only those of us with the utmost courage even dared to look down. The guys who took us down there were older than us and double-dared us to try it. I bravely muttered, “You go first, Rudy!.” “Sheeee-ittt!” he says. “This swing is for sissies” and heads up the tree without hesitation, jams the stick between his legs, and doesn’t just step off the platform; He leaps off it! Hanging on with only one hand, he swings his other around like he’s riding a rodeo bull. The big kids are impressed. As he hands the stick to me and says, “Your turn”, I say, “Shit, I think I heard my mother calling me for dinner.” A big kid named Billy McGlassen says, “Take a ride, punk, or we’ll stomp the shit out of you.” Now I don’t really give a damn if Billy thinks I lack the nuts to get on the swing but I can’t let Rudy think I’m a yellow belly so, up I go, close my eyes, and step off the platform. Wild! I’m thinking this is great! After that, we rode that swing every day, hoping that big, loose branch wouldn’t come loose and wipe us out. Remember the rope swings on the log booms at Angle Lake Plunge? Our swing made ‘em look like kiddie rides.
I doubt if this is what Lola has in mind for her pool but I’ll think on that problem and address it another time, as I will the Greek system. You forgot to mention, Coop, that aeronautical engineering has absolutely nothing to do with flying aeroplanes. (Nor a hell of a lot else for that matter) Seems I do remember, however, in a kinetics course, something about the motion of pendulums and how the frequency of the swing remains constant even though the amplitude of the arc may change. Does that help, Lola? If you do get that rig up and running, Coop and I will come down and test it. I can’t see how he could possibly be as klutzy as he says he is. He’s hiding behind a smoke screen and blowing the smoke you-know-where. It takes a lot of coordination to take a swan dive into 8-inch deep water.
[Lola clarifies her request] It appears I haven't made myself clear here. The image I have in my mind is Nicole Kidman enchanting the clients at the Moulin Rouge or the Girl in the Golden Cage, gracefully draped charmingly in the swing, legs crossed at the ankles and toes pointed. At the point in the arc of her choice, she may langorously - notice NOT langoriously - she may langorously slip into the water. Probably not screaming, "BONZAI!"
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Lola LeMiuex Kindley- Memories
Speaking of memories, some of my favorites, dredged from the midnight wakefulness:
1) Sigrid Arntsen singing "I'm Jest a Gal Who Can't Say No," in particular, and all of Punky's musical spectaculars.
2) Attempting to water-ski in my father's ante-deluvian fiberglass boat on south beach of Three Tree Point; I was driving and Dick Nord was attempting to ski, always chancy with the small outboard motor and weight of the boat. The nose of the boat was at almost 180 degrees in the air, and I could see, looking back (the only way I could look, with the bow straight up), that Dick's face was troubled. I swung the boat 90 degrees to port - for no good reason; it just seemed like a good idea - and missed the sailboat I was about to broadside by inches. We called the whole thing off after that.
3) Shouting all the way through the tunnel on the way to the floating bridge, on the ski bus up to Snoqualmie. The deal was to stop all at once.
4) The short-lived drill team (makes me amused now to see the high school dance teams such a big deal, but I think their costuming is different). We had little stiff round hats like hat boxes in purple satin with purple and gold satin outfits. We must have brought organ-grinder monkeys to mind, because at our first appearance, people threw pennies. I don't remember any appearances after that.
5) Sigrid Arntsen's lightning class sailboat, which she was afraid to sail. So we rowed with canoe paddles down to DesMoines. We failed to take into account that going TO DesMoines was with the tide, and coming home was against it. A group of us, maybe including Babs Hendry, sailed to Vashon - audacious, considering Sigrid didn't want to put the sails up - and I was sent to the Three Tree Point store for soup. When we got to Vashon and had built a pitiable fire, I discovered I had bought one can of beef bouillon and one of chicken rice. Vile.
and finally, 6) When the Delta Delta Delta girls came to interview me, during the summer before starting college, my brother was on the roof pelting cars with water balloons. The police came to the door. That's ok. I wasn't much drawn to the peaches-and-cream pink and baby blue angora, anyway.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Linville Takes Gas On Good Citizenship Award
If you're having problems syphoning the gas out of your car to run your emergency generator in Seattle after the inclement weather, give me a call. That's how I kept my old '40 Chev running in highschool. I remember one night Cary Winschell, Rudy, and I were hitting pay dirt on about our 4th car after successfuly syphoning about 12 gallons already. You see, all you have to do is to stick a 6 foot hose down into a car's gas tank and make sure the end sticking out of the tank is lower than the end in the tank. (Remember Mr. Putnam telling us how fluids seeketh their own level.) To commence the process, it's necessary to suck the hose to get the fluid flowing and, voila, you're in the retail petroleum industry with no start-up costs, (as long as you don't get caught).
Winschell was just learning how to smoke and I'll never forget the time he was holding the hose with one hand, sucking on it to get a stream of gas started into an empty can, with a lighted cigarette in the other hand. To add to the precarious situation he was dizzier than a loon from the effects of this, up to now, foreign substance, i. e. nicotine, being ingested into his virgin lungs. Rudy and I were keeping a look-out for irate automobile owners who didn't take kindly to having their gasoline stolen by sophomoric juvenile delinquents, such as us. (I hope the statute of limitations has expired. How about it, Coop?) I whispered as loud as I could, "Christ, Winschell, are you trying to blow us all up? Put that fag [editor's note: 1950s slang for "cigarette") out until we're done gettin' the gas, you idiot!" As he began to comply with my request, the stream of gas started coming out the end of the hose. The way that you know this is that, if your timing isn't perfect, you get a mouthful of high octane before you can get the hose out of your mouth and inserted into the opening of the gas can. He dropped the butt in the grass just as he began egressing the distasteful, flammable mixture out of his mouth mere inches from the burning cigarette butt. Of course, Rudy was laughing his ass off since he was fearless anyway. He was smoking, too, but he was sucking on a warm stubby of Oly since we had Winchell doing all the work, corrupting an otherwise nice young man.
How we avoided a fatal explosion, and getting caught to boot, I'll never know. What chance did I have for a good citizenship award hanging out with these guys? It sure helped to stretch my allowance out though, not having to buy gas with it. It left enough money to go out on a date if I could have just found someone to go out with me.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Deanne Blakley-Bellemans - The First Drive In Bank
[Upon discovering the Vignettes] : I've had a mystery for the last fifty years and today it was solved! My dad bought me my Aunts 1946 Studebaker in, it must have been 1955, and I haven't been able to remember who else had one. Larry Parker had a newer one, mine was a gangster style, (big, high, with lots of crome, uky green) but a couple of other guys had them too! Now thanks to Vignettes I know it was Linville and Mike Pennachi. I remember talking to them all, in the parking lot, the day I left school early to go to work. I told them my brakes weren't working right, but I had a plan. I was going to go via 150th, loop around and come down past the fire station and whip into the parking lot behind the hardware store, Van de Kamps, and a small bank, all on the corner of 152nd and Ambaum.
It was a good plan, if someone hadn't been coming out of the very parking lot I was aiming for. In a quick change of plans I could either cross 152nd at it's busiest or pull into a side spot next to the bank. I took the bank, thinking that little cement curb that keeps cars from crashing into each other at the end of a parking spot would stop me. WRONG! Now an old Studebaker is very, very long in front of the tires, too long for that spot it seems! So with breaking glass and falling bricks, I drove right into the bank! I got out of the car, went to the bank door (I could have talked to them through the broken glass), poked my head in and told them that I would be right back. I went into the bakery, explained what that big crash had been, changed into my Dutch girl get up, and went back to the bank and told them my dad would be coming soon.
I started work right on time, selling bread and cookies, and I was fine until my grandfather, my uncles and my dad all showed up. They all lined up along the back wall and watched me, and every time I looked at them I'd burst into tears. The insurance man called and wanted to know where the car was now? I told him, well, it was still in the bank, it didn't have any brakes you know! I made the front page of the Highline Times, and one of those big bank type windows cost $500 in 1955, and I never told anyone that I knew I didn't have any breaks that day!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Keith Davison - Retreat From Dave's Place
I was standing facing the door to Dave's. Gordy was standing directly across the circle with his back to the door. All of a sudden the door burst open and Dave himself came out on the dead run hurling curses at "the little bastards" stealing his soda pop. We all scattered. But Gordy was the last to react because he did not have a clue what was happening.
Now maybe you remember how Gordy used to run. With his knees pumping very high and he was not very fast. Dave on the other hand, was a long lanky guy and had been a long distance runner in school. He was right on Gordy's tail block after block saying, "just wait til I get my hands on you you little SOB." And other epithets and threats. Gordy finally made it to the scotchbroom and weeds in a vacant field about ten blocks away and collapsed, unable to run another step. Fortunately for Gordo, Dave did not find him in the weeds.
Also, I heard from Gordy and he says my memory is accurate. That he could move his legs up and down pretty fast but that he never seemed to get anywhere.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Linus in the Moose Traps
The famous 'Moose Traps'. Where did that name come from?  There were no moose in the area, an occasional deer, maybe, but usually, nothing larger than a rabbit if you didn't count peoples' dogs. And, let's not forget, moose were probably not susceptible to being caught in traps like mice or other rodents. . That's the beauty of it; what a cool name for about a ten-acre vacant tract of thick, six-foot high Scotch broom with, criss-crossing dirt trails winding through it just barely wide enough for a car to pass through. The trail was very rough in a smooth sort of way, (“traps”), full of huge moguls  which emulated a roller coaster if you went over them fast enough. That's probably where speed bumps were invented. Of course, the object of the game was to get all four wheels off the ground simultaneously so the trick was, keep the pedal to the metal in low gear and go for it! My '40 Chev, ( later sold to Gordy Ringoen $85. He complained at the reunion that he only got twenty for it), didn't land as nice as some of the later machinery I operated and when it landed, every body knew it. How it held together through this abuse, I'll never figure out, but you can bet your next social security check I didn't tell Gordy about it during our negotiations.
The location of this unintentional amusement park was out south of Five Corners a mile or so around S. 200th St. just east of 1st Ave. S. I don't remember it as being well known among most of us but this was great entertainment for those of us who weren't out with a hot one making out at Miller's Beach or some such intimate spot. This was almost as much fun as a date but, for me, much easier to attain. Naturally, we had usually worked our way through most of a case of Oly by the time we got there and, no doubt, had an extra in the trunk. You can imagine the fun when we'd get into the new case after riding through the 'traps' for an hour. Beer foam every where. Laughing so hard we couldn't breathe. We always took my car because nobody wanted to scratch their nice cars up on the Scotch broom or, worse yet, take out a chunk of their transmission case or oil pan on a rough landing. I always figured my car was junk anyway so let's have some fun! As I would be sleeping my hangover off the next morning, my dad would come in and shake me out of bed to tell me my car was full of Oly cans, cigarette butts and smelled like a French whore house. (I always wondered what a French whore house would smell like. Nice, I imagined.) Mother would have oatmeal ready and I was to get my lazy carcass out of bed, eat breakfast, and clean up my car. (C'mon. Dad, it's only six in the morning. Cut me some slack here. I didn't get home till 2:30. I've never eaten oatmeal since!)
One night, there were six of us in the car. I remember Rudy, Dick Trisler, Ruthie Quinill, Frank Day and another girl I don't remember. Frank was in the middle, next to me, and we hit a mogul just right. As we're flying through the air, (very momentarily, of course), I spotted headlights coming toward us from the right on a crossing trail. My quick reflexes launched into action as I jammed full pressure to the brake pedal. Being airborne, not a hell of a lot happened. [editor: a valuable lesson in Ken’s later endeavors]. As we landed in a crab with wheels locked, the car lurched into the Scotch broom and Frank flew up into the dome light. The lens offered little protection as Frank's skull was badly cut on the bulb socket. Luckily, the approaching car flew by in front of us like a white tornado and as we were counting our blessings, Frank was bleeding all over every thing and every one. I reached in the glove compartment for a flashlight but when I turned it on, every body screamed, "Turn it off!!" No one wanted to look at all the blood but I knew we had to stop it. Not knowing what to do, I got into the trunk and grabbed the handiest piece of absorbent material I could find which happened to be one of the sanitary socks from my baseball uniform and quickly wrapped it around Frank's head so tight he was about to faint. Frank kept saying, "Hey, Linus, is there any more of that Oly back there?" . Obviously, bleeding to death was not a serious consideration here. I think the driver of the other car was Larry Buerstatte with a bunch of those White Center hoodlums but I'll have to check that out with him the next time I see him.
There's been a lot of water over the bridge since then but it’s sad that some entrepreneur turned that tract into some boring yuppie neighborhood. I seem to remember wondering where in the hell I was going to find a new lens cover for my dome light.
 traps n. volcanic outflow, from the Swedish trappe "stairs", from its appearance. Commonly flood basalt, e.g. the Deccan Traps of India or the Moose Traps of SeaTac
 In the game “There’s a Moose in the House” the moose trap card is akin to trump.
 mogul n. A small hard mound or bump on a ski slope. [Probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse mūgi , heap. A mugi would normally be the vehicle of choice in a trappe.
 Linus was me (Ken Linville). The guy in 'Peanuts' with the security blanket. Frank, Dick, and Ruthie still call me that. I was in charge of the Oly 'cause it was my car.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Gordy Ringoen - 15 MINUTES OF FAME
Andy Warhol said of our generation that we will all have 15 minutes of fame. In the early 70’s we kept an apartment at 6th and 56th in Manhattan, a block from Radio City where the ABC television studios are located. Carole and our youngest son, Jay, and I were passing the studios one evening when our young son said he would like to have his mother take him to see a TV show. A guard at ABC headquarters told us that a new show was starting the next morning and if they showed up about 8:30 am they would likely be able to be part of the studio audience.
The next morning, about 8:00am, as I was about to leave for work, I woke Carole to see if she wanted me to wake Jay. She said, “forget it,” it was only 5:00 am California time. Too late, Jay had awakened. They threw on their clothes and rushed to get in line for the “new show.”
When I got home that evening, Carole was in the tub. I asked her about their day. The answer, “interesting.” By the time they arrived, there was already a long line and they doubted that it was worth the effort. Just as they were about to leave, a woman came up to her and asked if she would like to be on the show. Carole said that they weren’t even going to be able to get in the studio. No problem. The “host” would go into the audience talk to a couple of people and then select her to come up to the stage for the rest of the show. Jay said, “mom, let’s get out of here.” Too late. The host asked her why she had come to New York, the answer, “to keep my husband happy.” She was introduced to America as a member of “the world’s oldest profession.” Over the next couple of days people stopped her on the street and in stores to tell her that they had seen her on the show. Long lost friends from across the country called. Even though it was the early days of video recordings, a friend got a copy of the show from ABC and perhaps one day I will put it on Chuck’s blog.
So, if you ever have the trivia question of who, from Highline ’56, was the guest star on the first David Letterman show you will know that it was Carole Hawkinson Ringoen.
My claim to fame was being selected by Hall of Fame Announcer, Lon Simmons, as being the “player of the game” in a San Francisco Giants 4 to 3 win. Now, some of you might be skeptical of how that could be so. Well, let me tell you. Carole is a real Giants fan. We have seats that are surrounded by corporate season ticket holders. And, when the business talk around us gets too annoying for her, she puts on her ear phones and listens to the game on the radio. On one such evening, it was the top of 7th inning; the Giants were leading by one run, no outs, and two runners on. A relief pitcher came in, and, in a double switch, also a new centerfielder. The announcers did not notice. The next batter hit a deep fly ball on which the center fielder made a fine running catch. Carole said Lon Simmons said it was Lofton, not Sinjo, the new center fielder. Two plays later, Sinjo made a spectacular, game saving diving catch on a sinking line drive. Carole kept telling me that they were continuing to give credit to wrong player. By the 9th inning, Carole was totally annoyed that they had not got it right. And, I was totally annoyed about continuing to hear about it. Finally, in exasperation, I had enough. I stepped out in the aisle, turned to the open radio booth 4 rows back and yelled “IT WAS SINJO, NOT LOFTON.” I could tell by the total shock on Lon’s face that he then knew. Carole quickly informed me that they had now got it right.
On the drive home we turned on the Giant’s post-game broadcast and, after 15 minutes of commercials, a recap of the game an all other scores, the announcers get around to picking the “players of the game.” The two color commentators, Krukow and Kuiper, were mercilessly teasing Lon about not knowing who was playing centerfield. And, after playing the recording of “IT WAS SINJO, NOT LOFTON,” they made Simmons choose the fan who saved the game for the radio announcers as “the player of the game.” The producer of the show must want me to hold that record because, since that time, they have posted a guard in front of the booth to discourage fans from yelling over the air.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Sandra Miller (Sassie Petellin) - THE MCELROY ELECTION
Remember how years before we got to high school, Highline had won the state basketball championship? During a pep rally afterward, an excited girl had fallen from the balcony in the auditorium and a photographer in the front row snapped the picture and sold it to Life Magazine?
David McElroy was running for senior class treasurer, but we couldn't think of anything for him to say in his speech at the candidates' assembly except that he would work hand in hand with the student body treasurer (me). Finally we decided to have everything go wrong--the microphone would squeal, the curtain would go up and down as he spoke, etc. The highlight would be that I, sitting in the front row of the balcony, would scream "Oh David, you're so wonderful. Perfect for class treasurer!!" and throw a dummy over the railing. David was to yell something like "I'll save her. I'll save Highline High" then run forward and pick up the dummy from the aisle. It went perfectly except no one realized it was a dummy. Amid the chaos, no one could hear David and he couldn't get up the aisle. My mother was substitute teaching that day and was sitting next to Miss Cope, the biology teacher. She said Copey almost fainted.
David got elected. Neither one of us did a thing in our respective treasurer jobs, but we did hold hands a lot.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Sonny Matson and Ken Linville - REMEMBERING BILL BROWN
Sonny: I was very close to Billy from the 4th through the 8th grade. Then, he began turning away from the “good student”, acceptable behavior crowd. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but he had very strict parents who (as I remember) were very religious and had little tolerance for teenage high jinks. He was a really bright and handsome kid. We competed (in a friendly way) like crazy for grades and in sand lot softball and touch football. I really liked him, and I believe he considered me a good friend, also. I still have a big Billy club that his dad helped us make on a lathe in their basement. I etched the date in the handle – Oct., 1950.
Ken: Here was another example of a guy with brains to spare but who got caught up in circumstances that he chose not to take control of and, as a result, probably didn't achieve his full potential. He lived just down the street from Sonny on S. 224th St. Bill and I knew each other from the 4th grade on when he and Sonny both arrived that year in Miss Smith's class at Angle Lake Grade School on S. 192nd St. across from Angle Lake. Until that time, I had kind of become accustomed to being the best-in-class at the 3 R's but Brown and Matson put an end to that reign. These guys were really smart. They could read, cipher and print legibly. Before they got there, I was about the only boy in the class who was any good at that stuff. (Of course, lots of the girls could do it. They were smarter than boys.) Not only that, but now, Beverly Benson had some new romantic interests, besides myself and the Holmes twins. Hmm, I decided things were rapidly going to hell in a hand basket with this new competition I had to deal with. It was no cakewalk being in the 4th grade. Of course, as it happened, Sonny, Bill and I became good buddies and remained so for as long as we kept in contact.
Bill and I started playing baseball together when we were about 14. He was a catcher and I didn't even know he played ball until we got into a game down at the Des Moines field house one day. After that, we became pretty close as we started playing what later turned out to be Babe Ruth League. In those days it was called Little Bigger League and it was getting a lot of press. I pitched, Brown was backstop, Bahrenburg was on first, Owen Jackson and I switched between shortstop and the mound, and I think Keith Davison was on 3rd base. I'm not sure if Itchy Stanley or Skip De Phelps was on 2nd base. I think they alternated. We won a lot of ball games and a few of us were selected to be on an all-star team to play for regional championships to go back east to Trenton, New Jersey for the Little Bigger League world series. Bill Brown and Owen Jackson got to make the trip. I didn't get to go because I'd sprained my ankle quite badly on a half-assed slide into 3rd base at a game in Renton and my coach told me to go home and soak it in hot water. Yeah, good advice, coach.
If it wouldn't have been for the outstanding talent of Dick Binford, I think Bill would have been our varsity catcher although there was a lot of tough competition for that position as I remember with the likes of Jerry Colgan, Larry Lowe and a few others whose names escape me now.
I started taking Bill over to McMicken Hts. after ball games to Linda Clifford's place where we all hung out because her folks were never there. It was great, a house to hang in with no adult supervision. Bill and Linda got hooked on each other. I already had a pretty heavy crush on her but Bill was one cool S. O. B. I couldn't compete with him. I really think she broke his heart and he joined the Navy and became a Sea Bee.
Having contracted TB, he came back with only one lung, a mere shadow of his previous self, but I was sure glad to see him. It was around 1960 and I think I was still up at the U. I didn’t see him again until our 20th reunion. Marilyn and I didn't make the 10th reunion. I remember being in Saigon that night.
The 20th was a real blast. I had been talking with Bill Rich and Don Soroe, when a burly, rather chubby guy walked up to me with a full beard as black as coal. All I could see of his face was the twinkle in his eyes and that grin showing his perfect white teeth. Not recognizing him, my eyes naturally went straight to his name tag. "Glenn Brown"? "Who the hell is that?", I thought to myself as we were shaking hands. "You know me," he said in that slow, soft drawl he talked and then, as I began to recognize that voice, it hit me. "My God, Billy Brown! You had me fooled both ways from Tuesday!" We were so damn glad to see each other, we just hugged right there in front of everybody. About a dozen of us, including Billy, watched the sun rise over at Georgina and Bob Wicklund's place. They kicked us out of the place where the reunion was held and we weren't ready to quit yet. Being only 38, young, and bullet-proof, we didn't call it quits until after 10 in the morning.
Bill (Glenn) lived in East Sound on Orcas Island for many years and I had met his present wife, Mona, at one of the reunions. Bill had a lot of wives and dozens of kids so I guess he did all right. On one trip in the San Juans I pulled into East Sound to refuel and learned that Bill had cashed in his chips. I was heart broken.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Dave Klein - New Friends
I've been rich, I've been poor, rich is better. - Anon
Operating an 80 pound jackhammer on that hot, hot day in June, 1967, doing street maintenance work for the Gas Company did have one positive effect - the developing dust-covered thirst that would soon be washed away by a number of swallows of the ice cold beer that would be waiting for me at the Blue Moon Tavern on N.E. 45th in the U District. One of Lifes' small pleasures.
Later, sitting at the Moon, dusty but no longer thirsty, I noticed the arrival of a man, best described as athletic and LARGE and, unfortunately, extremely uncoordinated. Of course, he headed my way and sat next to me. No problem. Bear in mind the average '60's Blue Moon customer was more hippie=like rather than a street crew worker. Somehow, this gentleman pulled out a Racing Form from his pocket and started asking me about the racehorses while stuttering and repeating words. Each question took several minutes to understand and even longer for my response and explanation. Tedious comes to mind but, hey, where else was I going in the next half hour?
About ten minutes into our discussion, I suddenly realized my new friend had A. Quit stuttering, B. Stopped his body movements and C. Become extremely coherent. He asked me if I had noted that and I agreed. Here's where it gets good. Turns out this guy also worked in Construction, operated a D-7 Cat Tractor, and liked to go into hippie taverns, put on his act get someone to start making fun of him and then mop up the floor with them. I stared at him for about ten seconds and asked him why he sat next to me. His response was I looked like the best challenge at that time but he appreciated how I treated him and decided I was his friend. An interesting individual who played Fullback in one of the smaller colleges (St Marys'?) in Central California and extremely intelligent, except for his hippie hang-up. We eventually visited the Century Tav later on where he called a Hippie Moses and that was about the time I decided to call it a night. Better than jail or Harborview. I wonder if he ever made Longacres the next day?
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Paulson's Pool Hall and Den of Iniquity- Klein & Linville
Paulson's was next door to the Den Burien Theater. One time a Paulsons' customer, on his Fat Boy Harley-Davidson, or lookalike, slipped the clutch and went full-speed into the front wall of the movie theater (He had probably lost a few bucks on the pool table) almost causing a traumatic amputation of one of his hands. I think, after that, most of the girls received instructions from their fathers to take the long way into the movie house and send their dates in first. This was a lot more exciting than sitting at home watching that brand new black & white TV set with all the snow and distortion on it.
Paulson was a crusty old war veteran who never cracked a grin and had a very severe limp from a war wound. We don't remember if he sold beer but we were too young then to buy it anyway, at least not legally. We had to get it somewhere else. He didn't put up with much rowdy behavior and a lot of it went on in there. He was always kicking somebody out for misbehaving but we loved jerking him to the point of almost getting kicked out before we'd back off. One afternnoon Gary Bushaw was playing one of the penny pinball machines and one of the regulars (identity forgotten) kept distracting Mr B. even going as far as tilting the machine. Gary gave him a final warning and the jerk put his hands in the front pockets of his Levis and said "Make Me." Next thing you know, Gary's fists resembled a chain saw blade going into some old growth cedar....."Out!", screams Paulson. Gary made it back though, before the guys face healed up from the cuts and bruises. Another time, Jean Van Sickle and another guy were arm wrestling on one of the pinball machines when they broke through the glass with a sickening cruncharoo. Glass all over the place. "Dammit, I want you two outa here and don't come back!" yells 'you-guessed-it'. Van Sickle was wearing a suede coat which was of zero help in preventing a large shard of glass from slicing a long cut into his arm above the elbow. Now the blood's flowing all over the broken glass. It took a couple days to clean that one up.
Another time, one of our varsity football players, Mike Crown, was standing outside talking to a couple of his buddies when one of Paulson's regulars walked out the door and flicked his cigarette onto Mike's car coat, (Jeez, remember car coats?) and, when it landed on the pavement, Mike says, "Hey, put that out when you get a chance." You would have had to have the I. Q. of a Mallard to mouth off to Mike. But the guy says, "You want it out, you put it out." The next scene has Mike, sitting on the guy's chest with a vice grip on both ears, bouncing his head off the pavement like he's dribbling a basketball. Out limps Paulson and these guys all get kicked out of the parking lot! The folks over in line at the Den Burien next door got a better show than they probably saw in the theater.
One day Gary Olson walked up to the counter to a fresh cup of coffee and asks " Who's coffee?" Paulson said, "Kenny Kuxhouse". Olson started pouring sugar and cream into the cup until it was overflowing all over the counter. Soon, Kuxhouse, in a logger's Pendleton shirt and big enough to eat hay, appears from the men's room to enjoy his coffee. Olson, being smarter than the average bear, couldn't dig out enough change from his tight jeans pocket for a fresh cup fast enough, (as well as clean up the mess on the counter before Paulson spotted it).
But, as entertaining as the side shows were, the main reason we frequented Paulson's was to play pool. Pool was cool! It was all in the angles so if you had some good spatial orientation and a well organized, 'metaphysical' overview of the ball patterns as they lay on the table, you were in like Flynn. All you had to do was send the cue ball toward the object ball so that when the two came into contact, their extended centerlines went through the pocket into which you were trying to deposit the latter. Some coordination helped, but, as in any endeavor such as this, the most important thing was to act like you really knew what you're doing, even if you didn't, and to exude extreme self-confidence at all times. No room for insecurities in the pool parlor. Always be chalking your cue tip when you're not shooting and act totally unconcerned if your opponent is burying you by running the table. Some coordination helped but a good duck'sass and a cigarette hanging out of your mouth were just as good. The name of the game was SMOOOOOTH! It was cool to talk about what kind of english you were going to put on the shot to position yourself for the next shot, convincing your opponent that there was very little chance that you'd blow the shot in progress. English was tricky 'cause you had to cue the ball off-center to get it spinning correctly for reverse, follow, right or left while still sending it on the right azimuth to make the shot. Masse's, kisses, combinations, hop-skips, keep it in the kitchen, both feet on the floor,etc. were all good terms to throw around. Owen Jackson was a master at this. We'd head over to Paulson's after baseball practice. As he'd strut around the table, chalking his cue, cigarette in his teeth, looking like Robert Mitchum, the opponents self-confidence would quickly melt away.
If we had seen any girls slipping through the front door of Paulson's, we'd have popped the cueball right off the table with a miscue. One & 15 balls in opposite sides, call the 8-ball. We preferred straight pool. As Klein cleared the table, Linville slowly started picking up the clue that the reason Klein always had a shot wasn't just by accident. His wallet was a little lighter by the time he caught on to some of the techniques. But Linville was a dead-eye dick on that spot shot into the corner from behind the scratch line. Klein and Linville usually won. (Some of our competition must have been busy wasting good practice time studying or doing their homework.) You could always tell when you had a fish by the way he bridged his cue stick.
Eventually, when Linville could finally afford it, he got a nice pool table, just about the time he lost interest in the game. That's life. Loser racks! Bottom left english, not top right! Rack 'em, snack 'em, and crack 'em.
Linville: Our glorious Webmaster Coop expressed his desire to me in an email the other day that he wanted to play pool back in those days but he wasn't any good at it. I told him all he needed was longer hair and some Marlboros.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Secret Crush - Karen of Troy
I had just seen the latest version of the movie, Helen of Troy. This production of the oft-told Homer classic starred Rosanna Podesta and I may have dropped a tear or two while watching this heart-tugging love story. I kept it well hidden, though. I sure as hell didn't want my buddies to see me tearing up in the movie. Why in the hell I went with the guys to begin with, I haven't a clue. Very poor judgment in those days! I should have been there with a date but I probably didn't have enough money to get her in. In truth, I was probably too shy to ask anyone and what would I do after we were in there anyway. I at least knew that you weren't there to watch the movie when you had a fair lass sitting beside you. Afterwards, in my very most secret thoughts, never to be revealed to anyone, I began to come to the conclusion that Helen couldn't hold a candle to the angelic Karen Jensen. Here was a face that could not only launch a thousand ships but, maybe even a million!
Karen was my secret 'Helen of Troy'. One day Rudy Kleingartner, (I had to spell his name for him until we were in the 8th grade), and I were doing about 60 per, heading west toward the high school on 154th St. behind Burien in Rudy's slick blue '48 Ford, (complements of his dad, of course). Rudy was offering me one of his Lucky Strikes (I was out of cigarettes as usual) and as I was taking one out of the pack and engaging the lighter , I caught, out of the corner of my eye, another car coming at us from the right, heading north on about 4th Ave SW. In those days there weren't even any stop signs on these roads. When you were a block out of Burien, you were out of town and in the sticks. The collision was imminent. With brakes locked, we collided, right front fender to left front fender of the other car. I had never been in an auto accident before but it was strangely gentle as the metal of both cars crunched as they began to absorb the shock. Thankfully no one was hurt but, who should pop out of the other car, much to my pleasure and chagrin, driving her daddy's Buick, but Karen Jensen? I had always wanted to run into her but not quite this way. Nobody was angry. We just shot the breeze until a cop showed up. I kept trying to think of a good opening to ask her for a date but, of course, none came to me. I think I did get the last word in as we were parting, after the official info had been exchanged, as I quipped, "Hope we run into each other again soon!" I don't think I even realized at the time, the pun, but she sure gave me a funny look. I think she may have gone with Ronnie Quinill for a while and Pete Johnson, too, but my memory isn't clear on that. I doubt she even knew I existed.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Ken Linville - REMEMBERING RUDY KLEINGARTNER
Rudy and I were what we called 'best friends' back then. We lived up on the hill just east of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, now known as Sea-Tac in McMicken Heights. It's unbelievable but those houses are still up there. The airport wasn't yet. They used Boeing Field and the Boeing plant was all covered with camouflage netting while they were building B-17's. It was 1944 and WWII was in full swing.
People named Kleingartner or Eichler (Larry lived just down the street from Rudy) weren't very popular in the neighborhood in those days while a maniac named Hitler was wreaking havoc on the planet. But, when you're six years old none of that matters and Rudy and I, not having any siblings of our own, took a shine to each other in the first grade at Angle Lake Grade School, (it wasn't 'elementary' school in those days. That term was only used by Sherlock Holmes) and decided we should become blood brothers. He had the most wonderful parents. I always envied his Schwinn bike, his Lionel train, eventually his '48 Ford; he always got better stuff than I got. His dad was called 'Klein' and I've never known a nicer man. His mother, Adeline, was so good to me I'll never forget her. I can still hear her screaming, "Junior, don't be s'dumb!" I often wished I could live at his house instead of mine. If I had talked to my mother the way he talked to his, I wouldn't have been able to sit down for a week.
We had a huge expanse of verdant, virgin forest from 33rd Ave. S., where I lived , in the cheap seats, down to the old Pacific Highway where we spent hours wandering around, getting lost, making slingshots, building camps, riding rope swings and getting into all kinds of mischief. That whole area is covered with hotels now. I always tell the story of how we would pick wild blackberries and sell them door-to-door until we had enough money for a six-pack, a slight exaggeration at the time but it wouldn't be long till it was true. One particularly exciting activity we enjoyed involved one of us climbing a tree and then the other would chop it down. One time I picked a tree just a little too tall and my mother had to take me in for about six stitches in my chin from the landing. But what a ride it was! Later, Rudy taught me how to smoke while we were out picking beans for a few bucks (I got so sick I wanted to die) and it wasn't long before we were drinking beer, whiskey when we could get it, and seeing how many rules we could break without getting caught. It finally got to the point where I was beginning to consider a little discretion, (albeit not as much as I should have) for fear that I could destroy any chance of a successful future if I didn't start shaping up a little. Although our interests and activities became more and more divergent, we still spent time together usually with Dick & Jerry Trisler, Frank Day, Bill Brown and a few others.
After high school, I went off to college, into the service and then to flying for Northwest Airlines. When we would occasionally get together, Rudy would come up with unbelievable stories. I never knew whether or not to believe them. He rode bulls on the rodeo circuit. All his bones had been broken and were screwed together. He ran a string of hookers out of one of the motels along the highway. He ran a gun-running operation in Central America. He was a mercenary, black marketeer in Viet Nam. He spent some time behind bars for running a load of dope out to the left coast while he was a semi driver. I could go on and on. He was drinking two quarts of Jim Beam a day. He finally had a heart attack, (I wonder why) and they told him if he didn't quit drinking, he'd be dead in two weeks. I do believe he never took another drink. When I would occasionally meet him in a hotel bar while I was in Seattle overnight, he'd always drink coffee. I was overwhelmed by it all. Rudy was way ahead of his time. When I went to see him in '68 when I got out of the Air Force, he had an earring and an Afro. When we were kids, he always tried to get me to go down to 1st Ave. with him to get a tattoo. Thankfully I always declined 'cause I knew if I showed up at home with a tattoo, my dad would kick my ass into the middle of next week.
I came to the conclusion in later years that Rudy was missing something that the rest of us had: a sense of fear. Some degree of a sense of fear must exist in all of us for self preservation if nothing else. One day, when we were around 20, or so, I was following Rudy down Des Moines Way ( Why the hell did they have to change it to Des Moines Memorial Parkway?). We were going somewhere and we needed two cars. I don't remember why. Rudy got pulled over and I pulled over and stopped about a football field behind him. Rudy got out of the car and I could see from my vantage point that he was arguing with the cop about something. The cop seemed to run out of patience and as he was turning Rudy around to have him put his hands on the roof of the car, Rudy hauled off and decked the guy with a right to the jaw. As I saw the cop lying in the middle of Des Moines Way shaking off the blow, I discreetly pulled a quiet 180 and got the hell out of there. Needless to say Rudy spent a few nights as a guest of the county after that little feat of bravery, (well, stupidity maybe, but you gotta admit, it took some stones to take a swing at an armed police officer). No fear, afraid of nothing.
It's said that opposites attract and, as we grew older, we did head off in very different directions but we remained friends for life although we only got together briefly about once a year. My old buddy wasn't quite playing with a full deck toward the end and it saddened me but I was amazed at how he could even still be alive. When I got back to Seattle in the spring of '05, I tried to call him for about a week but to no avail. Knowing he never strayed far from home any more, I drove out to his place, (he lived alone after his mother died; he took good care of her in her last years after she had some strokes.) I knocked on the door, rang the bell but no answer. I considered trying to open the door just to see if he might be in there but decided against it. A few days later, I tried it again with the same result and found a neighbor to ask if they had any information about him. They told me he had died of a massive brain hemorrhage. He had been conscious but helpless for a couple of days before they found him and he died on the way to the hospital. I can't help but believe that the first time I went out to see him, he may have been lying on the floor helpless and if I had tried the door, I may have been able to save him. No use beating myself up over that, I guess, but I'm sure getting sick and tired of losing so many good friends. The only good thing about it is that it sure makes you appreciate the ones you still have even more.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Sonny Matson - The Prep Game
During the fall football season of 1955, our first game was against Seattle Prep, always a tough opponent. We had established a tradition playing a “pre-season” game against them, as well as against Stadium High School in Tacoma, also tough. Do you remember that one or our games was televised in 1955 when we played Stadium HS at Highline? Final score - Highline 13 Stadium 12. That was even before Sputnik was launched on Oct. 4, 1957! But, that’s another story.
From the start of the game, it was head-to-head, rough football. The final outcome was anyone’s guess. At some point in the second half (you can tell it must have been the second half by the condition of my uniform) Seattle Prep’s strategy was to grind out yardage with their running attack. Our defense quickly picked up their strategy and countered with a more aggressive attack by linebackers and defensive backs (more blitzing and anticipating which offensive back would carry the ball for Prep and where he would attack).
Alf Hemstad was a good defensive coach. He played as a guard for the University of Washington and won acclaim as an all-conference guard. As an aside, before attending the U of W, “Alfie” was a co-pilot for B-17’s flying out of England to spread joy and mayhem to the Third Reich. He was a good man, husband, and father, and was one tough hombre when he faced hostile competition.
Prep's star left halfback, Sam Paffile, was a major threat. (A left halfback is now referred to as a “tailback”. In our era tailback was a term reserved for single wing football. Do any of you remember single wing football formations?) Anyway, we received a defensive signal from the bench to “blitz” the left side of Prep’s formation, in anticipation that Sam Pafille was going to carry the ball in that direction. I played as a defensive back, so when the ball was snapped I was to have been in motion to be at the line of scrimmage to meet Sam Pafille!
Everything worked just as our plan predicted. I was in the process of hitting Sam at the line of scrimmage when Don Ossinger showed up. It was all over in what seemed like a split second. The photographer snapped the photo about half way through a violent pirouette. Here’s what happened. . . Don and I crushed Sam between us upon contact, and with Don’s momentum, spun us around. As we all went to the ground, I ended up on the bottom, Sam in the middle, and Don on top. In the split second that all this occurred, I distinctly hear a “snap” and a “grunt” of pain. It took another split second to realize what had happened, and it was very quiet. I heard Sam groan, again, and as Don was “unpiling”, I asked Sam if he was injured. He grimaced, and then said he thought he had broken his leg! I told him to hold still and I would gently untangle from him and get the referee. The Ref showed up a second later, and then signaled for a stretcher. Before I left Sam, I asked if he would be OK. He said he thought so, and then slightly smiled and said, “Thanks for your help”. What a good guy, good sport, and admirable competitor! Happily, Sam only “cracked” a bone in his leg, which would keep him from playing for only three to four weeks.
Who won the game? Highline 18 Seattle Prep 12
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Mike Pennachi - Studebaker Redux
Of school and girls and my Studebaker days.
School and the girls are still lost in space,
But my 47 Studebaker has it’s own special place.
I got my Commander Starlight Coupe from my uncle when I was 16,
The engine was shot and the paint was lean.
I rebuilt the engine, threw away the chrome and the hood ornament too,
Sanded it down and had it painted Powder Blue.
Studebakers had advances that made them fun to drive,
With a hill holder brake and overdrive.
But you couldn’t drag race or you would look like a fool.
So I went slow while trying to look cool.
All of this is not so different from the rest of the pack,
Except that my car had unusual knack.
At a certain speed, about 35,
The whole front of the car would come alive.
Imagine Chuck Yeager in all “All The Right Stuff”,
Breaking the sound barrier was really tough.
Shaking and twisting and seeing double,
You knew right away this guy was in trouble.
Yeager only had to do it once to become a hero.
I did it many times every day and came up batting zero.
My body was battered from my head to my pelvis,
It gave new meaning to “All Shook Up” by Elvis.
If I hung on tight and kept my foot on the gas,
At 42 mph the shaking would stop and the car was as smooth as glass.
So for the rest of my life you know what I won’t do,
Drive any car between 35 and 42.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Chuck Cooper - Street Smarts
Ken Linville- Studebaker Dreams
After I finally got rid of my '48 Stude, my dad drives up with a '55 with a big powerful Packard V-8 in it. I'm thinking, at last, I can lay some 2nd gear rubber and whip some ass on the drag strip! Of course, our drag strips were two-lane arterial highways and we didn't care whether we were in the right or left lane as long as we were leaving our competition behind, something I had yet to experience. The trouble was, with all that power under the hood, the designers decided to put a 'soft' clutch in them. So if you popped the clutch in low gear, it just slipped against itself until the friction would finally allow a nice smooth acceleration up to speed but by the time it did, the guy you were racing was half a mile ahead of you. Dick Trisler even beat me in his '52 Olds and Frank Day's '56 Chevy was over the horizon by the time my clutch would allow some forward movement to noticeably take place.
I'll never forget the night a bunch of us were at the 1st Avenue drive-in when Larry Eichler (class of '54) pulled up in a brand new black '55 Chevy coupe. His dad was a GM dealer in Renton so he had a connection the rest of us would have killed for. It was the first time any of us had ever seen one. There was a kid (I can't recall his name ) who drove a sleek little black Austin-Healey and he was presently "Fastest Gun In The West" king of the hill in the rapid acceleration dept. He was there looking for some competition as we were all crowded around the new Chevy looking under the open hood, oohing and awing over this tiny little V-8 engine. It was hardly any bigger than the 6-pack of Oly over in my back seat. Then, the kid with the Healey made his challenge and the race was on! Engines roared as we all headed over to the Blue Ribbon to start the race. The drag started at 1st Ave. and 152nd to head south and whoever got to Five Corners first was the winner. Can you imagine trying this today? There're about 5 stoplights and 800 cars on that route now at any given time. We watched the beginning of the contest from the starting point but it was clear that Eichler's little Chevy was a hundred feet ahead of the Healey practically right out of the gate. So much for that short reign as drag king. Like they say, "There's no such thing as fastest gun in the west". After the excitement died down, we're sitting in my Gutless Wonder breaking open a pack of Marlboros and sucking on a warm 6 pack and wondering how some guys can get so lucky.
Monday, May 01, 2006
California Story - Bahrenburg & Linville
[Email from Bahrenburg to Linville] Ken, check out Newspaper Clippings on the HLHS 56 web site. The non stop bus ride is always to remember. Did we win any games in California? I do remember the stadium and the school where we had our sleeping arrangements. Looking back, a great journey! Alan
[Linville to Bahrenburg] Thanks for steering me to the 'Newspaper Clippings' link on the web site, Alan. I had been there before but didn't quite make it past all those good-looking girls in the running for the Seafair Crown. I should have been relentlessly persuing every one of them, pleading for dates, wearing them down until they consented to go out with me. Hmmm, not me; I was far too cool to be chasing girls. Let them chase me. (I'm still waiting.)
Wasn't that a great trip we took to San Bernardino?!! It brings back some long forgotten memories. I wouldn't swear to any of this but, I think we won our first game and then, depending on whether it was a single elimination or double elimination tournament, we lost our next one or two games. I'll bet Rich Stanley might remember. I think Dick Trisler told me last year he was still in the area but I have had no contact with him since we played ball together. What a pair of hands 'Itchie' had at 2nd base! I'd buy a ticket just to see him handle a hot, ground ball again. He and you pretty much had the right side of the infield sewn up and water-proof! I remember on the all-night trip home, Itch and I were playing a card game called 'war' on the floor in the back of the bus and keeping the whole team awake with our boisterous call-outs of "WAR" whenever we threw down cards of the same value. This game, of course, required the IQ of a slug to play but were having the time of our lives. I think I might remember you telling us to keep it down a little 'cause some of you were trying to sleep. Needless to say, I don't think we complied.
Do you remember how I got my name in the paper on that trip? It wasn't for playing baseball, although I do remember getting a couple of hits. Al Stanley didn't use me on the mound down there because I had cut the tip of my right thumb quite badly on a band saw just a few days before we left on the trip working down at Boeing that summer and it was all wrapped up in a big bandage. I wanted to pitch so badly but he was afraid my thumb would start bleeding but I did get to play shortstop and hit. I had a pretty good batting average that summer as I remember it. I don't remember who did the pitching but it must have been Keppler and Ken Jacobson from Kirkland. Where was Jim Graham that year?
Jim and I were good friends. I was heart-broken upon hearing of his death. Keith Davison told me he committed suicide but I get a different story from Jan Parker, Larry's wife, who was Jim's wife's best friend. They were both from Renton. I'd like to know for sure. Jim and I were trying out for some semi-pro team in West Seattle around that time or maybe the year after that. It's all fuzzy now. So many good friends gone. Dick Binford was probably the best athlete of our whole group. He would surely have made it to the majors if not for his tragic, untimely death. I know I'm jumping around here but I have to ask you if you remember a time one spring when a few of us were out in our Memorial Stadium after school one afternoon and we decided to see who among us was faster than the proverbial speeding bullet. Of course, I wasn't in the running. The coaches always told me the only problem with the way I ran was that I stayed in one place too long. Anyway, a few of us had some wagers on the table as to who could leave the others in their trail dust for the 100 yard dash down the cinder track from east to west right in front of the grandstand. There were 3 of you in the race: Bill Rich, Jim Graham, and you. I knew you all needed drag chutes to slow down when you got to full speed but my money was on Bill, another of my dearest friends who left us much too early. Keith says to talk to Mick Stewart about that one. I didn't think anyone could stay with Bill Rich on a cinder track. I figured you for a close second and Gruesome would be bringing up the rear. Do you remember who won? Jimmy crossed the line barely 2 or 3 feet in front of you and Bill and you two were in a dead heat even up. I don't think we were timing it but, holy frijole, you guys covered that 100 yards like it was about 10. How exciting! Even though I lost a buck or two, I wouldn't have missed that impromptu contest for anything.
Anyway (I've gotta wrap this up; we don't have that much time left to be reading this kind of trash), getting back to getting my name in the paper, after our last game down there for the Connie Mack Regional Championship, which, sadly, we lost, Tom Gibbs and I slipped away to have a smoke while the rest of you were watching the next game. As we were strolling along, enjoying our Marlboros, and trying to figure out what we did wrong, and what we should have done to win the game to avoid being eliminated from the tournament, a purple '49 or '50 Ford pulled up beside us and ask us if we'd seen Juan or Pedro or some one like that and Gibbs says to them, "Naw, we're from Seattle." I said to him, "You dumb shit, don't tell 'em that. They'll be all over us like flies on a dead cat!" About that time, someone in the car said, "Let's get 'em!" and 8 Latinos (I think they called them Pachukos then, no doubt very politically incorrect nowadays) jumped out of the car and surrounded us. Tom said, "I'm outta here!" and he took off running faster than I'd ever seen him go. I should have done the same but, stupidly, I was curious as they stood around me sizing me up. Someone said, "Give us your cigarettes." Well, I wasn't about to do that, then, all of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain on my right cheek as one of them lashed out from behind me with a 2 foot long rubber hose with a bolt in the end of it. Now, I finally got the clue (what a quick study I was). I turned around quickly and kicked the guy with the hose right in the gonads as hard as I could. As he crumbled to the ground it left a hole like you used to like to see when you were carrying the football. As I bolted through it, I may have been running faster than any of you guys in the aforementioned race. When I got back to the team, Gibbs was leading them back to the scene to rescue me. When our coach saw my face he insisted I get medical attention. At the emergency room they called for a cop, who wanted all the details because it sounded like the M. O. of the gang they's been looking for. Later that night they were picked up put in the slammer for some pretty bad deeds they'd been up to. I made the paper the next day as assaulted by the gang. I never saw Tom Gibbs after that until we ran into each other at Jerry Trisler's funeral a few years ago, (here we go again) and I enjoyed chiding him about that night. He remembered it well. It was good to see him after all those years.
Since I've pecked at this story a few minutes a day for about 3 days, I think I'll send it to Coop, too. He may find some interesting parts of it he might want to edit and post. Looking forward to seeing you, Al. Ken