Archive for the ‘ Misspent Youth ’ Category

A Blast From the Past

My god, what is up with those shorts? And that haircut? Outside our house at 17 Robinson Street in Houlton, Maine, around 1971. That’s mom, me, Sally, Grandma Rackliff, Jim and Grandpa Rackliff.

“I don’t want to die … I don’t want to be hurt and please don’t hit me.”

— John Lennon (my senior quote in my 1979 high school year book)

30 years ago tonight, I was sitting downstairs in my dorm, in a study carrel, writing a poli sci paper at the last possible moment (politics of Latin America; Professor Valenzuela), when I overheard two students walking by, talking about “some former Beatle or something” who had just been murdered in New York. In disbelief, I ran into the commons room next door, flipped on the TV and saw my hero, John Lennon. I cried. I remember that night like it was yesterday night.

Updated Photos

I updated the Flickr slideshow in the post below to include some more photos I shot at Norfolk Academy, around Norfolk and Va. Beach. Sitting at the airport now waiting on a 7:36 p.m. flight, which will get me home about midnight. Taking tomorrow off to recuperate from my whirlwind tour of the old haunts. Some highlights from the Flickr set below:

This one's for Jesse: PETA world HQ in Norfolk.

This one's for Jesse: PETA world HQ in Norfolk.

The old homestead in Virginia Beach, a little worn around the edges

The old homestead in Virginia Beach, a little worn around the edges

The bar where my dad bought me my first legal beer. Surprisingly, it is still in the same spot next to the grocery store.

The bar where my dad bought me my first legal beer. Surprisingly, it is still in the same spot next to the grocery store.

Our beloved Norfolk Academy mascot, with a face only a mother bulldog could love

Our beloved Norfolk Academy mascot, with a face only a mother bulldog could love

Day 1 at the Beach

I spent today driving around Virginia Beach and Norfolk, visiting my old haunts and feeling sentimental and nostalgic. I spent a lot of time at the beach itself, taking in the changes. The Beach has grown a lot in the 30 years since I left, but there are still several old standbys hanging on — The Jewish Mother deli and bar, the saltwater taffy joints and the palm readers. I ate at Lynnhaven Seafood House (fresh local flounder, scallops, stuffed shrimp and oysters rockefeller, accompanied by homemade hushpuppies and a couple of nice India Pale Ales from Dogfish Head brewery).

I also spent a lot of time driving around my old neighborhood. Aragona Village has seen its better days, but there are signs that things are picking up a bit (a BMW dealer and a Land Rover dealer just up the street, for example, plus a couple of high-rise hotels over by Pembroke Mall). I was really missing my mom as I pulled up in front of the old homestead to shoot some photos. I can still remember her painting the house each summer in her bikini top, stopping cars out in the street as drivers tried to get a better look. The trees are almost all gone, including the tree in the side yard where Jimmy and I had our treehouse. The pines along the driveway are also gone. Looks like the Sentmans’ old house next door might be abandoned — the wooden front door is badly damaged and looks almost shredded.

Tomorrow is the all-alumni reunion picnic and tour of the school, then a homecoming pep rally, alumni barbecue and Headmaster’s reception. Sounds like a full day. On Saturday, we have another barbecue, the homecoming football game and my class of ’79 party at a classmate’s house. I have the day free on Sunday, before flying out that evening.

Heading Home

Norfolk-VA

Norfolk, Va., waterfront, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Norfolk from space, courtesy of NASA

Norfolk from space, courtesy of NASA

I’m sitting in the MSP Airport as I type this, waiting on my flight south, just ahead of the coming snow. I’m going back to Norfolk for my high school reunion and Homecoming (go Bulldogs!) While I’m back at Navy Inc., I’ll also be visiting the old ‘hood in VaBeach. Haven’t been back to Aragona Village and the Beach in 25 years. Looking forward to getting my feet wet and visiting some of the old haunts.

Did a Wikimedia image search for my old high school, Norfolk Academy, which was founded in 1728 on land given to the school by Patrick Henry (yes, that Patrick Henry). All I found was the photo below. Yup, just how I remember the place.

Art and his pals get ready to write with chalk on their slates and read from their primers

Art and his pals get ready to write with chalk on their slates and read from their primers

The Original Wailers

The Original Wailers play the Minnesota State Fair on Aug. 30, 2009

The Original Wailers play the Minnesota State Fair on Aug. 30, 2009

Laurie and I spent the day Aug. 30 at the Minnesota State Fair sans kids (both girls had better things to do than hang out at the fair with their parents, though we plan to go back on Labor Day, last day of the fair). I really wanted to go because the Original Wailers, Bob Marley‘s band, were playing a free show at the Leinie Lodge. The band, which included just two of the actual original Wailers, Al Anderson and Junior Marvin, did a great job with the Marley catalog, plus threw in one new original number for good measure. The set list, as captured by my Twitter feed:
UpWithTheMooses
8:38pm, Aug 30 from txt
Stir it up!

UpWithTheMooses
8:42pm, Aug 30 from txt
I shot the sheriff!

UpWithTheMooses
8:55pm, Aug 30 from txt
Get up stand up

UpWithTheMooses
8:56pm, Aug 30 from txt
Concrete jungle. What a show… #Thewailers

UpWithTheMooses
9:04pm, Aug 30 from txt
Natty dread. Irie! #thewailers at #mnstatefair

UpWithTheMooses
9:27pm, Aug 30 from txt
New original tune followed by We And Them then by Pimpers Paradise. #Thewailers #MNSTATEFAIR

UpWithTheMooses
9:28pm, Aug 30 from txt
Buffalo soldier #thewailer #mnstatefair

UpWithTheMooses
9:37pm, Aug 30 from txt
War #thewailers #mnstatefair no more war

UpWithTheMooses
9:44pm, Aug 30 from txt
Three little birds #thewailers #mnstatefair don’t worry about a thing — every little thing’s gonna be all right

UpWithTheMooses
9:47pm, Aug 30 from txt
Heathen #thewailers #mnstatefair my theme song. Howa

UpWithTheMooses
9:55pm, Aug 30 from txt
Jamming #thewailers #mnstatefair I and I will see you through

UpWithTheMooses
10:02pm, Aug 30 from txt
Encore number one: redemption song #thewailers #mnstatefair

UpWithTheMooses
10:11pm, Aug 30 from txt
Encore number two: exodus #thewailers #mnstatefair movement of jah people

Better than a Pronto Pup or a Nut Roll on a stick!

Better than a Pronto Pup or a Nut Roll on a stick!

One of the highlights of the fair, for me at least, was the Summit Beer on a stick, a flight of three Summits — Extra Pale Ale, Oktoberfest and Horizon Red Ale — served on a wooden paddle. Mmmm mmm. Above is a picture of me enjoying my favorite fair treat. Thanks, Mr. Stutrud. You the (beer) man!

Glory Days

That's one skinny boy

That's one skinny boy

Found this old picture while I was poking around in the vast, dusty archives of the Coulson Presidential Library. Yep, that’s me, posing in front of the family estate in Virginia Beach with my dad’s MGB convertible. I was covered in paint and wood stain after my first day at a real job (house painter for R&J Contractors). I used the photo to illustrate a CD I burned the other day of the first Bruce Springsteen concert I ever attended, on Aug. 14, 1978, at Hampton Coliseum. I was amazed to discover the concert in its entirety online. It sure brought back wonderful memories of my first taste of The Boss 30 years ago.

Here’s an annotated set list from the concert:

HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL
A rarity I’ve never heard him play again in 30 years
BADLANDS
You gotta live it every day…
SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
Made me want to hang out at Greasy Lake with Janie and the rest of the gang. But what was that dust Wild Billy shook out of his coonskin cap?
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
The namesake of the tour.
FACTORY
More rousing in concert than on the record. Could have really slowed the show down, but instead served as a great build-up to…
THE PROMISED LAND
The dogs on Main Street howl, ’cause they understand…
PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
He did.
RACING IN THE STREET
The summer’s here and the time is right. He got that right.
THUNDER ROAD
The sign on the shack said, “This is the land of peace, love, justice — and no mercy.” The sign at the end of the road read, “Thunder Road.”
JUNGLELAND
The Professor showed us how he earned his PhD on the piano.
PARADISE BY THE C
What? An instrumental? OK, Clarence, whatever you want to play…
FOR YOU
I came for you, but I did not need your urgency.
4TH JULY ASBURY PARK (SANDY)
RIP Danny Federici.
SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN
We enter the cover song portion of the evening with a Chuck Berry rocker.
NOT FADE AWAY/GLORIA/SHE’S THE ONE
Unreal extended jam — thought the concert was ending, but it was only halfway there. Sure got my $7 worth (yes, youngsters, there was a time when concert tickets could be had for single digits.)
GROWIN’ UP
Where I was in my head at the time. No wonder I love this band.
BACKSTREETS
The Professor shines again.
ROSALITA (Come Out Tonight)
Now I know your mama she don’t like me ’cause I play in a rock ‘n’ roll band…
BORN TO RUN
The joint was rocking. If memory serves, the house lights came up and all 18,000 fans were standing on their chairs and singing along. But I’m old and my memory might have been embellished over the years. And by this point in the concert, my brain might have been a bit muddled (from all the studying I’d been doing. What did you think I meant?)
BECAUSE THE NIGHT
Patti Smith had just borrowed this song from Bruce in the recording studio and made it into a hit. He showed her how the original was played in the encore.
QUARTER TO THREE
A song written by Gary “U.S.” Bonds in Norfolk and recorded on Church Street in that fair city across the river from Hampton. A rock classic and fitting end to the most amazing concert.