George Ellery Hale Junior High School, later Middle School and now ‘Charter Academy’
Woodland Hills, California
My alma mater from the formative years 1963-65… (grades 7-9). Actually a pretty good school as I recall it. The worst I ever saw was chains and switchblades (à la “West Side Story”). Now they’ve got MAC 10′s and 9 mil’s… a definite ‘upgrade’ in fire-power… and a concomitant downgrade in humanity…
the 200″ Palomar Telescope, Telstar I and the Hale JHS motto: “Reflecting the Highest”
These were also my Boy Scout years. I hated it when my Dad was Scoutmaster, but I generally had a good time and I loved hiking and camping!
Here’s me and my parents at my Eagle Scout award ceremony:
Aren’t I just adorable, giving my Mom (RIP) a kiss in front of everybody?
[was I ever really that young? ]
[if you don't know the Boy Scouts (beyond their bigoted anti-gay stance), the Eagle award is a BIG DEAL. They have to convene a National Council to bestow one and there is plenty of formal 'foo-foo-rah' all around]
But I slowly soured on the quasi-military flavour of the whole thing, even though I did get to the top rung on the ladder in record time… and I already looked like a Mexican general when in full regalia… Besides, by this time I’d gotten my first electric guitar and the crosswinds of puberty and surf music and Beatles were gusting through me…
Late in 1965 my Dad took a gig with General Electric in Phoenix and we moved from the San Fernando Valley to the Valley of the Sun… Scottsdale, actually.
I went from being a Junior High ‘senior’ to a High School freshman overnight when I enrolled at Scottsdale High School. The next year (1966), Saguaro High School opened and I was ‘re-districted’. Bob McAlister and Kirk Patterson (a bit o’ the Scots in there too!) became my best friends and my musical tastes turned to Yardbirds and blues while still retaining my Beatles ‘foundation’. I was practising a LOT by then.
(I’ll wrap this up soon as I sense your glazed eyes beginning to roll back in your heads!)
By early 1968, Kirk Patterson had turned me on to a new band from the San Fernando Valley called ‘Spirit’, featuring one Randy ‘California’ (RIP) on guitar. It’s a really good album for its day, and Mr. California and Mr. Jeff Beck became two of my chief influences.
Anyway, there’s a song on the ‘Spirit’ LP called “The Great Canyon Fire in General” that refers to a large wildfire in the Santa Monica Mountains (between Woodland Hills and Malibu) that had happened backed in 1961 (when I lived there). It was a major conflagration and the local news channels were telling us to stay tuned for possible evacuation. Called the ‘Santa Ynez’ fire, we could see the flames along the crest of the hills and smell the smoke and hear the planes and helicopters. Many of us hosed down our roofs to protect from burning embers and the smoke was everywhere. It was an Event:
Be sure to go back and listen from the beginning as it really is a pretty cool recording that holds up quite well IMHO. Randy’s guitar KILLS!
If you got this far then you have more patience than I do! But Thanks!