My Bio: Life as I know it
I was born July 25th, 1951 in Pamona, California, which is a suburb of Los Angeles. I was raised in a vast section of tract homes in La Puente until the ripe old age of seven. My brothers and I played everyday with all the other kids that lived up and down the street. We obeyed their parents as if they were our parents, and whenever we were bad, we'd get spanked by whatever parent was around at the time; and everybody was okay with that. We built go-carts and rubber band guns; bounced around on pogo sticks, and played cowboys and indians. No one ever bothered to lock their front doors, and kids were in and out of every house on the block. Life was easy and we were all in it together.
My grandparents owned a large chicken ranch in the country. Every Sunday we’d go there after church and I’d help my grandmother collect eggs and feed the chickens. I still recall people coming over to their house to buy eggs. I don’t remember what she charged, but I’m sure it wasn’t very much. Sometimes a poor family would stop by that couldn’t afford the eggs; so grandma always had a crate full of slightly cracked ones that she’d just give to them. Back then, it seemed, everyone helped each other out. There was a feeling of love and understanding that, since then, has disappeared.
When I was in the third grade my parents bought a dairy in Fresno, California, which is in the center of the San Joaquin Valley. This is a rural area that is filled with farmers and ranchers. They grow or raise everything under the sun: grapes, raisins, oranges, walnuts, pecans, almonds, plums, nectarines, cherries, strawberries, peaches, figs, corn, alfalfa, cows, horses, sheep, pigs, and chickens; like I said, everything under the sun. It is a melting pot of nationalities filled with Mexican farm laborers, Chinese immigrants, and Armenian land owners. It was the home of the great author, William Saroyan, who wrote all his short stories and poems about life in and around Fresno. His books are very good.
Living on a dairy is hard work, to say the least, but I always got to drive the tractor. I was ten years old and driving; man, that was fun! I learned to milk cows, raise calves, and ride horses too; also how to feed and take care of each and everyone of them. In my day, doing a good job was its own reward. My parents were not wealthy, and I never received a salary for doing my share of the work, but there were other kinds of rewards given for a job-well-done. Like the day my dad gave me my very own horse. Dolly, was her name; a Welsh Pony, brown as fresh baked bread with a black mane and tail. Gosh, I loved that horse. The experience and memories are ones that I will never forget, and there is no amount of money that could ever replace that.
When I wasn’t riding my horse bareback like an American Indian, I was going to school. I attended West Park Elementary, a country school that held classes K-8th grades. The school was located a full country block away from my home, (probably about a mile), which I had to walk to and from everyday; (don’t worry; I’m not going to tell you I walked through the snow). No, not snow. Fresno is hot. It gets around 110 degrees in the summertime. I remember a little country store just about midway home from school. I would buy a soda for a nickel and maybe some penny candies. You could get all kinds of stuff for a quarter. Life was slow and good.
I did pretty well in school, mostly “B’s” and “C’s”. The “A’s” always did seem to elude me, at least until I got into high school and met Mrs. Robinson. She was my English teacher, and she introduced me to James Thurber, an author that wrote fables like Aesop. His stories were so witty and clever that I was immediately hooked on writing. The following year I took Journalism and wrote a column for the school newspaper; the "Grizzley Gazette" it was called. I wrote, you guessed it, fables. The teachers and students loved my work. I became quite popular around campus as “the guy with the funny stories.”
In 1964 The Beatles arrived in America. I watched their first performance on the “Ed Sullivan Show” on grandma and grandpa’s old RCA television. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a “rock star.”
Over the years, things happen and people change, but I didn’t. I got a guitar and learned how to play. I still have seven vintage guitars hanging on my wall in the den that I've collected over the years. I remember practicing everyday, until my fingers bled. I loved it. I started writing songs and eventually sold several in Hollywood, California. Now, that is a town with a story.
I have since moved my family to the green state of Washington. I have a beautiful wife who is a school teacher, and four lovely daughters. They all love to write, and I’m sure you will get a chance to read some of their work soon.
I can’t wait to see some of your stories, hear everything about you, and where you live in this big old world.
Write me at email@example.com