Saturday, January 31, 2009

26. When I was four years old, my father heard me saying a little poem :

Play, play, it's time to play!
Play all day, that's what I say!
Your work is done,
come out in the sun!
Play, play, play!

As it happened, he was rushing off to work (as he always was - the poem was probably meant for him), so he wrote it down on a tiny piece of brown paper - a key tag (for a set of keys).

50 years later, my mother sent the key tag to me in the mail.

27. The first rock music I ever listened to was in jr. high school art class. The teacher, who was a sculptor, liked to play Beatles, Byrds, Doors in the background - he thought it made us more creative.

28. I started taking guitar lessons when I was about 13 or 14, from a guy who taught after hours in a small music shop in a little shopping center called Lilac Lane, in St. Louis Park (I think). Harmonica I taught myself, listening to old records - Sonny Boy Williamson, etc. I also had a book on the subject by a local musician named Tony Glover. I heard him play with his band one summer in Loring Park, which is across the highway from the Walker Art Center.

29. I heard Leo Kottke give a concert once on the Washington Bridge, near the U. of M. (These musical anecdotes are from the late 60s.)

30. My senior year in high school I was playing in a band called Spur of the Moment. We had a kind of Elvis lookalike as lead singer (he was the oldest, recently out of the Army). I played harmonica and a miniature piano, which was actually QUITE heavy (it was a small upright) - rigged up with a microphone in back. Tom Davis, of the Franken & Davis comedy duo, was one of our "roadies".
Franken, a classmate of mine with Tom, later ran for US Senate, and maybe he actually won.

31. Franken & I were on the wrestling team together in high school. He was a weight class heavier, but we often practiced together. Neither of us were outstanding wrestlers, but we were on the varsity squad. It was one of the toughest sports or activities I ever put myself through.

32. I used to walk to school, along some disused trolley tracks in Hopkins. I did the paper route in the same area. The neighborhood was a cosmos. We are talking ticky-tacky, working/middle class suburb, 50s & 60s - but with trees, woods, hills, lakes, lakes, old farm remnants.

33. The public library in Hopkins had a spiral staircase up to the children's section.

34. Once on a canoe trip with a group of boys and a teacher/guide, we had lashed two canoes together to make a catamaran, since the lake was endlessly long. We raised up some sleeping bags for sails, & sailed blissfully downwind. Then the teacher, Mr. Fisher, asked me to saw the rope or log binding the canoes together, and as I started to do so, I dropped our saw - our only saw - to the bottom of the lake.

35. On rest breaks on rocks, after canoing, we used to spear flies with pine needles. (The flies were everywhere, & voracious.)

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