Glory Days

Back to the roots

Sometimes I feel a bit too old to be on Facebook but, on balance, I like it and reconnecting with some old friends has been a bonus. My friend Clara refuses to do FB because she’s convinced that only the creepiest people from her past will friend her. My experience has been pretty good: the high school friends I’ve connected with are people I liked as opposed to the schoolyard bully or the class know it all.

I was a hippie rock-n-roll freak when I was a young whippersnapper. Surprised? Probably not. I wore the same jeans jacket for 3 years complete with a Zappa button on one pocket and a Lennon button on the other side. Not exactly a balanced ticket but unbalanced is okay with me. My friend Betsey called it my “drug coat” and she was probably right. She’s one of the friends I’ve gotten back in touch with online. She’s become totally respectable but I knew her when none of us were. Heh, heh, heh.

It was via Betsey that I learned some sad, sad news, which left me pondering my own mortality. Our old friend Signe died recently. It was a surprise because she was always fit as a fiddle and twice as lively. I hadn’t seen Signe since the 1980’s but I recall meeting her when we were 5 years old. We went to the same Greek Orthodox church and were in the same Sunday school class. My mother, who was raised Lutheran, taught us one year, which was kind of odd for me: I couldn’t get away with being the class clown with her. Damn maternal mind control.

Besides being a convert to Othodoxy (it never took with me) my blond Norwegian mother was the best damn Greek cook in the world. Mercifully, she foresook such Scandie delicacies as pickled herring and other stinky vittles in favor of pastichio and moussaka. Btw, our family never put spuds in moussaka and I was horrified the first timeI had it that way. Apparently, it’s a Northern Greek thing so now I accept that version as valid albeit grudgingly.

Anyway, Signe was one of my first crushes and was always one of my favorite people growing up so I was very sad to hear that she’d passed. My parents knew that I had a crush on Signe who was, after all, a nice Greek girl so they encouraged me to take an interest in her later on, which meant, of course, that I did the opposite. It was her lucky day…

Since I’m waltzing down memory lane, the picture above is of what the kids today would call my posse: David, Russ, Steve and me. (I can’t believe I ever wore a frakking flannel shirt. Holy Fogerty, Batman.) I hadn’t seen this picture in eons until our friend Peter (hereinafter the Other Peter) posted it on Facebook. If I recall correctly the Other Peter was the photographer and this is a portrait of surly young men worthy of Richard Avedon. Okay, I’m exaggerating but it’s a fun snapshot.

When we were too young to hang out in bars, we’d head to Denny’s for our late night stoner food. It was an old school Denny’s in San Mateo complete with pastel viny booths and big ass asterisks everywhere. I’m not sure why the asterisks were the motif but I dug it. Perhaps they were trying to keep Roger Maris away or were fans of the great astericker: Ford Fucking Frick.

We must have been major pains in the ass for the staff because our trips to Denny’s often involved goofy juvenille performance art, which we thought was hilarious but was probably cringe inducing. I recall going in late one night and Steve was wearing a wet suit and I was toting Russ’ kid brother’s tuba. That’s particularly ironic because as an adult I loathe tubas. (Just ask Elspeth Ravenwind. One of her joys in life is making tuba jokes at my expense. Hit me with your best shot, sweetie.)

I wasn’t jerky enough to toot the damn thing at an asterisk or even at the oily and unctuous manager who was dating one of our more glamorous high school classmates. We called him Stephanie Harold Dude because her name was guess what. She was blond and self possessed enough to play Crystal Allen in a school production ofThe Women. She was, of course, the homewrecker played by Joan Crawford in the film version. I have no idea if Stephanie grew up to be a homewrecker or even a tuba toter but I hope she did better than Stephanie Harold Dude. All I recall about him was that he was Lucely in charge of the Booths at the astericky Denny’s…

Where am I going with this? Nowhere in a hurry. Oh yeah, a bit aboutGlory Days, which is one of my favorite Springsteen songs. It’s a chirpy poppy song with dark lyrics. That seems to be a speciality of Jersey songwriters, the same phrase describes a lot of Pat Dinizio’s work with the Smithereens.

Anyhoo, here’s a particularly joyful version ofGlory Days from my third favorite city in the world: London. Hyde Park to be exact. Bruce and Little Steven start cracking up when the latter leans into the mike to sing his trademark raspy harmonies. Great stuff from a glorious band.

12 thoughts on “Glory Days

  1. That was an awesome shot. It could have easily have been the cover of Foghat’s Greatest Hits Album.
    Sorry for the loss of your friend. I often find out about such things via facebook as well…

  2. Dude, you werehot back in the day! I TOTALLY would have tapped that when I was in college.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. My best friend from college died about 12 years ago, I know what it feels like to lose a member of the posse. It really is like a big hole in your life since everyone is taking to the Facebooks and MySpaces and Twitters to reconnect. Reunions are not as much fun, and there’s always that awkward conversation: “Do you ever hear from Ellen?” And I have to break the news.
    But yeah, Denny’s was a popular late-night drunk hangout for us, too. That and In-N-Out burgers. Now of course Denny’s is politically incorrect (is it that they’re anti-gay? Anti-African-American? Anti-woman? I can’t keep it straight …)
    Getting old sucks in a lot of ways.
    Well, on that cheery note, let me find my walker and toddle over to the kitchen to make dinner for the grandkids. 🙂

  3. Flannel shirts are the bomb. I loved every second of the jeans-cargo-pants-big-shoes-flannel-shirts ’90s.

  4. @mimi: Sleeves were rolled up, which is how I rolled back then as it were.
    @mimi and lisa: If I were capable of blushing I would.

  5. omg dude that picture says it all 🙂
    I just recently found a picture from back in my Navy days that brought back tons of memories, and then one of my old Navy buds reached out to me on Facebook a couple of days later. Weird how that happens!

  6. From Niles, Calif. but know the Dennys you talk about. It was along time long ago but good vibes back in the day. The entire Bay Area was a small city in a way.

  7. Koool, Adrastos. I like the pose. That looks like a plaid shirt to me. I think flannel is heavier and for lumberjacks and such. You were in San Mateo which is nowhere near Malone or Lowville, NY.
    From Wikileaks: “It (flannel) is also very beneficial in upstate New York, particularly Lowville, during the winter months.”

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