Sunday
Dec311989

« Ed's 1989 Summary...ish »

The following is a kinda-faithful transcription of the journal I wrote summing up what impressed me as the first year filled with coming-of-age events and transitions. I have dated it here so that it falls at the very end of 1989, but there is a part of it that was written as late as February 1990. The year 1989 was the transition between 10th and 11th grades, sure, but it was also a year when I took up music, plunged into church life, had my first heartaches, and grappled with how to hold it all together. The original is typewritten on paper, so it is just a stream of consciousness flow with no effort at editing. I was far from becoming fond of typing, and the original has dreadful use of punctuation, sentence structure, and flow. There are extensive handwritten notes and yellow highlighted sections that help explain or call attention to particulars. The last couple pages are written equally badly in manuscript. In other words, it is a mess. Of course I never intended for it to be seen online! This is not a verbatim transcription though. I straightened out some of the gnarly sentences but tried to retain the message. I decided to leave the flow intact, even though there are points where I thought I was ending it, only to find I had forgotten bits that sent me off on other tangents. It is very much the diary of a 16 year old who has his head and heart exploding with possibility, even while in a rather conservative setting. A number of things are a bit embarrassing, but in the interest of presenting a minimally varnished picture of how I progressed, here it is. Transcribed July 2011. [Additional contemporary comments are in brackets.] Earlier handwritten ones were worked into the text if possible, and sometimes appear in parentheses. You also might want to read a more recent attempt at telling the 1989 story.

Nine-teen-hundred-eighty-nine.

I'm not too sure WHY I'm doing this—perhaps a "follow up" to the school year one. DISCLAIMER: this is purely improvised, however, true. [That means it is really bleepin' scatterbrained.]

This year has been surprisingly good. It never stood still. Always moving. Quite a few changes have taken place—most of which for the better. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

In December 1988, a week before Christmas, I met Shelby Duncan at one of my play rehearsals for the church. Just another guest of someone, I supposed. That's probably what I had in mind and until the next week, that was true. Funny thing was, the evening of the play itself, she came to me for conversation. (That usually wouldn't happen, and I still don't know why, but I won't argue.) After the play, everyone went to the Snyder's for their party where Shelby and I continued our conversation. What we talked about I forget, but I wish I could remember. We exchanged phone calls and saw each other at church. About then I suggested we go see my model in the Aerospace Museum. [A winner in the junior model contest there. I won two consecutive years with different entries. It was a rather notable thing for the 14-15 year old I was then.] I'd treat. It didn't materialize. Neither did the next attempt. Certain events occurred and her attitude (toward me at least—many others of our age didn't like her) seemed to worsen. In addition to that, the problem of what to wear to church toward the end of January didn't get better—the Salt [father, I called him the "Old Salt" around this time] had to have his way here. So, between not having "proper dress clothes" and feeling slightly rejected, I decided not to go to church. As it turned out, both Shelby and church would not see hide nor hair of me for seven and five months, respectively.

About that time a series of events took place in February: I lost almost all interest in things academic (but my grades didn't show this), and I switched to KGB-101 FM for rock and roll instead of the Top 40. I was also told by the orthodontist to wear six rubber bands in some most awkward places. After trying them on once, I refused to wear them for six weeks (which was exactly the prescribed period). I can only say that I said "NO!" What I did have to say is too wretched for words, even if "NO!" is a gross understatement. [This kind of language dots journals for years to come, almost as if I was writing for my grandmother and withholding the real punchy stuff I wanted to say. You can imagine the veiled tellings of my early girl experiences in 1992!]

My algebra class, my wonderful algebra class, was no more. I was set back. It seemed that I never really worked in a math class that year, allowing more time for high school's finer pleasures: goofing off. Aaron Summerville played a part in this mess called 1989.

When I started listening to KGB-FM I thought it might last a few weeks, maybe less. When I was still on B-100 or whatever [Y-95, probably], the DJ said about the Grammy awards the night before, "Guess who won best heavy metal? JETHRO TULL!" I didn't have a clue what was so special, and if was heavy metal, I really didn't care. I found out when I heard Bungle in the Jungle on KGB. I ironically thought, oh this sure is heavy metal! As it turned out, I liked Tull (which again is an understatement). I only have all of their albums! (Actually, at the time of writing, I have 70% of their albums and don't plan on stopping yet.) I like them genuinely. I like them for the simple fact that for the most part no one my age likes the group. The trouble with that is I can't get anyone my age to try Tull, except Aaron and some others. Do you think they might something against a 20 year old rock band that uses flutes and mandolins? Funny thing is, I didn't buy any albums for a long time, and when I did, it was a 65 song compilation set for $5 instead of $45ish. (Someone made a copy for me.) I could write all day on the creative aspects of why I like Tull. Once I had the compilation set in hand I wanted to get a regular album so I got their newest album [Rock Island]. It wasn't in stores a week before I had mine. After that, my collection took off, getting about one tape a week or so. [For a few months till Christmas when I got a CD player then had to decide which of the Tull albums to get on CD, even if I already had them on tape.]

I forgot to say that some months before I started to collect Tull I had already collected some Def Leppard. In fact, I got all four of their albums. That went fast—the only two that I wanted to have I had in two weeks. The other two are terrible [On Through the Night, Hi 'n' Dry]. Def Leppard is another BAND that caught my ear with a characteristic sound that can't be duplicated. While the sound was nice, I had other reasons for liking Def Leppard.

I had been hearing some stories about one armed drummers in some rock band. At the Command Post, spending nine hours a weekend there, Ross Shekleton would joke about and do cheap impersonations of Rick Allen (hand behind his back, drumming like Rick would appear). I wanted to find out more. So I finished off the collection and later ordered their book.

Drum Revival. It was about time.

Early in the summer, Adam Calabrese approached me asking to buy my drum kit. I said I'd sell, gave him a price, etc. He couldn't pay that much so down it went. Still too much for him to pay, even at $300. The folks told me to make my best effort to sell my drums (which I didn't), and now they probably wish I had. [I did end up selling the kit about the time the original journal was completed in February 1990. Then I bought a kit more to my liking.]

I lived at the G-parents' during the summer and sometimes I just wanted to be alone at my house to kill time. One day, not too long after Adam asked to buy the drums, I picked up the sticks and tried to play out of the book. (Earlier on, I used the kit for comic effect after a joke like on TV or radio.) When I had this down, I played to music. Sometimes I brought the stereo to the drums, and other times, the drums to the stereo—either parts of the kit or the whole thing. I did all this while the Salt was away. When I got a new bike I did this more often since I could transport myself. First, I began playing Def Leppard but as my collection of Tull got bigger, with more selections, that's what I played. Soon I quit using any book as my confidence and endurance increased so that I could play longer, faster, and smoother and not care who was listening. After I started to use earplugs I'd go through two hours if homework would allow. (All too often in the first quarter of 11th grade I paid for drumming with my grades.) The reason I got back into drumming, I think, is because of what Rick Allen did for himself; going back to playing after his accident that left him without a left arm. While his situation and mine have no similarities, I still thought it brave to do what he did. It set me thinking, what's my excuse?

Models

I had been planning to win "Best Jr." award since the day I laid eyes on it. By the time all those things were happening in February I had a project going nicely that I was planning to take to the local IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) contest in April. That was all fine. My boredom with school and a contest that I was set on winning fit together beautifully. Part of the contest's success was due to the fact that I started to do armor kits after a semi-serious pact with myself and others to never do armor kits. So, as you might predict, school was put on the back burner for a few weeks. As it turned out I never had a return of interest in school like I thought I might. When I figured out that I had lotsa time left I started work on other projects. Soon I had three, four, five models completed in about equal numbers of armor and aircraft. Just then did I realize the rules of the contest—three constitutes a category. Hey, I could win this. Fill a category of armor, a category of aircraft… So that's what I did. Three of each so the category would be split in my favor.

I invited my friend Traci Flint to join me at the contest that night since I felt I could win. So I did! I didn't want to let anybody down! And brother did I win! I only swept two categories and too the darn plaque I wanted for such a long time. After that night, the local club added a new rule to their list: no sweeps. I wonder why.

That wasn't the only contest. I still had a national contest [hosted in San Diego] to think about. While the hype for the national was not as much as for April's, I did keep it in mind even though I thought I couldn't stand a chance. The events there were boring and killed the feet but I suppose it was worth it. The results were okay. I got four plaques for Best Junior/Out of the Box; Best Junior/Sci Fi; Best Junior/Armor; Best Junior/Miscellaneous. My armor entry, an M-1 Abrams tank, wasn't even finished! The paint still smelled from being painted the day before. Traci wasn't there that time but she brought good luck at the next quarterly local contest. And that was the last I saw of the contests. I might go back after some time but I think I killed the hobby with all the model madness in the spring and all the winning in April. In February I warned my leading competitor Jeff (who built armor kits mainly), that I was going to beat him at his own game someday. It's nice to keep your promises sometimes.

Church

This is another that took me by storm. The storm came early in the summer. The first thing that kicked it off was a high school youth group trip to see the movie Dead Poets Society. I learned a new term with that movie: carpe diem. Seize the day. It pretty much sums up this year. The movie was great but I wonder what the others thought of my super slurred speech. [I was just minutes from receiving my orthodontic retainer, and had not been seen at church for five months.]

I found out the vacation bible school was to be a lot earlier in the summer than I thought. It was then that I began to think again about returning after so many months off the scene there. I'm glad I went. I really had fun there. Made some new friends or reinforced some older ones. That experience was more important than the movie, and if it wasn't so good, things would be different now. Along with bay picnics I got into other things like bible study. Sometimes Jerry [pastor] or Judy [associate pastor/youth group leader] and I went to lunch to know each other better. On a couple of occasions we planned for our retreat in the Cuyamaca mountains where we started a new group for the high school age kids. At the first full group meeting in the mountains we talked about possible names and rules and topics that could be discussed. The official name is "Shalom Community" and it has a pretty binding covenant. Not contract. Covenant. The retreat was so, so fun for all of us that we found it hard to go start school the very day after we got home. I personally related it to coming off a high of sorts.

The thought of returning to school was rough enough, but there was also a stupid skirmish at home that threatened my next trip [to the annual church camp in the mountains] with the group a month later. I wasn't too sure if I could go, right up to the last week. The Old Salt kept changing his mind up until then. It was important to me to be able to go. Many had asked me to do so, and I said I would. Over all, the trip was fun but I know some things about people I partially wish I didn't. [It was really heartbreaking to find that church kids are no better with sneaking alcohol than any I might have dodged in my school environment. I had to retreat after seeing them nabbing their beer from the adults and going to the cabin bathroom to drink it. I went to my bunk and listened to Tull's album Crest of a Knave on my Walkman, one of the early experiences of an emotional connection to music as a disillusioned teen.]

In the mean time, the fall season was filled with as much church activity as I could take on. You can imagine the pride I felt when we got a group of seven together to see my model in the Aerospace Museum, and they all liked it too.

In September we finally put on a project that had been in the works for a month. Judy had arranged for the youth to do the entire church service on the 17th of that month. Some of those lunch dates were to assist in the progress of certain parts of the service. I had prayers; Jenny, Christine, and Shelby had the sermon. Believe me—this task is not like writing an average term report. It's not stating facts but reacher leading people in worship. Anyhow, that same day, some of us (Shelby and me among them) were presented bibles and officially recognized into the Adventure Group, etc.

The bible study group that I go to (where the younger members are in their 40s) decided to read a book by Martin Buber, a Jewish philosophical anthropologist. I wasn't denied the chance to come along. Buber is one of those guys that someone my age usually would not touch with a ten foot pole (and maybe longer), but since I took a different course with a lot of things this year, seizing the day, this seemed to fit right in with the rest of the stuff I'd been doing. About that time our Christmas play was being rehearsed. The play this year was a bit more serious but that's not to say it wasn't funny. It was done better with people who had tougher roles. It went well considering we performed a week before usual and I hadn't been onstage for six months. One day at rehearsal I took a break between my parts to go see Jerry dig a hole for a tree at a work party right outside. As I watched and talked to him (that much was fine), I suddenly saw something rush toward me from the ground. Then I sensed I was all wet. But the water wasn't all that hit me. The pipe that Jerry hit was under about six inches or so of dirt. So in the middle of rehearsal I stood there wet and muddy, wondering and laughing about it all. Even funnier was when I went to Judy's up the hill to see if I could get cleaned up and have my shirt dried. I heard voiced inside as I waited patiently outside for someone to open the door (while I had my soaked shirt on). OPEN UP if you're here! No reply. So I left. It took a little bit of explaining. Once Judy came to the rehearsal that day I calmly explained that I'd been waiting outside her door for five minutes, all wet. She told me she'd been in the yard and Jenny was asleep. So we laughed it off. I still wonder what the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting thought when they got some rain on their outdoor meeting!

School

A pointless narrative…

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… And school. The Ed came along and saw that it was bad (school, that is). Ed said, "let there be music." So he called it hard rock and saw that it was good. Def Leppard was good but he needed a degree of refinement so he said, "let there be creative rock! and lots of it!" So he called it Jethro Tull and Ed saw that it was good and went out and bought as much as he could.

There's no doubt that in my book Tull is good enough to get in the way. That was part of the reason for my drop in grades in early 11th grade. A few other reasons include the sudden complexity of having six academic classes laid on me at once, and two of which are advanced credit classes that are linked as a single item (American history and literature). In those classes we started out reading The Scarlet Letter which I got hopelessly lost in by the first chapter. About then I gave up. Like I said, I'd put the drums in the living room, but a lesser known fact is that for a couple of weeks I even did my homework on the drum itself with a pair of sticks close by. And what about the wonderful summer followed up by this bunch of factors? And the church event schedule that got slightly out of hand? I'm gaining control over things now but I'm still finding what it's like to have to work to earn my keep. The grades are improving and I have all my tapes and disks to use and the use of my drums is not threatened like my models were in '85-'86. [My old man had a draconian disciplinary style those years. Upon getting a first progress report those years, he took all my toys and models away for much of the school year. He locked them into the trailer on our driveway. I used to sneak the keys so I could at least connect with stuff once in a while. But otherwise, I was rid of some of my childhood joys with this gesture.]

In the chemistry class I got lost in the mass of math—the same math I should have now (geometry) but don't have because of last year's mess. It only took the teacher until midway through the second quarter to discover that math was a minor problem for me! It wasn't just me. The teacher (that's the title of her job but that's not exactly what she does) couldn't teach. Her presentations were awful (awful confusing, anyway) but I did get a chance to catch some Zzz. Finally it was suggested that I get a new class to benefit my grades. I ended up in marine biology (not the study of the few and the proud, though). I'm attentive and the first test yielded an A—better than the Fs I was getting in chemistry.

About seven weeks into the first quarter, I decided to do something to fix the algebra situation. I was in it for the second time and thought it better to avoid it the next year too because I'd be losing possible credits if I had to stay in it, which I wouldn't allow. The grades were okay except for homework. I did little things to help get back some credit to get a C. Once I proved to my teacher (who taught the same class last year) that I could get a grade higher than a D. Then he went and dumped the whole class for his first love, basketball coaching. The teacher we got after Jim Thompson was a tutor. Before we switched I asked if our new teacher is as BS-able as he was. No comment from JT. The class is pretty good but I enjoy something different. Maybe a week before the Tull concert came to town I wanted to stir up some conversation with something that would draw fire—hopefully. So I came up with this to put on the desk: "JETHRO TULL RULES HEAVY METAL: Go see the concert at Sports Arena December 8 at 8." To make a long story short, I got a hold of a persistent person who responds each time if my message hasn't been erased. I've only met this luck in math class. In some other classes, I get really negative responses of none at all. I'm really careful about which class I do this in, except for math.

First Attempt to End This Thing

I really don't have a lot more to say so let's wrap it up. [Careful. It's not true.] I owe many thanks to good friends like Jerry, Judy, and Dee & Ells Snyder. In fact, I presented thank you plaques to Jerry and Judy on behalf of the youth of the church. These are some of the people who did some of the things that made 1989 one of my most successful years. But I found out that their concern for me went back into 1989 when they met me, though my attitude was not so acceptable then, I guess. They told themselves that I'd be welcomed into the congregation if they had anything to do with it. Well, give yourselves a pat on the back. I think you've done it. Also, Jerry has been set on making me feel good about myself and needed by someone. The time he needed someone to look over Matthew and Adam he called me first. I had to say no at first but I thought of all he's given me so I called back and said I had some favors to pay back so I'd do it for him. I made $15 but that's not what I was after.

And to the whole bunch of other people out there—at church; IPMS; Command Post; school; Shalom; CIA; FBI; BMW; CD; SD; CA; USA; USSR; UK; and those that are semi-unsung: Rick Allen; Corey Carrol; Larry "Sarge/The Mad Marine" Bishop; Traci Flint; Aaron Summerville; Ms. Sulzbach; Spence Milne; Kathy Buss; Ross "Loser!" Shekleton; Ian Anderson; Darrel "Big Salame" Killingsworth; Bill "Billman" Travis; Salt; Doane Perry; Tim Latham; Shelby Duncan; Malia Beatty; Larry Halett; G-parents; Joe Elliott; Robin Williams [the actor of course, not my girlfriend from the mid 90s].

Now for the post scripts and perhaps some explanations or theories about how this year was so good. Also, the things that slipped my memory in the script itself. [I told you it wasn't the end.]

Somehow I forgot all about my birthday. It was probably the best so far. I invited Jerry and Judy and their families to have pizza and to come over for a party. Simple? Yes, but just having them all there made it good (which is more than can be said about recent years). I also convinced Shelby to come with us. That was a small victory for me because she was making a move (pretty successfully) to avoid church related groups or individuals. However, she's shown an interest in keeping in touch with me. She hasn't set foot in the church since that day in September when we held the youth service. She is always welcome by me to come and I always try to get her to if she wants.

Part of the reason I got back into church associated doings is as follows. In 10th grade, I sat at lunch with brothers Corey & Christian Carroll, Traci, and several others by the big tree in the lunch court. A bunch of them were church going people [pretty conservative-evangelical Assembly of God types] and so the conversation often involved talk about church and all the things they had going in their church world. [Of course I was far from being able to make any theological arguments then but I knew that my church was different. None of us went around wearing the Christian themed T-shirts that some of the others at the tree wore. All that seemed rather smarmy to me, and still does.] It set me thinking about the group that I already had but had not thrown myself into. I thought, I have a group. I could do that. My life could use a little fun in it. Why not? And the rest is history.

[The following paragraph required some surgery. It was a complete mess in the original. The essentials are communicated as intended.]

I also noticed in the summer that two years before when I was confronted with the problem of having braces and ugly headgear, or I could have two teeth extracted. I originally chose to lose a couple teeth but a talk with Jerry, long in the making, helped settle that. My own worries were obviously about braces and what they would mean for the couple years that were ahead. But at that talk with him on the park green, he was asked to talk to me about reckless bike riding around the picnic area and some of the kids. The conversation became about much more than either bike riding or even headgear. He told me about his own spell of having braces for six years. He put some of my concerns to rest, saying headgear might only need to be worn at night. We covered a host of other things from the weather to other matters of home and family dynamics.

Now that I have some perspective on that August day, I decided to thank him for it. After all, that talk only changed the history of the world since 1987! Looking back, I see how that day's talk actually changed things a lot and laid the groundwork for this year's successes—more carpe diem. It goes something like this: the reassurance that was given me that day changed my attitude. Changed toward what, I am not exactly sure. I do know that my grades after that have never been anywhere near where they were, and for once it was safe to say that 9th grade was very good. In 1987, I met Traci and joined IPMS—two things that got me through 1989. When I showed my own confidence in myself people left me alone and I could make friends easier. People like Aaron, Traci, Shelby, and many of the people listed that I know personally don't know the old me. In fact, Shelby doesn't know me without the church group except what I tell her. Aaron augmented me being me and that shows up in the type of music I listen to, the type of humor I use, etc. (Some still have their problems with that.) Like anyone else, I have inside jokes and expressions that no one would understand. But what people dislike the most is my purely improvised one liners if I get fed a good line (maybe too intellectual for them?). Or maybe it is abstract analogies. Tough luck.

[This next paragraph was partially typed and partially hand written in two parts at the top and bottom of the page. Not sure what I really wanted to say, or how it followed anything.]

People are just starting to recognize me. I wonder, do you think it has something to do with me being in the second highest grade in the school? Some saw what grades I am getting now and if they knew what I was getting before high school they might have seen a big change and maybe got to know me better. Others got to know me more recently, and to them I appear to be alright. They don't have the old references to cloud their thoughts of me. For example, Traci saw that after she left from Public Speaking class my grade went up so she saw that I wasn't an F student and she wasn't wasting her time talking to me.

As I probably mentioned earlier, the major events and changes happened quickly. All that stuff in February was spontaneous, and was part of the carpe diem lesson. The church involvement was started rather abruptly in July. The drumming really started on the very day the new bike was ready to ride. Of course I had to practice a lot to get better. As for the bit about the models, usually I take a long break after summer to allow my school grades to get to an acceptable point, then I could resume work. But this time there were too many distractions from models, and later on, schoolwork caused the demise of my model building interest this year. Church, drums, and Tull were of course more exciting than sitting behind a messy table and straining my eyes. Not only that, I didn't have time. Funny, in March I didn't have time for school and now, no time for models. Something was wrong. So I quit and took up other pursuits. That was great, but as I said above, I had too much fun. Then, mixing school into it all didn't work well. We all know about that. Not terribly long after I got back on my feet school wise I found a good time for everything. And then something I thought would never happen, did. I put all the models away, but what's more I put all the building materials away too. Now an onlooker doesn't know that I built models (except for maybe a few clues). A change of priorities. I moved my drums into my room, etc.

For Christmas I added to my music resources by getting a few CDs. Of course I have a new CD player. This is a new way to spend money (which is an additional reason for shifting to music and drums). The tapes and CDs aren't so hard on my eyes. I still go to Command Post now and then at their new store to keep in touch and to talk music. (They created this monster called Ed.) They probably haven't taken a dime from me since September. CDs are expensive at $14, $15. I used to get music within my $13 allowance. Expensive, but I don't need to worry about satisfying some [IPMS contest] judge.

Back to desk writing. I obviously irritate people, which is nice. I make them think. However I ran into some jerk who has missed the entire point. Sometimes I write down lyrics or an entire song that I'd been practicing and he'd erase part of it and insert his opinion. On the positive side, I was progressing with my math class pen pal and have been really successful with writing to her. No negative remarks but I'll bet the teacher wishes we'd quit, which is what I'll do when I meet Erika someday.

Com-Post at the new store

The reason I quit going there all the time is because of their move. I helped them move, thinking there might be something in it for me later. I hung around too long with all the managers and Ross notified me that under one roof all the bosses might converge and see Ed there wasting time. At the old location (with three distinct stores), maybe only one boss at a time would see me hanging around. The early part of the "divorce" was messy but I got used to being there maybe one hour on occasional Saturdays rather than nine hours over two weekend days. And after dropping model building, I really didn't miss it once drumming and church took up all my time. It was fun while it lasted but that chapter is closing to start a new one. I might return. Who knows. Same thing with IMPS activity.

This has gone on too long already and I am writing this part in February 1990, and I also am seeing that my time (6-7 hours, hardcore) has paid off and it shows when the church voted unanimously for me to serve on the Board of Deacons. I'm very thankful for that and I couldn't have done it without them and God and everyone listed above. Thanks a lot, guys! I love you!

Carpe diem.
I love Shelby.

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