Every time one chapter closes and I open a new one, I’m just as excited to revisit the new pages as I was for any previous chapter – and so it is here in my Seattle years. There was more adventure and life experience packed into these two short years as any in my life – including the Air Force. I “grew up” in Seattle, was on my own and charting my own destiny. I always had a camera with me during these years, and really tried for the first time to take “artistic” photos. I had never previously owned a nice camera or a car, until I was living on my own in Seattle.
Bruce and I worked for a while at Tyee Lumber Mill in Seattle, and when he decided to return to Michigan I started a new job at Electricraft Stereo Centers, Inc. At Electricraft, I became Jim’s co-pilot and ground crew manager for the company’s new hot air balloon – reportedly the largest on the west coast at the time. I moved to Billings, MT, for a short time doing “long distance leg work” for Electricraft in Idaho and Montana after they purchased another stereo franchise – Sound World. Later, when I returned to Michigan State University in the fall of 1979, I revisited Seattle to take a boat trip with Jim through Puget Sound to Vancouver Island, BC, and up the coast of British Columbia to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls (Wikipedia has entries for both).
Later I did some “freelance work” for Jim driving Mercedes-Benz cars from New York City, NY, and Fort Lauderdale, FL, back to Seattle for a Mercedes-Benz dealership where Jim was working. To get to New York City I took a Greyhound bus from Seattle east to NYC and met a guy named Benny on the bus, who invited me to visit him at his mother’s house in Puerto Rico to SCUBA dive. So following the return trip to Seattle in the Mercedes-Benz, I flew to Puerto Rico to visit Benny and his family where I had a great trip – and afterwards picked up a Mercedes-Benz coupe in Fort Lauderdale for the return trip to Seattle.
I lived in about five different locations in the greater Seattle area with various roommates: in the “U District” on Roosevelt Way NE near the University of Washington in an apartment building with Bruce after our bike trip and later on with another roommate after Bruce returned to Michigan; with Dutton in a rental house north of Green Lake, who was a stereo salesman with Electricraft and one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met; with Howie in the northern suburb of Mountlake Terrace, who was another stereo salesman at Electricraft – and one of the most gifted and natural guitarists I’ve ever met; with Jim on Queen Anne Hill, who was the General Manager of Electricraft and the company’s hot air balloon pilot; and lastly, with a woman whose advertisement for a roommate I answered in a condo in the city of Winslow, on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound across from downtown Seattle. I lived in Winslow for a short period of time after biking through Europe and before returning to MSU, commuting to work at an art store in downtown Seattle by ferry.
I took a driving trip with another Jim, a salesman at Electricraft, around the entire western United States: down US Highway 101 and the Pacific Coast Highway to L.A., Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, and back to Seattle. On a whim, Jim and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch on the Colorado River, and back out in the same day – almost 20 miles round trip – and we were lucky to make it out again. I took a driving trip with Dutton to Big Sky, MT, to check out the condo that Electricraft acquired through the purchase of Sound World; and while we were there we climbed Big Sky’s “Lone Mountain,” and visited both Yellowstone National Park and Teton National Park.
After my first romantic encounters while working at the Sea Gun Resort Hotel in Texas, I experienced both romance and heartache in Seattle. My first true “love” was a woman ten years older than I was, and as beautiful as Miss America, named Katherine. I don’t have a picture of her or know where she is today, but I do have a picture that she took with me and her two young daughters – who were both very sweet. If I had been more emotionally mature at the time I would have tried to make it work; but I wasn’t, and we went our separate ways in life. I keep a special place in my heart for her, and for every woman that has been tender to me over the years…and Katherine was very special.
Life came at me fast and furious and I wasn’t always ready or prepared for much of it. At times I had a hard time just keeping my head above water – and my life has remained that way ever since. I begin this chapter of photos with a few self-portraits taken towards the end of my stay in Seattle, which are some of my favorite photos of me through the years…proving that I do clean up well when I want to!
So again, without further adieu – enjoy the show! 🙂