I was born at Martin Luther Hospital in Anaheim, California. My family then lived across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm in a little house on Santa Domingo Way in Buena Park. My older brothers weren’t paying close enough attention to me one day, and I decided to take a swim in the family pool. Fortunately for me (and my brothers!), one of them (there is a dispute as to whether it was Brian or Stephen) dove in and rescued me before any permanent damage occurred. It was shortly thereafter that the family moved to Huntington Beach, to a house without a pool. We lived in that house for about nine months before my dad was notified he was being transferred to New York City by his company Gulf and Western Industries, one of the original American post-World War II conglomerates, now a footnote in the history of Viacom. Our family moved to a great big house on Cambridge Road in Freehold, New Jersey. These were truly my formulative years, as I first attended school here, at Laura Donovan Elementary, my earliest recall of attending church was here, my first friends (and girl friends!) were here, and I became a fan of the New York Mets here. I’ve lost touch with all of the people I grew up with, but I will always have the 1969 World Champions.

After spending four years in Freehold, my dad went to work for Transamerica, another conglomerate, and we packed up and moved back to California, staying temporarily in an apartment in Anaheim while my parents house-hunted, and then finally moving in to our new home in Cypress, on Tiki Drive. In our neighborhood, all of the street names had some Hawaiian/South Pacific connection (other street names in the area included Molokai, Leilani and Tahiti). Nothing potentially tragic happened there (no pool). I started at my new school, George S. Patton Elementary School. What an inspiration! I really started getting into history, reading all about the General, as well as heroes of the revolutionary war and the War for Southern Independence (sometimes called the ‘War Between the States’, or by yankees the ‘civil’ war). After a few years at Patton, the Garden Grove Unified School District built a brand-new facility right across the street for 5th and 6th grades, and adjacent to the local junior high. The new school was called Hettinga Elemtary. It was one of those ’70’s experiments in school design, where all the classrooms were podded together with one side opening into a common multi-purpose area. Hettinga shared the cafeteria and more importantly, the library, with Chapman Junior High School. And Chapman had a much better library than Patton. I started expanding my reading list into science fiction classics like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. While at Hettinga, I learned how to make donuts, I learned my first few words of Spanish (besides ‘taco’ and ‘burrito’), my mom made me this wacky Pilgrim costume for Thanksgiving (which I had to wear in a parade), and I won an award for a collage I entered in a Bicentennial contest. Wild times in the mid ’70’s. Eventually, we all had to sober up, so for 7th grade, I transferred next door to Chapman. Socialization begins. You get assigned a locker to keep all your stuff in, you have a bunch of classes spread out all over the school, and then they give us poor kids opportunities to get in really big trouble – the school dance.

During the ’70’s, everybody and their brother had a garage band imitating the Eagles, or Led Zeppelin, or one of the other big name bands of the era. We were inundated with ‘Play that Funky Music, White Boy’, ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’. And since I was, in fact, a white boy, I had absolutely no rhythm. In fact to this day I have very little, but I try. I’m best at slow dances. Of course, slow dances when you’re 13 will ususally make you a bit flustered, with all those hormones raging. I went to few dances. My significant accomplishment was not getting expelled. On a more positive note, however, my fifth year in the West Garden Grove Little League I was a member of the 1979 Senior League champs, the Red Sox. I played mostly right and center fields, with stints at first base and catcher. In the Fall of ’79, I moved to the big leagues – high school, that is. Pacifica High, home of the Mariners. It was pretty much a continuation of junior high, with pretty much the same people. My two best friends, Andrew Bose and Paul McGeorge, were in the marching band of all things, so I hung around the band room a lot. (And one time, at the band room…but that’s a story for a different venue). I did meet some intriguiging people, and I think my true love for music really began to blossom here. Andy, Paul and I started banging around on the piano a bit. we wrote some stuff. Horrible, most of it, but some of it had potential.

I also had my first couple of real jobs during this last year in California; I was throwing the Orange County Register on not one, but two routes. Over 300 papers on Sundays. All of us paperboys met at one of the guys’ house where we received the bundles of paper sections, put them together, and folded them up for a more efficient trajectory. And we also tended to get into a little trouble while we were waiting for the vans with the papers. My dad was only called by the police once to pick me up, though, I swear. The other job I had, and the one that probably is to blame for the last 25 years, is when I worked for the Summer at Spare Parts, Inc., where my father took a job as the Controller. They were in the garment industry. My dad had just bought a new Honeywell System 1 mainframe to do all the order tracking, and I got to do a whole lot of data entry work (and a few hours of Hunt the Wumpus) on the terminals, and a bit of the bootstrap and daily backups on the mainframe itself. Man, that thing was loud when it sucked in the tape reels.