Wednesday, August 29, 2012


     It was 1973, and I was in my usual state at Clearview trouble. The Principal, the Honorable Raymond L. Troxtell, was displeased with my boyish antics
and refusal to work and play well with others, and took what he thought, I'm sure, was devastating action-he banned me from the Junior Prom.

     ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH! 'Twas kryptonite to my very tuchus, to not be allowed to dress up in a silly pastel-colored monkey suit, and sashay around with some teen nullandvoid for several hours; a crushing blow.

     The next day, when I arrived at school, I noticed signs in strategic spots, advertizing a Talent Show that would, in addition to being a break from the usual routine at Camp Placebo, serve as an audition for the Prom Night gig; bands were required to contact ol' Uncle Ray to be put on the list.

     Sensing an opportunity, I dashed to the payphone at the end of the hall, and called my friend Mike's house, getting his sister Sylvie on the phone. I told her about the gig, and asked her to get a message to Mike, who attended Admiral King, to call the Principal at Clearview.

     When I caught up with Mike at his home later, he told me that he and the Fabulous Techniques were the first ones on the list for the audition, and would have the headline spot; the show would be in two weeks.

     Showtime came, and the auditorium was packed. There were two bands from Clearview, plus the Techniques, auditioning.

     The other bands were okay-Iron Horse, fronted by my classmate George Pratt, was particularly good, but that was nothing to when the Techniques took the stage, and blew off the roof with this....

     The place EXPLODED! The lads were funkin' up the joint, Micheal's drums detonating like cannons, the horns swirling to the sky, guitars and bass driving like a stampede.

     Then, they took it down a notch, and the lead singer, James "Brougham" Hitchens, knelt at the edge of the stage, and crooned this little number....

securing the spot for the gig.

     The night of the Prom, I'm unloading Mike's kit from the Econoline, and I'm waiting....sure enough, no sooner do I get inside the door than the Hon. Raymond L. comes barging up, all irate authority.

      "Mr. Hopewell", he barked, "you were specifically banned from attending this school function-"
"I'm not", I replied, "I'm working; I'm WITH THE BAND!" I got to trip on the music, the food, the girls, the whole Prom trip itself, without having to dress up, or any of that Archie and Veronica jazz.

     As it turned out, I not only helped my friends get a really good gig, but I was instrumental (NPI) in the formation of another band.

     George and the members of Iron Horse were at the Prom, natch, and were talking shop with the Techniques between sets.  Within three years, Iron Horse had broken up, and Mike and his cousin, Nate, a guitar player, had split the Techniques. Eventually, they got together with George, a friend of his named Tegan, and a friend of Mike's (who became a friend of mine, Dave Rathmore) to form another band, Ruby Enterprise., which I roadied for, and hung out with.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


      This post is about my bear, Vincent.      I got Vincent a few months ago, when Trace and I were browsing through the DAV in Whitney. Black and red are my favorite color combination, so I was drawn to him, not to mention the fact that he looked lonely.

     He was only a dollar, so I brought him home. He's guarded the head of our bed ever since then.

     Whenever an adult, particularly a guy confesses to owning a teddy bear, the first question is always, "Do you sleep with him?" In my case, the answer is "Yes, along with my wife."

     It's not the same as with my childhood companion, Binky....I don't have a need to sleep with Vincent, but I find his company pleasant, perhaps the best explanation I can give.

     Oh- if you were wondering, he's named after the late Vincent Price, whom I always wanted to meet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


     Stuff sometimes happens that leaves you wondering just what went on, or thanking the One Who looks out for us.

     This was one of those times.
It was the spring of '67, and I was with a group of other boys and an adult sponsor, on an outing to Cascade Park. It's a nice metropark in Elyria, with woods, the Black River, trails, caves, and waterfalls.

     This particular day, we were hiking along a trail at the top of a cliff, about eighty feet or so, going to the West Falls.There were six of us boys, along with Jerry, a college student who headed our VIA club, the Ramrods. We were just having the kind of good time a bunch of eleven year-old boys would on such a day, slinging rocks, making jokes, and being alive.

     I dunno whether someone pushed me, or if I just tripped, but I remember falling, hitting the ground, and wondering why the river, which I'd been hearing below and to my right, was now just to the right, and a lot louder....

     When I looked right, there was the Black River, just a few yards away-I'd fallen nearly eighty feet from the top of the cliff, but was unharmed, other than some scratches! My friends and Jerry were looking worriedly over the edge at me, and I assured them I was okay. I had to backtrack a bit, to find where I could get back up to where I was.

     As a believer,I know that God keeps us from and allows harm as He sees fit. Even knowing, I didn't take this for granted, nor have I on the other occasions where He kept me safe while in danger.

      As always, my King, thank you.