When you arrive at this stage of your life, you look back on things that feel like they happened yesterday, but were actually decades ago.
Case in point.
It was August of 1984. We were thinking about buying a new car, so I was asking KOMO Radio’s Larry Nelson for his thoughts on which ones I should seriously consider. We had become pretty good friends, even though my role was being the producer of his Seattle radio show. That meant getting up at 2:17am every morning, driving in, finding lots of things for him to talk about during his show, lining up interviews, and such.
To be honest, I felt as though I should probably look around for what was next. I was almost 29, had given up being on the radio in Yakima to become a producer in Seattle, but I felt like my growth potential at KOMO was limited.
Anyway, when I asked Larry for car recommendations, he shrugged it off. “Oh, I wouldn’t get a new car right now.” I came back, “Oh, yeah, it’s time. We really need a new one. We’ve had the one in the shop quite a bit and we’re thinking about a minivan.” He insisted it just wasn’t a good time.
So, I went back to the office to keep working on things for the show, but kept thinking about his words. “I wouldn’t…” “You shouldn’t…” After a few minutes, I walked back to the studio and asked him what was up. He informed me that management had decided to eliminate me and two others because of budget moves. Yep, I was about to be laid off.
As Fridays go, this was probably the darkest one I had ever experienced. I began thinking about what to do next when the phone rang. It was the neutralizer for the day–my wife letting me know that we were pregnant with our second child. I thought it best not to bring up the job thing until Monday so that we could bask in the good news for at least a couple of days.
That child, eventually born on March 27th, 1985, was Tyson James Hunter. Tyson, because we saw a story in the paper about Pete Rose naming his kid after Ty Cobb. Pete went with Tyrus, we liked the sound of Tyson–and James in honor of my mother’s late brother. The quick story on James was that as a kid, I remember going through a photo album and seeing all kinds of pictures of me doing things I didn’t remember doing. It turns out that they were actually pictures of a young James growing up. We shared an uncanny resemblance.
I’ve been a bit on the over-sentimental side lately after seeing some home movies I had digitized. It was the first time in years that I watched video of my two kids in their single-digit years and it made me realize how quickly time had flown by. Add to that, last Saturday morning, parental units gathered at the Eastlake Bar & Grill, where we met up with Tyson and his new fiancé, Lacey, to celebrate their updated Facebook status.
I can easily walk through my mind and see so many of those Tyson moments again–Cub Scouts, coaching him in sports, holding hands as we walked along a street, seeing him laugh and goof around, hanging with his friends, buying that jacked-up truck in his teen years, going off to Boston University, graduating and becoming quite the businessman. He’s now wrapping up his second year at the UW’s Foster School of Business, which leaves him a year away from graduation and then, becoming a loving husband to a really great person. It’s about all a parent can hope for.
That time period I just flashed through covered 31 years. It all began on a day when I found out I was going to lose my job, but it was a launching point for many good things to come. I went on to my own successful radio & writing career AND I got to help raise a son. The latter, among one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.
Congrats Ty & Lacey!