Welcome to Nardoland

I was going to do another one of my introspective rambles that I seem to be attracted to lately. A thought or two dawns on me that brings the world into focus a little more and so I like to pass those things along. You can take them or leave them, but my hope is you’ll benefit somehow from them.

However, in spite of a very interest recent revelation, I’m going to bump that a week. Oh, I’ll get all philosophical in another 7 days or so, you’ll survive. This week, I have to share something I experienced over weekend. I lived in the Bothell area for 25+ years. I continue to be involved with the local business community, the city and the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve gotten to know lots of Bothell and Northshore folks along the way. But in all those years, I’d never even heard of Nardoland.

In my oblivious defense, Nardoland is actually not in Bothell. It’s technically in Snohomish. But last Saturday evening, when I arrived at my destination to auctioneer at the annual Bothell High School Boosters Auction, I was nothing less than stunned. The event was held at the private residence of a long-time Bothell High School fan and alum–a place known as Nardoland.

Basically, Nardoland is what Graceland would look like if Elvis was a member of the 1961 graduating class of Bothell High School. But in this case, our hunka hunka burnin’ Bothell Cougar is a guy named Ron Nardone. In the years since graduation, Ron has collected all things Bothell High school, from pictures, to awards, to giant logos, to an actual stuffed cougar.


See, I wasn’t kidding.

As you drive on to the property, there’s a building surrounded by memorabilia over there. Another one in the back of the property seemed like an old general store and next to it, the former scoreboard from the high school stadium, before their recent remodel. Ron somehow got ahold of that and each week after Bothell’s latest football game,  he puts the final score up there.

Ron generously donates use of his facility to the Boosters and what a gift! In years past, the group has had to pony up the fees for use of a country club or convention center. But for the past two years, the annual auction has taken place at Nardoland.

I spent my first hour at Nardoland walking around and trying to take it all in. I didn’t want to miss a thing. Besides the Bothell High memorabilia, there were all kinds of things from Bothell’s past. A McDonald’s Drive-Through sign, antique cars and classic school buses; it was like taking a stroll through a Bothell time capsule. Here are just a few of the pictures I snapped during the Happy hour Portion of the evening.

I was just filling in for my radio brother and auctioneer extraordinaire Ken Carson because of a scheduling conflict, so it was just pure luck that this was the year I got to step in. I had a ton of fun reconnecting with some former neighbors, seeing some old familiar Bothell faces and helping Coach Tom Bainter’s program raise the funds they need to enhance the players’ experience even more.

Add to that, Ron is the cousin of a friend from a long time ago and his wife, a Ballard High graduate, went to school with my wife’s cousin. Dang, we’re practically related!

It was a great evening and on top of all that–I got to go to Nardoland!

Here’s hoping that one day, I’ll return. God knows what Ron will have added by then.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 167

Flashing back to my KQOT days when I began my 30-year radio adventure in a small cinderblock building in Mountlake Terrace, just east of Yakima.
Ironically, I drove over to Yakima this past week for business and for old times’ sake, drove by what used to be our station. Somehow, as many as 8 people worked there and while it was archaic and poorly run, I learned so much and made lifetime friends.

Now, it’s blocked off and just a housing facility for a radio transmitter. AND it’s a Christian station. I’m assuming that’s God’s way of making up for my time there.

Enjoy some of the fun that came out of that building during my two years there.

 

It’s The Same World, Only Different

Yeah, we even dressed up back then

 

It’s easy to look around at what’s happening in our world right now, especially in the United States, and it almost seems like a really bad Twilight Zone episode. All the strangeness of that TV series, but minus a clever twist at the end.

Strange times. Or, is it just the strange times for this generation that, decades from now, they’ll recall and find it hard to believe they were alive when all this happened?

It’s how I feel about my childhood.

We had another one of those history reminders this past week when we we’re told it’s been 50 years since the assassination of Robert Kennedy. At the time, I was 12-years-old and as I grew up in the 1960s, I just assumed the things that happened were simply the world operated. Every couple of years, leaders would be shot down. It had happened with President Kennedy back in 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot down in 1968 and then, just a couple of months later, Robert Kennedy was gunned down after winning the California primary.

We were also a nation at war. Viet Nam was in the news daily, as well as the war protests. There were race riots. Some of the moms in the neighborhood dared to get jobs outside the home. Society was evolving.  Guys moved from crew cuts to shoulder-length hair. Music was taking a leap from orchestras with lead singers to rock bands. The Beatles happened. There was so much social and political unrest and all-around evolution going on.

But through the eyes of a 12-year-old kid growing up in Torrance, California, all that Big World stuff only occasionally caught my attention.

I remember JFK’s assassination vaguely because I was only 8 at the time. I remember the shock expressed on TV,  adults crying, the funeral being covered on the tube with Jackie and the kids. The entire country went into mourning and of all things, I remembered that our monthly Cub Scout Pack Meeting was canceled because of the assassination. Flags were flown at half-mast for 30-days, which I had never seen before.

These are not the headlines of my childhood, only events that occurred. My life on 226th Street was composed of hanging out with friends, playing baseball with a tennis ball, swapping baseball cards, riding bikes and being outside until we heard Kelly Toman’s famous two-fingered whistle. That meant Kelly had to go in for dinner and so the rest of us would take it as a cue that it was probably time to head home.

There were family vacations, either to South Dakota to visit relatives or camping with my family. I went to a church school for my elementary years, a very small school. One classroom took care of the 1st-4th grade students, the other, 5th-8th grade. I made good friends there as well.

By June of 1968, I was in 7th grade and paying a little more attention to the outside world, but not that much, especially politics. What I remember about Robert Kennedy’s assassination is that, by then, there were more TV cameras around. Plus, being the California primary, all the Los Angeles TV stations were all over the campaigns. I remember my neighborhood buddy Glen Rico telling me that his brother Oscar was up watching RFK saying, “And now it’s on to Chicago” only to see him gunned down moments later. On live TV.

Now, I sit here a half-century later, looking back and realizing that the decade I grew up in shares quite a bit with our current times. Back then, we had occasional assassinations and couldn’t figure out how we got there. Today, the assassinations have been replaced with school shootings. In 1968, we were a country divided about the war. Today, we’re split along party lines and convinced the other one is despicable and completely wrong. We had the Cuban Missile Crisis with Fidel Castrol while today’s version includes North Korea and Kim Jung un. Back then, there were those who burned American flags to protest the on-going war. Today, there are two sides on what you can and cannot do during the national anthem.

For one of our future generations, this 20-teens decade is their version of the 60’s that they’ll look back on one day and find it hard to believe things were ever that way.

Then again, gun violence, racial tensions, uncertainty in the world. When you think about it, 1968 and 2018 really aren’t that much different, are they? It’s the same world, only different.

Tim

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 165

OMG! Here’s a collection of bits I produced during my early days at KLSY, when I was funneling bits to Murdock in the Morning during my pre-Morning Show days. You’ll hear way too much singing, although it includes a catchy song I did for the new city of Woodinville. The first ever “Julio” song is in here, a stand-alone song I did that was inspired by a Matt Bianco song with a lot of instrumental bed and a foreman from my time in the United Airlines flight kitchen named Julius.  I produced this song and it was afterwards that we turned it into a weekly customized tune for each week’s Seahawks game. This one’s quite the time capsule, so sit back and hang on as we return to sometime in the early 1990s.

Someday Syndrome

By choice, I live a pretty busy life.

Somewhere along the line, I developed a sense of urgency to do as many of the things I want to do now. Not, “someday.”

Over the years, lots of things helped shape that outlook on life. When I was young, I had an uncle that died in his mid-30s in a car crash. I also had an aunt die of complications from diabetes in her 30s. Reminders that we don’t always get our tomorrows. My radio career also fueled my “do it while you can” mentality because in that industry, there are no guarantees. There might be a tomorrow. Or, you could finish your shift, be called back to a program director’s office and the next thing you know, you were unemployed.

I am addicted to achieving and so, to help fuel that need, I became a multi-tasker. A person who would rather say “Yes” and have to deal with temporary overload rather than say “No” and miss out on an experience or an opportunity.

But sometimes Mother Nature forces you to slow things down. Both my wife and I are recovering from sinus problems and bronchitis, which forced us to miss several social possibilities. We actually were forced to stay at home over the recent 3-day weekend and just lay low. It was while sitting in our backyard, looking out at the trees, enjoying the birds chirping and the bursting flowers on our deck that I was reminded once again I am one lucky guy. I mean, I’m looking out at a scene that could have been a Someday wish years ago. There it was, right there in front of me.

One of the traps that people can easily fall into (and I’ve been there myself) is what has been identified as “Someday Syndrome.” When that name first came to mind, I Googled it and sure enough, people have thought of it before. It’s the belief that at some point in your future, you will finally have what makes you happy. Running with that thinking, then you’re not as happy as you could be right now because you are waiting to accumulate something–a boat, a piece of property, a scenario or situation. In other words, you’re putting off being as happy as you could be for a tomorrow that’s not guaranteed.

That’s crazy.

As I looked around my yard on that 70-degree day sitting there with the person I love, I was thinking that at one point in my life, this probably was a “Someday” moment. That drove home the concept that perception becomes reality. And, if you just tweak your thinking a little bit, you may come to the realization your Someday is actually happening right now.

Oh, sure, we were coughing and barking and dealing with some health issues. But you don’t seriously think that when you get to that place somewhere in the future that everything is going to be perfect, do you?  So again, why would you wait for Someday–a day that may or may not come–to enjoy a little happiness?

While I do prefer life at 100 mph, I’m making it a point to sneak in more of those moments every now and then. To stop, breathe in the air and celebrate what surrounds me, today, rather than setting aside my happiness for what I may or may not get in the future.

Try it. The worst thing that could happen is to wind up being happier than you’ve ever been. Or ever allowed yourself to be.

Tim Hunter

I Know Those Guys

As the years roll by, there are fewer people to impress by mentioning that I knew Stan Boreson. Knew him?  Heck, I helped write songs with him for his second Christmas album. Stan was a northwest treasure and a part of so many childhoods of people who grew up in the Seattle area.

He was the grandson of Norwegian immigrants. What is it about Norwegians that they have had such an impact on my life?

I had probably only been to Ballard a handful of times in my life prior to meeting my wife, Victoria. An uber-Norwegian, it quickly became clear that if I wanted to spend any time with her, I would need to join all the clubs and organizations she belonged to, which I did.

I said in the beginning that one of the things I liked so much about the Scandinavian community in Ballard is that it reminded me of the area in South Dakota where my relatives live. A folksy, everybody-knows-everybody kind of place. Growing up in the Los Angeles Fastlane, the concept of slower-paced living appeals to me.

But there’s another Norwegian influence out there that I’m dedicating this column to: a fellow named Leif Eie. You may know him, many have interacted with him over the years, but the more I find out about the things he did, I simply marvel.

I met Leif years ago when I was Larry Nelson’s producer at KOMO Radio. Leif was in charge of SAS–Scandinavian Air Service–that flew in and out of Seattle, taking people all over the world. Leif wisely knew the power of getting a popular personality behind his product and so he would often arrange for Larry and his close friends to go on travel junkets. The boys would get to travel to all kinds of fun destinations, which of course, Larry would talk about with his first-hand experience in their SAS radio commercials.

For four and a half years, I did the early rise as Lar’s producer and we became quite close. I use to love telling him that he was like a great-great-great-uncle to me. That’s also where I first got to know Leif. Now, we’re talking four decades ago, but what I remember most is here is the guy with the Seattle keys to an airline, and he was simply a nice guy. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch. He sent me a copy of a CD he had recorded. He’d pass along things he thought I’d find funny.

As I became more and more involved with the Seattle Norwegian community in recent years, I met more and more people who had a Leif Eie story to tell. He was the guy that negotiated the lease for the Nordic Heritage Museum with the Seattle School district. He had written some books. He had recorded some songs. He had started a Norwegian dinner 40 years ago that continues to this day at the Normanna Lodge in Everett. He worked with friends like Ozzie Kvithammer and John Hughes in the early development days of Bothell. He was a founder of the Seattle Sister City Association and made our first official relationship happen with Bergen, Norway.

That’s why I so thrilled when I heard Leif finally finished a book on his life story. “Modern Viking: The Traveling Tales of a True Norwegian” just came out this month and you can order it right here. To be honest, I don’t know how it got it all in one book or if this is just going to be the first in a series.  In any case, should you ever have the good fortune to meet Mr. Eie, you will never forget him.

I see online that he’s heading towards his 90th birthday next year and you seriously wouldn’t know it. The mind is still so sharp–his wit, the charm, the pleasantries, they’re all there.

I did some digging and even though it’s out of season, here’s one of the great moments in Seattle radio that includes all three of those men I mentioned above and admire so much. It’s from one of Stan’s visits to KOMO around Christmas and we stuck Leif up in the KOMO Air Patrol with Ted Garlatz for the morning.

I’m very proud to say I got to know Stan, Larry and Leif. I’m not saying that in a boastful way, but with appreciation and the realization I know I am very blessed to have had my life path cross theirs. Each has had a long-lasting impact on my life and how I live. Thank you, gentlemen. I am forever grateful.

Yep. I know those guys.

Tim

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #163

A last-minute catch-up with longtime friend and British Royalty-watcher Linda Botts.  Linda helped us out with a true British perspective back in the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days on KLSY and so I’m dragging her into my little Wacky Week podcast. Good stuff. God save this bit!