The Other Jones

I have been extremely blessed to meet some amazing people over the years, not through any of my doing, but I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

During the early 1980s, through a series of coincidences and quick decisions, I ended up working as a morning show producer at KOMO radio at 4th & Denny in Seattle. It was during my tenure there as Larry Nelson’s producer that I got to meet people like Stan Boreson, Don James, the recently retired “Voice of the Huskies” Bob Rondeau, as well the famous folks who passed through the building from Steve Allen, Johnny Mathis and Patty Duke. Then there was the fun bunch from KOMO-TV down the hall–Dan Lewis, Kathi Goertzen, Ray Ramsey, Steve Pool, Ruth Walsh and so on.

Another fellow I had the good fortune to get to know was an engineer named Lloyd Jones. I can’t even begin to tell you what a great guy he was, on top of being a go-to engineer who settled for nothing less than perfection. Lloyd enjoyed working with wires, antennas, transmitters and all those electronic gizmo’s that keep a radio station on the air. Meanwhile, his brother, was often in the spotlight during that era–a guy by the name of Quincy Jones.

Yet, one more name to sneak in here before I turn things over: Keith Shipman. I got to know Keith when he was a fresh-faced graduate from WSU, who found himself being KOMO Radio’s 3rd sports guy. We had Bob Rondeau in the morning, Gary Johnson in the afternoon, and Keith cutting his teeth with reports on the sidelines during Husky games. Yep, a Cougar who found himself in Husky country.

Keith and I will always that fateful Friday morning in 1984 when the general manager called each of us into his office, one by one, to let us know we were being cut due to budget shortfalls. Yours truly, KOMO News Director Gary Stewart and Keith were all shown the door. Keith went on to being a TV sports guy over at Q13, worked a big at KJR and then headed off to Bend, Oregon, to run a radio chain there. Over time, he’s ascended to being the president of both the Oregon and Washington Associations of Broadcasting. He is one busy guy.

But not too busy to write this wonderful salute to Lloyd Jones last week, on the occasion of what would have been his birthday. After reading it, I had to share so that you could have the chance to meet Lloyd.

Rarely a day goes by when I don’t think of my friend Lloyd Jones. He passed away 20 years ago today, of cancer. Lloyd was the broadcast engineer for the Husky Football Radio Network from its flagship station KOMO-AM Seattle. He was a prince of a man. A Coug. An Air Force veteran. A lover of music. An extraordinary husband who loved his wife Gloria and adored his son Marlon. One damn fine broadcast engineer. He taught me many lessons about life. Because I took an interest in how radio waves made their way from a transmitter to a car he taught me some of the fundamentals of engineering. What’s FM stand for? “F**king Magic!” he would say. Whenever I put my hands in the back of a transmitter to troubleshoot or change a tube he was the angel on my shoulder reminding me not to electrocute myself (“always use the grounding stick, if you can find the damn thing!”). He attempted to teach me how to drink a scotch liquor – Lochan Ora – on Husky football charter flights – with no success. When my daughter was born he began sharing parenting lessons (“all boys are poison – remind her of that every day…..every….day”). His attention to detail was unparalleled. “This shit ain’t magic – you need time to set things up!” True in broadcasting, true in life. There are several other Lloyd-ism’s that aren’t fit for print, but make me laugh out loud every time I think of him. Shortly after he retired from KOMO in 1997 I learned that he had surgery, so I sent him flowers at home to cheer him up while he was recuperating. The phone rang at my desk at KCPQ-TV the next morning and Lloyd’s first words were “Shipman, I’ve waited 50 f**king years to get flowers….(long pause for effect)… and I get ’em from a guy!” We laughed our asses off for the next 45 minutes. I asked him what the surgery was for; he told me it was a hernia (it was cancer). The last time I saw Lloyd was at Bob & Molly Rondeau’s house not long before he passed away. They assembled members of past and present Husky football broadcast teams for a lovely dinner, and we all laughed and told the same old stories and laughed some more. He looked as handsome as ever that evening and though frail didn’t give us a hint of how ill he was. As Lloyd readied to leave he went around the room and said his goodbyes. When he got to me we embraced and he looked me in the eye and told me he loved me. I thanked him for being such a great friend and mentor and told him how much he meant to me. Never thought he would die. I cried a lot on July 13, 1998 after I learned of his death. We knew each other for 20 years – he played an profound role in my development as a young adult, and I am forever grateful that I was privileged to know him. Still miss him to this day. Lloyd would have been 83.

Thanks for sharing, Keith.

Tim Hunter

Oh-Oh….

Those of you who subscribe to my Tim Hunter Creative Services weekly newsletter know that I keep pretty busy. If you’d like to be dragged into those adventures, please just let me know and I’ll add you to the email list.

The point being, I’m busy and fully embrace that lifestyle. The majority of what I do is stuff I love. I’m writing, producing videos, comedy bits, crafting jokes for a ventriloquist, a comic strip and a political cartoonist, blogging, producing a weekly podcast, emceeing events, the occasional auction, etc. It’s a montage of things that I would choose to do for nothing, but they are actually generating an income. Go figure.

Yet, while I could easily just continue doing what I’m doing with plenty on my To-Do List, I’m giving serious thought to adding one more item. It’s a guilty pleasure and something I did for over 30 years. Now, I don’t want to jump back into that arena again full-time, because I’ve spent the past four years creating my current dream situation. But if somehow, I could get back and play a little bit on the radio again, I’d have to take that opportunity. If nothing else, to get it out of my system. Although, I truly believe, there is no known cure for radio.

There have been meetings, there have been talks. It’s possible that I’ll have an answer for you next week. I just want to make sure it’s a perfect fit, something that I could continue doing for a while and not just an experiment for a couple of months. I also have some travel on the horizon, but they said they would accommodate that.

So, let’s see what happens. I promise to let you know when I know.

Thanks for the read.

Tim Hunter

The Last 4th of July

It’s been confirmed that the last of them will go away sometime in September. The week following the shutting down of the last Toys R Us, they announced that ten more Sears stores would be closing soon.

This will be the last 4th of July America can shop at Sears.

Sears & Roebuck, to be exact, although I think Mr. R had his name cut off a couple of years back. Younger readers may wondering, “Why the big deal?” and I can understand why you feel that way. I recently walked into the North Seattle store and was in there at least a solid 5 minutes before seeing anyone–customer or sales person.

To feel the way I do about Sears fading into history is because that store has been there all of my life and not just in the background.

Growing up, the Sears Christmas Catalog would come in the mail sometime after school started and begin fueling the dreams of what you wanted to ask Santa to bring this year. I’m talking full-color, half-inch thick, page after page stuffed with dolls, toys, race cars, trains, pogo sticks, you name it. It was Santa’s job to bring what we picked out, but Sears was kind enough to put everything into one, often-viewed catalog and let us know our possibilities. I’ve got a 1962 “Wish Book” as it was called back then that I will never let go.

There was a time that Sears was “Where America Shopped.” That was their slogan and it was the truth. My back-to-school shopping trips always took place at Sears because they offered “tough skin” jeans, with the extra layer of material on the knee, for boys who tended to wear them out. Little did I know at the time that I was predicting a fashion trend where pre-ripped jeans would go for $100 at Nordstrom. Sears also had those “Husky” sizes, for the beefier kids among us.

When dad needed a tool, of course he bought Craftsmen. That was the Sears brand with the lifetime guarantee. If your hammer, screwdriver, whatever ever broke, bring it back and Sears would give you a new one.

Sears holds a special place because it was just several blocks from our home and back then, we would often find ourselves over at the Del Amo Mall. It was their anchor store, where they had a garden shop and lawn mowers and color TV’s and stereos.  Sears had everything you needed. They had built that reputation since the early days, when they even sold homes. Yes, houses. Down in Ballard, there are quite a few “Craftsmen Homes” that were sold as kits.

One more thing. In my junior year at Torrance High School, because of my rah-rah involvement with school, etc., I was asked to become a member of the Sears Teen Fashion Board. THE WHAT?  They invited students to be on this board, which involved an occasional fashion show where we would model Sears clothes, they put our pictures up prominently in the store and gave us a couple of hours working. That was my first paid job outside of mowing lawns.  At first, I was a “floater”, which meant you could end up in Children’s Clothing (the department, not actually children’s clothing), Lawn & Garden, or Hardware. When you showed up, they put you where ever they were short employees.   In time, I became strictly Division 9–Hardware.  I knew the tools and when someone had a question, I could actually sound like I knew what I was talking about. It was during my tenure there that Sears converted from the old key cash registers to computerized versions and I became very good at that. I could ring up a sale and then wait a minute for the computer to catch up with me.

Some of my former Division 9 co-workers

Remember that lifetime guarantee Craftsmen tools offered? One time a customer came in holding on to an ancient-looking ratchet. Sure enough, even though he had it since 1947, we just gave him a new one. Yes, it was a different time. How different?  Shortly after I started working there, they began being open on Sundays, from noon to 5pm.

So, how could a company that had everything, where everyone shopped and felt at home from the moment they walked in and grabbed a bag of that free popcorn…how could they go away? The answer–very slowly.

Not enough attention was paid to what customers. There was competition. Loss of brand value, like in appliances. Kenmore was once a sign of the highest quality and dependability. That slowly faded away.

I stopped by the Southcenter Sears store today and it was depressing. Employees going through the motions, sales people trying to talk customers into getting a Sears credit card, knowing full well the store disappears in a couple of months. The visit helped me realize that’s probably my last time inside a Sears.  They just aren’t what they used to be.

Saying goodbye to a part of your life isn’t easy and it seems like these farewells are becoming more frequent. However, as it’s often pointed out, aging has its drawbacks, but it’s better than the alternative.

Tim Hunter

A Couple of Quick Life Hacks

Somehow I’ve avoided waxing philosophical for the past couple of blogs. However, now I’m suffering from wax buildup, so here are a couple of quick observations that hopefully, if you embrace them, just might improve your quality of life. Even just a little.

PRAYERS

For the most part, I’d have to say the majority of people I hang around have some kind of religious background and most live spiritual lives. Now, I’m not talking flame-throwing, trying-to-convert you types. Just people who have included God in their existence down here on earth.

It’s due to that exposure that, from the way outside, I’ve made this observation. When one of life’s negatives interferes with their lives–cancer, injuries, loss of job, divorce, whatever–they’re quick to request prayers for the person afflicted.

My personal beliefs support that suggestion. However, a couple of things are going on out there. For one, people have started saying it about everything and everyone. At times, it reaches the level of someone saying “Bless you” after a sneeze.  Are they really suggesting a person be blessed because of a nose irritation?  Or, is it just something we consider a polite and a caring thing to do, and do it instinctively, rather than with thought?

Now, rest assured, I believe in the power of prayer. I’m big on positive energy, whether to God or just being positive in your thinking. (This is where I’ll highly recommend watching or reading, “The Secret”. It’s currently available for free on both Amazon Prime and Netflix, if you’re a subscriber) And, if someone requests prayers and you pray, I believe it helps. What has me wondering is how many people actually pray for the requested purpose, or do they just give it lip service because it’s the polite and caring thing to do?

Another theory on that point is that when you request prayers, you’re actually saying, “Will you help me worry about _______?” and if that’s what you end up doing, then you’re actually creating negative energy towards that circumstance.

Maybe. Maybe not. Just something that emerged when I dwelled on the topic too long.

FACEBOOK

OK, I need to say this. Somewhere along the line, Facebook has evolved from a cool social platform for college students to a news source for anyone with political leanings. Oh my God, people, Facebook is nothing more than a cork bulletin board on the Internet where people stick things up for themselves. IT’S NOT A NEWS SOURCE.

To post things on Facebook, all you need is an account. If you want to post things that are half-truths or flat-out lies, all you need is an account. If you want to add credibility to your outrageous liberties of truth, buy a website with a name like ithastobetrue.com or notalie.com. (For the record, you can buy “It has to be true dot com”, but “Not a lie dot com” is taken) 

Facebook was meant to be a way for you to show how much your kids have grown, what you look like these days, to get caught up with old classmates enough that you don’t have to attend the reunion. You know, that kind of stuff.  You may have heard about the Russian bots and trolls that saturated Facebook during our last election. You’ve noticed how negative the election ads have been getting over the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, because of our busy lives and deciding that accuracy is a luxury we can’t afford, negative works. So, if you’re posting with an agenda, you’re putting things out there to lure in the sheep that want to believe what you’re saying is true.

A couple of weeks ago, pictures were shown of immigrant kids, covered in foil in cages and we were appalled that President Trump’s administration would allow such things to happen. Only problem–those pictures were taken in 2014 during the Obama administration. That was the fine print retraction.

I had a relative post something completely false about President Trump and I cited an article in the New York Times that had disproved it. After promoting this on his Facebook page, I called him out on it and said that it was false, here’s the link. He told that it didn’t matter, it’s the kind of thing he would do.

Important footnote–I am far from a Trump supporter. It’s my hope that someone–anyone–with character will step forward and get the country to unite again in the very near future. But currently, both sides are being as divisive as I’m ever seen in my six decades on this earth and we really need to right this ship.

But back to the subject at hand.

If it helps, Facebook is no more a reliable news source than a community bulletin board. Anyone can post stuff. You don’t need authority or accuracy. If you think aliens are trying to steal your thoughts, you can put it up there. Some people will read it and feel bad for you. Others will believe you and warn others, while the majority of us will quietly unfriend you and hope you don’t notice.

And so, I’m becoming quite an expert on one of Facebook’s special features and I encourage you to give it a try.

I’ve never been a fan of the Snooze Bar on clock radios. As we used to call it in morning radio, it’s “the devil’s tool.” If you set an alarm, get up when it goes off. If you want sleep later, decide that the night before and set it later. We’re adults here. That being said, I highly encourage you to utilize the Snooze Button on Facebook. The next time a friend or relative says something stupid or untrue, you could encounter them and get into a debate online. Or, just “snooze” them for 30 days and enjoy an entire month free of them and their negativity. 31 days from now, you may be reminded why you snoozed them and do it again, but at least you have that option.

Time for me to emerge from the philosophy tent and back out into the joke-writing world. Here’s hoping that you found something useful in these ramblings and, if not, simply crumble up your screen and place it in the garbage can.

Tim Hunter

 

What I Learned On My Long Weekend

 

I’m on the left

I’M BACK

Yeah, I’m coming off of a long, on-the-road weekend. So, I thought that this week, I would drag you along on my adventures. Buckle up!

THE TRIP

The goal was to attend my niece’s wedding in Little Rock, Arkansas. The challenges were many, including the fact there are no direct flights from Seattle and that a round trip would take at least one stop, up to 9 hours in travel-time and cost over $400.

So, I came up with this scheme: use my Alaska Airline miles and fly directly into a city, then rent a car and drive to Little Rock. It turns out, with miles, I could fly round-trip to Dallas from Seattle for miles and $19 cash. Sold! Add in a rental car and gas for a little over $200 and I ended up saving $200, arriving in Little Rock in the same amount of travel time as if I flew there. Plus I got to see parts of the country I may never see again.

Zapruder was standing on this ledge when he took the home movies

THE TOURIST SPOTS

My mom & sister decided to join me on my indirect adventure so we met in Dallas, grabbed a hotel room and then we got up Friday morning and hit Dealey Plaza & the Kennedy museum in the infamous Texas Book Depository. There is so much history in that little chunk of Dallas. As you look down from the 6th floor of the building, you can see white X’s on the road where each of the shots hit the president. You could easily spend hours there listening to audio and looking at a exhibits, but we had an almost five-hour drive ahead of us and a rehearsal dinner to get to.

WHAT STUCK WITH ME THE MOST was when they pointed out that in 1960 when Kennedy was elected, over half of the population of the United States was under the age of 25. Today, that’s like 25%,.

The day after the wedding, we went to the Clinton Presidential Museum not far from our hotel. I was not a fan of the man but I have to say that the museum won me over a little, at least, giving me a higher respect of his accomplishments.  And kudos to the creators for including the Monica Lewinsky chapter of his presidency. I have to say, it’s very odd, looking at a museum of things where you remember everything that happened.

WHAT STUCK WITH ME THE MOST: There are blue boxes full of documents up and down the library in shelves, like books. Over 4,000 of them on display. And that is only 2-3% of the documents resulting from his two terms. Everything is required to be preserved, no matter how insignificant.

At the Clinton Presidential Library

THE WEDDING

The wedding itself was quite the family affair and I was so glad I could make it. We were unable to make my nephew Matthew’s wedding a couple of years ago and I won’t be able to attend his sister Laura’s big event this fall. However, the middle child, Megan, hit a window where I could actually be present. Laura was the Maid of Honor, Matthew was one of three ministers involved in the wedding and their father, my brother-in-law Darrell, another minister, was also in the wedding. Everything went fairly smooth with only a few glitches that happen with every wedding. The biggest challenge was the heat. Little Rock decided to hit the 90s that weekend, with a humidity to match. The church had some air conditioning, that helped. But unfortunately, the hotel where the reception was held, had challenges. They could not get the temperature below the 70s most of the night, which made for a very sweaty evening. On the bright side, doing the emcee duties for the reception, most of my jokes went over. The ones that didn’t, I blamed on the heat.

With our version of the Royal Couple

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

I thought of this gag, but in the madness and heat of the evening, I forgot to do it. Here’s what was going through my head earlier in the day.

After the Best Man and the Maid of Honor made their speeches, I opened it up to anyone else who would like to say a few words about the couple. No one stepped forward. That would have been the perfect occasion to have done the gag.

What I supposed to remember to say was, “OK, well, I’ve got a quick story to tell.  The second I arrived in town, I walked up and said, “Look, Megan, I know you and I haven’t been very close over the years and I didn’t get to see you a lot, but it warms my heart to see you getting married and I’m so happy that you found the one and your soulmate.”

And that’s when my sister Terri chimed in with, “Uh, Tim, that’s Laura. Megan’s over there.”

Dang it.
Carters everywhere!

A COOL SIDE-NOTE

When we arrived at our hotel, there were people everywhere wearing lime green shirts. Reading the back of the shirts, they were all part of a Carter family reunion. How awesome. They were everywhere. In talking with a couple of the extended Carter family, it seems that years ago, a couple with the last name of Carter had 15 kids. Over the years, the kids had kids, their kids had kids and now, every year, they gather somewhere for a reunion. It’s a weekend-long event including upwards of 200 people.  I think I heard that next year’s event is in Denver.

THIS TRIP’S SENIOR MOMENT

So, we enjoy a great dinner at a Dallas restaurant, a bit of an upscale establishment, with valet parking. After dinner, we headed out to the car and I tell the valet I was driving a silver Hyundai Ioniq. He spends five minutes looking for the keys, can’t seem to find them and then I remember, I’m NOT in Seattle. Our rental car was a white Ford Escape. More Ginko, please.

I’ll be honest–I was tempted

WHAT I LEARNED DURING THIS TRIP

My old broadcast partner, Bruce Murdock, used to always say, “It’s a pretty poor day when you can’t learn something” and I have to agree. Here are a few of the nuggets I picked up during my 5-day adventure:

  • Apparently, this area of the country has run out of names. They either borrow them from existing places like Paris, New Boston and Mount Vernon, or they take names and scramble them. For example, Texarkana and Arkadelphia. (I’m not making this up)
  • Texas is like Washington used-to-be. They don’t sell liquor in grocery stores, you have to go to a liquor store if you want your hard stuff.
  • Where I live, it’s common to hear in the winter, “It’s 25 with a windchill of 17.” Down in Texas, I heard, “It’s 97, with a heat factor of 101.”
  • Talk about two worlds. I was seat 32 D when I took off from Seattle. (I was so far back in the jet, I think technically, I took off from Tacoma) On the return flight, I was 4A. Just to satisfy your curiosity, 4A was much better.

ONE OF THE BEST MOMENTS OF THE TRIP

It happened when I approached the elevator at our hotel. As I walked up, a guy said out loud, “I think it’s broken, we’re going to have to take the stairs.” As he turned around, I saw he was wearing a San Francisco Giants baseball cap. At that particular moment, I was in my Los Angeles Dodgers polo shirt and pointed it out to him. “You know, we aren’t supposed to get along.”

“Yeah, I know,” he responded. We continued walking towards the stairs and I thought I’d clarify the situation. “Actually, I live in Seattle now. Los Angeles is where I grew up and I’m a Mariners fan now.”

He said, “Seattle? That’s the city I hate the second most. Damn Seahawks.”

We flipped each other grief, got to the second floor, smiled, shook hands and went our separate ways. That was cool.

I figured it was for the guy behind me

THE SOUTH

The one depicted to us up in the northwest is the red-necked bigot named Bubba that still lives in the 1950s. What stands out as you go about your business in Texas and Arkansas is the amazing display of manners. “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir”, doors being held open, people waiting for the ladies to go first, both black and white. People saying “Hi!” or “Good morning” as you walk past them. Manners and civility are quite alive in the south, at least in Little Rock & Dallas.

Heading into Dallas

A DALLAS WARNING

Some tips. If you’re planning to visit soon, be sure to double-check everything you book, including which airport your service is at. For example, I flew into Dallas/Fort Worth airport, only to find out that I had reserved a rental car at the Love Field airport.  For Pete’s sake. Fortunately, they had lots of inventory and it was no problem switching. Then, when I went to drop off the car, I went into the airport only to find out that I had clicked on a return trip to Seattle out of Love Field. Nothing that a $50 cab ride couldn’t fix.

But my adventures weren’t over. I checked into the airline, walked out to where gates 11-20 were located and sat down between 12 and 14. Odd that didn’t have 13 marked. Maybe they felt people were superstitious and they didn’t want to put up a sign. I couldn’t see beyond the big column in front of me, but I just assumed the gate was there.  The arriving flight was late, so it looked like they would be boarding a little later than planned. The next thing I know, I hear my name being announced, paging me to Gate 13.  I walked down past gate 14 and on the left side of the concourse were gates 11 and 13. For double Pete’s sake. I was there an hour before departure and almost missed my flight. I was the very last person to board.

It was a close call with a happy ending and a lesson learned, whenever you might fly to Dallas. This could explain why J.R. Ewing was such a jerk.

WHAT I’D LIKE FROM YOU

Is that when you encounter any of these experiences yourself and they help you avoid some of my misadventures, drop me an email and let me know. We’re all in this together.

Safe travels.

Tim Hunter

 

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