Archive for the ‘Northrup’ Category

My First Wife and Only Child “Epilog”

December 1, 2010

It’s been almost three years since I’ve decided to write this next installment.  A lot has happened but thats another story.  So lets close this chapter up so we can move on.

I discovered that being married was not much different from living together. We both did our thing and at the end of the day we were together at home.  It worked out to be a really nice groove.  Carol worked at the restaurant and I did odd jobs and surfed.  Then one day Carol told me she was pregnant.  Yep pregnant.  I was stunned.  I had been living in the bliss of ignorance for a long time.  I’d never gotten a girl pregnant in my life until then. I thought I was shootin blanks.  “Yeah thats it blanks.”  Well you idiot you’re not shooting blanks  she’s a very fertile catholic girl.

Carol was elated by her new-found condition.  I on the other hand had to let it all sink in for a while before I could decide what I was feeling and I don’t think Carol liked that. It took me a week of soul-searching to come to grips with the whole situation.  So out of necessity I warmed up to the idea that “I” was going to be a father.  We told our friends about the blessed event including my in-laws which were “kinda” cool with it.  So here we were 6 months into the marriage and with child.  Things were changing faster than I could even imagine!

Having a new baby on the way meant it was time for me to really step up to the plate and get a good responsible job and maybe even a career.  I never really knew what I wanted to be except when I was around seven years old.  I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot flying F-86 Sabre Jets just like Steve Canyon.  Well I was along way from that dream.  So a meat cutter was my next option.  At that time there was  a large meat-packing facility just up the 101 freeway in Carpenteria about two miles from where we were living.  I decided I was going to put in an application and try my hardest to land a job as a union working apprentice meat cutter.  So I  went in and filled out the long application and turned it in to the receptionist. “We’ll call you as soon as there is an opening.” She said to me.  “OK thanks!”  As I left the building I really thought I was on my way to a new career.  So I went surfing.  For about a month.  I kept checking back with the meat-packing house calling on the phone, showing up personally but I just kept getting the same answer. “We’ll call you as soon as there is an opening.

Then one day I was looking through the want ads in the Santa Barbara News Press. “MEAT CUTTER WANTED WILL TRAIN RIGHT PERSON”  I called immediately.  “Hello?”  “Yes I’m calling about the position you posted in the paper for a meat cutter.  Is the position still available?  Great I’ll come by today to fill out an application.”  I spruced up and jumped into my Rambler  wagon and sped off to Percals Meats on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.  I met Jim the owner. Jim was a big thick meat cutter of a man wearing a blood stained apron.  Percals was a retail and wholesale butcher shop supplying meats to the public as well as many restaurants in the area.  Jim took me to the back office and we talked.  I told him about my wanting to get into the packing house in Carpinteria and how much I wanted to break into being a butcher.  He liked my dedication not to mention I was a 21-year-old man-child with a new baby coming.  I got the job without filling out an app.

I had been working at Percals for 6 months learning the ropes. I mostly learned to chop up chickens on the band saw.  Then I learned how to de-bone chickens with a boning knife.  Then I learned how to make ground beef with different percentages of fat content.  Then I learned how to make sausages.  I also drove the delivery van to the restaurants with their orders.  I really liked my job and felt like this was what I wanted to do.  Then one day the swell got really, really good.  I hadn’t missed a day from work in six months and I was never late.  So I decided to take a day off to surf.  I called in and told Jim that my car had sprung a leak in one of the freeze plugs so I was going to stay home and fix it myself. He said “OK”  So I jumped into my car and headed down the coast to my old stomping grounds the pier at Mussle Shoals.

The surf that day was soooo good!  I surfed with some of my buddies that lived at the Rincon Cliff House Johnny, Dave, and Chuck.  We surfed all day till dusk.  I got home exhausted.  Carol asked me how the surf was “Awesome!” I said.  Then she handed me the note that had been stuck on our front door earlier that day.  “Came down from the shop to take you to work.  Didn’t see you or your car.  Must be running OK.  Surf looks really good too!”  Mike was another surfer that worked at Percals.  He knew what I was doing and he was jealous.  “I hope it was good enough to lose your job over.”  Carol said.  “I’m not going to lose my job.  Shit I haven’t missed a day since I started working there.  Fuck! all I did was go surfing!”  The next day I was fired.

Carol was getting pretty big with that baby in the oven and I was pretty pissed off at the world after that SOB Jim fired me.  I had to find another job pronto.  I looked, and looked, and looked. Nothing.  We were just getting by week to week.  Carols parents helped us out with some cash to live on.  Then I found another job in the paper.  WANTED LIQUOR STORE CLERK  Oh yeah!  I jumped on it!  My interview went very well and I got the job.  In retrospect I think people kinda feel sorry for you when your young and have a baby coming so sometimes getting a job is easier.  Anyway I was now working in retail as a liquor clerk and I was also in the Retail Clerks Union. I was making $8.50 to start which was pretty good in 1976.  I really loved working at Miratti’s Liquors.  They had several stores throughout Santa Barbara and I worked at the main store on the corner of Mission and De la Vina streets.  The clientele were awesome, my boss was cool, and the hours were great 3pm till 11:30pm friday through thursday.  I was to be employed there for 5 years

Life was getting pretty darn good going into Carols final trimester of pregnancy.  I was holden down the fort with my income from Miratti’s  I was surfing in the mornings and on my days off.  Everything was flowing.  Then it got really, really sad

It was mid February and I had the day off from work so I walked down the road from the house to surf Rincon.  It was late afternoon and I was starting to get a little edgy about leaving Carol alone this close to her due date.  Then one of my water buddies told me that my wife was on the beach calling me.  I looked back down the point and saw Carol in the cove wearing her Hawaiian moo moo waiving her arms and calling for me.  “uh oh looks like it’s on.”  Right away I caught a wave and rode it to shore.  Carol had a really bad look on her face.  “Are you OK ? Do we need to go to the hospital?  Did your water break?”  Carol looked at me I could see tears welling up in her eyes.  “Whats goin on honey?”  “Your sister is up at the house.”  “Yeah so whats up?”  Carol started crying.  “your brother Guy has been in an accident.” “Now what?” I said.  “Did he get into another dirt bike crash?”  “No”  “Did he do something surfing?” “He was hit head on by a drunk driver.” she could hardly get it out.  I could not believe what I was hearing.  Instead I thought “Oh boy he’s gonna be really banged up for a while.”  We walked back to the house where my sister Gail was.  When I walked into the living room and looked at her she looked like she’d been through the ringer. She gave me a hug and started crying really hard shaking in my arms.  Thats when I started to grasp the reality of the situation.  “How bad is he?”  “He’s really bad we need to go to the hospital.”  So we all got in the car and headed down the coast to Thousand Oaks crying the whole way.  As I was drivng I asked Gail what happened.  “Guy and Joe were coming back from a high school basketball game when a drunk driver in a four wheel drive truck hit them head on.”  “Hows Joe” I asked. “Hanging on by a thread” Gail said. “Then hows Guy?” no answer.  I knew then how bad it really was.  I went into the emergency room where my brother was being kept alive with machines.  I held his hand and told him how good the waves were that day.  Then I kissed his forehead and told him how much I loved him.  We buried Guy Leslie Miller a few days later with a stone that read. “May the Wind Always Blow Offshore”

Four weeks later Carol gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Olivia.  In 18 months I had got married, lost my brother, and had a child.  I was only 22 years old.  Then Carols parents decided we needed a bigger place so they put down a down payment on a house in Ventura CA. five whole blocks from the water.  All we had to do was pay the mortgage.  I left Carol and Olivia after two years to march to the beat of a different drummer.  Or so I thought.

A lady stands before an open window

Staring so far away

She can almost feel the southern wind blow

Almost touching her restless day

She turns from her window to me

Sad smile her apology

Sad eyes reaching to the door

Daylight loses to another evening

And still she spares me the word goodbye

And sits alone beside me fighting her feelings

Struggles to speak but in the end can only cry

Suddenly it’s so hard to find

The sound of the words to speak her troubled mind

So I’m offering these to her as if to be kind:

There’s a train everyday leaving either way

There’s a world you know

There’s a way to go

And you’ll soon be gone — that’s just as well

This is my opening farewell

A child’s drawing left there on the table

And a womens silk lying on the floor

And I would keep them if I were able

Lock her safe behind this open door

But suddenly it’s so clear to me

That I asked her to see what she may never see

And now my kind words find their way back to me

There’s a train everyday leaving either way

There’s a world you know

You got a way’s to go

And I’ll soon believe — it’s just as well

This is my opening farewell.

“Jackson Brown”  This is My Opening Farewell

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“Just a Temporary Side Track”

June 2, 2008

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in this corner of the world as I awake groggy from my Saturday night affairs. I make a pot of java and get a quick shower. I have no pressing engagements or responsibilities to uphold, don’t you love days like that?

So I decide to drive the 15 miles down the freeway to the only open music store in the area. It’s called “Guitar Center.” I find a place to park and I walk in. I need a capo and some picks so I go to the accessories counter and pick-up my stuff. I don’t get to this store very often so I decide to go look around in their “acoustic guitar room” a glass doored room filled with beautiful high quality acoustic guitars hanging from the walls saying “Play Me” So I grab a beautiful Martin 12 string to play. It sounds and plays absolutely amazing. As I  finish another customer with his female friend comes into the room. I see him pick up another Martin and begin playing a beautiful melody in the key of E. He is finger picking and plays very well. I decide to pick up the 12 string I was playing earlier and acompany him with some lead phrases. We are sounding great together. He looks over at me, I look over at him and his friend. We all smile. We play for about 3 minutes and end the jam perfectly. “Wow!” he says that was awesome.” “Excellent playing dude!” I respond. “That was fun!” I put down the 12 string and walk out the door of the “acoustic room”.

As I’m leaving I hear a rare song over the store sound system called “It’s a Shame About Ray” by The Lemonheads. It’s one of my favorite songs and you will never hear it on the radio. I get a really big case of the goose bumps and for a moment life is really good!

“Jobs That I Have Done”

April 2, 2008

b4aa.jpg1. Newpaper delivery both by bicycle and by automobile
2. Window washer
3. Ditch digger
4. Wood Chopper (for fire wood)
5. Butcher Shop Meat Cutter (Fired after taking one sick day to go surfing in six months)
6. Plant nursery (putting dirt in pots)
7. Production Welder (luggage racks for MG sports cars)
8. Fiberglass Chopper Gun Operator (boat hulls)
9. Injection Mold Operator (skateboard wheels)
10. Injection Mold Operator (shampoo bottles)
11. Milk Man
12. Salvation Army Truck Driver (collecting donations)
13. Liquor store clerk for 5 years (I liked that one)
14. Fiberglass Parts Sander (that was itchy)
15. Janitor/Dishwasher (paid with free mexican diners)
16. Sheet Metal Fabricator
17. Produce Delivery Driver (lots of free fruit and veggies)
18. Capet Installer (hard on your knees)
19. Painter (I hate oil base)
20. Gas Station Attendant (before self service)
21. Cutting Press Operator (cutting patterns for childrens nusery furniture)
22. Lathe Operator (gun parts)
23. Drafter/Technical Illustrator (first on ink and velum then on the computer)
23. Graphic Artist (A morph from technical illustrating)
24. Photo Film Maker (documenting and editing clean room processes)
25. Solo Long Haul Semi Truck Driver (I saw all 48 states in one year)
26. BMW Prototype Test Driver (to bad it was only temporary)
27. Pizza Delivery (I don’t like pizza anymore)
28. Auto Parts Delivery (mechanics are not happy people!)

29. Chauffeur ( Rich people don’t tip)

“How to Blow a Good Thing”

February 12, 2008

Surf AddictWell let me just preface this next little journey with the fact that I got a little more time. Last week I had my second heart attack within the last 5 years. I’m almost 53 years old. I think it’s a hereditary thing. I caught it in time, had a second stint installed and I have been taking it easy. I’m walking 4 to 5 miles a day as usual and playing some golf. The weather here in Southern California has been absolutely beautiful the first part of February. So I’ve been out there in it!
So with my ipod playing one of my favorite songs, “Indigo is Blue” by Catherine Wheel….

So here I was living on the waters edge in a really cool funky beach colony with new friends a good job, money in the bank, a cool ride everything is perfect. Except I have an addictive personality, watch me blow it!

I was working nights at Northrup Aviation my shift was three o’clock in the afternoon till midnight. I had been working this shift for about a year but when I finally moved to the coast all I ever wanted to do was surf. I live in an area of Southern California that has some of the most pristine world class point breaks in the world, not to mention the sandy beach breaks just a few minutes drive south. It is paradise. If only you could see the sunset out my window right now! But I digress. It was my exposure to this new environment that made me want to never leave it. You see as a surf addict when the waves are good you don’t want to go or do anything but surf. Even if that thing is work. Oh the dreaded “WORK” why oh why
do we have to work? To pay the bills. But I didn’t know that part yet. I started missing more and more days from work until….I got fired.

On the night I was fired I wasn’t disappointed but I knew deep inside that this wasn’t good. I just sorta pushed it aside and said to myself “I got some bucks stashed, no need to panic.” For about two months things went great. I surfed when there were waves. Hell I even surfed when there wasn’t any waves. I hiked and explored the back country of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. I went sailing regularly with my friend Craig. I went to parties in the U.C.S.B. college town of Isla Vista. Life was good. Then the rent came around again.

I was $150 short on the rent that month. I was out of my savings. I needed to find some work. Then my friend and neighbor Bruce said “Hey Keith how would you like to be my helper laying carpet?.” “Sure I need to make some money.” I said “OK we start Monday morning at 9:00 be down at my house.” “Great, thanks Bro” I replied. Now laying carpet is a tough job but I got good at it and for awhile things were going pretty smooth. Then the work started slowing down as it always did toward the winter season and I was no longer needed. Once again I was short on my rent. No I wasn’t short I just didn’t have it. Well that month we got our eviction notice to move out in 30 days. I let myself down. I let my roommate the Antman down. I was losing paradise. Then I decided to sell my VW panel bus so I could get some money. I sold it for $1200 and bought a 65 Chevy pickup truck for $500. Then instead of looking for a job I surfed for a month before I had to move out.

I had $500 left in my pocket two weeks before moving. Antman and a friend of his had found a 3 bedroom house just up the road on the other side of PCH in the little coastal hamlet known as La Conchita California. I didn’t know if I would be included as a roommate after the debacle I had created at the last place. I asked Antman and Dave if I could move in with them and occupy the third bedroom. I knew that my $500 would ease the burden of the deposit and first months rent. They reluctantly said OK as long as I got a job pronto! So now it was three. We were not on the waters edge anymore but we did have an ocean view and we could see Rincon Point right off our front deck. I had bought myself another month and now I was broke. I didn’t even have money for petrol. I was beginning to live the same way I had lived on the Rock one day at a time with no concern for the future. Que Sera Sera…