It seemed like yesterday that I was roaming the countryside with friends, looking for the next excitement, the next journey in the short years between high school and landing an adult job on the first step to middle class.

Ah, those were the days, and nights.

Days during the school year were spent taking classes at Alfred Tech (now Alfred State) in New York State, and sometimes the nights were spent at the Beacon, a student hangout in Hornell, NY that overflowed on weekends and one had to elbow to the bar for a refill.

These were the years 1958-60 when we were in a relatively calm time in our country (we would not officially enter the Vietnam War until 1964) and my world consisted of the occasional hosing down with fire hoses of our student barracks by overzealous pranksters souped up on far too many beers (No, I did not participate in this) and the card and dice games run by a crooked pair of New York City students who thought they could overwhelm us country hicks and cheat their way to monetary influence (I caught them and they slinked off, the city slickers defeated).

This period between old teenager and young adult  ‑ usually four years – was full of wonder and mysteries coming one after the other like rain drops falling on bare pavement. I hitched a ride each weekend from my sister’s house in our little New York village to Alfred and then back on weekends from a friend in a neighboring little village. I don’t now remember how we met, although I still know his name and we roomed together my second year at Alfred Tech in another little village outside Alfred.

I was considered a bit of genius in math, so a brother connected me with a cousin of another brother’s wife who was head of the accounting department at Alfred Tech and I began what was going to be my professional path to CPA. I did well in classes (I became the only student to get a perfect grade in business math in the professor’s 30-some years of teaching), but it was the most boring time of my young life. No wonder I spent weekdays at the Beacon or roaming the countryside with a couple buddies from my little village looking for adventure and, of course, girls. I needed the thrill of the chase to recharge my batteries for the following week of boring classes.

Music was moving in different directions in this time period. The Big Band sound had faded away, Rock and Roll and Doo Wop gained a large audience and that is what we mostly played on the car radio as me and a couple close buddies, now both dead, traveled the back county roads looking for our newest adventure. Back there, little villages are just a few miles apart so in 30 miles you might go through 10-15 of them.

One of the most haunting voices for me was Jerry Butler, who starred with the Impressions, played with Curtis Mayfield and became inspired by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers and others while becoming a big hit. His first hit was “For Your Precious Love.”  Butler is still alive at 79.

Another good Doo-Wop voice for me is Gene Chandler, and his Duke of Earl is one of my all-time favorite songs. Chandler is still alive at 81.

There is something about that time and that music that reverberates with me. Every so often PBS will air a marathon Doo-Wop presentation as a fund raiser, and when I come across one I just sat glued to the TV listening to various groups sing. A couple years ago I saw one and seeing Chandler, dressed up in a top hat, cape and a cane come waltzing down the aisle and singing Duke of Earl about sent me into heavenly bliss.


 “Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl

As I-I walk through this world
Nothing can stop The Duke of Earl
And-a you, you are my girl
And no one can hurt you, oh no

Yes, a-I, oh, I’m gonna love you
Oh, oh
Come on let me hold you, darling
Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
So, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah and

And when I hold you
You’ll be my Duchess
Duchess of Earl
We’ll walk through my Duke-dom
And a paradise we will share

Yes, a-I, oh, I’m gonna love you
Oh, oh, nothing can stop me, now
Cause I’m The Duke of Earl
So, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah



Yeah, I
Oh, I’m gonna love you
Nothing can stop me, now
Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
So, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

So, whoa, whoa, ho-whoa


Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl

Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl”


The music stopped Feb. 3, 1959 when the great Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash in an Iowa cornfield and in January of 1960 I and three other buddies departed the cold winter of New York State for Los Angeles and the life of a small-town guy (hick, if you want to use that word) was over with as I landed in La-La Land.

A new chapter was added to my short life in June of 1960 as I left for Ferndale, WA. to start my serious college years at Western Washington where I got far away from accounting and developed an affinity for political science, history and economics, and got an education in hockey through “Hockey Night In Canada” on CBC TV when the NFL was limited to the six original teams — Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Detroit and the New York Rangers.

Most of the people I were friends in those days are now gone.  Pete, Ray, Adolph, Frank, Diane, Jon, Putt, Lynn, Dale, Dick, Dave, Amos, Barb and Inky and I had some good times and now it’s just me and the music.

Getting old sucks because you see so many friends and associates die. What don’t die are the memories and the music. I just wish we all could gather one more time and yuk it up again.

But that’s life, and death. Hope you have survived the cold and the vast amounts of snow.

Be well pal

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.