Every decade reveals a new chapter that is fraught with challenges that begets a miracle. These challenges help us appreciate the miracles. The vicissitudes of life become the story we write as we turn the page.
The fifties continued its recovery from WW II aided by post economic expansion. The outlook was a cross between “Leave it to Beaver” and the beginning of “Rock’n Roll”. The television shows promoted a wholesome look into the “American” way of life while the youth danced to the jitterbug, boogie-woogie or Bop.
I was born in the fifties. We lived in Fairfax, Ca. in a home that was beautiful, secluded, and a kids dream. I remember the park like setting framed by forest with a creek near-by that moved to the samba of the wildlife it supported. The neighborhood was our playground that expanded as we left our childhood.
The innocence and childlike view of relationships and the world we lived in was magnified by the positive interactions we’d have with our family, neighbors, and even the strangers we’d greet in town. We were all Americans bonded by our work ethic, strong Christian family values, and finally the sense of community we all shared. Then I turned the page.
I remember the sixties for many different reasons mostly related to the one thing that is constant in life… change. The decade began with my introduction to my arch nemesis, school. In all fairness I loved kindergarten. What could be better than a grade that revolved around play, food, and naps. I was good at all three of those previously mentioned tasks and felt that maybe this “school thing” wasn’t going to be that bad after all.
My illusion of school quickly evaporated in the first grade. Reading, writing, and arithmetic was just not the same as play, food, and naps. However I did understand the concept of being able to read the latest Hardy Boys book, writing down notes to girls (yes I started young), and being able to understand the numbers on a clock (because then I could tell when the next bell would ring for recess.)
The sixties was a volatile time in our country. It was a time that pitted Americans against each other for the first time I was aware of. The television showed the Vietnam war as protesters on campuses across America exploded in violence. The contrast to that was the peace and love sung by the flower children which began in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco and ended August 15th, 1969 at Woodstock.
Prior to Woodstock were the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr., April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, and the assasination of Bobby Kennedy, June 6th, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. These tragedies were the culmination of a violent decade that began with the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, November 22nd, 1963.
Our country was struggling with its identity, predjudice, and the growing political and racial divide between races finally being recognized. With great struggle comes the evolution of thought moving towards chiropractically adjusting the chasm between races (which continues today.)
To cap off the sixties and bring some hope and light to our ability to achieve amazing feats we landed on the moon July 20th, 1969. Then I turned the page.
The seventies started with the ending of the Vietnam war, a president resigning (Richard Nixon) because of the Watergate scandal, and cultural change. The cultural change was on a musical note, (the most iconic rock n’roll band in history), the beatles break up.
The seventies ushered in the greatest music and the worst clothing choices (bell bottoms just one example). This decade also saw me enter college, Chico State University, join a fraternity (Sigma Nu), and actually graduate in 1978.
This decade holds a special place in my heart as I began my restaurant career at the Caprice French Restaurant in Tiburon California. The end of the decade saw me use my communications major earned from Chico State. I secured a job at a country station in Kings Beach on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe selling radio advertising and being a disc-jockey on the weekends.
In my infinite wisdom I chose to sell advertising to the South Shore of Lake Tahoe in the late seventies. Unfortunately the signal didn’t reach the South Shore…This didn’t stop me as I became the number one sales person. Making a little over $800.00 a month I made another great choice which was to buy a Porsche. I crashed it 10 days later on black ice.
In the San Francisco bay area the seventies was a decade of unparalleled violence. The kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst and the emergence of the kidnappers, the Symbionese Liberation Army was just the beginning. Then there were the Black Panthers with the aid of political activist Angela Davis kidnapping and killing a judge in the parking lot of the civic center in San Rafael California. This violence reached epic proportions at the end of the decade.
In 1978 Jim Jones, an American preacher and political activist led the “Peoples Temple” (Located in San Francisco ) congregation (over 900) to their deaths in a commune in Jonestown, Guyana, November 18th, 1978 by drinking a laced Kool-Aid. Then, that same November, Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were murdered at their offices by Dan White a disgruntled Supervisor. Then I turned the page.
The eighties are also known for their extreme fashions, such as “big hair”, new wave, punk rock, funk, and rap music. During the 1980’s conservative politics and Reaganomics held sway as the Berlin Wall crumbled, new computer technologies emerged and blockbuster movies and MTV reshaped pop culture.
The eighties began as I became partners with two restaurateurs, creating a restaurant called “Epanoui” in Tiburon California. I was incharge of the front of the house (wine list, training, marketing, etc.) Our restaurant was chosen in the top ten in the country by Time Life Books. After five years of operation we decided to go our own ways which led to me moving to Florida to become manager of the Plum Room at Yesterdays in Fort Lauderdale.
At the Plum Room I met a customer that introduced me to his property in upstate New York located in Alexandria Bay called “Bonnie Castle”. I became the Food and Beverage manager at Bonnie Castle which led to a myriad of connections in that region.
The eighties ended with me moving back to the Bay Area in San Francicso and becoming a General Manager at the iconic Masons in the Fairmont Hotel. Then I turned the page.
The 1990’s was a decade that brought big changes to me. My mom died and I got married. Two major events within a couple years of each other. Then in 1996 our beautiful daughter, Chelsea was born. Of course this was the highlight of the decade. Along the way of course there was the creation of the internet, cell phones, and the beginning of the erosion of personal freedom due to monitoring our activities through technology.
I had several jobs that tested my knowledge and work ethic. First there was my job which offered the opportunity to be in charge of all the restaurants, room service, and the Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins hotel across from the Fairmont in San Francisco atop Nob Hill. In the late 1990’s I designed and opened the “All Seasons Groveland Inn” in Groveland California moving away from my beloved bay area. The main reason was because of divorce and the feelings that go along with that experience. Then I turned the page.
In the year 2000 I opened another Inn the “All Seasons Sugar Pine Resort”. The opening featured the original Drifters. I sold the Inn in 2006 right before the global financial crisis caused in 2007-2008 by the collapse of the US subprime mortgage market.
Of course most people living in that time, around the early 2000’s, will remember the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City and the decimation of the twin towers. The war in Iraq, global recession, papal transition, hurricane Katrina, and the war on terror were the events that framed the first decade of a new century.
Personaly I moved on to Las Vegas where I began a new chapter in 2002. This led to being re-introduced to the restaurant business and my new relationship with Nancy Sullivan which continues to this day. I met Nancy in Groveland and she came with me to Las Vegas to begin our new adventure. Then I turned the page.
I worked in fine dining from the moment I came to Las Vegas as I was introduced to union jobs giving me stability and the all important health insurance.
In 2011 my dad died. This meant that as an only child I am working without a net. This is a big thought changing event that makes you realize how precious life is.
I worked at Jean George Steakhouse from 2009 until my final day August 31st, 2022. Along the way I had a home built in Orofino Idaho which was finished in early 2022. Now we summer in Idaho and winter in Henderson Nevada where we own a second home.
We are offically snow birds looking for our next adventure on our own schedule (not wearing a watch) with the peace and tranquillity that comes with freedom. Now we look to the future to see what is revealed on the next page we turn.
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