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These state pages or hyper-local pages provide content directly related to a specific geographical location.
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My upbringing was a little unusual for a kid growing up in Renton, Washington in the 1950's and 60's. Renton was a 'blue collar' town then and most everyone in those days worked for Boeing or PacCar, the cities two largest employers. One made airplanes, the other railroad cars, military tanks, and Kenworth Trucks.
Our family made music.
Dad and brother Steve, circa 1959/1960.
My Dad was a professional musician and played clubs (and just about every other event you could possibly imagine) for over 46 years. He often worked 5 and 6 nights a week and taught music lessons during the day in his home studio, Monday through Saturday. He tried not to work Sundays, often his only day off, yet that depended on the jobs.
We moved across town to Earlington in 1958. I remember him telling me years later how much he worried every month about making that $86 a month mortgage payment.
He graduated from Renton High School in 1940, then soon off to WWII. He was in the Normandy Beach invasion and served with distinction under Patton in the new telephone/communications core.
Jamming one Sunday afternoon with friend and guitarist Dick Sanders (circa 1962).
He loved what he did, and even on his days off it wasn't uncommon to have friends over to play a few tunes. We always had a colorful cast of characters coming through our house. My brothers and I have laughed for years reminiscing how growing up in our home was like growing up in a hotel lobby, night club, and music school (all rolled into one). Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have changed it for anything.
Probably one of the longest standing gigs in Northwest history, he played the last 16 year chapter of his career at Cavallini's in Cle Elum, Washington. His fans came from all over the Northwest and beyond to spend the weekend in Cle Elum and dance to the music.
He alway's paid it forward. As busy as he was he often donated countless hours playing for free at retirement homes, orphanages, the old soldiers home, the 4th of July parade, weddings, birthdays, and funerals. He gave music lessons at reduced fees and sometimes for free if the parents couldn't afford it and the kid showed real interest.
Dad was funny in that his biggest thing in life was about fairness. The dichotomy with him was that as much as he was in the public eye all the time, he was actually a very shy non-confrontational private man. Yet, never one to let an injustice go by (Don't ever mess with kids and/or animals.)... I remember the time he marched into city hall and told the mayor off (can't remember why now but he was on a mission), and the time he sternly lectured a couple of cops loudly in public about being mean for no reason to kids.
For a quiet man, he was fearless about some things... I remember him arguing with a couple of bikers on the street one day (How funny is that, I mean, picture it, my Dad, the accordian player going off on some bikers). I remember feeling for sure he'd done it now, he'd be shot or dragged down the street behind one of their bikes. But no, they actually stood their like a couple of junior high kids and listened, were respectful, apologized, and oh gee whiz gosh... went on their way.
One day, he severely scolded a neighbor for mistreating their dog. Myself, I didn't even like the dog, it was like one of those junkyard dogs that was mean and would intimidate the hell out you. But Dad walks right up to the barking dog and pets him and in 2 seconds they're best friends. Downtown Renton one day on our way to the grocery store he suddenly pulls over into a parking lot and totally reads the riot act to a couple of guys in black suits getting out of a very nice Cadillac. Us kids thought for sure they were from the mob, but he never said. That was my Dad, justice prevailed.
He was always there for us, even when as kids we did something really really stupid. He enjoyed simple things like going for a ride in the country, a picnic, fishing, and he loved the movies.
Delaurenti Music Center (circa 1940) Renton, Washington.
He was mostly self taught and never went to college (but often thought he should have or wanted to). Dad got his start on the accordian taking lessons from his Uncle Pete during the Depression of the 1930's. He had many opportunities through the years to travel, play Las Vegas, and do radio and television. Ironically, he turned most of them down. He enjoyed playing to a live audience and he wanted to go home after work.
He passed away in 1998. He touched thousands of lives. He was authentic, sometimes conflicted, passionate, and one of the most transparent men I've ever known. He was an authority on his subject, the best of the best, humble, practical, often eccentric, and he brought value to the community every day.
(Kinda sounds like the social media mantra, huh?)
I'm often struck with wonder when I think about where his life started, the changes he lived through and witnessed, and the literal dance he did to maintain his chosen way of life. He was also a good father and provider. We weren't poor, but we were probably near the bottom rung of the local middle class in those days. Yet, growing up, my brothers and I were totally ignorant of that. We were too busy, blessed with the living demonstration of purpose, passion, love, music, and the joy of work.
In other words... "You have no idea how fortunate you are, the world needs you, get off your duff and contribute something."
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.