It’s a big year for me and all my childhood friends. Everybody’s entering their 40’s. I just wanted to offer a tribute to my old pal Jeff, who I met on the school grounds at Bernardo Yorba Junior High in 1983.
Jeff commented on the Stray Cats pin (pins were kind of the thing in those days) on my jacket, and we struck up a conversation about music. So it turned out he was as big a 1950’s and rockabilly music fanatic as I was, and a lifelong friendship was born. I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was 27 years (gulp) ago. Where do the years go?
I have to say Jeff is an all-around great guy. My family got to know his family well, and we enjoyed a lot of good times together over the years. We both acquired old cars – his 1955 Chevy and my 1957 Chevy. I remember scraping layers and layers of paint off his old car with airline stripper – all over his dad’s driveway. Like a couple of goons we both installed CB radios in those cars so we could talk to each other from time to time while driving. For those too young to know, there were no cell phones in those primitive days.
Jeff got me a job working for the California Angels as a bat boy in 1986, which was a unique experience. His whole family also worked at Disneyland for awhile. We had lots of fun riding the train (his dad was a Disneyland Railroad engineer). We had a lot of good laughs, listened to some great music, joined a classic Chevy’s club where everyone but us was in their 50’s, played in a band together with Jeff on drums and our friend Steve on bass (we won a battle-of-the-bands at Jeff’s high school, which included a performance with Big Sandy fronting our band on vocals), and generally had a great time growing up in Southern California.
Later, in 1992, Jeff was best man in my wedding, and I was honored to be in his a few years later. We both have four kids now and some gray hair, but we’ve kept our young hearts and remain like brothers.
Good friends are hard to come by in this world. I can honestly say I’ve had the good fortune to find one of the best. He is decent, loyal, honest, and fun. There are a lot of great memories I could share about my pal Jeff, but there is no time or space for it all here. Happy birthday, buddy! Here’s looking forward to many more years of our families enjoying time together!