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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Speaking of Legacies...


Generally, I prefer to forget being a veteran, but this year's Veteran's Day brought much love from the Chicagoland community and some amazing artists from back in the day.     
We were treated with a heartfelt program by the folks keeping the Chi-Lites legacy alive.
“Have You Seen Her” hits my heart in a very soft spot...a craft day with my big brother, Vince.
It was a rainy day in Levittown and we were working on one of those mosaic kits from the 70s.  Instead of paint by numbers, the kit came with yarn, different colored sands, buttons and beads to make an abstract design.  I've actually seen it a few times in thrift shops.  



"Oh Girl" broke me up because he'd rightfully called Mother "boss", when it was clearly her jurisdiction.  When our cousin George called after walking off the Washington Redskins field for reasons he'll never talk about, *cough*, Dad answered the phone, but told him to talk with "the boss" who was carrying me at the time.  It's been a running joke in the family ...speculating why he left, but he won't talk about it.  ;-)  The Washington Post had a bit of fun looking for him, but it was extremely lame of them to mention Dad's workplace when they figured out where he'd been after getting picked up by the Bears.



The song was a big hit and we lifted the arm on the record player so the 45 played over and over, nearly wearing the record grooveless in order to learn the words...and just cuz it was THAT great!

The song took on a different meaning as it was 5 years after Mother passed unexpectedly after her miscarriage.  Her body probably would have recovered naturally, but science intervened and it was a crushing blow to the family and the neighbors who loved her outgoing,  farm-girl nature.   Dad was devastated, my 10 and 11 year old siblings were in shock and I was 3 and a half... didn't really get the whole death thing.  Since it was so hard for him to talk about it, I picked up what I could from anyone who could bear the conversation.  Few could tell me stories without getting all choked up and I tried to avoid that, but I really needed to know what happened to her!   
I was told that she was with God and His angels, and I'd be with her again someday.  To a child with no concept of death, I figured she was gone for a visit, and people were just coming to help Dad out until she returned.  "Death" seemed like a special invitation from God and Mother was chosen... I just couldn't figure out why people were so sad.





Her nickname was "Mimi", since her brother Tommy couldn't say, "Armenta" until he was older.

 Ballcaps from Uncle Tommy who went the distance in the Army.
And my ball cap from my P-3 Orion squadron in NAS Jacksonville, FL  I was an AX3

Dad looked like his mother and so does my brother.  Dad was one of the first Navy corpsmen of color when he joined in 1949, right after high school.  My big brother joined the Army and went to boot camp just about the same time I reported for duty on September 10th, '87.  I'd been waiting to build on Dad's work on the internet, but absolutely hated coding.  Yes, I get the logic, but it was flight simulator software and gaming that drew my attention.  Dad was also top of his class.  He and Mother had ** after their names for honor society and as genetics happen, perhaps two geniuses shouldn't reproduce and end up with an ambidextrous freak of nature like me!  *snortles*
Suffice it to say, the IQ of the world crashed for me when Dad passed.


Late 1987 at A-School in Millington, TN.  It wasn't ez finding a good spot to study.  This A/C unit outside of the barracks was one of my favorites.  The Petty Officer's Club on surf and turf night was the other.  Good music was an absolute necessity when  burning out braincells on electronics math problems.   High effort thinkers are the greatest pride of my legacy and I was stressed, but motivated to work through it for a peacetime Navy.   Military bearing?  Yeah, well...  not so much off the clock.  But on the flight line, we were swivel-headed Cracker Jacks.  


Meet Orison Grant!  This is the oldest photo I have of our folks in uniform so far.



This is Marshall Thompson of the (drumroll please....) Chi-Lites!  I was so pleased to meet him and his dedicated crew!

Earlier this week, we were treated by some funky legacies who also honor the legacy of the arts and it's funky qualities to uplift the mind, body and spirit.  Look what our Funkadelic legacies are cooking up for Chicagoland!  Claude and Deena Allen Spivey had me pledging a Groovallegiance to the funk again!



It's not easy to describe the 3D web, Metaverse, or whatever geek nation is calling it these days, but here are some of the videos I did to bring new life to some of my favorite dusties.

We loved this cut at the roller rink and I ended up working with the "crew" following Gerrard Butler on guitar.  I'd not figured out theory very well and wrote down whatever he needed me to play on keyboards to back up Mike Hughes.

I left DC for Milwaukee to work at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, where another guitarist, Julian Ortiz, taught me from his 12-string guitar.





And this is from an ongoing challenge to rework the Dr. Who theme song.