Class of ’58 -Episode 3.1.19 Turtle Bay

adventure, food & drink, Humor



Two weeks ago, Elizabeth and I spent a couple of days up at an iconic luxury resort on the North Shore. It was one of our two go-to places for a quick getaway from the days we are supposed to be enjoying our golden years. Golden years my butt, it’s more like the gear-jamming years of our youth, except with grey hair and a different set of pressures.

After a busy morning, we left home about noon and headed up the Kam, (Kamehameha Highway) to Turtle Bay. Elizabeth insisted we stop for a fish taco at North Shore Taco. I favored a leisurely cruise up  to the La`ie Mormon temple to enjoy the palatial entrance and road which I built several years ago.

I can’t go on without making a couple of comments here. The highlight of that project was meeting the Prophet and his wife at the groundbreaking ceremony. While waiting for the Prophet to arrive, I overheard one of the Samoan spectators tell her friend, “My husband, Fetu, and I saw the Prophet and his wife at the Pancake House this morning having breakfast. The two of them look frail, but they sure like pancakes.” I had trouble visualizing the Prophet, the earthly leader of the Mormon Church, scarfing down pancakes in a sleazy fast food restaurant. It made me smile.

It wasn’t long before a pair of police motorcycles, with sirens blaring, escorted the Prophet’s entourage of four black SUV’s, two ambulances, and a long black limousine up to our tent. The SUVs disgorged a half dozen ferousous, heat-packing, Samoan bodyguards, who split into three groups, one to stand guard, one to help the ninety-three-year-old Propet and his wife up to the ceremony site, and the third to caution each one of us local dignataries that we were not to look at, touch or speak to the Prophet, hand him a note, or engage him in way. Although I’d never met a Prophet before, the whole scene struck me as a little odd.

We approached the resort, a favorite of the rich and famous, I egotistically took on the affectations of those I was about to mingle with. When I exited our SUV, The valet asked, “Do you want valet parking? It’s twenty-bucks.” I snobbishly snarled, “Of course, do we look like the Beverly Hillbillies?” I gruffly instructed  the bellhop to unload and send my things up to our room and be quick about it. (I had a six-pack of cold Bud in my backpack.)

When Elizabeth caught wind of what was going on, She said, “Jake, please. Young man, leave the bags on the curb, we will take care of them ourselves. Jake, you park the car and come back here and help me with the bags.”

So much for my grand entrance.

I was up with the sun the following morning,and slipped out the door without waking Elizabeth. She would know I was on the water. I stopped to enjoy a double espresso and pastry at the coffee bar while surveying the action at the neighboring surf spots. I rented a board from the hotel’s beach boy and went out to close-by Kuilima Point.

I waded into the seventy-eight-degree water, paddled out to the point and joined a dozen early bird surfers. This morning wasn’t about surfing, but about figuring out what the subject of my next book would be. However, It wasn’t going to deter me from catching any decent waves.

Within five minutes, I spotted an easy four-footer coming around the point right for us. I spun my board around and waited for just the right moment to start paddling my brains out to match the speed of the oncoming wave. The face of the wave picked me up, crested and broke to the right. I rode it on my belly for a few moments before popping to my feet and riding fifty-yards to the rocky shoals, where I dumped. A young surfer dude paddled past me on the way back out and shouted, “Nice ride, old man.”
I followed him back out and tucked myself in the lee of the point to accomplish what I went out to do.

I caught sight of a surfer buddy paddling out from the beach and waved. We had surfed together occasionally over the years and sometimes shared a beer afterward at one of the North Shore watering holes. He was a local guy in his late-forties, named Sonny something. Everybody seemed to know him. As we both raced to get in position for a hot wave, he grinned a toothy grin, gave the front of my board a mighty shove, pushing me out of position and took the wave from me. I gave him the finger and ducked back out of the wind to continue my deliberations.

I was a little pissed at my burly, uncouth friend, but then I realized I’d met a lot of folks way more bizarre than Sonny, and this rudeness was child’s play. That’s when it came to me, my next book would not be a novel. it would be a collection of short stories about nothing serious. Instead, it would present simple entertaining, short stories about some of the more remarkable, funny encounters I’ve stumbled upon. I was pleased with what I came up with and turned to considering a possible title. A remark made by a close friend whom I often had morning coffee with, came to the forefront. He said, “Jake, you have a million great stories, why don’t you write about them. You could call it ‘A Cup Of Joe.'” I thought, Not bad. It’s catchy and has a nice warm, comfortable ambivalence about it, not unlike a cup of Joe.







I’m not Steve’s PR guy, but I got to tell ya this book is something special. The concept of traveling two-thousand-four-hundred-miles in a small, open boat with your teenage son through sometimes terrifying seas into the bowels of Alaska’s wild coast to reach the last standing major American Glacier is certainly intriguing, sometimes scary, and peppered with surprises. There are a lot of sea stories out there, but this one, in addition to the adventure storyline, adds several unexpected funny, heartwarming glimpses of native life as the relationship of Father and Son develops before your eyes.

I’m not going to steal the book’s thunder. Two comments and I’m through. First, Steve’s book will take you back to to the sixties when we, as teenagers, struggled to leave the family behind and strike out on our own. Then it will thrust you again into the early eighties when we, as parents, struggled to grow and balance our relationships with our teenage children which were often  at odds with our demanding careers.

Second, the title,”Transcending the Gordian Knot,” put me off. Its connotation seemed metaphysical or something strange, However, it’s merely a reference to Alexnder the Great’s determination to remove an impediment, a knot of rope, which stopped his army from storming a city’s walls, It doesn’t play a role in the story. I think Steve mentioned  he’s considering a title change and a second edition.



I’ve heard from several of you characters recently, and I thank you for that. The highlights of these encounters are as follows:

Dinndorf, Bradley and Maffeo e-mailed me that Steve Windell is organizing a gala Class of ’58 luncheon at Anthony’s on Edmond’s revitalized waterfront, for March 7, 2019, and getting a lot of interest. They suggested that I come along if possible. I seldom miss a lunch invitation, but a five-thousand-mile ride to and from lunch would be tough to get passed my frugal, soulmate, especially since her sister is arriving the day before, for a week’s visit. Sorry boys, enjoy each other and hoist one for me.

Bryan Saario and I have been having fun sharing the trials and tribulations of writing. He’s preparing to re-release his book, SISUS, Which I believe is a story about his determined Finnish father’s life, including his WW II experiences, and how it shaped his young son, Bryan, during the old man’s later years. I haven’t read it, Bryan told me to hold off for the new and improved version. Bryan writes with  remarkable intensity.

Steve Windell commented that I seemed to enjoy my disguise as Jake Winston. It’s not a disguise, Steve, It’s merely a deterrent to any authorities that are intent on tracking me down. It also keeps the mobs of my teenybopper admirers at bay. Most of my friends and acquaintances routinely interchange my pseudonym with my real name. It’s kind of a game that makes everybody chuckle knowingly.

Sean Malone dropped me a note that I found interesting. At Prep I remembered him as being a tough mug, football and all that. When I learned that his career included eight-years as a logger, the plaid shirt and hidden logger suspenders he was wearing at the reunion made sense. I too did some logging back in the day, and admired him for being his own man and proud of the image he portrayed.

I  was even more surprised when he sent me a link to the Vashon Loop, the local newspaper he edits. Check it out, Go to issue February 7, 2019, columns, tales of the islands, UFO’s, which Sean wrote.

Bill Evans and I have been trading e-mails. He made my day when he told me that he now stocks my book, Jake he Prodigal Son, in his three stores, “Pacific Northwest Shop” I’m planning on getting together this summer with Bill, the one-time Deputy Mayor of Tacoma.

Bill offhandedly mentioned that his time spent in Peru and the many endearing folks he met and lived with continue to be a part of his life.  He felt duty bound to point out the editorial comment [about savages, etc.] in the Prep Directory De Biographies was misleading.

Paul Maffeo is happy with his purchase of a near-new Infinity Q50 SUV shortly after some idiot totaled his Land Rover two weeks after the reunion. I’ve always enjoyed Paul, and he contends that we “shared the same barstool.” He may appear a little quirky from time to time, but don’t we all? Paul has a brilliant mind and a quick wit. I lost track of him during college and was surprised to learn he was an Army Intelligence Officer and served in Korea.

Robert Lewis continues to grieve for the loss of his beloved wife, Gloria, two years ago. They were together for fifty-three-years. Please say a prayer for both of them.

Paul tried to bait me to create a story from a one sentence description he sent me about Firnstahl’s graduation party on Whidbey Island in 1958. I wasn’t there, and I don’t want to embarrass anybody, but I said I would concock a story or sorts out of what he sent. So, here goes.

Three carloads of Prepsters arrived at the Firnstahl’s summer cabin on the shores of Mutiny Bay in June of ’58. They spent the day exploring the woods and beachcombing.


Somebody who was thinking ahead, I can’t image who that would be, had brought the fixing for burgers and dogs. That evening the boys sat on a half-circle of logs in front of a bonfire of epic proportions bullshiting, joking, talking story and roasting marsmellows. About ten o’clock the party moved inside and started an all-nighter poker game. As the game progressed an unending supply of beer, whiskey, and nuts was ferried in from the trunks of the cars.

About four a.m., the game petered out and the cabin went silent and dark.

At sunrise a few souls stirred, two guys got up, put on coffee. They sat silently at the cluttered table staring into space and  chugging a cold Raineer out of a cooler. Suddenly, one kid said to the other, “Where’s Jack? He was sleeping over there in the corner when I crashed.” They jumped up, searchd the cabin, ran outside circled the property, and checked the beach. He was nowhere to be found.

They woke their buddies who sleeply joined the search. When someone suggest he may have been eaten by a bear, the search got serious and Firnstahl called the sheriff who responded and eventually located him asleep in one of the cars. When the cop roused him, a belligerent, very drunk, Jack took a swng at the cop, breaking his glasses and giving him a bloody nose. That misstep got Jack handcuffed, locked in the back of the patrol car, and about to be hauled off to the can. The officer entered the cabin, and sureyed the mess. With a look of disgust, he gathered the partygoers around him and asked, “Who’s cabin is this? Are any of you twenty-one? Firnstahl spoke for the group, apoligize and meekiy said. “This will never happen again, sir.” The officers said, “I know your old man, son. I’m going to forget what I saw here this morning, but somebody needs to make bail for your friend out there.

I didn’t realize it, but Larry McHugh and Pat Bader have been close friends since fourth grade at St. Catherine’s. I met Pat four years later.

Dave Waltier e-mailed me that not only did his five kids graduate from Blanchet, they knew an enjoyed my brother, Fr. Gordie, the chaplen. Dave’s son, Zack, is currently coaching Seattle Prep football.

Dave Boulanger sent me an e-mail to catch up on what he was doing these many past years. He settled into far away, Chicago after college where he taught at the prestigious University of Chicago, Illinois, (UCI), pursued fundraising and served in elective office. I was surprised when he mentioned that fifteen years ago He and Mena met and befriended, a young lady who they continue to see regularily in their neighborhood. She was a Seattle Prep Graduate. Small world, Huh?

Mike Garvey e-mailed they are expecting to see Dinndorf and his wife in April at their Scottsdale home.

Somebody told me that Jim Carrell, a mathematician, who lives in Vancouver BC, just published a new book, “Groups, Matrices, and Vector Spaces.” Congradulation on a huge accomplishment. If you Prepsters have an interest in mathematics and eighty bucks in your pocket, enjoy.

F. Michael Fischer finally sent me an e-mail two days ago. I was getting concerned that perhaps we had lost him. He uged me to continue the blogs since they seemed to be well recieved, at least by some, and they keep us all abreast of what each other were up to without having to pick up the phone.

Charlie Ralls and I reminisced over the phone for an hour about our Prep days and subsequent lives. It was a hoot, He’s got a hell of a memory. Sorry Dindorf, we both thought the reunion food sucked, but it’s not your fault. I complained to Rall that I paid seventy-six buck for a plate lunch. He exclaimed, seventy-six bucks? I cost us two-hundred-twenty-five dollars and my wife doesn’t drink.

I asked, “Did you and Kelly play football for the U?” They did, Ralls was a short-lived frat-rat at Alpha Delta, and I was at Psi Upsilon less than three months. I broke ranks at a house paddling lineup, pulled up my britches, punched out the paddler and tossed his paddle through the stained glass window. Charlie added that he and Kelly were friends since the sixth grade, and he was lookin forward to his visit in a few weeks.

We both commiserated over the fact that we entered Prep late, he as a sophomore, me as a senior. The downside to that was he got no respect until he was eligible to play football in his junior year and I felt shunned until my well-connected Holy Names girlfriend, Anne, broke the social ice for this frustrated ex-seminarian and fish out of water.

Ralls blurted out, “Hey, Jake. I don’t know if many of the guys have read your book, Jake The Prodigal Son, but they should, they’d get a lot out of it.

Oh, by the way, I just finished a book called, ‘The Boys in The Boat.” It’s about the UW crew, an eclectic collection of inexperienced, but driven students, loggers, ranchers and farmers, who set out to win Gold in Hitler’s ’36 Olympics. Listening to Charlie, it evident that he’s still a jock. albeit a little older, a little slower in the body, but not in spirit. God bless ya, my friend.

SEATTLE PREP CLASS OF ’58 – episode 2.1.19

adventure, food & drink, Humor, reunions, Travel

Columbia River Brewing Co.

During the cocktail hour at the Prep Reunion, I had several brief encounters with Mr. Meet and Greet, F. Michael Fischer, but we never had an opportunity to have a real conversation. In fact, I spent more time with Linda Lowe than I did him. I’m not complaining, Linda was a lot better looking than Fischer. As Pat Bader and I were leaving, Mike stopped me and asked if we could get together the next time I was in Portland. I enthusiastically agreed.

When my son Ryan’s family was with us in Hawaii for Thanksgiving, he asked if I would help him put a new concrete foundation under his one-hundred-year-old garage in NE Portland. It sounded like a challenging proposition and I’m always up for that despite being seventy-eight, so I happily signed on for the project. Somehow I forgot about it, until he called me in mid-December asking, “When are you coming, Dad? We need to get started on the garage.”
I scratched my head and responded, “I’ll talk to Elizabeth and let you know.”
Elizabeth and I tossed around a half dozen options for a departure date. It was a busy time of year. Christmas, New Years, Rose Bowl, parties, dentist and doctor appointments, work commitments, etc. The process reminded me of a favorite saying Elizabeth’s Dutch father taught me years ago. It goes like this: “Make a plan, talk with the wife. Change your plan, talk to the wife. Abandon the plan, talk to yourself.”

Just before Christmas, we settled on a January 16th departure. Elizabeth booked passage on Hawaiian Air Flight 26, from Honolulu direct to Portland. I was excited to make this trip. Not only was it an opportunity to be with family after the holiday rush, but it was also a chance to meet up with F. Michael Fischer. I fired off an e-mail to Mike and invited him to lunch. After I pressed ‘send’, I leaned back in my chair, sipped my beer and thought about the trip.

Larry McHugh & Steve Windell

The Seattle Prep 60th Class Reunion had a grip on me in a way that I really didn’t understand. It brought me back to an idyllic world that I had left so many years ago with no anticipation of ever returning. If Pat Bader, Mike Fischer, Jim Bradley, and Dan Regis hadn’t urged me to attend, I would not have gone. But I did go, and now I am dealing with the challenging aftermath of that decision.

The aftermath was that I wanted to communicate in some meaningful manner with my long abandoned brother Prepsters who had graciously received me back into the fold at the reunion. I realized that there was no other large group of individuals in my life that I felt this way about. Certainly not Rotary, Church, work, or the kids Boy Scout troop. I had made plenty of good friends and trusted associates in my life over the years, but they lacked the unique bond and sense of comradery that I had with these greying Prepsters back in the day.

It was a pivotal moment in our lives. A special time of naivety, trust, puppy love, fearlessness and simple joy that preceded growing up. I was hoping that by renewing my friendship with F. Michael. Fischer, who seems to know everybody, we could together reestablish some level of relationship with some of you proud Prepsters. Perhaps through occasional small informal get-togethers, e-mails or even the old fashion way, just call each other. And so I was looking forward to exploring that concept. To the dozen of you who have already taken that first step, and reached out to me, I thank you.

A week after we booked the flight, Harry Jay Follman, my long-time friend, and construction partner, called and invited Elizabeth and me to meet, and hang out with him in LA. His wife, Sharil, and fourteen of his dearest friends, who happened to be an extraordinarily gifted group of pot smoking, beer guzzling, aging Northwest musicians, including Rollie G. Storbakken and my friend, Brother John.

Jay had rented a high-end Hollywood Hills home for the week leading up to the Rose Bowl, and as a long time Husky season ticket holder, he had scored eighteen tickets to the big game. The prospect of partying with these guys got me excited.

A few days later, as I was contemplating how best to present this opportunity of a lifetime to Elizabeth, which would take the place of the Portland trip, the phone rang again. It was our twenty-year-old grandson, CJ, who wanted to spend a week or two welcoming in the New Year with Grandpa and Grandma before school started. I thought, this superseded the Rose Bowl.

CJ was a good kid determined to earn enough money to return to college in Oregon this spring. His head was screwed on straight, and he had a great sense of humor. He was a hard worker, and intent on becoming a biologist. He lived with us last year while working as a baker at Safeway and attending community college. He’ll never forget last summer’s adventure where he worked as a greenhorn aboard Harry Jay Follman’s gill-netter, the Erica Lynn, during the Bristol Bay salmon run, followed by a six-month construction job in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It is important to us that he succeeds and it pleased us as we watched him do so.

CJ showed up at Honolulu International Airport the day after Christmas with a tattered, dripping wet, duct taped cardboard box filled with gifts. Among the treasures were two big, angry, Dungeness crab and a dozen live Olympia oysters. I asked, “How on earth did you get this passed the Agriculture inspectors? They are scared crapless that foreign species will alter the aquaculture of the Hawaiian waters.”

CJ chuckled and said, “I argued for over an hour with the Ag. inspectors, and almost missed my plane. Finally, in exasperation, I blurted out, ‘Have you guys not met my Grandpa, Jake Winston? These two crabs haven’t got a chance of surviving long enough to pollute anything. He will have them in a pot of boiling water before the front door slams shut. The oysters? Grandpa has an Acme Oyster Shucker, and there will be nothing left but empty shells by the time the crab is cooked and cleaned. The inspectors looked at each other, laughed, and waved me on.’


As we sat around the kitchen table watching the crabs boil and unwrapping gifts, CJ sheepishly announced that he had visited the Grotto in Portland. It’s a sixty-two-acre Catholic sanctuary dedicated to our Sorrowful Mother. He reached into his pocket, pulled out two religious metals he had purchased there, and gave them to us. Mine was a St. Peregrine metal, the patron saint of cancer patients. When Elizabeth got up and hugged him, and he returned the hug, I realized how close we had grown. I was looking forward to spending time with him, crabbing, fishing, boating and hanging out, but that was on hold until he had made the rounds visiting friends, exploring his old familiar haunts, and loading up on Hawaiian poke, malasadas, custard, and mochi.

A friend dropped us off at the Honolulu airport Wednesday, the sixteenth. We were a little nervous about airport delays due to Federal Government shutdown, but it was an unusually smooth and efficient passage through TSA. We boarded a brand new Airbus A330 and took our seats in the back of this awesome plane. It had Wi-Fi, a plug-in for my electronics charger cable, and a cool device that positioned my iPad on the seat back in front of me, allowing me to easily type a response to my editor’s incessant comments on my forthcoming book, The Raising Of The Ruth Ellen.

It was a warm eighty-five degrees when we left Honolulu. In contrast, it was thirty-eight degrees when I stepped onto the curb at Portland International in my thin Aloha shirt. The bitter cold and rain squashed my plans for family side trips, bike rides, picnics and crabbing on the coast. In fact, the cold was debilitating for this happy, Hawaii Kahuna, forcing me to focus on the foundation work and indoor family activities.

I’m freezing!

When the foundation work was underway, I decided to venture out into the cold, hit a few restaurants, and attending the train show at the Expo Hall with my son and grandson as I waited for F. Michael Fischer to respond to my e-mail invitation.

Model steam engine at the train show. I had to own it.

My first luncheon was with my grandson and Elizabeth at the Hawthorn Fish House, my go-to place for a seafood lunch. Fried oysters and catfish, oh so good. The next day, burgers with the family at the new ‘Super Deluxe Burger’ a spin-off of “Big Little Burger”

A few days later, my son, Ryan, treated Elizabeth and me to lunch at MOTHER’S, a high-end bistro in the Embassy Suites Hotel downtown, close to his work. When I walked into the gorgeous Victorian lobby, I realized that when I was with Baugh Construction in the ’90’s we remodeled and upgraded this old Portland landmark.

This afternoon it was jammed with yuppies and business folks. I even spotted a couple of high-end hookers at the bar who abruptly left with a couple of local brutes as I sipped my clam chowder. I got food poisoning on Pastini’s spaghetti and meatballs on Thursday. Dinner at Salty’s on the river by the Airport with my son Mike and his wife rounded out our restaurant hopping. Harry Jay Follman’s long-standing offer to come down and take me to the eclectic, 1930’s Mary’s Club in the Pearl District fizzled out once more.

When the foundation work was started, and I still hadn’t heard from the Man, I called F. Michael Fischer and gave him a bad time about not returning my e-mail invitation for lunch.

New garage foundation

Michael, who lives in Vancouver, WA, apologized, profusely. He mumbled some lame excuse and agree to round up Linda Lowe Dunn, who lives in Beaverton, OR and meet Elizabeth and me at the Columbia River Brewing Co in Portland’s Hollywood district. This post-reunion coming together of old friends just had to happen.

We had so much to say, and so little time to share our lives and thoughts at the reunion. I realized that if I let this opportunity to kibitz with the Fish get away from me, time would erode the likelihood of ever reuniting with my Prepsters brothers. So, when Mike and Linda greeted me with big grins and hugs, I was moved by their welcome, and hopeful it would bring me and my brother’s closer together. We all grinned from ear to ear as we settled into the cozy wooden booth in the nearly deserted pub. Linda asked, ”Where is your wife?”

“She’ll be along shortly. She was shopping with my daughter-in-law, Michele this morning.”

Michael delicately asked, “What happened to your nose, you’re bleeding? Were you drunk this morning and cut yourself shaving?”

That got a big laugh, and we delved into reminiscing about the Class of ’58 reunion. As the conversation petered out, I asked, “What became of Tom Coughlin?”
“He got a law degree and had a successful practice here. Several years ago, he left his practice and opened a hardware store on one of the islands, maybe Vashon where Sean Malone hangs out. He had a heart attack and passed away about five years ago.”

I asked, “did you see Dinndorf’s e-mail picturing his ’39 Plymouth? He wrote that he seldom took it to school because of the cost of the driving in on the ferry. Maybe that wasn’t the only problem. Check out this photo I found on the net the other day. Pretty funny, huh?”

During a pause in the conversation, I politely asked, “Michael, have you read my book, or even purchased it?”

I could tell by the embarrassed look on his face that he hadn’t, so I persisted in giving him a bad time. He responded by grinning and giving me the finger. We laughed, and he poked me saying, “You’re not the only big shot author to come out of our class, Mr. Smart Ass. Dave Boulanger wrote an engrossing book about his life with his father. Bryan Saario also wrote at least two books and is working on a third. Sean Malone writes for the Vashon Loop newspaper and produced a cool documentary called, Alone And The Sea. Steve Windell has a book coming out containing dozens of black and white photographs of the Oregon Coast. I think Larry McHugh also has a book in the works.”

Since we were both a little fuzzy about the Prep days and it was three years before Linda came on the scene, we moved on to our Seattle University days together. Mike said, “What the hell were we doing in ROTC? We weren’t officer material, Hell we weren’t even fit to be foot shoilders.”

I responded, “We didn’t have a choice, Knucklehead. It was during Vietnam, and a required college course, which got us a deferment. Do you remember the time the ROTC Colonel caught me waxing my ’39 Plymouth while on duty during the ROTC troop review and parade at the old stadium a few blocks east of campus? He ripped me a new butthole in class the next morning in front of everybody. I wanted to crawl under my desk.”

I do remember that most of us were ambivalent about ROTC, but Mick and Jerry Flynn were gung-ho. Mick was a career Army officer and Dinndorf is still serving in the Marine Corps Reserves as a LtCol.”

We had a few laughs about the many raunchy houseboat parties we threw on my Lake Union, primitive, floating home where Pat Bader, BJ Michaelson, Stan Strikers, John Dynes, and few other Prep and SU guys moved in and out of, over the three years that I rented it. Mike pointed out, “Although the neighborhood was a little sketchy, and the toilet and sink emptied directly into the lake, the fact there was usually a batch of green beer brewing in the bathtub and a twenty-one-foot sailboat tied up at the back door available for a pleasant afternoon cruise with a couple of SU girls made it attractive.

We were just warming up to one another when a pushy, elderly waitress with dangling earrings and long blue fingernails interrupted and demanded that we order lunch. I thought, Is she pissed that we’re drinking sodas instead of the eight-dollar house brews? What’s the rush? There are only a few customers in the place and it’s noon already. Mike hemmed and hawed, scratched his nose, and ordered a brisket sandwich with baked beans. Linda ordered vegetable soup and toast.

Just then, Elizabeth, my wife burst through the door with Michele, my daughter-in-law. We introduced everybody as the fuming waitress crossed her arms and impatiently waited for the greeting festivities to get over with. Michele left for home, and we all settled back into the booth. The waitress snarled, “Alright now, what do you two want? When it was obvious we didn’t know what we wanted, she barked, “Order the Ruben and baked beans, you can share it.” Elizabeth gave me a puzzled look. As I glanced at Mike, she jotted something on her pad, turned on her heels and returned to the kitchen. I said, “What the hell was that?”

Elizabeth asked Mike, “Do you remember the night you and Eileen and young Michael were living in a house in the hood by SU ? Joe left me in the car that dark night as he stopped by to see you about something. Apparently, you guys got into the beer and forgot about me for nearly an hour. When somebody knocked on the car window, I was scared to death until I recognize it was you. Boy, was I glad to see you. You and Jake ended the evening crooning “A wild Irish rose to Eileen and me.

Linda told us she and MaryJo Shepard were roommates in her freshman year at the SU. Elizabeth lit up and said, “They were our house guests a few months ago. Mary-Jo married BJ after graduation. He ended up owning three pharmacies in the Seattle area. We had a good laugh about the time BJ got pissed off, moved out of the houseboat, and tossed a dead cat into the attic on his way out. The stink was driving us crazy until we finally found it.

I asked Linda if she remembered the Houseboat parties. She said not so much, but she vaguely remembered attending at least one party with Paul Maffeo. Linda asked, “What became of Stan Strickers? He was a tall kid with a happy-go-lucky attitude. I liked him.” I commented, “He attended SU and lived on the houseboat for a short time. Sometimes he accompanied Pat, Janet, and me up to Canada to hang out with Elizabeth. The last time I saw him, he was dating Elizabeth’s cousin, Janet, who was Pat Bader’s sister. I haven’t seen him since ’63.”

Mike asked about Johnny Dynes whom he hadn’t seen since he and Carolyn divorced. Mike was surprised when I told him, “Johnny was in the Seminary with Pat Bader and I. His nickname was Johnny Be Good until he got tossed out mid-way through his college freshman year for a really dumb stunt he pulled. They still talk and write about that incident, and now refer to him as “Dynamite Dynes.” The last time I saw him he’d fallen on hard times and Carolyn was working through a serious illness”

The waitress broke up our conversations as she delivered lunch. She slapped a plate of two shriveled up ribs and a cup of chili beans before Mike instead of the brisket sandwich and baked beans he ordered. Miss Sunshine shoved a bowl of soup across the table to Linda, startling her. Linda asked if it was vegetable soup because it looked like tomato soup, when the waitress said yes, she accepted it but after two bites, settled for the toast. Mike politely said he would keep his. Elizabeth and I accepted whatever it was she put before us and kept our mouths shut.

Kailua Beach

Linda told us that she lived down the street from us in Hawaii back in the day. That was a surprise and got the girls comparing notes. Elizabeth and Linda seemed to have a lot in common, church, gardening sports, and social assistance. Once they got to talking, there was no stopping them. Mike and I feigned interest in their conversation for several minutes and then returned to reminiscing. We laughed as we retold some hilarious stories about Seattle U adventures with Paul Maffeo, Dan Regis, Pat Bader, and others.

When there was a pause in the banter, Michael got serious and spoke about his thirty-two years managing the Vancouver Sears store. He loved it and it was rewarding to him in so many ways. He is a people person and a smart guy. His personality was perfect for the position, and he would probably still be there if the big shots at the main office didn’t make some bad decisions and offer attractive early retirement packages to their key employees. Michael took the deal and moved on.

I asked, “How’s your son, young Michael, doing? I haven’t seen him in a very long time.”
Mike’s face lit up and he fondly replied, “Michael has worked most of his life. He’s a hard worker and his employers like him. He’s no young chicken, he’s in his late ’50’s, and just recently retired.” I think he said from his job at the convention, or Exposition Hall.
I glanced at my watch, it was 1:05 and we were expecting company at the house at 1:00. I said, “We have to get going, Mike, but before we do, I need to ask who is the mother hen that coordinats the formal and informal coming togethers and group activities of the class of ’58, and stuff like that? I’d like to talk to him.”
“Nobody really. Dinndorf put together the 60th reunion. I don’t remember who led the previous ones. As far as I know, there is nothing planned any time soon. However, I’m thinking about getting the local guys together for an informal lunch this April. Why don’t you come over? A few of us have hosted these lunches every couple of years in the past. About a dozen Prepsters usually show up. You know what? I’ve seen some of the comments from the guys on your blogs that were e-mail copied to the class. They seemed to enjoy reading your blogs, and they have encouraged you to keep them in the loop. If you would be willing to continue that, it would at least be something that we could all enjoy together and share comments on a common, convenient electronic platform we’re all familiar with.
I thought about what he said and I understood that by virtue of my long absence, I had abdicated my position as a full-share class of ’58 Prepsters. To fully return to the fold, this Prodigal Son needed to re-earn his wings in a humble, subtle manner. I realized that I could possibly do that with a monthly or bi-monthly blog tailored to the time we shared at Prep. And so, I decided to consider that move. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
As we walked out of the restaurant, I told Mike, “Follow me over to the house and I’ll give you an autographed copy of Jake The Prodigal Son.”


adventure at sea, autobiography, DARE TO DREAM, Fishing Bristol Bay, food & drink, Humor, INSPIRATION, Travel

This collection of stories runs the gamut from light and funny, informative to exciting, dangerous, thrilling, and scary.


BRISTOL BAY – episode V – Farewell

Fishing the south line of the Bristol Bay’s Naknek R9ver can be terrifying and exciting as hundreds of boats fight for a place on the line.


BRISTOL BAY – episode IV -Fishing the south line


BRISTOL BAY – episode III – 24 hours to launch

After a week’s preparation, the Erica Lynn is checked out, provisioned, and ready to fish. We climb aboard as the mobile launcher comes to get us and launch us into the Naknek River


BRISTOL BAY – episode II –


BRISTOL BAY – EPISODE I – Naknek Village ‘

Naknek is the centerpiece of the Bristol Bay salmon run every July. Over a thousand gillnetters fish this four to six week seasons and fortunes are made by the tough old dogs who fight for every fish.




Jake reminisces about past business related adventures at the desolate North Slope and more genteel Alaska cities.


A young boy goes fishing in the family cruiser’s small dinghy in the early evening unaware of a school of gigantic manta-rays who are lurking just below the surface and stalking him.



An interesting story about making a difficult and dangerous repair to a severed ocean outfall line which dumps paper mill waste a half-mile out into into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Northern California.



Jake remembers his boating days from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. Some interesting and funny stuff.



“You can take the man out of the boat, but you can’t take the boat out of the man.”

Jake chronicles his passion for boating over the years. A humorous look at Jake’s quest stay on the water.



A ten-day cruise aboard a small luxury liner, the M/S Paul Gauguin on its maiden voyage through the Tahitian Islands begins in Papeete.


A college kid takes a summer job aboard the Thelma Rose, a one-hundred-foot vintage yacht that caters to the wealthy cruise crowd. When the captain and the kid lock Max Dumas, an out-of-control, antagonistic, drunken guest, in his stateroom, he escapes, threatens to kill the captain’s and the kid with a 357 Magnum. When Max takes on a school of dolphins, killing the female, all hell breaks loose.


autobiography, food & drink, October12 2018, reunions, Travel

I arrived in Seattle about three o’clock, and was late for my get-together with brother Ethan, but wanted to take this opportunity to check out some of my old haunts on the way to his home. I hadn’t re-visited the places that had defined several important events in my life. It seemed now was the time to do it. It was important to me to revisit these places since I had written about them from memory in my book, “The Prodigal Son,” and I was curious if I got it right.

I left I-5 and slipped through the Mercer Street corridor headed for Magnolia, I couldn’t believe how Amazon’s coming to town impacted the sleepy Lake Union neighborhood of my youth. It was awful.


Lake Union 2018


Houseboat 1960

Jake’s houseboat on Lake Union, 1960

Looking north towards where my 1960’s twenty-five-dollar-a-month rented houseboat was moored, all I saw was million dollar floating homes and expensive yachts. It was a far cry from the days these dilapidated, tiny homes were inhabited by college students and hippies, and the toilets and sinks emptied directly into the lake.

Space needle

When I approached the Seattle Center, I spotted the Space Needle looming over me. I remembered  when I was working for NWC in 1968, and they had something to do with building the Space Needle. I got a call from the Needle’s restaurant manager, “Help, the restaurant deck stopped turning this morning. You have to fix it. We are booked for tonight, and it has to be turning by five. I sent a couple of millwrights over with instructions to fix it, and have it done by five. The Restaurant did open on time and the next day I asked my guys, ”What was the problem?”“That whole restaurant is on a turntable driven by a little one-quarter horsepower electric motor and gearbox. The motor failed, and we replaced it.”

As I passed Izzy’s Bar across the street from the Seattle Center, I thought of the many nights we used to spend at this high-toned beer joint which was built for the Seattle World’s Fair crowd. It was no longer there.

I dropped down onto Elliot Ave and pulled into the parking lot of what used to be the old XXX Barrel restaurant. Doc’s buddy, Bill Ruff, owned it, and they had the best barbecue beef sandwich on the planet. I remembered doing the design and drawings to remodel it into a Hawaii themed restaurant and cocktail lounge. I was a twenty-year-old, starving architecture student at UW, and needed the money. I designed it and oversaw the construction for five-hundred-dollars. They named it the “Tiki Hut.” Ziggy used to be a part-time bartender there. Today it’s a sleazy looking Chinese joint.

37th. JPG

Mom, Monica, Auntie Patsy & Grama

I turned onto the Garfield St. Bridge, where I spotted Pete’s old house on the bluff. He was my childhood best friend. I drove through an unremarkable Magnolia Village and turned onto 37th street, where I stopped for a moment to look over our family’s first house. We lived there while Doc was away fighting the war and a few years after he returned. It hadn’t changed much since this old photo was taken in the late ’40s.

I drove up the hill and turned onto West Viewmont Way, and stopped in front of the Winston family’s second home, which Doc bought in 1950. It was a large ranch style house overlooking Puget Sound. I always thought it was a status thing for him, after all, he was a doctor. I hated doing the yard work and cleaning the pool. I marveled at how, as a teenager, I was able to back his car out of the garage, and up the steep driveway at night without Doc hearing the car, and catching me. Actually, he did so once, but that’s an unhappy story for another day.

23 ft houseJPGI drove north to the house that I designed, and Doc built on a narrow, abandoned City alleyway off of W. Viewmont, and a few blocks from Ethan’s home. It was selected as the Seattle Time’s “House of the Month” in 1964. Doc bought me an old ’57 Chevy Bel Air for my troubles. It was the best car I ever owned.

My short detour and tour confirmed that my memory had served me well, and I got it right in the book. It also caused me to realize that the easy, un-crowded lifestyle of my youth was over. I knew I couldn’t handle Seattle’s traffic on a daily basis. Great place to visit, but I don’t want to live here.


gordie croppedcopyEthan and his dog, Sara met me at the door of his 1940’s, tiny Cape Cod home. It looked out-of-place surrounded and dwarfed by the two and three-story, multi-million-dollar, modern homes, which had replaced all the other original houses in the neighborhood. Jim Bradley lived a few doors down. He motioned for me to sit in his favorite spot on the ratty, torn, duct-taped, ancient sofa next to Sara. Ethan has never embraced materialism, and it’s my guess the sofa will be with him until the end.

Ethan's modelIt seemed like there were model ships everywhere. It was his hobby, requiring a steady hand, precision, and patience. He was good at it, I never could have done that, but if you have the plans, I can build you a refinery.

I was anxious to spend a couple of quality hours with him. Although we hadn’t seen much of each other over the years, Since we reunited, I have come to rely on his sage advice, focused perspective and well thought out responses to issues dear to me about God, life, death, family, and even writing and publishing.

Hey Father! cropWe cut to the chase, and I brought up the subject of his book,  “Hey Father!”, which did well, and went into a second printing. I asked him. “Why was your book so successful?” He responded, “I told my stories from my heart with love. I spoke simply to what occurred and how we accepted it. It wasn’t about me; it was about my students and their journeys. I merely transcribed what happened, and commented on it. We didn’t do any marketing. I believe my book sales were based on a word of mouth networking among the many folks I had encountered at Blanchet High.


I told him my first book, “Jake The Prodigal Son” initially sold well, and got dozens of great reviews. However, when sales dropped off dramatically, several months later I guess I was a little paranoid, and disappointed. I was considering abandoning writing, and not finishing my second book, “The Raising of the Ruth Ellen,” which was in the final editing stages.

I thought perhaps I needed to move on to something more rewarding, but first I needed to hear an unbiased, knowledgeable, opinion from my brother, and fellow author, before making that decision.

Fr. Ethan told me, “Jake,  your book is a good one. It is an incredibly, interesting story,  well told and hard to put down. You definitely have  a talent for writing, and every blog you send me is better than the last one. Yes, I certainly encourage you to keep writing.”

I gratefully accepted his opinion,  and concluded that since “Jake The Prodigal Son” was a decent, if not excellent book. The decline in sales was a marketing issue, not a writing one. My confidence returned and I was fired up to publishing ‘The Raising of the Ruth Ellen.”

I asked, “Would you write a second book?”

“I don’t think so. It’s a big undertaking and a time sink. To be honest, my motive to write ‘Hey Father!’ arose from a desire to have my name on a literary work in the Library of Congress. Don’t ask me why.  I have thought about writing another book from time to time. If I did so, it would be centered on the many unusual happenings during marriages I have performed. It would be a funny, thoughtful and sometimes adventurous series of short stories.”

Ethan knew I had just dodged another bullet last month when I survived my fifth cancer in seven years. This time it was liver cancer. Although I seldom spoke of it, he quietly asked if I remembered him telling me about a passage of the Talmud which goes like this, “Each child is sent into this world by God with a unique message to deliver, a song, a personal act of love to bestow…”

“Yes, I do. In fact, I often use it when I’m teaching RCIA, (Catholic Religion for adults.) or talking with my grandkids.”

“Well, Jake. We don’t know what your message is, or when it will be delivered. However, I would suggest that God has gone to a lot of trouble to keep you on this earth, so your message must be pretty important. Just  relax, have faith, and keep doing whatever it is that you are doing.”

Changing the subject, I asked, “Do you have any regrets for selling your boat?”

“No. I’m still drawn to the water. I guess I always will be, but now I’m content to go out occasionally with friends, I always enjoy our annual cruise to the Tides in Gig Harbor.”

He started to tell me one of his corny old jokes, which he’s so fond of repeating. I told him. “Save it for Athena’s dinner party Saturday night. Oh, by the way,  if you’re finally ready for some new material, I had a couple of good jokes I could let you have. We laughed; he looked at his watch, and said, “I have to go I have an event to attend. I’ll see you Saturday.




As Ethan and I left the house, he said, “It’s rush hour. So, stay off of Interstate-5. Take Elliot Ave to the Alaska Way Viaduct and follow it out of downtown to highway 509, and  Burien. There would be much less traffic.” In the back of my mind, I remembered being with Ethan the  year before when he got horribly lost taking that same route, and we ended up at the White Center garbage transfer station.

I was making good time down Elliot Ave, and I was glad I listened to Ethan. I turned onto Western Ave, and lined up in the right lane to enter the Viaduct, which was about a mile south. A block up Western Ave, I slammed on my brakes when I encountered total  gridlock. I was frustrated by the traffic jam, and ticking clock not because of the stress of crawling through traffic, but because I had an unspoken agenda, which had eluded me for the past three days. That being, enjoying a takeout plate of Ivar’s fish and chips.  It had been on my bucket list for over two years.  Tight schedules, and commitments had blocked me from doing so at the Ivar’s Fish Bars in the airport, in Edmonds and twice again in Burien. Today I planned to reach the Burien Ivar’s before five, sample enough fish and chowder to satisfy my craving and memories, but not spoil my dinner.

ViaductI looked at my watch; it was already after five, and I was going nowhere. I reluctantly set aside my quest for fish and chips to another day and tried to figure out how to get out of the traffic mess. I remembered when I was a teamster driving a truck in Seattle during college, I knew my way around pretty well, particularly the waterfront. I made the first right turn and followed the Alaska Way truck route south. I zipped alone for a half mile, before encountering a detour which took me off Alaska Way and shunted me under the Viaduct, directly into another gridlock that included the backup for Ferry loading traffic.

Ivar's copyThirty-minutes later, Alaska Way was still on my right as I crept along the detour. Suddenly, I spotted the flagship of Ivar’s empire and legacy, “Ivar’s Acres of Clams.” It was seeming within reach, a mere few yards away; but alas, I could only gawk at it, and inhale the delicious fragrance of its fishy goodness as I crawled slowly by. There was no way to get there without abandoning my vehicle in the middle of the road and making a run for it; which I did consider before moaning, “Oh! the irony of it all!.” It nearly broke my heart. I never spoke of my disappointment to my hosts.


I arrived at Alisha’s after six. The seventeen miles from Ethan’s to Alisha’s should have taken forty-five minutes, not over two-hours. IMG_6393Gary and Alisha could see I was frazzled and suspected it was the traffic. Alisha said, “You poor dear, let me fix you a drink. Gary is preparing some pupus that will make you droll.” I took my place at the table out on the deck, sipped a Bud Light, chased with a glass of Merlot. I gazed out across Puget Sound at Vashon Island and tried to erase my drive through hell, as my hosts scurried about the kitchen. I needed to relax and let the beer dissolve my tensions and simmering road rage. I gradually morphed back into my happy-go-lucky self, prepared to behave like a brother, and pleasant house guest. Gary and Athena soon joined me, and placed two large trays of delicious Italian bruschette, and a bottle of wine on the table. We talked and laughed until the wine and pupus were gone, and the sun dropped below the Olympic mountain range.


crab nye beach cropWhen we entered the dining room, and I saw the platter of beautiful, Dungeness crab, which Gary had bought at the local Vietnamese market, then cooked, cleaned and chilled for dinner. I was glad I never stopped at Ivar’s. I think I ate most of the crab by myself, but I still had room for my share of warm French bread, and lettuce wedges drenched in Mom’s homemade thousand-island dressing recipe.


While we were having coffee in the living room, Alisha said, “We have a surprise for you tomorrow, Jake.”

“What would that be?”

IMG_6405“You remember the Metropolitan Grill, don’t you?”

“Of course. It is arguably the gold standard of old-school, elegant, wood-paneled, Seattle restaurants, and it has always been one of my favorites. I haven’t been there in twenty-five years. Why do you ask?”

“Gary has another commitment so, you and I are having lunch there tomorrow at noon.”

The thought of a power lunch with my kid sister, at one of the five-star watering holes of the movers and shakers of Seattle’s business world excited me, and rekindled old memories.



When I awoke the next morning, I asked myself what was I getting so excited about. It was just lunch in a nice restaurant. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I understood what today’s lunch meant to me. My kid sister, a successful stockbroker, had made her mark in the rough and tumble, “Man’s World”, of Seattle’s exclusive financial community. She had earned her place at the table of Seattle’s elite, although she seldom spoke of it. This would be our silent testimony and toast to her achievement.


IMG_6400Alisha and I parked at her upscale office building at Fourth and Marion and walked down the two steep blocks to the Metropolitan Grill on Second. The Maître-D seated us in one of the prized cozy booths in the nearly full, front dining room. I glanced into the long narrow, busy bar, noting that it was also crowded, as it should be on a Friday afternoon.

A waiter in tuxedo appeared out of nowhere, presented us with menus and took our drink order. When he returned, Alisha ordered the Friday lunch special, which was one-half of  a French dip sandwich and a green salad. I followed suit, but I added a cup of seafood chowder and a side of barbecue sauce.

IMG_6407 (1)The Metropolitan has its own unique energy, and the luxurious decor and attentive staff always made me feel special. I was proud to share that comforting feeling with Alisha today. We talked about Mom and how she taught every one of us that we were special, and instilled the drive to succeed in whatever we chose to do in life in us. I glanced up and thought perhaps she was looking down on us as we dined and talked. I told Alisha, “I think Mom is proud of us today.” We discussed some of the private events and feeling we held close to our hearts. Nothing heavy, but subjects like religious beliefs, which could be awkward if discussed around the family dinner table.

IMG_6408The soup was exquisite, that’s always a sign that there is an excellent chef in the kitchen. When they brought the entrée, I was surprised by the amount of thinly sliced prime rib that filled and overflowed the French roll. It was enough for two sandwiches. We ate and talked for almost two hours,

After espresso and Italian ice cream, I paid the check. As we were leaving, Alisha encountered a couple of girls she worked with. They seemed excited to meet her big brother. One of them was from Hilo on the Big Island. We chatted about Hawaii, our lunches, and why I was there. following a friendly farewell, we were off for our next adventure.


Alisha said, “Let’s walk down to the Pike Place Market. It’s only a few blocks from here. Remember how you always talked about the tiny donut shop that Mom used to take you to when you were little? Well, it’s still there. We’ll buy some donuts. There’s also a unique English crumpets store and a lovely flower shop close by. We’ll get some crumpets for breakfast, and flowers for tomorrow’s dinner table.”

“Sure. It sounds like fun.”

Six blocks, or a half mile later,  I stopped, “ I’m not going one step further. You go on, leave me here, I’m through.”

“No, it’s just up ahead; can’t you see the sign?”

“There is no sign, Alisha. I googled it. The market is another half-mile from here. I’m sorry to rain on your parade, but I’m not walking nearly two miles to get a donut. Sorry.”

limebikeJPGWe looked at each other sheepishly  and didn’t know what to say, or do next. Then, I noticed there were a few motorized “Limebikes” for rent in a rack on the curb. I said, “Let’s rent a couple of these bikes and finish our journey. It will be fun.”


Between the two of us, we had trouble pulling up the Limebike app. When we got it, we  couldn’t remember our Apple passwords to unlock and activate the bikes. After about twenty-minutes of fumbling, I said, “Forget it. I’m going back to the Met. Meet me in the bar on your way back from the market.”

pedocabJust then, a pedicab pulled up next to us. We jumped in, and the young driver pedaled furiously up and down Seattle’s hills and deposited us at the Pike Place Market. We haggled over the fare on the way. He wanted forty dollars, round trip, I offered thirty. We settled on thirty dollars plus a tip. The haggling was kind of fun. The young man kept a close eye on us as he waited in front of the market, while we darted in and out of the shops. He wasn’t going to let us stiff him. When he delivered us, huffing and puffing back to Athena’s office, I asked, “How much?

“Thirty bucks, plus a tip.”

“How about a three-buck tip?”

“Come on, Mister!”

“Will you take our picture?”

“I’d be happy to.”

I gave him my iPhone, he took three photos, and I handed him forty bucks. It was worth every penny.


Stay tuned for Episode III:

It includes: The Class of 1958, The Winston Sibling Reunion, and Ivar’s Salmon House.