Lyon and Oak, San Francisco, 1986 — I’d fallen in love with synthesizers, and learned to compose and play. And how to record these songs. In my garret flat, high above the Golden Gate Panhandle Park, with Simmons drums, a Yamaha keyboard, synth modules from Oberheim and Yamaha and Ensoniq, and an early Apple computer, I created music.
Composing songs, however … was effortless. I had a secret method. I’d start a drum machine or repeat a set of chords, and then just listen for the melody that was already in there. Maybe that’s cheating, but it worked for me.
Enough for a Cassette Tape
I realized I had enough songs “in the can,” to make a cassette tape, and I thought what a wonderful Christmas gift to send to all my fans- Oops, I mean friends and family. A cassette tape featuring songs by MEEEEE!
So I did. And that’s why …
Time Will Find You
One song featured my harmonica playing. (“Big Walter,” featuring a solo stolen from famed Chicago blues-harp player Little Walter, although on the cassette I credited my harmonica playing to someone called Pig Lips Hawkins.)
One song featured my singing. Oh, my, now there is a treat. (“Time Will Find You,” which then named the cassette album.)
I got them produced by a guy in Marin County, about a hundred cassette tapes, in little cassette cases, with a little card of artwork and listing the songs and such. Then I wrapped them in pretty paper and ribbon, and mailed them out for Christmas.
Except for one. In striped red and white paper with a green ribbon, I was missing an address for someone. I no longer remember who it was, but this one wrapped tape languished, for I never found the address.
Later I moved to Sausalito in Marin county. In a box somewhere, the wrapped present lay hidden. While I was living there I learned to play the Chapman Stick, and had a (brief) career as a musician playing dinner music in restaurants. I recorded my songs on The Stick, and made another cassette tape (called “Left My Heart”) featuring standards and a few of my compositions. Still couldn’t play very good, but I got some jobs. it was fun.
Then one day, in a huge Yellow Truck, to Mt. Shasta in Northern California.
This Week, a Project
As it happens, a friend on the East Coast sent me some sales training materials from the famous Sandler Selling System. It was a big binder, with pages of copy and lots of blank pages for goals and notes and such.
And eight cassette tapes.
These days I have no cassette player in my car, so I decided to convert them to MP3 recordings and burn them on a CD. While I was doing that, I thought, “Wow! While I’m set up I should transfer my two cassettes of music into MP3 format, too!”
Right away, I remembered a box in the garage which had several left-over copies of the Left My Heart music, on the Chapman Stick. But I searched high and low for a copy of “Time Will Find You,” (the synthesizer music) to no avail.
Gently Falling Asleep
Then as I was falling asleep last night, Roger, my Unconscious Mind, whispered a picture into my fading consciousness … and I remembered something.
A tiny wrapped package, an undelivered Christmas gift from 30 years ago, with red and white striped paper and a green ribbon. It had been in one of the boxes I searched while digging out the left-over cassettes.
In the middle of the night, I went out to the garage.
I found the gift-wrapped package, tore off the ribbon and paper, and opened it.
“Time Will Find You”
Wow. I see now why it never got mailed. I guess it was meant to be a gift from me to me, and it was even so nicely gift-wrapped! I say: Thank you, me! How very thoughtful!
Time is a strange thing, don’t you think?
Press the Play Button to Hear “Maggie’s Song” …
Maggie’s Song (a Haiku in 3 parts)
- Dreaming in Bright Daylight (3 min, 45 sec)
- Swimming in Dark Water (2 min, 5 sec)
- Trusting in Your Heart (4 min, 10 sec)
“There you go, Falling into love again … like a fool, trusting in your heart
“Time ago, when you promised ‘not again,’ did you know … you would break your rule?”
(Dedicated with love to Maggie the very young child, and Maggie Northcott my wise mentor in San Francisco, and to Maggie my mother Margaret Hurn French Strickland; and as of today 3/28/2015, to the memory of Glynda Gilchrist, a pure heart from long ago in high-school and college days, Rest in Peace.)