The Three Amigos

The Boogie Corner

Many people form great, life-long bonds with college roommates; others become comrades-in-arms in military service. Then there’s the Three Amigos from the Boogie Corner. Odd how things work out. I had just returned to Portland after Basic and AIT Training for the Oregon National Guard at Fort Lewis, and knew living at home was no longer an option. John D had just gotten back from Texas, where he had gone through the Air Force equivalent of Basic Training. Gary M. had been friends with my sisters, and (as often happened) would make the trek down from Renton to visit with my mom, and he was looking to move to Portland. None of us had enough resources to get our own places, so I said, “What if we all get an apartment together?” And we did.

We found a newer three bedroom, two bath apartment in South East Portland, scraped together some furnishings, and moved in. We were in a corner unit with two other apartments – one had three “girls”, and the other had three “guys.” Those six liked to party hardy with alcohol, and while we wouldn’t turn down a drink, preferred, let’s say, alternative choices. Occasionally we would all join forces, and quite the party would ensue – hence the name, Boogie Corner.

Gary loved to cook, and we loved to eat. John “loved” to clean, and I – hmmm – I liked everything at 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. Music, medicinal herbs, you name it. Think hippy wanna-be’s Odd Couple plus One. But something clicked.

Poor Gary – John and I would get the munchies around midnight, after Gary had been to bed for a couple of hours. We’d cook up cheeseburgers, and wake him up to eat one. He’d actually get up, eat the burger we cooked, and go back to bed. In the morning involuntary bulimia would often afflict Gary. He says that’s why I don’t eat burgers now.

Then there was the time John and I came back to the apartment, opened the door, and tons of smoke rolled out. We thought the apartment was on fire! Turns out Gary had cookies in the oven, and forgot about them until a second before we arrived. Then there was the time when he had cooked up a plate of spaghetti and meat sauce. We were in the process of eating dinner when the landlord came to call. I answered the door, but for various reasons, did not invite him in. Gary came up to the door, holding his plate of spaghetti, until – it just fell from his fingers, as if in slow motion. Still in slow-mo, Gary’s mouth fell open, his eyes widened, and he slowly looked down at the floor where his dinner now resided. The landlord looked at the food, then at Gary, then at me and said “I’ll come back later.”

Celebrating a 50th Birthday in Vancouver, BC

John worked at a major bank, I worked at Western Electric building telephone switching equipment, and Gary held a variety of jobs. One was selling waterbeds (remember those?). The best part about that was that they sponsored rock concerts, so Gary was able to get us in to see Bill Withers on his first tour, Canned Heat, and the James Gang. We did like to rock out.

There was a whole lot more, compressed into what actually was a fairly short time. But we bonded. John still lives in Portland, Gary lives in Olympia, and I’m far north in between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, but we still try and get together once a year. We share old stories, talk about future plans, and just enjoy each other’s company. I treasure the friendship of these two, and am so glad we’ve kept it going for oh my gosh it must be about 50 years now! In the end, we all have memories, but for us lucky ones, we have friends who have touched, and continue to touch, our lives.

The Three Amigos and Spouses getting together again to celebrate about 50 years of friendship


When I was young, I was a voracious reader. I mean I read everything, including my mom’s Good Housekeeping magazines. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, I’ve always remembered an ad in there, and it has now come back to haunt me. You might even remember it – “GET RID OF HORRID AGE SPOTS!. Just buy their cream, and hey presto! The’re gone!

I guess you can figure out where this is headed; yes, I DO have “horrid age spots’. It was kinda like going shopping, getting back to your car, and finding a ding on the door. Disbelief, shock, anger, and then, resignation. Well, at least they’re not painful.

And age spots would be okay, if that’s where it stopped, but noooooo. Suddenly the back of my hand looks OLD. When did that happen? I remember when my facial hair started growing gray, and I finally convinced my wife I’d look sooo much better if I shaved the gray caterpillar off my upper lip.  Actually made me look a bit younger, for awhile. Then there are the incipient wattles, aka Turkey Neck. I’d shake my head in disgust, but I hate the flapping.

All of these are bad enough, but my nemesis is  – wait for it – hair. Hair on my head. Not the stuff on top, thinning and (ahem) soon and suddenly to go gray. No, I’m talking about the hair that is creeping up my neck and back, trying to peek out over my shirt collars. I’m talking about the zillion hairs in my nose that would pass for a mustache if I didn’t trim them. I’m talking about the ones growing out of my ears. Really, what evolutionary benefit does that impart to an aging male that is already showing signs of hearing loss (didn’t we all turn the amps up to 11 when we were young?). Seems like that little forest of ear hairs would keep even MORE sound out.

Finally, not to be outdone, are the Eyebrow Hairs. Why do they grow so much when the top of my head is losing so much? I’ve actually wondered if I could use them for a comb-over; certainly cheaper than getting hair implants!

At night, when I am dreaming, I am young, vibrant and strong. Well, in my dreams, I can also play the guitar like Eric Clapton, and I can often fly. Point is, I’m never old, or even middle-aged. But then I wake, jump in the shower, and there they are! Horrid Age Spots! Hey, what was the name of that cream again??? Asking for a friend.