Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Remembering Jim Olson....part 2

Today Patricia and I are blessed with watching Grandson, Kasyn...."The K~Man" is napping right now, and Patricia is uptown getting ready for her trip back to Wisconsin to spend five or six days with her family...she leaves on Saturday, while I will be preoccupied with baseball and watching Anissa on Sunday.  When wife returns from Cheeseland next week, we immediately turn around and head to Auburn, Indiana, and the wedding of my best friend Rick and his wife Toni's son, Clay.  Rick was my best man, and I returned the favor when he was married some 5 years or so later.

The years since the 1970s have rushed past us in the blink of an eye....and Jim Olson's unexpected death last month, while not completely shocking, brought back a rush of memories.

Remembering Jim Olson...part 2...

I met Olson in 1974 while working as the manager, bar tender, bouncer, and consumer of alcohol at Celina's infamous "Red Door"...Jim was a recent resident of Celina, coming from North Dakota and Brown Broadcasting Institute in the Twin Cites....

Jim was a couple of years, 3 and a 2 months to be exact, younger than me, and if I recall we met though Patricia, also an escapee of the cold northern tier of states along the Canada border...I gave Jim some additional income, by hiring him and another DJ from WCSM, Ray Arthur, gigs at the "Door" on weekend, so they could pick up a few extra bucks...anybody that has ever worked in small market radio knows they pay you starvation wages at best.  I know, I did that scene for a handful of years in the late 1970s and early 80s, before returning to my college roots of Environmental Health...I loved radio, but EH and a cushy Government job paid much better and was far, far, more secure.

Anyway, as I mentioned in part 1 last week, Jim and I became good friends...and on word of his
death via facebook, I began to really realize how many crazy ass "Road Trips" we did together, usually in cohorts with one of two others...sometimes Jim would just head out himself...it was a crazy run.  In part one I mentioned the beer run for Coors to Kansas, and posted a link of our
Florida June 1975 trip to my old home Venice, Disney World, Bush Gardens near Tampa, and Daytona Beach....that trip came to a end as we headed out of Florida towards Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.....

We had my little green Ford Econoline Van, 1960 or 61...Hell they all looked alike....it had a bed, two seats, and we left for Florida with it loaded down with 25 cases of beer that I
engineered from the Red Door, two dirt bikes, my Kawasaki 250 on/off road and Mike Schilling's 175 off road bike...after the final days in Florida at Daytona Beach, where I rode my bike on the sands{Schilling couldn't, his was not street legal and the local cops told him so}of Daytona Beach..we were about broke.  We had enough to afford a few more cases of beer, and gas to get home...so we headed north.  South Carolina was our destination...8 days in Florida's heat were enough, and with Jim in the back with the bikes and beer, Schilling driving, and me sun tanned and fried in the passenger seat we crossed the state line into Georgia...not five minutes in, Mike says.."Shit, a cop is behind us, with lights flashing"...over we pulled. 

The young Georgia State Trooper walked up to the van and asked how we were doing....I took one look in the back with probably a case or more of empty beer cans rolling around Olson in the back, and figured "We are screwed".  Turns out he tells us he is looking for two black guys with white women{girlfriends?} that just robbed a bank or convenience store or some such thing...and says to us "Guess you're not them"? He told us they were driving a van much like mine...and I retort..."We sure the Hell aren't Black, and thankfully we don't have any women that swing that way"...he sort of grinned and says..."Have a nice day guys, and enjoy your trip out of Georgia".  That was as much hint as we needed....one more night at the beach in Myrtle Beach, and we headed back to Ohio....

{It appears that this is going to take 4 or maybe 5 parts over the next few days and week(s)...the more I type about those days and Jim Olson, the more stories I remember}

We got back to Celina, and my days would be short at the Red Door, frankly I was sick of bartending and having to fight assholes almost every week...I was no bad ass, and although I could and did fight if I had to...doesn't mean I liked it...although on a few occasions, I and some of the regulars did enjoy a round or two, especially with the Hoosiers who would cross the state line just to see if they could raise a little Hell.....so I went from full time to part time, then off to college down in Athens. Ohio.  

Meanwhile Jim was about spent at the radio life, and had decided to also head back to college...he waited for word from University of Dayton for the fall of 1975, and while he waited and while I waited to see what was in my future, Jim Olson moved in with Patricia and me at 303 North Brandon in Celina, and we did a little coon hunting with Blueticks and drank a lot of beer for a few months....Olson eventually moved back to North Dakota and I headed for
Hocking Technical College, and lived in the College Inn at Athens, Ohio,  with the old Celina gang, which included Pearson, Nick, Clint Thompson, and a few others....we had a pretty good run until 1977.  Meanwhile Olson would leave radio, not go to U of Dayton, return to North Dakota, and follow different pursuits.

He would however, visit the Celina gang in Athens in 1976 and bring along some Everclear on the trip....we would still make other road trips in the late 70s and early 80s, before he disappeared for nearly 2 decades....those stories are still to be told, in the next few chapters.

back later>>>>

Photos-Me and Grandson Kasyn, along with Patricia, Great Grandma Houseworth and others got some quality time together today....Jim Olson in 2000 as he looked for the  first time we had seen each other in almost 2 decades.  Our Camping Gig and my Old Econline Van in the Summer of 1975 on our Florida Trip,  Mike Schilling {who would later become a Celina City Cop for 20 years} and Olson at Disney World, June 1975...The Green Van in all it's glory, my 1974 Kawasaki 250 on/off road bike...I had bigger bikes and faster bikes, but no Motorcycle ever provided me more fun...and me and Jim on our "Reunion" of sorts at the Reds game at old Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati...more on that and other stories still to come....

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