SANTA ROSA TO SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK AFTER SUMMER SCHOOL IN 1985

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Mr. Rivers, Biology Teacher, Santa Rosa High School and Summer School; Did any of the students study with Mr. Rivers? That is how many of us met at Santa Rosa High School. I was going to Montgomery High School with a great group of friends dating back to Yulupa, Strawberry Elementary, Slater Junior High, Slater was called a Junior High and not a Middle School as the school is referred to now, but I studied at Montgomery High until I met Mr. Rivers. The students from Santa Rosa Junior High School took summer school with Mr. Rivers at Santa Rosa High School. I met these new friends at Santa Rosa High. They were smart, fun, and very energetic. Everyone wanted to go out after class every day, so we partied at Salmon Creek Beach after school, surfed, ate deli sandwiches bought on the way in Sebastopol, walked long distances along the sandy coast. We also studied Biology for hours at the downtown library on Fourth Street, and we had so much fun that I transferred from Montgomery to Santa Rosa High School. Friday after class, dozens of us, Mike, Gayle, Brian, Michelle, Tim, and more, jumped in the Green Van and drove to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to watch the first music videos on a big white monitor machine that cost like $5.00 to see a new singer named Madonna sing a rock video called Lucky Star and a young group of boys named Motley Crue sing a song called Live Wire. Madonna was a big deal. After Christmas vacation, at least four girls returned to Santa Rosa High School wearing replicas of Madonna’s dresses, creative colors all the girls in high school that wanted to wear edgy fashion following winter break as if all the girls that were Madonna fans had received Madonna clothes for Christmas from their parents. I believe the fashion warehouse in San Francisco was called Esprit or Espree, but I am fuzzy about the name and don’t really remember? Later the fashion was centered around Prince and his song When Doves Cry following his concert at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Also there was that Prince film called Purple Rain. Wow! I remember a few girls that worshipped Prince after going to his concert in San Francisco. The video machine was the first we had seen at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This was before my friends would stay up late sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor of my family room on Friday nights to watch the latest videos on TV on NBC’s Friday Night Videos. Later we stayed up until midnight Friday to see the premier of the new video Like a Virgin by Madonna. Scholars would say that song changed the industry forever. I remember being exhausted and having to stay up all night with my friends eating pizza from the Brass Ass Pizza Saloon across from Howarth Park on Summerfield Road. Brass Ass had the best pizza north of San Francisco, California. Following back to Santa Cruz, Mr. River’s Biology class started at 8:00 am and ended at 12:00 noon on Friday. My friends and I closed our science books and drove south to Santa Cruz arriving at 3:00 pm after driving through San Francisco, San Jose, up the Santa Cruz Mountains, then arrived to surf, eat calamari steaks, fried prawns, shrimp cocktails, and cheese nachos at this bohemian restaurant in Santa Cruz for surfers. Nachos with melted cheese was a big deal at the time for students. Nachos with cheese sauce sort of replaced french fries as the social food to eat as we dished out gossip between the schools. I remember five friends stilling around the Santa Rosa food court with one serving of fries in a bag sharing them between us. As the sun went down over Santa Cruz beach, we boogie boarded, surfed more, shared wetsuits caked with sand, then as the sun set and the sky turned orange, all of us got non-stop ride tickets passes for all the rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: Roller coaster, bumper cars, the swing over the boardwalk, and that is where I met Michele. She saved me twice that night. First I cut my leg on a baseball game and had to go to the hospital for stitches. Michele came with me while everyone else continued to party. I still have the cut on my leg from the flying glass. There was a lot of blood draining down my leg.. If it weren’t for Michele helping me, we would have had to cut the fun short, and end the trip in Santa Cruz to return to Santa Rosa early. Second, after being out in the ocean surf and sun all day, everyone fell asleep and crashed in the back my van as I drove home. I alone had to stay awake to drive back over the Santa Cruz Mountains, north on Hwy 101 through San Jose, Silicon Valley Valley, San Francisco, and Marin County, then to drop everyone off at their individual house near Rincon Valley. Michele was the only person to stay awake with me as I poured ice water from a soda cup at 7-Eleven over my face every few minutes so that I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel of the green van. She was the last to arrive home. She wanted to make sure that everyone got home safely and I stayed awake. Michele was responsible for us all getting home safe that night because she kept me awake, especially when we hit fog north of the Golden Gate Bridge. That was a painful drive in the early morning hours after being out all day playing. A few other trivia surprises with Michele: Her father was the first person to pull a gun out on me. A handgun. That is another story. Second, her mother made this awesome homemade guacamole with a special ingredient, roasted sunflower seeds. Roasted sunflower seeds totally change the dynamic of a green avocado addition to an awesome guacamole dip. I heard that Michele is a great doctor now or a university professor in Northern California.

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