|For some reason, it
really hit me hard that Pat had taken his life. I haven't seen him
more than a handful of times in the last 35 years as I came in and
out of Detroit. I guess thinking about him and his despair just
brought back old memories, good ones of a good friend and quite a
character during what were some interesting and good days.
I may have mentioned that I
got your original note from Dennis Rosenblum. I've been in pretty
good touch with him since I came back to Michigan from Alaska in
1995 (more about that below). It was through Dennis that I last saw
Pat. We played poker over at Dennis' home one night with some other
guys and Pat visited me a few times while I was adjusting to life in
Michigan again and trying to re-establish old ties.
I've also been forwarding
everything I get to Lenny Schafer out in Sacramento. I don't know
if you knew Lenny. He's had a rough time of his own, but things
have turned around quite a bit for him in the last year or so. He
has an autistic child and has been very active in the effort to deal
with that disease. Lenny hasn't changed that much in many ways.
Let me give you a brief bio
and maybe some of this will fall into place:
I came to the FE in 1971.
I was an English teacher at Cass high school and I wanted to write.
The staff was changing at the time, Peter and Marilyn pretty much
left and well as several others who had been with the paper while it
grew, after Harvey O. The staff got smaller and smaller and pretty
soon it was just me, Ken Fireman and Lenny. I forget who was
setting type then, maybe Cathy Coughlin (?), and of course Bill Rowe
doing the books. Then the staff grew again and Dennis and Pat and
others began contributing or being there every day.
My political background had
been with a little grass roots group in Southwest Detroit, known as
the Resistance. We were getting movies from the Detroit film group
run by DOC, the Detroit Organizing Committee, to show to bikers in
our basements. Doc at that time was Jim Jacobs, Hamish Sinclair,
Jeff whose last name I can't remember and another guy, the film guy,
(Renee?) whose name I also can't remember. They introduced us (and
recruited the hell out us) to Lenin and Co., which was a little too
much of the same old thing for me (I was a veteran and the US
military was pretty much a communist system) and I ended up getting
myself bent toward anarchism (anarcho-syndicalism, if you will).
During this time I also worked at the Print Co-op, learning
darkrooms and offset printing under Freddy and Loraine Perlman.
In addition to bringing
back word of the child-god from Denver, Lenny and I also learned
about coin boxes, which set up a little stand off with Jim Kennedy
over how much we were getting for the paper from the truckers. They
tried to strike us and we bought boxes and about tripled revenue of
street sales. Then there was a peace and Kennedy and I both
developed a little more respect for each other and friendship.
About 1974 my marriage was
falling apart from lack of money and city stress so my wife and
daughter and I moved up to Big Rapids and started a publishing
company, which did a conventional little newspaper and a shopper's
guide. That failed but I managed to get into mainstream newspapers
and did that for a while until my marriage collapsed and I headed
back to Detroit.
One of the first things I
did was look up the Truckers. They had grown by leaps and bounds
and were just moving into their new warehouse. They had gone from
panel trucks to delivery trucks. I moved into one of the houses,
(John Joyce's) and lived there for several months, working on
several things. You might have been there then, I don't recall. I
was driving with Pete Quant (Gaffney) and David Katz (mostly) and of
course, spending half my time in a bar somewhere. This is when I
meet Pat's wife Linda.
From there I went to Oregon
(woman thing) was there about a year as editor of a daily business
newspaper, of all things. When that ran its course I came back to
Detroit again, knocked around and eventually landed a job downtown
at the gas company as a darkroom technician (thanks, Freddy Perlman).
Then they found out I could also write and I shot up the
organization and became a PR person for the gas company, media
relations. If they blew up a house, I was one who gave a quote to
the press. Best money I ever made in my life and I hated it.
Got married and divorced
again and in 1985 said the hell with it, sold my home, put
everything I had in the back of a rebuilt laundry truck and drove up
the AlCan highway to Alaska where I spent the next ten years,
publishing a city magazine and doing stuff (writing, PR) for the
pipeline company and the governor's office.
I came back to Michigan
again in 1995 and I've been here since. My daughter was about to
have her first child and Alaska was just too far away (and too dark
That's when I looked up Rosenblum. I held various contract jobs, including at Ford where I
did PR for product launches and at some small independent PR firms
and then had my own for a few years. Got married again, this one's
lasted 11 years, new record, and when my wife retired from Circuit
Court (she was a clerical person) we bought property up here and
built a house in the woods, 20 miles from the closet town...middle of
nowhere and we love it.
I'm in Missaukee County,
about 20 miles northeast of Lake City and about 20 miles northwest
of Houghton Lake. The community is called Moorestown and it is on
the map although it's just a general store, a fire department, a
grass runway and a church.
Dennis has a friend who
owns some hunting/fishing property about 3 miles from my house and
so I see Dennis a couple times a year and we e-mail all the time.
Over the years, my politics
never changed very much although I got a lot quieter about them,
mostly in order to make a living and survive but also it came to
seem like "What's the point?" I remember when I got promoted up at
the gas company another friend, whom you might know, High Carey,
asked me "How are you going to hide your friends?"
These days, we live in a
part of the state that is about 105% Christian Fundamentalist with a
little Michigan Militia, so I just keep to myself and enjoy the