Seriously, at a certain point my brains just stopped processing information, emotions and stuff like that.
First of all: I am not going to share every thing I heard or saw or felt or thought, I hope you understand. Lot of personal stuff happening today.
Let me try to get everything right.
Today we had an appointement at 10, at the El Cerrito High School (ECHS) We parked our car and I looked at the curb going "I wonder what that red color means?" :-D And we where we were welcomed by David and Cathy from the special ECHS archiving project commitee who do a lot of work for the school,
and by Joanne.
The actual Highschool they went to was demolished in 2005 so this was a new building David started with showing us some great pics of REALLY young John and Doug and Stu (Tom didnt go to school there if I remember correct)
This was the first time I went into an American Highschool and apart from everything it was an interesting experience! Things like that you dont get on regular holiday trips :-)
We first got to see the schools museum, with a lot of memorabilia in it like old stuff from the 1940's and also personal stuff of people who went to school here and became famous. Unfortunately, the only thing they could get from CCR was the album Pendulum (if I understood correct, Doug Cliffords) They wanted to take a few pictures from us too, looked like they were just as honored to have us, as we were that they were having us!
Both Cathy and David, who graduated in the early 1960's, were obvious very proud at their school. You could also see they were a bit heartbroken by the fact that their old building has been taken down. Throughout the morning they kept showing us things that they were able to safe from the old school, including things like plants, I thought that was very sweet.
We got a tour through the school, they showed us everything! Like I said, I've never been in an American Highschool before, so it was very interesting even though their wasnt much about CCR too see.
Halfway through our tour, the classes ended and 1000 kids showed up on their way for lunchbreak and looking at us going "who are YOU??" some of them were even so kind to pose with their locker :-D or open doors for us, other just stared at us.
Now let me tell you, before we entered the school, we noticed two policecars in front of it, and I said to Robert "maybe something happened"
Nothing happened, they just have policemen walking around there ALL THE TIME!! We didnt have to go through a metal detector though.
David was two years younger then the CCR guys so he didnt have classes with them, apart from GE (=sport) and he told that Doug was always chewing gum and clowning around and at one point the teacher had enough and told him to do pushups with the chewing gum on his NOSE hahahahahaha!!!!
So we had a nice tour and it took a long time, and at one point after we got some souvenirs, we had The Fab Three (=Baltasar, Tom, Pete Brown) singing Proud Mary for Cathy and David!
We were on a tight schedule and had to say goodbye to them as we had our next meeting scheduled at 12.
We walked back to our cars.... PARKING TICKET!!! so thats what that nice red curb means: dont park!!
As if we knew that. But we could just laugh at it "heyy souvenirs!!" and everyone started taking pictures of it like crazy hahahaha. Also it was only 50 dollar per car so less than 10 dollar per person.
Next stop was the El Cerrito plaza mall, where we were going to meet the one and only RANDY ODA.
He has been very, very close to Tom Fogerty (Johns older brother), not only did they make several records together, but also were they VERY good friends. So there he was in person, Randy Oda, 20 years after digging up a Ruby elpee from the bottom of a stack of 1000 elpees in a small recordshop in Rotterdam ("excuse me, can I have the elpee on the bottom?" :-D
I was thrilled to meet him, but at the same time I didnt know what to say to him.
He is an EXTREMELY friendly and relaxed guy.
we were going to have lunch together (also with David who joined us) and went to an Italian restaurant.
while we walked there, he pointed out a spot between a pharmacy and the "backstage entrance" (hahahaha sorry :-D of Trader Joe's, and told that the Golliwogs had played on that spot in the 1960's!! Creedence were the Golliwogs before they became Creedence. I think they should have a sign there! Also funny cos Robert and I have been there, THERE in 2005 and we didnt have a clue obviously.
The Italian restaurant was very nice, I sat down next to Randy and still felt a bit uneasy about asking him personal stuff about Tom, even though he kept asking to do so. Robert and Baltasar had a lot of questions and it was emotional for me (and probably for him too) to hear him talk about the last weeks of Toms life.
(Tom Fogerty died at the age of 48 in 1990 after he got HIV after a blood transfusion)
While we waited for our food, I noticed Crayons (wasco's) on the table. I was a bit confused but the Americans at our table explained that it was to keep you buisy while you wait hahaha so I took my time while listening to Randy.
One of the things he kept on repeating on and on was that Tom was such a funny, great, relaxed guy, and that he would even have been here to meet us here today if he would have been still alive. Well I cant tell you he was with us in our hearts.
The food was great, I had wholewheat fettuchini, wish you could get that in restaurants at home! (hm that sounds weird)
Lots to talk about. Unfortunately Randy had to go after lunch, but we felt all so blessed that we FINALLY met him! (at least I did!!!) That he took the time and made the effort to meet us and hang out with us and tell us all we wanted to know about Tom!
Also, Randy had a present with him, he had a copy of his last cd with him for all of us! He autographed them too! (he also told us something funny about autographs, but some things that happen in El Cerrito stay in El Cerrito ;-)
In the meantime, Robert went out to look for our next "guest": Tom's son Jeff Fogerty.
(and John Fogertys nephew)
He couldnt find him so Randy called him and it turned out he was lost :-D
Randy and Jeff knew eachother very well too! (obviously)
We had to say goodbye to this extremely nice guy and I was still thrilled that we met him when Jeff showed up. Now I've met Jeff several times before, the first time was in the late 1990's when he toured Europe with George Clinton. Jeff is a cool guy who doesnt mind to hang out with CCR fans and gets in contact with them a lot and always has funny stories to share about his dad. (more about that later :-)
I really needed coffee and ran to the Starbucks, the first this trip and it was absolutely VENTI TIME! :-D
We didnt just team up with Jeff, we tried to arrange something for a while, and in the end he send me a textmessage that he was able to join us today and he'd love to show us around in El Cerrito, as we planned to go to see the old houses and schools etc today.
Lets just say that we originally planned to check out some adresses, and that we got a superde luxe 5 star golden VIP package guided tour!
Jeff got in our car and we got to the first place; the house where the Fogerty boys grew up.
It was very hot and sunny when we got out of the car, we could not have been more lucky with the weather.
Jeff lived there a few months too before it got out of the family and he pointed out to us were the bedrooms were, where they practiced, etc.
The neighbours were watching what we were doing and we waved to them :-D
I looked at the stairs going up to the frontdoor and wondered how many times little Fogerty feet ran up and down there.
We took a few moments and went to the next spot. Driving there he pointed out the graveyard in the hills where Johns mother Lucille is buried.
Then we saw the house of his other grandmother who passed away yesterday (!! )
In the same street was the first house of his parents when they just got married! It was a very cute house, not very big. Jeff had to smile when he told they paid 60 dollar a week for that back then :-) >>> reminds me of my mom teehee.
He pointed out the tree in the front and told he planted that with his mom when he was a little boy! and the tree was little then too. The garage of the house was the place the band would practice before they got the Factory. Jeff told us he didnt always agree with that as a kid; he playd Batman and Robin with his brother all the time and the garage was the Batcave, and they wanted them to get out of the Batcave hahahahaha Creedence rehearsed in the Batcave!! :-D
It was things like that that made the tour special! (that, and more to come later....) Jeff told everything from a very personal point of view. In between houses he showed us, he pointed out the parkinglot where his dad tought him to ride bicycle, the field he used to play baseball, the trees he used to climb in ...
Also he refers to John as "uncle John" (ofcourse) but its just a cute detail.
El Cerrito means "Little Hill" in spanish but they have some horrible steep streets there and several times, Jeff told us with a grin from ear to ear he used to race downhill with his bike or skateboard. And about the one time that went wrong! AUCH!! :-O
So here we were, in the middle of a tour to the roots of Creedence Clearwater Revival, guided by Tom Fogerty's son. This wasnt quite the "go to adresses, take pics, go to next adress, get picks, ready in one hour" thing I expected today to be.
Next spot was the community center where CCR had the school reunion gig in the early 1980's. Jeff added he played nextdoor at the pool once with his band and he climbed up the high diving board with his cordless guitar and everyone would yell "JUMP!! JUMP!!"
Portola junior High was just around the corner, and we allready knew that it was going to be demolished cos it didnt meet the new rules of earthquake safety (theres probably a nice way to say that in English)
In the meantime... with every turn, with every feet we got higher, we got a crazy stunning view on the Bay and San Francisco and the bridges!!
we passed the golfcourse, where Jeff would race around with his friends on bikes when he was little :-D
Then we saw the second house of Jeff where he grew up, a very nice house and a bit bigger then the first.
Jeff kept on spitting out info and childhood memories, little things like that his dad had a brown VW beetle.
Then we reached Johns old house. Now this was extremely funny, cos pictures of the house appreard in old magazines back then and in the famous Didi Zill photobook, as John had a photoshoot there around the house. The house is very recognisable and it was complete weird to stand in front of it now.
And I am going to end it for today here... its LATE here and tomorrow we'll have to get up early again.