Monday, January 30, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 9 The Del Vikings

At the same time that we were dancing to rock and roll we got into doo-wop music which for us was exemplified by the Del Vikings. They started as a group of USAF entertainers in Pittsburg in 1955. They recorded our favorite "Come Go With Me" in 1956.


https://youtu.be/K8FGx5500Dk

Friday, January 27, 2017

Update For s Friend





I retired in 2000 and was able to cut the cord completely about 5 years later. I miss the surgery and the collegiality of my colleagues and the patients I got to know over a thirty year period. 

Since then I have been gardening, some travel, and writing my blog:


We go to Estes Park in August to see family and grandchildren and do some hiking.



Jan continues with her art work in multiple mediums. Lately she has been painting on round flat stones.
Our oldest son Lee lives in Portland Oregon with his partner Danny. Lee works for Intel Capital.



Our middle son Gordon lives in south Denver with his wife Kelli and three boys. Gordon works for Fedex Freight
and Kelli works at Denver University. These pics were taken last summer at Destin.



Blake and Adam go to East High school in Denver. 




Will is a gymnast in middle school.


Chris our youngest  lives in Erie near Boulder with his wife Meg.
Chris is a photographer with his mother's artist eye. Meg has a Reichi
studio in Boulder.




As you can see, we are blest. 








Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fwd: Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 8 Midnight at the Oasis



Begin forwarded message:

Subject: Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 8 Midnight at the Oasis
Date: January 22, 2017 at 7:28:39 PM CST

Bob and I both loved this eerie  song. We loved the tune and the lyrics just resonated.
Who can say why?


 



Unexpected Loss

video

Dear Friends,

Recently a friend on our Flower List passed away unexpectedly. This is a note to his family. Through the years I feel like "We" are family.


I met Fred at one of our Class of '58 Reunions several years ago. When we were in school I remember him as a basketball player driving to the hoop and shooting or passing to Whitey but our paths did not cross. Fred sought
me out at the reunion because he knew that I was a Head and Neck surgeon and hoped that I might be able to suggest something to treat his dry mouth. Through several years I did make several suggestions, some even slightly novel, but I don't think they were of much help.
But out of that interplay we developed an e-mail relationship. For the last 9 years I have been sending images and sometimes poems about flowers as they bloom in my garden. (www.donsessions.blogspot.com) Fred was a friend on my Flower List for many years.  He regularly sent notes in response to my blogs and I feel like I got to know him well.
He would recognize some of the flowers that he and I and even Rebecca had in common. 
Who couldn't love a guy who would dictate a note for the e-mail and then disclaim any responsibility for what he had dictated. 
I found his most endearing feature to be an intense kindness. This came through in everything he wrote and in the actions that he talked about.

In his honor I send some images from last year's garden. My favorite flower is a perennial called Rose Campion. The flower head is small but the color is dynamite.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 7 Rock and Roll - Shirley & Lee

In the midst of college  we fell in love with Rock and Roll. One of the early dance tunes was Shirley and Lee's
'Let  the Good Times Roll'. This New Orleans based duo,Shirley Goodman  and Leonard Lee, had one trait in common - they almost never sang in harmony, let alone together at all. Shirley and Lee  borrowed one of New Orleans' most familiar refrains and built a rocking tune around it called "Let the Good Times Roll." The recording was an instant smash and received substantial airplay, climbing up the charts in the process. It sold well-over one million copies and for more than 40 years has been a staple of oldies play lists. To date, there are over a hundred cover versions of the song, but most still prefer the original. 

I have this one in 45.



A classic:



Friday, January 20, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 6 Carlos Montoya



One summer towards the end of college Bob introduced me to flamenco guitar music. He had discovered Andres Segovia and Carlos Montoya. I became entranced. How could I not have known it was out there. It was probably because I was too busy with rock and roll. Carlos Montoya started out playing classical flamenco and then had the audacity to perform in concert without a dancer. 

But it was great to listen to and I was never going to be a flamenco dancer - I was more into swing and jitter bug. We even went to a concert in a small club. My love affair with this music was torrid but brief. 




Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 5 Joan Baez



At the same time Bob and I were discovering The Kingston Trio we were drawn to folk music.  Pete Seeger, The Weavers, and Woodie Guthrie had paved the way for our new favorite, Joan Baez. Most of all we loved the clarity of her voice and the basic genre of the roots of our country's music.  Joan had started recording in 1958 and her music spoke directly to us.

Here is my copy of her first album.


And here is what we loved.

https://youtu.be/QN7rXJhFEV0

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 4 The Kingston Trio



As we moved from dixieland to jazz and rock BobTorrison and I loved folk music. We moved from Leadbelly and Josh White to Bob Dylan and  Joan Baez via The Kingston Trio. The group included Dave Guard, Bob Shane and 
Nick Reynolds. They started as a San Francisco Bay Area nightclub act. They had a huge impact   transforming folk music into a hot commodity and creating a demand—where none had existed before—for young men (sometimes with women) strumming acoustic guitars and banjos and singing folk songs and folk-like novelty songs in harmony. On a purely commercial level, from 1957 until 1963, the Kingston Trio were the most vital and popular folk group in the world.  In a 2001 Rolling Stone interview, Bob Dylan remembered: " I never really was an elitist. Personally, I liked the Kingston Trio. I could see the picture...the Kingston Trio were probably the best commercial group going, and they seemed to know what they were doing." Even some staunch traditionalists from both the urban and rural folk music communities had an affinity for the Kingstons' polished commercial versions of older songs. In her memoir And A Voice To Sing With, singer and activist Joan Baez recalled that "Traveling across the country with my mother and sisters, we heard the commercial songs of the budding folk boom for the first time, the Kingston Trio's 'Tom Dooley' and 'Scotch and Soda.' Before I turned into a snob and learned to look down upon all commercial folk music as bastardized and unholy, I loved the Kingston Trio. When I became one of the leading practitioners of 'pure folk,' I still loved them…"

Here is my original cover of their first album. When I spent the summer of 1960 in Honolulu "working"at St. Francis Hospital we were singing Kingston Trio songs on the beach in the evenings and later even one moonlit night hanging from the mast of John Nasse's sailboat drinking San Miguel.

And this is the original Sloop John B.
https://youtu.be/BE99lfjliaI





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 3 Turk Murphy




Next  to The Salty Dogs Bob Torrison loved Turk Murphy the best. Turk was a San Francisco performer who loved the music of the New Orleans pianist, composer and arranger Jelly Roll Morton. We often bought albums together and this was one. 


Enjoy the sounds of Turk and Wally Rose playing  Jelly Roll Morton. I looked up this album and it recently sold on the internet for 75 cents. What do they know?

https://youtu.be/mbGNjvSITvk

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 2 The Salty Dogs

The music of our high school days was pretty awful - Johnny Rays "Cry" comes to mind. At Purdue
Bob Torrison fell in love with the Salty Dogs Jazz Band. He would  talk of nothing less. As an avid packrat
collector myself I wonder where his collection is today. The Salty dogs, begun in 1947 in West La Fayette,
have been playing in one form or another ever since. Like many bands of that era they recorded in Richmond, Indiana. Starting out as a University club, after graduation they moved to Chicago and are still playing today.
Their roots were from New Orleans jazz and Dixieland music - King Oliver,  Jellyroll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke,
and revivalist Turk Murphy. Enjoy:

https://youtu.be/vcfb-qqu0q0

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Don's Blog The Iceman Cometh 1-14-2017

We are in the midst of a spectacular ice storm. The otherwise dull deep woods have been
transformed into an icy wonderland.


Each branch and twig is encased in ice.


The Buddhist Prayer Flags are covered.




The trail through the woods is a magical glass covered treat.


But Ozymandias has not fared so well.


Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 1

Welcome to my Bob Torrison Retrospective 2017. Bob was my best friend in high school  who passed away prematurely and I have been sharing my memories of his contributions to my life with his daughters and family. 
Bob and I shared a love of music together as we grew up in high school and after. Bob like me was a pack rat who saved almost everything. I wonder about his record collection. Mine has thinned out but his influence on my love of music is felt even today. We started out with mutual affection for Benny Goodman. I had a 78 album recording of the complete 1938 Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Swing Concert. We were in love with Sing Sing Sing. Here is the classic. Press and  enjoy.

"https://www.youtube.com/embed/dbzXS49937A?list=RDdbzXS49937A"

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective IV Montezuma




After our marriage Bob invited Jan and me to stay at his cabin in the mountains outside of Denver and go 
skiing . Th cabin was in Montezuma Colorado and was in a dream like setting. It was a snow covered old time cabin with an outhouse. It was heated by an old stove into which we put large chunks of coal at bedtime. If you wonder about the cold, one night we left a martini on the kitchen table and in the morning it was frozen solid.


The midnight trips to the out house were legendary as was the view of the full moon through the open 
door  while sitting on the throne. Bob kept us going with games and an exercise piece which consisted
of a board and a solid cylinder of wood. He could ride the board with simple ease. We never did get the hang of it. His love of the place was obvious.


The stove actually worked pretty well and we successfully cooked some meals after Bob had to go back to work.




And the fireplace helped keep th inside somewhat warm. We kept trying to climb in the fire pit.



The skiing was another issue. The ski area was called Arapahoe Basin and was just a short drive from the cabin. We had never done it before and Bob was our instructor. He was a member of the Ski Patrol and was a real expert. We started on the Poma Lift on Bunny slope and after an initial catastrophe we were able to snow plow down the hill. The problem was that we couldn't breathe and had done no working out before arrival. The catastrophe was me somehow falling down with my head downhill and my skis crossed on themselves behind me up the hill. As I gasped for air I thought that this did not seem to be as much fun as I expected. We had rented skis and boots and the boots had a safety strap. On my second trip on the ski lift up the big hill to the gentlest slope available I looked down and found that my ski had fallen off and was dangling off my ankle. I was able to get it off and into my hands but the embarrassment quotient was off the scale as I was helped off the chair at the top. Bob was an excellent teacher but neither of us were very apt pupils. We went several more times and we were able to get down the hill (much to our amazement) but neither Jan nor myself were bitten by the ski bug. We were just too scared.




Bob Torrison Retrospective III Love Visits and Stays for 54 Years






I took Jan Feldwisch on a blind date in the summer of 1960. We met at the door of her apartment in 
Birdland (Audubon Park). She gave me a piece of bubble gum. I took her to a bar on Vandeventer Avenue called 
The New Huckleby Club where the music was rock and roll and the crowd was wild. The first thing that happened when we got  a seat was that a drunk redneck at the next table passed out on the floor right at her feet.
The rest is history and we were married on Saturday August 18,1962.

Bob Torrison was the Best Man at our wedding. We opted for a big wedding and Marge and John Feldwisch
produced a spectacular event. We were married at Pilgrim Congregational Church and the reception was at Westbrough Country Club. The Friday night before we had a rehearsal dinner so the two families and participants 
could get to know each other. There were speeches and stories and laughs. Jan and her folks had done the planning  and put it all together. I was often an absent participant as I was in my last year of med school. Here are Jan and Don, Bob, and a bit of Charley Singleton, my med school roommate.



It was a beautiful ceremony and who couldn't love a beautiful girl with energy, enthusiasm, and  a sense of humor.



I wish I could remember more about the ceremony but I was in a fog of love and wonder.
We have a 33&1/3 record which is still surreal.



Here are the folks: my dad,Arch (English) my mom, Gladys (Welsh) Jan's Dad, John (German) and  Jan's mom, Marge (German). 

Jan was well attended. From the left: Bob Feldwisch, Bob Sessions, David Milligan, Dan Wegner, Jack Feldwisch, Bob Torrison, Charley Singleton, and Denny Collis.


Here are the same attendants and my sister Melissa and Jan's sister Peggy.
 

BobTorrison my Best Man kept me at the top of my game.

As I think back I realize how blessed I am to have found such a loving and caring person to marry, raise a family, and grow old with. We have three amazing boys and three wonderful grandchildren.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective I & II Mary Jo McKeag

As I expected we are triggering all sorts of great memories.

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Mary Jo McKeag" <mjmckeag810@gmail.com>
Date: January 6, 2017 6:11:32 PM CST
To: "'Don Sessions'" <donsessions@aol.com>
Subject: RE: Bob Torrison Retrospective I & II



Hi Don –
Thank you so much for the lovely tribute of Bob. Dave would have loved it. It has brought back so many memories.
I remember Bob was taking classes at Purdue and would come stay in Dave's tiny apartment on many weekends because he had nothing in common with the college kids. We would go out to dinner and Dave and Bob would attend sporting events, sometimes with me tagging along. I have no idea where he slept in that small apartment it must have been in a sleeping bag on the floor. Bob continued to visit after we married and lived in that same apartment. I think he stayed there the evening before our wedding. I remember Dave becoming very tired of his playing Edelweiss over and over again.
In 1966 Dave and I took a cross country driving trip to CA, stopping in Denver to see Bob. Bob took us up to the top of Pike's Peak (I think) in his Carmengia (I have no idea how to spell that). It was a small car with the motor in what should have been the trunk. Guess who got to ride in the back seat. I have never been that sick. These two gentlemen asked if I would like a hot dog when we reached the top. They were happy as larks, never noticing I was pea green.
The only other time I suffered motion sickness was when Bob took us out on his father's sailboat on Lake Michigan. It was beautiful, but once again I wasn't enjoying it. This may have been the first time I met Bob. His father was on this trip with us. I  had no idea he worked for Chicago Screw. My sister's first job was at Chicago Screw and my best friend's mom was a long term secretary there. Who knew?
Hamburger Heaven is still there. Just in case you ever go looking for it – it is in Elmhurst, not Glen Ellyn. It hasn't changed. Same corner, nowhere to sit.
Bob was in our wedding. Dave always considered him one of his best friends. We attended his wedding in Kansas (I think Dave was in it). I remember sitting in the motel watching his mom sew up his pant legs and putting them back in the suitcase for the honeymoon. It was so long ago that when he and Bobbi left we followed them through the airport right up to the fence around the tarmac tossing rice all the way.
Our daughter lives on Park just west of LTHS. That bell still rings. Our girls, one son-in-law and our four granddaughters have or are attending LTHS. Tommy  is only in 8th grade and will be heading there next year.
We, too, attended many White Sox games parking in Mr. Sloan's spot. The Torrisons' house is still there on Ellington Avenue. I think it has had an addition or two.
Again, thanks for the memories. (I think Bob Hope said that.) Hope all is well with you and Jan.
Mary Jo
From: Don [mailto:donsessions@aol.com] 
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2017 10:44 AM
To: Mary Jo McKeag
Subject: Bob Torrison Retrospective II
Several years after high school Bob and I got together in Denver. I think he was living there and I came out from La Grange for some summer action.We went to several old mining towns, Black Hawk and Central City, west of Denver when they were still picturesque - before they got into the casino business. Bob had some friends
in Central City and I remember sleeping on a front porch in my sleeping bag after a night of too much fun.  It was a clear night and I woke up to see the full moon. I can still see it now.
Several days later we went up to Estes Park to climb Longs Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. With us was Bob's childhood friend form Maywood, Illinois, Richard Ellis. Rich was very energetic and almost ran up the mountain. Bob and I paced ourselves as it was a 12 hour day. We started out from Longs Peak campground about 5:00 am and got back about 5:00pm. 
<image001.jpg>
After arriving at the boulderfield we got a good look at the east wall of Longs Peak.
<image002.png>
We headed  across the boulderfield to take the Keyhole route. The trail on the other side of the Keyhole was marked with painted circles for which it was  called the "fried egg trail". On the back side of the mountain was a somewhat exposed area called "the narrows". The day was perfectly sunny and clear and there was no ice so  
safety was not an issue. After " the narrows" we came to a gradually  steep slope called 'the home stretch". At 14,000 feet there was minimal oxygen so Bob and I were struggling and Rich took off to the summit. We encouraged each other and completed the climb. The summit is flat with boulders and with an area larger than the size of a football field. It was exhilarating too say the least.
Here is a previous photo of me on the summit taken when I was 14 years old. From the top of Longs Peak you can enjoy  the entire Front Range and a magnificent view of the great plains. It is the real purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains.
<image003.png>
We could only stay on top for a few minutes because it is  important to get down to the boulder field because of the possibility of early afternoon storms and lightening. We descended slowly and went down the trail with only a light rain. A long but memorable day like this creates strong permanent bonding. Even today when I see the peak I remember times I have climbed it and especially my climb with Bob.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective II

Several years after high school Bob and I got together in Denver. I think he was living there and I came out from La Grange for some summer action.We went to several old mining towns, Black Hawk and Central City, west of Denver when they were still picturesque - before they got into the casino business. Bob had some friends
in Central City and I remember sleeping on a front porch in my sleeping bag after a night of too much fun.  It was a clear night and I woke up to see the full moon. I can still see it now.

Several days later we went up to Estes Park to climb Longs Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. With us was Bob's childhood friend form Maywood, Illinois, Richard Ellis. Rich was very energetic and almost ran up the mountain. Bob and I paced ourselves as it was a 12 hour day. We started out from Longs Peak campground about 5:00 am and got back about 5:00pm. 



After arriving at the boulderfield we got a good look at the east wall of Longs Peak.





We headed  across the boulderfield to take the Keyhole route. The trail on the other side of the Keyhole was marked with painted circles for which it was  called the "fried egg trail". On the back side of the mountain was a somewhat exposed area called "the narrows". The day was perfectly sunny and clear and there was no ice so  
safety was not an issue. After " the narrows" we came to a gradually  steep slope called 'the home stretch". At 14,000 feet there was minimal oxygen so Bob and I were struggling and Rich took off to the summit. We encouraged each other and completed the climb. The summit is flat with boulders and with an area larger than the size of a football field. It was exhilarating too say the least.

Here is a previous photo of me on the summit taken when I was 14 years old. From the top of Longs Peak you can enjoy  the entire Front Range and a magnificent view of the great plains. It is the real purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains.



We could only stay on top for a few minutes because it is  important to get down to the boulder field because of the possibility of early afternoon storms and lightening. We descended slowly and went down the trail with only a light rain. A long but memorable day like this creates strong permanent bonding. Even today when I see the peak I remember times I have climbed it and especially my climb with Bob.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bob Torrison - A Retrospective I

Bob Torrison was my best friend in high school. We were in a fairly close knit group of friends but I was closest to Bob and we stayed in contact for many years after we geographically moved apart. Bob died rather suddenly (for me) in 1999 and I have always felt an unresolved sadness that I didn't have a chance to acknowledge to  him and his family that he had played a role in how I turned out. I have been blessed with good fortune and he was no small part of it. He was most of all gentle and kind and of goodwill. He was quiet and reserved but for me he was the origin of a whole lot of fun.
 
Recently I came across Bob's daughter Gretchen on Facebook and this brought up some great memories of the good times Bob and I had while we were growing up. I thought it would be fun to share a few stories about the Bob Torrison I remember. Bob was born in 1936 in the Hinsdale San and spent his early years in Riverside and Maywood. His folks built a house in Western Springs and they moved from Maywood in time for  Bob to  start  high school at LTHS in 1951. We met when we were both freshman.



My mom had gone to Lyons Township High School graduating in 1918. Her father had moved the family to
a new home on south Seventh Avenue in La Grange from Chicago in the early 1900's. After she married my dad they moved north from Marietta Georgia to a small wood frame house on Dover St. on the north side  of the  tracks where I grew up. Our house was about one block  from the Burlington Railroad tracks which were  little more than the length of a football field from the high school as pictured. The clock tower at the high school had a huge bell and I could hear it easily  as I lay in my bed at night.

Bob and I hit it off right away and spent much of our spare time together. We played touch football and intramural basketball on various  teams through the years - some strong and some not so. We hung out a lot. Bob was very proud of his dad who worked at the Chicago Screw company starting on the line and working his way up to be Chairman of the Board after 36 years. Many of the great memories of our good times revolved around our weekend activities which opened up significantly after we got our drivers licenses. Friday nights we would drive around La Grange and neighboring towns usually ending up at the Corral where I began my career playing ping pong. Saturdays after either football or basketball games we would often go to a place in a nearby town, Glen Ellyn, called Hamburger Heaven. All I can say about the burgers was that they were huge, had everything on them, and were covered with mayo. It was impossible to eat that burger without getting mayo all over yourself. We were always very courageous in our car shouting at teens from nearby towns if we knew we could drive away without a direct confrontation. 

The summer before my senior year my mother had bought a white Buick Riviera convertible with bright red seat covers. Bob and I thought that this "meat wagon" put us in "Fat City". Bob and I double dated a lot and as the years past we started driving to more distant destinations. We used to drive to downtown Chicago, to Lake Geneva, to the Indiana Dunes. We would go to see Chicago Blackhawk games in the winter. Jim Sloan's father's business was on the south side of Chicago near Comiskey Park. We would park behind his dad's fence and walk to the White Sox baseball games. On game in particular stands out. We had seats in the left field stands in the second row. Just after settling in White Sox favorite power hitter, Minnie Minoso, slammed a home run over the left fence right at me. As I stood up to catch the ball the man in front who had just been served a full cup of beer went for the ball. He got the  ball and I got the full cup of beer in the face. What fun!

For our senior year our high school let seniors have their lunch hour away from school. For the entire year Bob and I would go out for lunch together - rain or shine. Most of the time we brought sack lunches made by our mothers. We didn't have wheels so sometimes when we didn't have a lunch we would go to a small store



on Hilgrove Ave. opposite the Burlington Railroad Stone Avenue Station and get a sandwich and a quart of chocolate milk. We brought cups and split the milk. We used to talk about the consistency the chocolated milk being slightly "lumpy". It was our private little joke. Sometimes we would sit outside on benches or on the grass and other times we would eat inside the station which was never busy at lunch time. These lunches were not taken up with discussions of issues. We just were enjoying the freedom of the moment. Even today I long for such times of aimless pleasure. I was usually thinking of the coming action - Bob had the ability to be in the moment. That is one of the lessons I got from hanging out with him.