My Time With Pat – High School and College in the Mid-1950’s

Imagine Pat, Dave Wade, George Sikorsky, Toby Knowles, and me in the living room of a basement apartment listening to plastic disks of jazz and other stuff.  I remember particularly the operetta, Golden Apple and we were all taken by the lyrics of Lazy Afternoon.  Then someone would chime,  “It’s Mecca Time” and we went out into the night the couple blocks to be sure we could get our last snack before the coffee shop closed.

I first knew Pat in High school.  We were both interested in music, he in band and me in glee club.  His tuba was nearly as big as he was.  Together we wrote a music article for the WiPaHiSc school paper.  Our favorite topic was finding popular songs that came from the classics.  Like the Lone Ranger theme from William Tell by Rossini and Always Chasing Rainbows from a Chopin Impromptu.  And, as it happened, we wished to go to Florida State University and study music.

But, first, we had to have an adventure.  To my mother’s horror, we wanted to hitch-hike to Coos Bay, Oregon, to be lumber jacks.  We made it to Coos Bay okay and there are plenty of stories to tell.  But, two days after arriving at the lumber camp and getting boots, etc, they all went on strike.  Now what to do, we hitched down the coast to San Francisco where we set pins in a bowling alley for groceries and planned our way home.  Plenty more stories believe me.

We were roommates our freshmen year.  Sophomore year we moved off-campus to 513 West Jefferson St.  When Pat married Donna, they moved into the basement apartment.  Pat’s brother now at FSU became my roommate and we became family cooking together and sharing the cost of fuel oil in the winter.  Yes, it gets cold in Tallahassee and fuel oil was our budget cruncher.

Some of our favorite things were Sunshine Chocolate Cookies from the family grocery store across the street and making up harmonies to popular songs while walking to downtown.  And, playing Bach chorals on violins with a couple other guys in a practice room.  Then, there was the summer we worked for the maintenance department painting yellow stripes on campus.

Our senior year I lost track of Pat.  I met my future wife and was interning to be a music teacher. But, he is not lost.  He wrote a great essay about his adventures after graduating in 1957.

Lee Liming