Bragging Rites

Bragging Rites

My eldest son, Marc A. Wendt, is turning sixty on the seventh of March. I’ll try not to be too embarrassing … in what I share. I knocked his mother (Tina) up, when I was in the USAF Academy. She was 17, and gorgeous. Yet, DNA is not the heart of who we are.

Also, my memory may have glitches, so Marc may disagree …

He was born in 1963. In high school he taught himself how to play the guitar. He is still in a band, that gets invited to play small Lake Tahoe venues on holidays, besides more local venues.

He didn’t graduate from high school. However, he did get pretty good at playing ultimate Frisbee, in those years. We were living in time and place – Berkeley California – a leading light in the ‘60’s. We were not raising our kids the way our parents had. We marched in a major protest in San Francisco, with him in tow, and he wore a sign: “Draft Dodger – 1984”.

His best friend’s father owned a restaurant in Mill Valley California. At various times, Marc washed dishes there, learned grill cook there, and manage a restaurant there. This eatery, with a touch or two of Mexican, often had as customers various members of rock bands – and such folk of fame within the film business.

This region – “Marin Country”, was allegedly cursed by the being forced-out Natives: “May you never want to leave.” Marc still lives there. I don’t remember the details, but Marc applied for a job with Lucas Films that had a huge place in Marin … the legendary Skywalker Ranch.

He worked for “George” for twenty years. He had two major kinds of jobs. I use the familiar first name, because that is what his employees called him – affectionately – among each other.

One involved the care-taking of various objects … after a time he ran the “archives”, a multi-building storage of much of the stuff from the films, and all the products that were licensed for sale. Those latter folks were required to send to Lucas Films one hundred of whatever they were selling.

Marc later proposed, and set up, a process by which the excess of toys and such were given away at Christmas, to groups – like firemen – that do toy gathering.

His other complicated job was to manage audio-visual presentations given to interested licensees. For example, while a film was in post production, he traveled with “George” to five cities in Europe. To show clips and such. He traveled with almost a dozen “trunks”, full of tech. Even though Marc had spent hours – via phones and emails – trying to get the venues prepared in advance, he was ready with the right cord and such, to get the setup working anyway.

When Disney bought Lucas Films, from “George”, they paid two billion in cash, and two billion in stock. With a lot of co-workers, he was then “traded” to Disney, and worked for them in the same job, although with much sadness. The profit driven Disney people didn’t care about the cultural value of the archives, and Marc knew these items would be just stuffed in places, with a minimum of interest in their long term preservation.

After a few months, Marc was told to move to LA, or be let go. “George” had negotiated fairly reasonable extra payouts, but still …

Marc wandered a bit, and then decided to become a “life coach”. Took classes, was coached himself, and is still connected to his support network. He also manages youth camps in the summer.

My take on “coaching” is that people need someone to talk to, privately and intimately, without this process being called an “illness”. Coaches need to be someone who has lived life – its ups and downs, and sideways and byways. Been there done that.

Think about it … I’m his father. All of my five children have borne the burden of that encounter. Just as I have “encountered” them. Many places in my writing I describe them as my most important teachers.

Enough about me …

There is an old toy called a “flexy-flier”. It is like a single person snow sled, except it has wheels instead of runners. He and a friend rode it on a steep long hill together, one piled on the other. I don’t remember many details of this daring, except that led to serious road rashes, and a trip to the hospital.

I point this out as a seed of a certain kind of fearlessness. When he commits himself, he is all in. He was married for a long time to an alcoholic, an intelligent woman who was a nurse in an intensive care unit. His nature is to be committed, and loyal. He did Al-anon, so that he knew how to give the right care, and the right limits.

One summer, he was playing a role in a Star Wars convention, and got me, and his available siblings, in for free, all wearing lanyards that let us into various places, … through a door just for such folk, who then get seats in the front.

We were on our own for a bit, and then we sought him out where he was working, an audio-visual room (large) where people might to get hear “George” and friends live, with moving pictures and such. Marc was at this space at the back of the room, on a raised 20 feet by 20 feet platform covered with gear, and people doing stuff.

We got together to go somewhere else and as we walked out the door he came with us. I said: “Don’t you have to do stuff?” He said, “No problem, I’ve got people.” Me: “You’ve got people! That is so cool”.

When Marc was in high school, he and some friends formed a “garage” band. That is they took over a garage, and covered it all over inside with egg cartons as baffles. His sister, Doren, was a gifted singer, and was part of the band.

I was working as a grill cook, at a place that had outdoor seating, and sometimes some music. Their band was set up to do a gig, on a Friday afternoon I think.

The night before, while walking from the garage toward home (such as it was), Doren was so “high” emotionally that she walked in front of a moving car (was not the first time she was a car magnet, either – this was number three).

The band played their gig, with Doren singing while on crutches – just a slight hip dislocation – still aches today. Some of the band members continued to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he and they still hang out occasionally, and might even turn on an electric guitar and a keyboard or two.

His uncle (my brother Doug) was driving him, with me for company, to spend a few weeks in the care of his grandmother, who lived in Great Falls Montana. Doug surprised us both, for he knew how to get to the Snake River Canyon in Idaho, where Evil Knievel – one of Marc’s hero’s – would try, yet fail, to take a rocket and fly over the chasm.

News reports said there were 20,000 people there. We had to walk a couple of miles, to end up sharing, with some serious “Bikers”, a picnicking zone on the edge with a good view. Daring women took their clothes off. Marc was a fan, of course, for a six or seven year old – what an adventure.

My older brother Lou had three daughters. I don’t quite remember the details, but we went camping a Glacier National Park, and woke up to snow everywhere. Young Marc had to spend most of his time in the tent with his older cousins, who with full teenage rigor teased him mercilessly. They gave him a “name”, which I shall take to my grave.

When he was three of four, the Batman was first on TV, and when their theme song played at the start, Marc would drive up in his big wheels to watch. Around that time he was maybe four. Had to go to the hospital twice. One time were playing on the bed, and he fell and hit his head. Another time, he was being baby sat by a woman with a child of the same age, who decide to hit Marc on the back of the head with a hammer.

There is no “sign” here. Children run to fast, fall done go boom. Parents lose their minds over anything bleeding.

When he was an infant, and feverish, I would walk all night holding him. I also used to throw him up in the air, and then catch him, when he was a toddler. Might have made him fear heights.

Every birthday now, he walks across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The attached picture is of Marc, with his parents. Mom (Tina) died a few years ago of cancer. He has been a great support for my work. When it was needed, and possible, he always stepped up for both of us.

He filmed me a few years ago, doing my bits about spirit and the world. Saved for a later documentary. When I wrote my screen treatment for “the Grandmother War” he reworked it in the expected form: “Final Draft”.

Mom had become a Buddhist, and I was a Christian wizard. Recently I sold the rights to all my intellectual and personal property (including an excellent library) to him for a dollar. Lately, Marc has been part of a group studying Kabbalistic Writings.

He lives with his Lady (a jewelry artist) in Marin Country. There’s a dog, and a garden, and on occasion a wafting of sea air.

I would not be me, without him … first son, the one parents have to experiment on. Fortunately, they fly the coop, escape to their own lives, … while I am writing this, I discover that after my Lady, he is my best friend.

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