There is nothing left to do, but smile, smile, smile
On June 11, as morning turned to afternoon, a truly grate man passed; my father, John J. Bergan MD, found peace and harmony with his jazz pals. During the moments after, I realized the many aspects of my character that were fortified by Dad. There is no question, my love for sound was sparked by my father.
At the end WWII, Dad was a radio repairman in the Navy. Upon returning to Indiana to pursue education at Purdue and later at Indiana University Medical School, he began his hobby of building Heathkit stereos. He loved to tinker, he loved to solder, he loved to lay speaker wire, and he loved to connect it all so he could listen to jazz. While he loved all sorts of music, it was jazz, and particularly the drummers like Buddy Rich and Art Blakey, that sparked his creative thinking. Together with my mother, who found her own bus to Indianapolis to see Frank Sinatra as a bobby soxer, he instilled a love of music in me.
In the 1960s, while racing sailboats off Belmont Harbor in Chicago, Dad met Dick Latham and they became good friends. Dick was an award winning industrial designer who became a design adviser for Bang & Olufsen in the early 70s. The result of this friendship was a stream of B&O equipment passed down to Dad after Dick had checked the performance of prototype receivers, tape decks, turntables, and speakers. To this day, I still have speakers, one sister has a receiver and one sister has passed along a turntable to her daughter. The equipment fueled Dad’s love of sound and he wired our apartment with speakers in several rooms, but nary could a wire be seen.
Dad was the first taper I knew. He would set up the receiver and reel to reel tape deck on a timer to record WFMT’s Midnight Special as he slept. While the format of the station was classical music, this show was all about folk music, Chicago characters like Steve Goodman and music of the people. I learned many, many songs listening to Dad’s replays of the various shows. Not surprisingly, my older sisters persuaded our parents to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in 1972 at Ravinia; the gig was Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie. I was 9 and my parents love of music carried the family to Highland Park (Ratdog plays there 8/31). In our nice pavilion seats, an introduction of sorts occurred. As Arlo opened the second set, the couple next to me, lit a joint, puffed it and then handed it to the 9 year old sitting next to them.
I turned to my oldest sister and asked, “What is this and what do I do with it?” Naturally, she said, “just give it back to them.” My introduction to marijuana was swift, but long lasting.
I am very fortunate that Dad shared his love of stereo equipment with me. We set up my first stereo when I was in 8th grade and it was pure joy to learn from Dad how to put it together and how to tape. It was a beginning of a path that led me to become a Deadhead.
I was already a taper of sorts when I saw my first show in March 1981. As I learned more about the taper culture of the Grateful Dead, I reveled in recording whatever broadcast I could find on the radio. This dedication led me to taping the nationwide broadcast of the Grateful Dead and The Band playing for Seva at the Kingswood Music Theater in 1984. Who needs sleep, the WBEZ broadcast in Chicago started at 1am. Around 3:30am when the Dead took to the stage for set two, they opened with Scarlet Begonias. As I jumped around my apartment in glee (Scarlet B’s could be my favorite Dead song), I woke up my roommate forcing him to come listen. My Dad had instilled in me a passion for recording live music.
Given Dad’s guiding hand, it is now clear to me why I am a Deadhead, why I have more tapes/video tapes/CDs/DVDs than can be played and why my path as a fan led me to become a professional Deadhead selling officially licensed merchandise. During my own sailing career Dad told me I could never be a professional sailor, but he never said I could not be a professional Deadhead. The four winds have carried you home, Dad, fare ye well…
As the calendar rolls into August, this Deadhead knows it is time for Jerry. Here are our Jerry offerings, do note Mountain Cat our newest.
As always, you can purchase these shirts at your local cool shop or on the web at one of our wonderful etailers. Should you need help locating an outlet, feel free to contact me.
And again this year, the day will be webcast, use the link above to access. The gig begins shortly after 11am pacific time on Sunday.
For those in the Bay Area, see ya at Warren and the Berkeley Symphony 8/1 and for those in Chicagoland, see ya on the lawn for Ratdog 8/31 at Ravinia.
Speaking from recent experience, I encourage you to reach out to all those important to you, parents, siblings, relatives, friends, whomever and share love with them; in our busy lives, we tend to overlook “love will see you through.”
Preparing for “Retirement”, T-Shirt Edition
Throughout the many phases in a T-Shirt’s life, there comes a very special time when a shirt is no longer worn in public, but is now worn in the garden. I’m talking about turning a shirt that is kept stain free and un-torn, into a yard shirt that gets covered in dirt, threadbare, soaked in sweat and permanently embedded with ode de manure.
In my dresser I have a few groups of T-Shirts in descending order of when I want to wear them. One group is newer, clean shirts that have no stains or tears and could be worn on a date. The second group is the workout shirts, these don’t have any tears, possibly one stain and are generally performance wear shirts. The third and last group is shirts that are ready for “retirement”. These shirts may have the sleeve ripped off, might have a hole, they are threadbare or there is a giant stain in the middle. These shirts I reserve for yard work and other dirt ridden outdoor activities. This organization is because all clothing has a life span and all of the shirts that are in my “retirement” stack, were once in my date acceptable stack. Life happens; you spill a drink and stain a nice shirt, or it gets a small tear. The question is when do I condemn this cotton masterpiece to be abused by mulch, bugs, grass clippings, and if I’m not careful stray yard tools!
The memories that you make while in each shirt or where you have gotten that shirt are what is important. If you have a T-shirt you like; wear it, because eventually it will have to be retired so get the use out of it now!
#MyFavoriteShirt is always changing because it depends on what I’m going through in life. Right now the title of #MyFavoriteShirt goes to my National Champion shirt. This shirt handed to me on the field at M&T Bank Stadium is going to be babied for a long time. To extend the life of a shirt just a few extra steps can get you years with your garment. Try to wash less, if its not dirty why put it through the ringer? Also taking time to separate clothes and close all abrasive surfaces such as zippers and Velcro prevents your shirt from being abused in the wash. If you get a stain rinse immediately so the stain doesn’t set. And always follow the instructions on the tag.
When I head back to school this fall I will be taking with me the Pink Floyd Division Bell to add to my collection. When I wear it I will look back and remember the life experiences I had with it on my shoulders. The only way you can prepare a shirt or any thing for retirement is to take care of it so it lasts longer, but don’t sacrifice the chance to make memories and have fun.
America and T-shirts, Celebrating Freedom Since Day One.
To understand this tag team you need a little history on the explosive triple team known as America, T-shirts, and freedom. Starting off in the early 19th century T-shirts were born from cutting Union suits, also known as long underwear, at the waist to make it easier to be pulled overhead. In the 1920’s the term T-shirt was coined for the outline of the garment and, put into Merriam-Webster dictionaries. During the Great Depression ranch and farm workers wore T-shirts since it was still inappropriate to show the pectorals. Then in 1939 World War II started and T-shirts were standard issue for the Army and Navy.
So America and T-shirts have been “pals” through some of the hardest times in our country’s history. It makes sense because they are both prime examples of FREEDOM! In our armed forces we have 2,220,412 brave men and women currently ready to go to war to protect our Nation. More importantly protecting our freedom. T-shirts are that freedom, T-shirts are America! We love those freedoms, 91% of Americans claim to own a favorite T-shirt. The ability to “advertise” whatever you want and support your beliefs on your shirt and display it to the world it one of our greatest freedoms.
In 1939 the first promotional T-shirt was printed for The Wizard of Oz and since then promotional T-shirts have exploded. A very popular T-shirt is the “Vote for Pedro” created from the movie Napoleon Dynamite. There are countless reasons this T-shirt screams America and freedom. First you have the right to vote; voting to elect a person to make laws in your favor is representative democracy. This system is proven in America to protect our freedom. Second you are voting for Pedro, he immigrated to the USA to experience the freedom of this great nation. He was welcomed into the American melting pot, experienced the freedom to grow a mustache in high school, and then chose to serve his fellow man and protect their freedoms.
The T-shirt is a way to express yourself – support your cause, be a part of a “tribe”, spread laughter, share your love of music or your favorite band, show the world you can run a marathon, remember your favorite vacation spot or to just Vote for Pedro. What’s your favorite shirt?