28 January 2014

To Be Von Rockenbach

I wish he had written a book of his life.  There is so much that has been experienced, I try to lurk around so I can grab glimpses of the past and start to string things together.  Some might say he's a grouch, but I just see that he has dealt with some shit.  He's a mans man.  Men want to be him, women fall in love with him, and he is smart as a whip.  He can get a point across in very few words, yet still often decides against wasting his breath.  I'm glad I have been fortunate enough to see into his life, because no one really knows the lone wolf.  Many have met him and I'm sure have never forgot, but I am one of the very few that got to stick around.

I'm his youngest daughter, it is probably one of the greatest honors I'll ever have.  As far as there being reasons behind this, I'm not sure anyone would be convinced based on the stories I told.  It's not like he was the best father out there, or even the best person.  There was just something about him, and maybe no one will ever really think the same way I do, but that's not the point.  There is something in my blood that came from him, and whatever that might be its an important key to understanding my own existence.  And the best thing I could say about him, is he's a bad ass mother fucker.

He was born in '37, right after the depression and right before the second world war.  He grew up as a six year old child listening to the progress of each battle bitting his nails because he wasn't sure of who was who, only that someone was winning.  His family had owned a Speakeasy in Chicago in the '20s, but that world was long gone.  Home life was too tough so he left at the age of 14 to live in a motorcycle shop fixing bikes and thing.  He went through lots of work in those years before finally making it out of high school.  However he finished a year early because of the fact that he had been kicked out of Kindergarten.

Age 17 now and looking for work he lied to an airline in Chicago, who offered him a job in San Francisco.  That was exactly what he had hoped for he packed up his car and drove out to the West Coast.  It was now 1956.  Being that there was a draft for the Korean War, he volunteered to serve his four years as a worker rather then a soldier.  He was smart enough that the government wanted to send him to Yale to be a translator.  Being that he hates authority and never wanted to be someones interpreter slave, he said fuck that.  The government being pissed that anyone would say know to such an amazing opportunity they stuck him as a electrical mechanic.  It's great to hear my dad laugh about these thing, even now he says "what the fuck was I thinking."

Four years passed, he got out of service, and was given his job back because everyone who served in the war was protected by law for it.  It lasted only a week because he found it was more fun to play gigs as a jazz drummer on Broadway Street in San Francisco.  Not because it made more money, just because that is what he loved.  It was now 1960, and for the next several years he played in the jazz scene with some of the best people out there, and some of the some crazy.  It wasn't a glamorous life, but it was probably the most exciting life he could have had.  In an oddly insane way.

Eventually he went to school at Berkley to be a mechanical engineer learning physics and computers.  I'm sure there is even more to it then that, but this is where I could only begin to piece things together.  This holiday trip I really wanted to dig deeper into who he was.  I got the juicy details, this is just the rough timeline.  That is part of the reason I am so fortunate to be who I am, I get to hear the amazing adventures that few have ever herd before.  And the best part is, I get to hear him laugh while he tells it.

Love you Dad, I'm proud to be from this crazy line.

P.S.  Now he is retired and builds/fixes up cars.  He's got 12.

Being that he was a jazz drummer playing with the best of the best, I never really dared to try and have him listen to the music I like.  Recently I just could not help but hear the influence from one to the other.  Last summer I told him for the first time how much I love to dance.  This time I braved up and showed him the music that it was too.  Before you knew it he was bopping his head and saying "this is cool."  Not only does he like Darkside, but Drum n' Bass, future, and the work of people I know.  I've never needed validation for much, but this was the pinnacle.  More then any of my own achievements, the fact that I can introduce my dad to the newest leading edge music of today melts my heart.  He's always been a hard one to impress, and I found his soft spot.

This is one he thought was cool.

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