The Lost Summer Of 1974


My parents brought my brother Jerry and me from Tallahassee to Central Florida in early June of '74.  Between the two of us, we had very little money, and no friends.  But we did have each other, and his '64 Plymouth Valiant with the push-button dashboard mounted gear shifter.  Thank God for that car.  It got us to the beach, and sometimes (when we could afford it) to the Eau Gallie Speedway, the Drive-In theatre, and to Jerry's Pizza Palace (no relation).  If things were really tight, we just drove around listening to Mystery Theatre on the radio and hatching schemes on how to get back to Tallahassee.

When we weren't in his car, we could usually be found playing our guitars.  And did we ever play them!  I played mine, every day, often for 12+ hours through that entire summer.  I'm convinced that I learned most of what I know about music in that three month span.

Late nights were most often spent in Mom and Dad's sweltering garage, our makeshift hangout, from midnight til 2 or 3 AM, watching Star Trek, Sea Hunt and Twilight Zone reruns while eating enormous bowls of Cheerios until the TV's color bars and 400Hz audio tone made it pretty obvious that it was finally time to go to sleep.

By September, we had both found part-time jobs, made a few friends, and started at our new high school.  So life went on, and before long we were doing OK.

I jokingly call it The Lost Summer, but looking back now, it was probably the best one ever.  It's when my brother and I became best friends. And I guess part of the credit for has to go to Jerry's 1964 Valiant with the push-button gearshifter!