Should I stay … or should I go.

It was the question I asked before the fateful trip. The Asbury excursion. The one to reunite the three.

In my heart I was waiting for this moment. I couldn’t be in attendance last year. But this year I WANTED to be there. I hadn’t seen any of them since the mid-nineteen-eighties. For argument’s sake and our love of round numbers I’ll call it twenty-five. Had it been that long? Maybe. Maybe more. Even our collective (failing) brains could not arrive at an accurate accounting. At this age … what’s a few years give or take.

After trading eMails with Geoff … and his kind offer of plane fare … I was able to come up with the money to buy my own round-trip ticket on Continental. If I went for two weeks the fare was reduced to $400.00. Time I had. Money. Not so much. Friends like these? Not enough!

It was set. Asbury Park, August 11th and leave for my family in south Jersey on the morning of the 16th. But on August 14th … The Hoover Hootenanny!

Geoff’s lovely wife Tatiana picked me up from Newark Airport the evening of my arrival. Like most New York City transplants Geoff never learned to drive. Good thing Tatiana did! “Yo Hoov! How will I know your wife? Will she have a sign?” “Oh. She’ll have a sign!.”

When I arrived at Newark, I got a text from Tatiana that she was by the Dunkin’ Donuts by the Continental baggage carousel. I walked down and as I rounded the corner I recognized her immediately. And as she walked towards me she unrolled “the sign”. The one you see to the right. My “Appearing Tonight” Hootenanny poster that Geoff created for the occasion. I was floored, honored, and humbled. I later found out Geoff had created a unique poster for every performer at the Hootenanny. What a mensch! After getting my bag & my guitar … we were off to chez Hoover … Asbury Park, NJ.

Upon arriving and trading hugs with Geoff … were were off to the Asbury boardwalk for dinner. Alright! Asbury at night! It was strange and wonderful. We walked the boards, to The Boards restaurant. Had a fine dinner and started the process of catching up. It would be a days long thing. The catching up part. Not the dinner. During dinner Hoov and I both took note of the funky music that had been playing in the background. Certainly NOT the type of music I might here in a Seattle bar! (If I ever went to any!)

After dinner we walked down towards Convention Hall. I could not believe the amount of reconstruction and development that had taken place. Restaurants, bars, souvenir, glass, pottery shops all along the way. And at the end of the walk, music blasting out of another bar in the Convention center. Damian Marley to be exact. Oh ..it was a homecoming for sure as Damian rocked my soul. Yah man! I WAS home! Sweet JamAsbury!

The few days of my visit were rather whirlwind. Much time was spent getting ready for the party. Though on Thursday, Geoff and I walked the streets of Asbury (photos below). I had lived here and in Long Branch from 1986 – 1993. So it was wild to see how much Asbury had grown and in what ways it didn’t.

During my stay in the chez Hoover I also had the opportunity to meet all three of Geoff & Tatiana’s sons, Indiana (Indy), Duke, and Texas. It’s a rather sobering moment to realize that during the years Geoff and I had not seen each other, he and Tatiana raised a fine upstanding crop of children, and talented musicians the lot.  I wish I had more time to get to know them all a little more.

Asbury Park Beach

On the Saturday of the party, the Hoover boys, their friend and (1933) bandmate Charles von Rosenberg and Indy’s lovely girlfriend Ina Pira invited me to go to the beach with them, while party preparations ensued. I thought it was such a nice gesture. I had been waiting to get to the beach since my arrival … to just lie about and roast my flesh in the Jersey sun, with the aroma of Atlantic salt water and Coppertone lingering in the air! God how I missed the beach on a warm summer day in August! And now … here I was. Oh .. and so much eye-candy! Woof! :) But most of all … there was the illusive Atlantic, waves breaking large, right in front of me! I just took it all in. It had to last me for along long time.

While we were laying there, Indy was trying to pump me for untold stories about his Dad during our friendship. He was looking for dirt. But sadly, I really couldn’t come up with anything juicy to tell him. Our lives back then revolved around, film school, and music. Any stories I might have been able to tell him were just blurred by years of space, time and aging brain cells. Sorry Indy! But if anything pops up … you’ll be the first to know! I promise! ;)

Ms Dorothy, AKA Rudy!, AKA Dorothy Orant Morrison the third member of the Musketeers was due to arrive at 5:10PM or there about on the 14th. Hoov AKA Geoff and I had already had time to play a little catch up over the few days before the party. But once Missy D showed up it would be a whole different dynamic and story. But a good story! There were many  hugs and kisses to go around for days! The 3 Musketeers had been reunited!

We had all met back in Long Island. Well I met Dorothy years before, she was also my girlfriend for a few years during the 80′s and we lived together on Long Island while I was going to CW Post Center, where I met Geoff Hoover. Sometime before my graduation from Post in 1982 Dorothy and I broke up. Geoff stayed at Post and graduated a few years later. During that time is when he met Tatiana … who also went to Post.

So that’s how it all started and ended. Dorothy, Geoff and I lost contact with each other sometime in the mid-eighties. Until I re-found Dorothy via a Google search and joining MySpace … just to have a way to eMail her. A few years later I found Geoff by another Google search. He had posted some of his student films on YouTube … and that’s how I got his eMail address and made first contact. With the advent of FaceBook … the conversations got easier and more frequent. And that’s how we came to current time.

I will not go into the detail of the party … but let it be said … an AMZING time was had by ALL! Friends performing for friends and family, connections rekindled and new friendships formed. What a time! What a time! What a Hoot!

I will do another post just about the party … when a certain someone (Maverick!) gets HD video files to Geoff. No pressure! Tap tap tap.

On the Sunday after the party Dorothy had remained in Asbury so we could hang out a little more before she took the 5-hour bus back to Camden, NJ. What a trooper! Thanks for withstanding all that for us! During that Sunday, Hoov knew of an old B&W photo booth in a location in downtown Asbury. So off we went. The results are above. (Photos of our excursions through Asbury below.) It was like no time had passed and we were transported to other photo booths in other places, where we documented our narcissism and our friendships so many years ago.

I will be forever grateful for the time we were able to spend together during the current “Asbury Home Tour”  and for the friendship that has withstood space, absence and time. Thank you to Tatiana, Geoff, Indy, Duke, Texas, Ina, and Charles for just being the kind, loving, generous, talented, supportive people they are. And especially to Dorothy who has always been, and will be, a kind, loving, supportive, soulful friend. You all rock! Thanks! :)