The summer I met Stacie we had a lot of fun traveling around Northern Ohio with our respective talents. I went to gigs with her, she went to some of mine. Mostly I goofed around trying to work but mostly having fun. It was nice to have that kind of freedom back then… I had no expectations of making a lot of money, but keeping busy was a must. I set up on the street once in Ashland for an afternoon. I set up in front of the Chinese restaurant on Main Street near the antiques store and what used to be known as the Nook. I sat there on my milk crate, listening to the doors in the cold shade of the mostly empty downtown buildings and watched the traffic go by. This is shortly after my father, who worked for ODOT designed the 250 bypass so there was a lot less traffic downtown than there used to be. It was very boring, I only made $6 and I never did anything like it again, ever.
Even though I did not work at Camp Mowana, Stacie and I spent a lot of time there on the weekends when it was just counselors and former campers and I even spent the night out there in some friend’s cabins once or twice. (I would eventually propose to Stacie on the edge of Flemming Falls, so it has a lot of significance to the two of us)
Stacie went with me to an airshow at the Ashland County Airport once. ACA is so small, if you’re lucky, Tattoo will announce your arrival and Mr. Roarke will come greet you and ask you what your fantasy is! We hung out in a hanger with an old guy and his new wife. He was bottom heavy, balding and very hairy. Like a tall Danny Devito with pop bottle glasses. She was equally heavy, but more apple shaped with long, red/grey hair that she had put in a bun on top of her head. He was dressed in a wife beater with dress pants and she had on a pair of pink polyester pants with a sleeveless floral printed shirt that reminded me of every outfit my grandmother ever wore in the summer. (I must have a photographic memory because I remember details like this sometimes. Either that, or a good imagination!) They had been married only a few years and they were just over the moon for each other. Very cute. I don’t remember what they were doing or selling there but they liked our music. He had some jazz tapes and we took turns listening to the likes of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in fits between the Dead Milkmen, The Cure, Arrested Development, The Beastie Boys, NWA and Enya- Yes, it was an an afternoon for the eclectic. I drew a few people. Thinking back, I can only remember the jazz fans, but I’m sure I drew a few paying customers. I didn’t care though at the time I guess. I doubt if I made more than $35 but I was having fun and Stacie and I got to enjoy each other’s company all day. We got a free ride in a Cessna out of the deal and it was the first time either of us were in a plane. We were scared shitless! It was cool seeing the familiar countryside from such an unfamiliar point of view. We went to some other venues like this with the WNCO Car that summer too. Some I drew at, most I just stopped by to bring her a Snapple and a sandwich or something. (We were hooked on Kiwi Strawberry Snapple I tell ya!) I wish I could remember some of the stories… Between car lots, antique barns, restaurant openings, fairs, festivals, etc… I’m sure Stacie Thompson could tell you some stories too. I used to love to hear about the crazy fans who stalked her over that summer, lol. She had groupies, (swear to god!) and they were some characters to be sure!
Stacie also joined me at the Huron County fair where I was set up near one of the smelly animal barns and didn’t do very well. I think I only spent a few days out there because it was so far away and such a poor location. I remember Stacie being there and not even caring that I hadn’t made any money. I saw some people I remembered from the Ashland county fair and I think I had set up with them at another festival in the same space because I shared the price of the spot with them. Yes, it is frowned upon but it happens. I was a newbie, I was poor and I didn’t know any better at the time… Later in the summer my parents and I went to a festival about an hour away from home just to look around where I saw someone there doing caricatures. I introduced myself and asked her if she needed any help because I do caricatures too. LOL! I thought she was so rude for telling me off at the time. I didn’t understand how competitive festivals can be. Kind of funny actually. Sometimes I wonder if she’s still around. I bet she never forgot it.
I wasn’t around to do the Ashland County Fair, or the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival that summer. I had gone to Pittsburgh with my parents to find some other living arrangements in Oakland borough, where there weren’t as many parties and I could have a real apartment of my own. Found a nice spot but the landlord wanted me to move in right away, so I was packed up shortly after and was back in PGH about 3 weeks earlier than anticipated but I was well settled when classes started.
At the end of the summer I had the sweetest girlfriend ever and had earned and saved enough money to buy a nice mountain bike and a little bit extra for my chinese food fund. I spent the next several weeks running up my phone bill talking to Stacie, making friends in Oakland and exploring Schenly park on my new bike.
All content is copyrighted by Adam Pate, 2013. All rights reserved.