BJ'S BLOG 01/25/16 "Glenn Frey, Prison, and Memories"

January 25, 2016

Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders: 

Today I disconnected from part of my history. I canceled one of my websites, It was first established on a cold December night in 2009 after my wife and I figured out just the right name. “Creative” was what I wanted to be, and “Treehouse” seemed right because our porch was surrounded by trees. The year 2009 was a pretty good year for us. Jennifer’s cancer was quiet, and we did what we had done for the previous 12 years. We hoped and lived one day at a time. Withdrawn from the Internet, Creative Treehouse will live as long as I do in my memory, and when I am gone there will be no trace left behind.
The last 12 months, and especially this winter, has been a time of loss. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Dale “Buffin” Griffin, Leonard Nimoy, Yogi Berra, Wes Craven, Frank Gifford all passed. Years ago, when Jerry Garcia died, it hit me hard, but the passing of Glenn Frey has left me reeling.

For a few years, I had an overnight radio gig—you know, the typical 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. shift—and almost every morning I would end my show with the Eagles cover of “Ol’ 55” and ride home with lady luck. When I posted this on Facebook, it was nice to hear some say they remembered it well. I once saw a poster that said something like “Someday you will be just a memory to someone. Try and make sure it’s a good one.”

The Eagles were formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1972 and had three top 40 singles: "Take It Easy,” "Witchy Woman,” and "Peaceful Easy Feeling." In 1972, I was just finding a new sense of freedom, having spent almost two years in Danbury Federal Correctional Institution for my continued resistance to the Vietnam War. In my story “Mountaintop Days,” I wrote: “In prison, either you get a number and lose yourself or you resist and lose what little benefit the system offered for falling in line. There would be solitary confinements and hunger strikes and we would serve our time, but we did not surrender our souls. We did not fall in line....” On the outside, I tried to adjust and fit into a new life, but there were still almost three more years of the Vietnam War to struggle against, and the Eagles became a very important part of the soundtrack of my life and my return to normal. I don’t know why, but I especially developed a liking for Glenn Frey. Perhaps I sensed a rebel in him.

Glenn Frey has left us, but a world of memories and great music remain. I canceled that website because of lack of funds (that “Become a Patron” button at the top attracted only one donor, my dear friend Cher Duncomb). But that was just a website of memories, and I have a lifetime full of them. Someday I will tell my granddaughter about “Mountaintop Days” and about the Eagles, and one reason I will be able to do that is that Glenn Frey made music that touched me and left good memories. Thank you, Glenn Frey.