Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, October 17, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 10


Mountain View News Saturday, October 17, 2020 





Think nachos and oreos! 
Yes, Nacho and Clyde 
are definitely yum yums, 
adorable, and highly 
adoptable! Both are very 
friendly and quite used 
to human contact. Nacho was previously adopted, 
but unforeseen circumstances resulted in making him 
available again. He and Clyde are now best friends, 
so would love to have each other to play with. Please 
fill out our adoption application to get the (fur)balls 
rolling! They could soon be cuddling with you! After all, isn’t that better for you than 
real nachos and oreos! Age only 6 months. See more pictures, adoption information 
and application on our website at the Young Cats page at

It was late Sunday night, and Eddie Van Halen had died 4 days earlier. My wife 
and I were on our way home and we were talking about my memories of Eddie. 
We felt inspired to go see the Van Halen landmark, the curb where Eddie 
carved his family name in wet cement many decades ago. 

It was past 10 p.m. when we arrived at the curbside candle-lit landmark. 
“There it is,” I said. Fans had written messages on the sidewalk and left candles and paraphernalia 
all around the Van Halen inscription. Large letters spelling out VANHALEN decorated the lower 
walls of the line of stores. 

As my wife and I took a few photos, fans continued to stop and take pictures, and talk about how 
they wish they had met Eddie. As I was telling stories to my wife of my high school youth, some 
people overheard and asked if I really knew Eddie.

“Yes, I knew Eddie,” I told them. “We hung out together in high school.” 

People were impressed that someone who actually hob-knobbed with the Great Eddie could be 
there on that dark night. One man, a true devoted fan, drove over from Long Beach to honor the 
man’s shrine. A group of young people showed up, most dressed in hard rock-black – one with 
a guitar, and two with long hair just like Eddie -- to pay hom-age to The Man. These young men 
and women, were too young to know Eddie in the day, but old enough to have listened to and 
admired his music. During our short visit, maybe two dozen people came by and drove by to see 
the shrine.

I knew Eddie well enough. It began when I went to John Muir High School with David Roth, 
taking Spanish with Roth, and circulating in the same social circles. It was through David that I 
got to know Eddie Van Halen and the band. David Roth dated the sister of my best friend, and 
through Joe and Debbie Sierra, and John Linthurst, and the John Muir Conservation Club, I got 
to know David, and through David, I often went to the parties as the unpaid group photographer. 

Eddie attended Pasadena High School on the other side of town, so we saw Eddie and the band on 
the weekends, or when the band was practicing in the sound-proofed back room of Homer Dollar’s 
home on Maiden Lane. My close friend John Linthurst rented the Dollar place, and so John 
would call me when the band was out back practicing, and I bicycled the short few blocks from 
my parents’ house to listen, and take pictures.

I liked Eddie. He was friendly, open, never conceited or preoccupied with himself as a star. I liked 
his smile and his enthusiasm. He very much reminded me of the humble na-ture of Jimi Hendrix. 
No, I never met Jimi, but I recall his quote saying that he never thought he was that good on guitar, 
and that he had so much more work to do. The true and deep artists are often that way, deep into 
the art, always looking for ways to improve and conquer the next challenge. So Eddie was like 
that – much more than an entertainer. He was the consummate artist.

I met Eddie, David, and the band in 1971 or ’72, during the time that they were evolving from 
“Mammoth” to “Van Halen.” We could not miss Eddie’s excellence. Of course, the fans focused 
on David too – he was the lead singer. In our little social group of friends and schoolmates, I 
don’t recall that anyone ever believed the group would hit the big time. Still, when we sat around 
talking about the things that high school people talked about, the talk would get around to Van 
Halen, and to Eddie. 

I recall once when a friend was describing how Eddie was so good on guitar that he could exactly 
replicate Jimmy Page’s Led Zepplin songs, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton of Cream, and others. Eddie 
could replicate these masters so well that you could close your eyes and be-lieve you were listening 
to them. Eddie was good, and everyone knew it.

I often felt a kinship with Eddie because our birthdays were so close. We were born in the same 
year, 1955, and he was born on January 26, about 2 weeks after my birth in Pasadena. Eddie was 
born in Amsterdam, and in 1967, his family settled into Pasade-na. Born of musically talented 
parents, both Eddie and Alex were playing music from their early years. Eddie once shared that 
he’d never learned to read music, and that he just practiced all the time and learned to improvise.

My personal interactions with Eddie – mostly during the pre-fame days -- were brief and spotty, 
though he left a special mark on me. 

I was their periodic photographer. When Van Halen was getting started, I was getting started with 
journalism at John Muir High School, and David always saw me with a cam-era – either super 
8 video or 35 mm. He invited me to take their pictures, so I would drive with the band in their 
packed van to take photos at their gigs at the Cucamonga Connec-tion. I also went to the Pasadena 
Civic, and various Pasadena backyards. One such back-yard was within walking distance of 
my parents’ home on Los Robles Avenue. 

David Roth always seemed to take the center stage and was the idol of all the teenage girls, which 
continued to bring in the crowds at their rented halls or backyards. Still, there would have been 
no Van Halen band without Eddie. And certainly, Alex the drummer kept the musical composition 
tightly woven with his technical mastery. 

Though David seemed to do most of the talking and singing, Eddie did most of the smiling. Gregarious, 
positive, always friendly. I know that lots happened once they signed record deals and 
began touring, and I rarely saw any of them anymore. I would read about Eddie in the newspaper, 
or hear something on the radio, and always wondered how much was truth, and how much just 
part of the developing myth. I prefer to remember Eddie as the young and innocent teen who was 
my friend, and who never seemed puffed up with pride, and could genuinely smile at anyone in 
his circle, including me. I feel that Eddie played for the pure love of it, for the manifest expression 
of excellence, with no rival in recent memory except possibly Jimi Hendrix.

After we finished talking with the young fans at the street memorial, we went to the old Van Halen 
family home where a similar shrine had been set up. However, this felt differ-ent. It was quiet and 
dark. A couple quietly moved along as we walked up to the house. A few candles were lit on the 
sidewalk, barely making the shrine visible. There was a spir-itual quality here, a solemn silence, 
and it felt as if Eddie was back at his old home, looking at friends and fans who came, pondering 
now whatever is next. I was there as a friend, not a “fan,” and I quietly let thoughts of Eddie fill my 
mind, in this place where the spirit of Eddie would be if it was anywhere. 

After some moments of quiet reflection, we drove home. 

Eddie, we’ll miss your smile and your musical genius. May your journey be filled with peace.

Pet of the Week

 14-week-old Miel has come such a long 
way since she arrived at the shelter! At 
first, she was fearful of people and of her 
new environment. But our cat behavior 
staff has worked hard to gain her trust, 
and now she allows people to pet her. She 
has such a fun personality and loves to 
play – if you throw her a treat, she’ll bat 
it around and chase after it. She’s such a 
cutie! She’s done a great job at coming 
out of her shell, and just needs a patient 
adopter who can give her the time she 
needs to adjust to new people and a new 
home. This sweetie is worth it!

 Miel is eligible for a 30-day adoption 
trial. Take her home for a month, get to 
know and love her, and we’ll provide all 
the supplies. At the end of 30 days, you 
can make your adoption official. Email to get your 
adoption trial started!

 The adoption fee for cats is $90. All 
cat adoptions include spay or neuter, 
microchip, and age-appropriate vaccines.

 New adopters will receive a 
complimentary health-and-wellness 
exam from VCA Animal Hospitals, as 
well as a goody bag filled with information 
about how to care for your pet.

 Pets may not be available for adoption 
and cannot be held for potential adopters 
by phone calls or email.

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