I moved to Boulder in Summer, 1974, before the Pearl St. Mall, when a teen could ditch high school, smoke cigarettes and drink coffee at Fred's all morning, and with even a shabby fake ID could drink at Potter's or Shannon's at night. The Good Earth night club on Pearl St. showcased the best jazz stars in the country; there I saw Eddie Harris, Esther Philips, Stanley Turrentine, Grover Washington, Jr., and more.
The Gondolier was on Broadway just south of Arapahoe, and the Sink was Herbie's Deli. You could smoke pot at Round the Corner on the Hill (and everywhere else). Taj Mahal played Tulagi's frequently. Flannel shirts for Fall at Starr's didn't cost $88 like they do now, and if Starr's was too expensive, you could go to Joslyn's near the Post Office. When not sneaking into bars, you could take a high school date to Tico's for a respectable $10 dinner before going to Eben Fine Park to park and make
out, or to the drive-in at 28th and Lee Hill Rd.
The base of Lee
Hill Rd was all Green Belt. Nerdy Paul Danish (was that his name?) and his comb over hairdo could be seen walking the streets of Boulder.
was Bill Galucha's saddle and cowboy stuff store next to Ideal Market, where Radda Trattoria is now. That was before anyone had heard the word or could spell "Trattoria."
My usual morning consisted of
hitchhiking or driving from Boulder Heights to the Aristocrat at Broadway and Spruce, for an obscenely huge breakfast with Gus or whatever his name was screaming at the waitresses and pounding the handle of his spatula on the counter: "Mary, 25, Gddrace, 42, pick up now!", and then checking in at Boulder High to see how long I had to stay before gathering pals and heading for Fred's.
We used to
jump the fence and skinny dip at the Elk's Club. Our city league softball team was named "Fruits of the Loom," and we played in orange t-shirts and boxer shorts.
For a while, Rick Reilly and I
co-hosted "Panther Party" on KBOL on Wednesday nights. Together, for
money, we hired ourselves, our chain saws and Rick's green 1950's Chevy pick-up out to mountain land owners and trimmed dead branches off pine trees.
The words "drunk driving" had not entered the lexicon
then. Most of us are lucky to be alive. Many of our high school diplomas should have been gift wrapped.
Somehow, I was the President of
the BHS Class of 1976 - the kid who gleefully had moved from Highland Park, Illinois, two years earlier. I called Senator Gary Hart and asked if he'd speak at our graduation, and he did. It was America's Bicentennial, Colorado's Centennial, and Boulder High's 100th graduating class.
My Dad kicked me out of CU in 1977, when he said my
straight A's freshman year were unimpressive and the school too easy for me, given that I'd skiied so much with my Sewall Hall pals. He told me
if I wanted to stay I could pay for it myself. I went to the University of California, because it was on the quarter system, so I could ski during Winter quarter and be back in Boulder with my friends, many of
whom to this day never realized I'd "left."
I returned after college for three years, before I moved back to Chicago in 1983 for law school.
My Sewall Hall gang has had a 20th, 25th, and 30-year reunion. I'm sure we'll have one here for our 35th.
Boulder is so different now. We all know how. And why.
it's still breathtakingly beautiful with the best climate in the country, and it's been my thrill to spend the last 10 days here with my 10 year-old son, introducing him to Chatauqua Park, the Flatirons, Flagstaff, Nederland, Peak to Peak, Blue Lake, and more.
We saw a mountain lion his first day here.
Recently, I have been planting business seeds in Denver and Boulder, and I am so happy to be "back," sort of...if I ever "left."