Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Touching all the Bases
I came home to a Wifi outage.  I am fairly certain that my house is electronically haunted.  Just before I left for this leg of the tour Time Warner was working on the cable and my Internet service was out for a couple days. But it was working fine and better than ever as I hit the road.  I was sure the improvements had helped my service.
A day or so later Sandi tells me that the "yellow lights are blinking on those thingys around the house." I told her to call the cable company and see if there was an outage.  She did. There wasn't an outage, but whatever the cable guy told Sandi to do to help fix the problem.... did not solve the "yellow thingy blinking" issue.  That was the job of "Jay Johnson - Super Geek" when he returns home.  No rest for the weary troubadour, I had to fix it since I couldn't even get my Ipad to go on line .  It took me all day with several successes and many failures.  It was like trying to keep several plates spinning at once.  If one light was green three were out, if two were green one was yellow, if several were green, one would blink yellow, once they were all green and there was no connection to the Internet.
With that behind me I am able to think back on the shows of the last week.  With family issues and back stage politics it seems that my time on stage was the least dramatic part of my life this month. I don't want to remember the shows by the difficulty behind the scenes, I just want to remember the reaction of the audience.  I would say by that scale it was a real success.
But the real story is this: At 3:09 yesterday the phone rang.  A voice says, "Is this Jay Johnson?"  As I always answer before admitting to being anyone I say, "Who is calling?"  The man says, "This is Robert Frazier from Beaumont, Texas".  (Scoobydoo flash back music......)
My first year at Six Flags Bob Frazier was a star singer in the show.  He was a great guy, older than me but a friend. We kept in touch and I soon found myself moving to Astroworld to work in a show that Bob Frazier was also in.  We decided to share an apartment together in Houston.
Finding an apartment that we could afford was made more difficult by the fact that I am white and Bob is black, and this is Houston, Texas in the late 60's.  I don't think I ever really understood the silent face of racism until then.  We shared a couple of apartments together and  eventually I stayed in Houston and we were living together year round. We took work where we could get it and did Astroworld in the Summers.
I met Sandi one of those summers and moved out of an apartment with Bob Frazier into an apartment with my new wife.  Later Bob got married and I was best man at his wedding.  He and Judy lived close by and we became the two couples that did everything together.
I moved to LA and five years after that Bob and Judy moved here to seek the same road that Sandi and I had found.  It was tougher for Bob, a lot of prime dues time had passed and he had to take jobs other than singing.  He even started working for the handyman that we used all the time.
He and Judy were divorced and Bob moved back to Houston and married another woman.  Sandi and I were with them once on a visit to see her parents.  I got a couple of letters from Bob, found out he and Josefina split and I never heard from him again. 
I send letters to his old address and even called Josefina to get his current address.  She said she was passing all my letters on to him, but I never heard back.
(The scene slowly fades to current times - 22 years later).  I have tried to find Bob on line, sent people to Houston to check out numbers, sent letters but never heard from Bob.  He was such a great friend and we had so many memories together I have felt sad that I didn't know where he was, or as we say.... IF he still was.
Then yesterday he called and said, this is Bob Frazier from Beaumont Texas.  I said, "Bob Roomie?" (which is what my 3 year old kid called him when he lived here).  He was confused for a moment and said,  "Frazier, my name is Bob Frazier."  I paused and said, "Right, Robert Raul Roomie Frazier."  He laughed and said.... "Oh yeah, hey Roomie."  We had a long talk but it was a, can't believe it conversation.  I got his number and address, he doesn't have a computer so I will have to keep up with him in more familiar ways.  I said I did not want to fall out of touch again.   We have many more years to catch up on.
You never know what the day holds when you are stuck in Wifi hell until the old fashioned phone rings and it is a voice from a time gone by.  I am so glad to be back in touch with my friend.  Now both my Roomies are back in my life and the world is good.
As you were,

1 comment:

Roomie said...

Have missed this entry of late and just read the latest about you and Bob reuniting...I only spent one summer with him and he was in your show and Ethel and I in CH.....don't remember whether we ever talked of him since...this is why we must visit before I get so old I can't remember less than I do today....AND if I am the other Roomie you refer to as being back in your life....RIGHT BACK ATCHA, my dear friend and Roomie.....
Carry on,