Withing the strick family protocols one must have a sense of lay out. If you had read my work of these times entitled PERFECTION CAN BE HAD ( on Amazon buy ten copies as you will wish to give them away as gifts ) you will come to know the lay out a bit. The home, now burned to the ground, was an estate home then, sitting all by itself. The home rose three stories amoung the giant bay trees and orchids, on a slope that was almost two acres in scope. Guests were brought to visit my famous father, through the lower entrance. They would be driven from the electric train end of the line in those days, which passed from Tiburon, through the windy ways along the townships of Mill Valley, Ross, San Anselmo and finallty to the end of the line in Fairfax. Forest of our household staff would usually be the driver picking up the guests, for their several block journey around the majestic tree line roads, with the 1930’s concrete street lamps, to 555 Olema Drive.
The guests would park in the old stables now garages at the lower entrance. The family parked on the high ground over looking the property, in an area known as THE FLATS one can not even see from the lower entrance ways. You drove up one side to a flat and larger parking area outside the garage and by the gates leading up the concete paths and stairs to the Green and White residence. You passed oceans of Hydrangia flowers on the left side, with enourmous Redwoods piercing the skye and forever shadding the sun away, walking silver slippers of needles along the stair ways. Flowering orchids of Dad’s favorite pear apple and related tree’s adorned the right side adding their skirting to the foot falls along the stairs for color. Turning at the landings, while the stairs continued forever up toward the front of the enormous building, guests took the wooden stairs from the landing, to the APRARTMENTS. The stairs continued to the main house and living room areas, but rising up to the family area was reserved for all but a precious few. All nine children were “not allowed” to venture to the apartments unless accompanied by a parent. I don’t recall this rule ever being broken not even once.
The Apartments we all thought as we grew up were just way cool. Like a Ritz Hotel room in the early 1950’s the guest opened to a full kitchen and bright view with huge windows over the kitchen eating area. Mother always had boquets of fabulous fresh cut flowers. The household staff would stock the refridgerator with the guests favorite beverage and eating items as well as the cuboards. The guests were always discussing “how did they know” as every detail was managed. Each guest passed by a hall way of famous prior guests photographs framed signed and lining both sides until you entered an enormous bed room, with king sized beds, and large couches and coffee tables – rocking chairs and sitting areas, easy chairs and all the wonderful appointments. Walk in closets with full bathrooms which themselves were super sized and fully appointed. All with enormous windows upon the gardens. Walk Ways circled the house with sitting areas, in flower bound nooks, with bird baths or sun dials or some appointment made for reading meditation and rest.
All the birds in the world seem to hang out in the flower lined spaced which included rose gardens and flower beds that consumed my father’s home time. His passion for gardening bordered on the obsession where his nine children were the conscripted slaves to the perfection of it all. I think our first words were always – “weed dady weed” proudly holding up one of his prize flowers. He never corrected us and always replied – yes honey weed and then good girl or good boy. Always with praise. Although he would be the one with the belt if the real rules were broken.
Given the out door menagerie of play and duties, with our chore list always posted, it was required we wash and clean for dinner. We sat in our evenings at family meals with our hands folded and bringing our remarks to a close as Father came in for the blessing and to serve. Meals were formal and always family inclusive of every detail of our lives to which our parents where in on all our child conspiraries. It was kind of like perfection in that child hood. In its own magical way. We considered all this was normal. We thought every child in our neighbor hood lived this way and we pretty much knew them all. Ray Bresnan and the Piombo family. The Tobins. And always my nemsis Ricky Brown way up on Bothine Road.
The front of the house had a path way that wove its concrete pattens to what we called the LATH HOUSE. The Lath House was at the far side of the property, to the left as you exited the kitchen and breakfast eating area. The Kitchen was like a Commercial kitchen from the Dohrmann Hotel Supply Family, with what would pass for Hotel Grade Sub Zero double refridgerators today. The Full Freezers for the sides of beef and lamb our household required were down stairs with the canning rooms and all the fresh preserves. The gardens provide fresh vegitables of every kind every single day.
Above the kitcheb windows were terraced areas of lawns and play grounds so mom could watch. These were framed with sloping lawns, vegitable gardens off the Lath House, and beyond sereral rising terraces of all this greenery and tree’s where the FLATS for parking and our famous base ball diamond. Still it was the Lath House we spent the most time in.
Dad held court in the Lath House. This area was self contained with bars, refridgerators and built in barbecue pits. Dad loved as in LOVED to barbecue. There were two giant picnic tables always with table clothes and formally adorned more or less with table wear, and surround these were easy chairs, sitting areas and coffee tables. The Lathe House was built of redwood slats with a corrugated concrete roof that made rain magic sounding and kept us all high and dry in any weather. In fact my favorite times were eating wih my nine brothers and sisters, just us in the rain.
Dad was mostly when home, holding court with the never ending stream of those who came to see him. The Lathe House may serve fifty or 15 but there were almost always guests. Guests of children. Guests of the Parents. Family with uncles cousins and nieces and nephews – Dad was one of 12. There was always family. When family came often with food but not announced it mattered not who the guest was as the family always came first in my dad’s world. He was amazing and so old school in his traditions. He was famous for his parties which where theamed and amazing to the eye. I had to get much older until I realized how much drinking was going on the 1950’s and 1960’s. On my chrome schwin bike I disregarded how happy every one always seemed to be at night. Bed time always came too soon.
Everyone always wants to get into the “how did you meet Clement Stone, or Bucky Fuller, or Michael Murphy of Estlan, or Walt Disney, or say Napoleon Hill. It just wasn’t like that when your four and five. It was more like uncles and aunties came into your life, and they just ate with the family in the Lathe house and then you went and played and did your home work and went to bed. Television was just coming in.
Phones were dial with a party line. There were not many calls. Mostly out going. Not everyone had a phone yet.
Dad wrote his first concerto when he was 12. He played in Carnagie Hall when he was 16 and had his own band by age 20. When grandfather explained to young Alan before he went into the war effort and Naval Academy, “so we hire musicians we do not marry musicians” I think it broke Dad’s heart. He repaired it in his beloved Navy retirning as a commander. His action in World War II secured a good many medals he never spoke of. I was forty before he told me anything about the way and then only because others in his command had asked I’ve I KNEW “WHO” MY FATHER WAS….but hey that is another story entirely.
During the War years Dad worked as a young officer under command of leading thought leaders in accelerated education. The team trained 90 day wonders to operate COMBAT LIBERTY SHIPS, who came in from Midwest farms without any sailing experience of any kind. They also deployed a top secret multi media training known as SNAP SHOTS that trained spotters to reside on islands with short wave radio’s to report in ordinance as it flewq or sailed by. Evidentally both programs presented break through achievements in accelerated human learning. A field dad would remain inside for the remainder of his life time.
Some of Dad’s guests stayed with you more than others. For me, Napoleon Hill was a mentor that mattered as was Clement Stone and William Penn Patrick. Alexander Everate was another as was Warner Earhardt and John Hanely of Life Spring. Wally Minto was amazing and taught at my CEO SPACE classes until he passed. Walt Disney was seriously amazing as was Thomas Wilhite whom I got to spend more time with of PSI WORLD SEMINAR fame. But there are so many thought leaders who mentored me along the way thanking them all would be impossible. George Witter of Dean Witter. Arthur Lachman of Lachman Furniture far more forever notal=ble than his brothers ever would be. In fact my Father Alan became by far more legendary than all his brothers who envied him so…the late brother Bob’s last comment to me on Angel Island was – Bernhard you know your father was such a pompus ass. I said to 80 something uncle attorney Bob – you know Bob your going to be able to tell him in person so soon yourself..but always know uncle Bob he just thought you were his hero and he loved you so unconditionally. He didn’t have much to say after that – used to getting the last word in – while his son I just adore was watching his children and mine play together down below at our Dohrmann family reunion. Such are families. Are they not?
Dad never cared about fame. Dad never cared about stage or lime light. Dad always sought what came next in human potential. He was always engaged in the movement of human potential never really appreciating he was inside a movement he was himself leading. He just led. In his humble elf like way. He was so funny everyone loved him. He was so intuitive every sought him out. He was so innately wise the leaders accumulate his counsel which he selfless gave. He was always the commander the supporter to the Admirals.
After Dad had graduated, years and years later, I was in Alaska. It was snowing. It was more than 20 below zero in that Anchorage coffee shop. I had ordered breakfast and I still remember the smells. Our table was busy talking when in walks this giant man, covered with snow in his parka, with the most enormous Newfoundland Dog, at least 180 pounds covered in snow as well. The dog warming to the coffee shop shook like it was water and the snow flew everywhere on everyone’s food which in Alaska is like a blessing. The giant took his hoodie down to show his full beard with a beaming smile as he patted snow in layers off his parka’s and disrobed and sat right now.
He started saying – which one is Dohrman?
They all pointed to me.
Do you remember me?
I said no sir looking more closely with a fork full of eggs’, I’m trying though.
He smiled that infectious smile and put his hand across the table and said, I’m Bill Bacon and I first met you when you were five. Then he explained how he was Walt Disney’s many time Academy Award winning Animal Photographer. He spun a manillia envelope as he ordered his coffee across the table to me. In that envelope were one photo after another of his shot day, in the wild, with younger Roy and Walt Disney. And children playing in the grass.
He said I made the mistake of my life that day son. That was the day Walt Disney said, Bill I want you to meet MY MENTOR – Alan Dohrmann – and I was so taken to meet your Father we had all heard so much about, I simply forgot to spin that camera around and take the century shot of Walt and your Dad together and hey even you. Do you recognize those pictures and I did remember that day. I said but you didn’t have a beard then…..and he beamed over his coffee ….see son you remember old uncle Bill. I’ve come all this way to find you. The table chatter stopped others over hearing joined in Alaska style and we “talked story” until they threw us out. Later I would help Bill on his last big project. He was taking his camera with Sherpa’s into Tibet in the early 1990’s – Bill was in his late seventies then and I was so worried about him. He wanted to shoot the way the Chinese were exploiting the people of Tibet. During his many month donkey ride into those great mountains, folks traveled a month to reach his camp. Just to ask if the DAHLI LAMA was still ALIVE so shut off are those people. Bill’s film aired on various cable channels and you can still find it on National Geographic or Netflicks. As you see the credit role you see the credit for BERNARD DOHRMANN for the honor to name his film at his first showing – TIBET A MATTER OF TIME. Now that was a long way from a five year old with his Dad on a nature shoot with famous Walt Disney. But the film credits don’t lie and the story is all true ask Ray Wickstrom in Las Vegas he ad his son Rob where there live. Bill said before he graduated you know – CEO SPACE is a highlight for me I just wish I had enough left to make your movie …now that’s the entire history of the human potential movement. But time ran out. At least for Bill and I.
Sometimes Dad’s clients came into my life because I sat on their lap as they brought the children presents. Others were more mindful mentoring. Others were accidents. Or a surprise when John F Kennedy pitched my little leaque game ball and I was the Catcher. He was that evening at the LATHE HOUSE BARBECUE. I thought he was funny and a good pitcher.
Others had more lingering times in my life, as with Warner or Thomas Wilhite, and so any who have left us like Bucky Fuller and Clement Stone, Leland Val VanderWal and he led me to my great lifetime friendship with Thought Pope Bob Proctor. I can’t remember when I met Jack Canfield he had a pony tale and wore tie dye shirts and inhaled. He says he still does all that save the pony tale. The journey is not disribable but the childhood stories are. Do you wish to continue then?