LIFE GOES ON – CHAPTER 2
I thought everyone grew up like I grew up. Dozens of kids always around. Playing on the merry go round and swings. Playing base ball on the flats with the chalked out diamond and dug outs. Playing in the Fort – no girls allowed – club house. Playing in the tree fort and the tree swing and it took a ladder even get up on the swings. The tree fort was three stories up – with running water and a Fridge. That was 1955 folks. Yep. I thought every kid had the same set up. We would sneak off to the Boulders and Rocky Mountain and most forbidden ( by mom of course ) the MONKEY GRINDERS.
Now the Monkey Grinders was a pushed over area of larger bay tree’s growing side ways now from the slope and field clearing Piambo Construction had created in the huge enormous open field outside our fence line. These side way tree’s we could walk out upon – where the slope when 100 feet down below – and just jump. We disappeared in a shower of leaves and fell to the many tiers of trees’s also growing ‘side ways”. Yep we got scratched and bruised. But hey the new kids and especially the girls shrieking and gasping as we fell to our certain deaths made the MONKEY GRINDERS simply legendary.
We just thought everyone had Monkey Grinders. Why go anywhere else to play? We have multi tired gardens. We had orchards and tall pines to climb. We had base ball and play grounds. We have well we had everything. Think we were spoiled? And we had no clue I’m telling you. We just thought this was AMERICA. Play ruled our day.
Still we would complain to the old man of the house, my famous father, when ever he came home – Dad there is just nothing to DO. He would tell us to go play in the sprinklers and turn them on for us. We would get down naked ( if the girls were not around ) and play and run and fall and swish down the super wet lawn slopes.
The girls, and with five sisters and their friends there were lots of them were better at everything. Better climbers in the tree fort. Better record holders on the tree swings. Better base all players. Better runners. We hated them. All. We just could not beat them. And they, Lorded it over us. Like – one day at a time keep coming back you JERKS kind of thing. They taunted us. But eventually they got older and got Boy Friends and all of us boys were the brothers simply left behind. No child left behind? Hey I felt it. Maybe we didn’t hate them all that much.
MY STORY: THE NEVER ENDING BLOG
My peeps keep asking to write my story. Its unbelievable. But I’ll write it. Before my beginning there was Alpert Bernhard Charles Dohrmann or ABC Dohrmann. My famous grandfather. ABC for whom I would be named in family tradition, had raised twelve children, two adopted, two sets of twins, of which my father Alan Gerrard Dohrmann and my Uncle Gerry were the babies. ABC Dohrmann ran an empire during the depression and war years. In 1906 he reconstructed following the GREAT SAN FRANCISCO EARTH QUAKE, what is now the Macy Building with the fellow ship of Giovianni of Bank America Founder fame at the time. They rebuild San Francisco. Grandfather rebuilt:
1. The Macy Building on Union Square the Dohrmann Hotel Supply headquarter through 1975.
2. A cause way to the Emporium Stores – one of the larger department store chains in the west and ran by ABC until he died as Chairman.
3. The Call Bulletin then the larger paper in San Francisco and one in which in 1906 Grandfather talked famous Mark Twain into relocating permanently as staff reporter ( where he worked until he died ) and disputing with the Hearst Family as he would NOT SELL while Mark Twain was living…
4. And he rebuilt the Saint Francis Hotel as General Partner of the rebuilding group.
5. He then went on with President Roosevelt using his paper and prestige in the resort space, to lobby for the establishment of the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE where he served at the Presidents Pleasure on its first Board of Directors. His dream to put Yosemite into the PARK SERVICE and then o help build the most famous hotel in the park, which still features ABC Dohrmann in the Hotel Books and in the lobby bar from 1937.
By the time of World War Two my father, had established himself as a musician, wrote his first convert when he was 12, played in Carnagie Hall when he was 16 and had his own band substituting for big band recording artist DEL COURTNEY by the time he was 18. In his early twenties he entered the war effort.
During the War Years Dad was working as a young apprentice with accelerated learning leaders like Dr. Edward Deming and others, to foster taking farmers from Kansas and turning them into what was called 90 day wonders, releasing them into liberty ships across the world. Henry Kaiser was turing them out by the ocean monthly.
Dad longed to be in action however. He also worked on war pioneering accelerated learning in programs called SNAP SHOTS seeking to have Spotters on islands throughout the pacific, enabled and trained to spot ordinance moving through war zones and report it in my short wave radio. Later Dad’s dream came true and he was placed in charge of mine sweeping fleets, that went into heavy action to clear islands like Okinawa and others for the main assaults that would follow. I was in my late thirties before my famous Daddy would tell me anything about the war effort or those years.
In 1948 Dad had divorced and remarried my mother Marge. I was the first of their children, though Terry and Pam had already come. I was the first born boy in a family of Terry, Pam, Sally, Susan, and Mellisa followed by Mark Jeff and Carl. There are some step kids mixed in there but we were always raised as ONE FAMILY – Dohrmann’s – with a historical pride in our fifth generation contributions to the San Francisco Community.
I was born in Saint Mary’s hospital, three months premature, following a tennis game mom was having when her back pains had her check to make sure her baby was OK. I was arriving actually in day were an incubator was shoe box and a light bulb. They never thought “I” would survive. They Baptized me Catholic, in the shoe box, as just Bernhard versus ABC Dohrmann, to keep it short thinking I would at least die with a name. Later I more developed from 3.5 pounds, was Christened formally, at Saint Rafael’s Catholic Church ( and still have the PHOTO”s ) which I will post here for you. Embarrassed to this day in the traditional Dohrmann family Christening gown I was Christened in. You’ll see what I mean there.
Everyone was just so happy I didn’t die. Mom called me her precious baby. The First Born Male inherit the DOORMAN BARON TITLE, from Germany, home sweet home. Boehnardt were professors have taken the family history back to 11th century for me in recent years – thank you fatherland for the history. Mom was Irish so the combination was always volatile.
I was ultimately raised in a family estate home in Fairfax California. 555 Olema Drive. The main home has burned to the ground, and now the property is filled with suburb developed home sitting on top of one another. In my day we featured the main home, sloping grounds, terraced gardens and play grounds, the worlds most amazing tree fort and tree swing, flowers everywhere, and a lathe house where Daddy would hold court with barbecue and never a last call out door bar.
At age Four I had walked a mile into there redwood forest to discover Alice Mahoney’s ROSE GARDEN featuring orchids and over 2000 collector roses from all over he world. It was like stumbling into Alice in Wonderland at Age Four. My published book on this time PERFECTION CAN BE HAD defines – a good deal of what that Rose Garden was like to grow up in. From Age four to age 15 I spent more time working ( for money too ) in that Rose Garden then I did anywhere else. Where Dad and Mom taught me my values, Alice taught me the cooperative principles I would come to live my life beside.
Being raised in the Boulders, the Rose Garden and the MONKEY GRINDERS was magical for any club of children. We were surrounded by the innocents of the 1950’s, the magic of my father’s famous mentors, and the magic of our family.
Being raised with just about everyone, from Napoleon Hill to Bucky Fuller, from Clement Stone to Dr. Deming, from Zig Ziegler to Earl Nightingale, from Walt Disney to John F Kennedy pitching my little league game ball, was well magical. Its hard to share really as Dad was more into tradition and his work surrounded his family. His traditions including summer camping trips, Fourth of July hikes up Mount Tamalpias, and from ocean and camp taylor picnics, to sea trails on his latest boat, from Halloween parties to Christmas to Hawaii – and always his favorite Sierra trips and Tahoe stays, he was family planning and traditions year to year. Looking back frankly, I don’t know how he did it. No one really does. It was well – pretty prefect really. He was so strict and so loving. He was so our DAD. Father of the nine and loving that role.
That was how I was brought up. With lots of stories, lessons and traditions, which stuck with me all the remainder of my life. But then I grew up.
Ah but thats another story entirely. More to follow.
March 8th – the beginning years
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