The MentoneTones in 1999

My senior year at CBU was my favorite year of college.  By then my close friends were very close, and we had a good routine down of what we did certain days of the week. I had Play Production rehearsal with Chad Freeman and Briana Bates and all my other friends there from 3:30-5:30pm regularly.  I remember having so much fun, with so many good friends acting in both the fall production: The Crucible and the spring production: The Music Man.  Then, apart from Play Production friends, I had Phil and Jim from CBU.  Chad was by then dating Nicole, who was already part of our gang, as a roommate of Briana.  So our Friday’s and evenings in general usually consisted of my friends Phil, Chad & Nicole, Jim, Briana and I.  Other friends came too, but this was the core-group that could fit in one car. Our gang was called: “The Desert Squids” by quirky Briana, who even had a patch sown on her jacket that read “Desert Squids”, though we didn’t usually call ourselves that.  We did hang out very consistently as a click, and I was often times the one driving, we would cram into my Super Honda! That year I visited my friend Briana’s hometown of Sonora, and Phil’s hometown of Oceano & Pismo Beach, on the California’s Central Coast.    Chad, Jim, and Nicole, were all Riverside natives, and I was close by in Grand Terrace, so I went to Chad’s and Jim’s parent’s houses a lot.  At Chad’s house, Phil and Chad would match up against Jim and I in basketball.  We had great basketball battles in Chad’s driveway, but Chad usually was the dominant player everytime, as it was his homecourt, and he was as tall as all of us. We are all six-footers, but Chad, The Pie Man” is much more muscular than any of us.  It was futile for any of us to cover him in the post, we just hoped Chad would have a bad shooting night if we were guarding him!
Going boogie-boarding in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach with Phil was another priority my senior year.  For some reason, when we brought the girls, we usually didn’t end up spending lots of time in the water.  I think we had surfing objectives when it was just Phil and I, whereas when the girls would come, they would want to have a bon-fire, or walk around town, or drive around to different beaches Orange County beaches like Victoria Beach, Little Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach and of course the Huntington Pier and H.B.’s Main street.  We had wild times cruising around Southern California as care-free college students, going to ska shows at Chain Reaction, The El Rey Theatre, and the Glass House.  We would especially look for shows by Five Iron Frenzy, The Insyderz, The Aquabats, The OC Supertones, All Together Separate, Suburban Legands, Jeffery’s Fan Club and The Dingees.  (Bri and Phil liked some others bands too, but I don’t want to promote them here.) You can read about some of these adventures in my book: The Walls of Spain

 The Walls of Spain, carried by Joni’s House Publishers

One reason that I had some good freetime my senior year, was that my two jobs and one scholarship job (play production), still gave me weekends and nights free.  I was an English Development Bi-lingual Tutor at a local Middle School, and it was my third year at the middle school, as an after-school academic tutor.  I would get out at 6pm, and many times, drive back across Riverside to CBU to see what was cooking.  Another reason was that I had packed in lots of units my first three years, so my Senior year, in my final semester, I really only had two mandatory classes, and then I took my second year of Hebrew, just to get literate at it.
That year my dear Grandpa David, at age 91, had decided to live in an assisted living community near CBU, called The Olive Grove.  I would try to drop in and visit him when I could, and Grandpa would be very happy when I brought friends with me.  The Desert Squid’s like to recall the time we dropped in to pay Grandpa a visit and he urged us all to sit down so he could show us a very meaningful film.  Some thought he would be showing us the “Jesus Film” or something, but it was the live action version of “The Jungle Book” another time he sat my CBU buddies down to show them Ben-Hur.  They always would laugh about how funny that was.  They didn’t want to tell my 91-year-old Grandpa no, so they went ahead and watched it for a while, until we did need to get someone to work or go back to Play Rehearsal or something.  It was nice having Grandpa just down the street from CBU. He was happy too, having other men his age to share anecdotes with about the “old days”.

I graduated on a rainy day in Riverside, which is unusual, so CBU put up a great circus tent for my graduation, which was better than years when the hot sun is baking all the friends and families on the great lawn in front of the University.  I think that happened when I attended my friend’s graduations the years before and after 2003.  My mom threw a graduation party which was attended by my band-mates from The MentoneTones, plus family from other parts of California, co-workers from Thousand Pines, and dear friends from Bridges Christian Fellowship and Shuvah Yisrael Messianic Congregation.

Immediately following graduation I had to fly to Denver to attend Candidate School for Tentmakers in Summit County, Colorado, and so I have been Tentmaking until this very day..

Good times at CBU
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