|That's Alan front and center, flanked by the Semmler brothers in |
front of Danny Hines at one of our classic 80s parties.
Alan was known in those days as Flash, shortened from The Asheboro Flash. Wallace Sills had given him the name after catching Alan kissing two girls in one night less that an hour apart, and it stuck. There was a whole generation of campers who didn't even know his name was Alan- he was, simply, Flash! But to me, he was my partner in crime. Alan taught me early on in my days at camp that dead time for campers usually led to trouble, and we saw it as our job to entertain, even if only for a five minute lull in the action. We created Opera Day (everything you wanted to say had to be sung) and Chant Day (everything had to be chanted like you some sort of monk) just to pass time. We would sing silly songs and create disturbances to get the kids attention and pull them together. I vividly remember Alan entertaining the troops with a camper named Eric Hunsucker, who could belch on cue. Alan would sing "bright eyes don't cry.." and Eric would let loose with huge "BUUURRRRPPPP!!!" And the other campers would love it.
Alan's influence in my life extended far outside the boundaries of camp. We were at Guilford College together. We were roommates in two different apartments (Hidden Lakes and Chateau at Random Woods) and together with Carl Semmler we spent a month in 1979 travelling across the country. Spending a month together in a Honda Civic will seriously bond people together. We shared so many classic moments together. Here are a few of my favorites:
1) Alan comes to my house early one morning and says on his way into class from his home in Asheboro he has had an idea for a song. Actually, he had almost a whole song, and within the hour Blue Pick-Up Truck was finished.
2) The night before a winter camp was to start we were at my parent's house, where we stayed up all night writing Roll Over Lucy. Unfortunately, when we got up the next morning we could no longer remember the tune! To this day I am still not sure if the way we sang it was the tune we intended...
3) We, along with our friends Mark Hyde and Bill Terrell, loved to play hearts and spades- in fact, I think we could have received advanced degrees in both! There were a few times when we convinced unsuspecting newcomers that we had never played, and allowed them to teach us the games...too much fun!
4) Producing the infamous Four Songs...Two Fools cassette tape for our friend Brent Bill and his son Ben, who was our biggest (read as ONLY) fan. The Animal Song, Blue Pick-Up Truck, Roll Over Lucy and the rarely heard classic We've Got Gas were the songs. No question as to who the fools were... Another time we came up with this card game called Triple Jim Bob, which had no rules except that you had to make up the rules as you went along. Alan and I would baffle people with ridiculous rules and names for the different situations in the game. It was great seeing how long it would take people to catch on that we were making it up as we went! Both Triple Jim Bob and a character very much based on Alan make appearances in the novel I finished earlier this year.
I guess you get the idea...we were dangerous together. I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss him. There have been others in my life with whom I could get wild and creative (Jerry Hanbery comes to mind) but no one else quite like Alan. I will never forget walking from the lodge to the boy's cabins, late at night,and stopping to salute the flag post (actually a light pole!) and singing the Quaker Lake Alma Mater: