Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 12, 2006
Here's a photo of Wendell Havatone in the Exits, New Year's Eve (1964-65). We are playing in the Girl's Gym at Mohave County Union High School and I believe the song is "Surfbeat" by Dick Dale. That's Wendell on the left, Charlie Waters on guitar and Wayne Rutschman on sax. Wendell did a mean Roy Orbison and we covered "Pretty Woman," and "Mean Woman Blues," among others.

The first time I met Wendell was at the Kingman Little League Baseball Park, south of the tracks. A raging rumor claimed that one of the coaches had discovered this Hualapai Indian kid from Valentine, who was hitting home runs over the top of the lights and he was only eight years old! At issue was Wendell's birth certificate. He didn't have one, and his coach was probably hoping to leverage the strapping kid for a four year run (Little League eligibility was age 8 to 12). I seem to remember the other coaches made him compromise to age 10, which was my age.

Two years later, largely on Wendell's talents we plowed our way to a championship at the Little League Northern Arizona Tournament in Flagstaff. Local legend says Wendell was the only player to bring a shaving kit. While we ran around town unattended, most of us bought those paddle ball deals at the dime store where you hit a rubber ball that's attatched via an elastic cord, and you can hit the ball until the cows come home, or some adult, trying to get some sleep, breaks it. We would hit these contraptions incessantly, day and night, in the car, walking down the street, in bed. I distinctly remember, we were standing outside the Commercial Hotel, right on Route 66, when a carload of college girls slowed down to look at all the out of town geeks with high pants, banging away in every direction. Wendell, looked up and said, "Hey, check out the babes!" and we all looked at him like he had cooties and went back to banging. It wasn't until about three years later that I understood what was going on in Wendell's head (and pants).

And it was about that time (1962) that we formed our first, and only band, the Exits.

Our old neighbor, Elaine Steinegger, sent us some snow pics from Camp Creek (just up the canyon from Carefree. Every snowbird within 200 miles decided to come up here today to see the snow (like they hadn't seen it before!).

"I guess I'll go on home, it's late, maybe tomorrow night, but wait. What do I see? Yes, she's walking back to me."
—Roy Orbison

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