South Carolina '98

Every couple of years, several of our good friends and their families rent a beach house on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina to enjoy good sun, fun, music, beach and friendship. This friendship, established in the first arduous days at Northern Illinois University, has lasted a lifetime.

The Players

The Woods'

The Buczeks

The Eichstadts

The Nietings

The Music

Those early years at NIU brought those with musical skills together.

Originally, Ralph and I started playing guitars together (with Frank supplying the artistic visuals). Frank was my roommate at the time, and Bob (not shown above) was Ralph's. Bob was also a guitar player and owned a 12-string guitar. At semester, Ralph and I traded roommates. I had a chance to learn and then purchased a 12-string and Frank switched from visual to audio. I played with Ralph for awhile longer but mostly as back-up guitar. Ralph learned so much so fast I couldn't keep up. In turn, Frank was just getting going.

Now, 20+ years later, it was great to see them play again. Frank showed up with a nice little 6-channel PA, digital delay, JBL speakers, mics, stands, etc. Our stage was set on the front deck with the electronics kept just inside on the four-season porch. We enjoyed nightly live music including an appearance by Ralph's nephew and friends, bringing a brass section to our little stage (yes, the police liked it too, but that's another story).

The highlight of the week is when Frank and Ralph did a gig at the outside, beachside, upstairs, rooftop bar of one of the local establishments (Coconut Joe's). There was plenty of room for everything including dancing, all with an excellent view of the beach and ocean. Frank and Ralph did a set together, then each did a solo set. Since I was a soundman for a rock-and-roll band (in another life), I got a chance to mix a little sound again. The whole evening was excellent!

Relaxing before things get started.

Frank gets the night started.

Ralph finishes it up.

(Somewhere I had one of both for the middle, but can't seem to find it.)

Faces of the Week

Our Mascot

Our mascot Pelican had a very rough week. Besides being moved around for every meal, his attire, accessories and acoutriments were continually changing and always a source of humorous wonder. A pass through the dining room a few hours apart could reveal an entirely new theme and decor for the old bird.

S. C. '95

(Flying on the beach!)

During the last trip to the Isle of Palms, I combined vacation and hobby. I brought one of my electric radio-controlled airplanes and flew it off the beach. The only problem I encountered was that the wind was always coming from offshore. Since the little airplane liked to take off into the wind, I would point it at the water, give it full throttle, let it build speed while it taxied down the hard-packed beach and by the time it got to the water, I would pull up. Worked every time (luckily).

Hope to continue the good times in S.C. in the next year or two.