A surprise farewell party and one last gig for our band “Wheat”

The school year of 1969/1970 continued. Christmas came and went. The school trip to Chicago came and went and soon the school year was over. It was a bittersweet time for me as I knew that in August we would make the move to the west coast of Florida. I did, and still don’t like change. People of the north think that Florida is some warm magical place with palm trees swishing in the breeze. I was intrigued at the idea of living in this “magical ” place. However there were a number of unknowns that unsettled me.

Greg Habenicht, Carlos Washington, and myself were still practicing and jamming in our band Wheat. I had been having some problems with my Farfisa portable organ. Some of the keys made no sound when the key was depressed. Carlos knew of a repair man so we loaded it into his car and drove it over to the repairman. By the way. Carlos and Greg are both a year older than me. They were 16 and both had their drivers license.

The next week Carlos gave me a call and told me the repair was done at that we could go pick the organ up. “Great” I said and Carlos drove over and picked me up.

Carlos seemed in no hurry to get to the repair shop. He kept making side trips for this and that stopping here and there. What was he up to? What would normally take a 15 minute drive turned into an hour drive. I began to get suspicious.

Well the thing that I didn’t know about was whilst we, Carlos and I, were zooming all over town here and there, my mom dad and girlfriend Sandy were setting up a farewell party at my home.

At last Carlos made it to the repairman. I paid him and put the organ in the trunk and we started to drive towards my house. When we pulled up to the house on Beaumont drive I noticed that there were a few cars parked in the street in front of my house. Very strange. We got out of the car and Carlos opened the trunk and I lifted the portable organ out and headed toward the front door and entered. All at once kids appeared from hiding screaming SUPRISE!!! Sandy Rockwell my girl. Greg Habenicht, Greg Hamilton, Mike Zull, Dennis Squires, David Zaborski, Mary Mishler, Carlos Washington, Carol Washington and others. Wow. I had never had a surprise party thrown for me! However it was bittersweet. This meant that the move in August was real and it was not too far in the future. I danced with Sandy. I held her tight and told her that I loved her and that I wished with all my heart that I did not have to go.

The first week of August came and the time for the move was very near. In fact it was just days away. We had a gig coming up the day before the move. We would get in our cars and make the move to Florida the very next day. Our band Wheat had been practicing for the gig for David Habenicht, Greg’s brother.

The gig was located right across from my house on Beaumont drive, across the retention pond on Wattles road. The gig went well. Everyone seemed to enjoy. After the gig we packed it in and the three of us, Greg, Carlos, and I got together for one last chat about our band. We were sad that it was our last gig. I did not want to go. I made my way home with my farfisa organ and went to my room and got ready for bed.

The event Woodstock had taken place earlier this month. The song Woodstock by Crosby Stills Nash and Young was running in my head. I did not want to move to Florida. However I knew there was no way to stop the move. I climbed into bed and thought things over. I knew what I had to do. So as I always do, I manned up, and forged ahead bravely into the unknown.

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