Jeff Fain Class of  1967

 

Jeff and Jane Fain

Jeff and Jane Fain

 

Garth Brooks and Jeff Fain  1990

Garth Brooks and Jeff

Wow! A lot has happened to all of us since 1967. A wonderful time back then.
Since that time I have done most all I desired to do. I have written and
been published (5 novels)and getting paid for them instead of the other way
around. Wrote a lot of songs; worked in the entertainment field as a Music
Director for a couple country music stations, reporting to BillBoard, R&R,
Cashbox, and Record World magazines, helping pick the HOT 100. Did that for
about 5 years. Worked in Nashville for Cashbox Magazine, met almost everyone
that I cared to meet in the field thru 1991 when I met Garth Brooks and had
photos with him at Capitol Records party. Helped start country music careers
for a number of artists and have the plaques of gratitude for that from RCA,
Columbia and others for breaking new artists. Went back to what I did back
at Southwest High, painting portraits. Started doing that after 26 years of
no artwork at all. A number of celebs have my portraits of them, and it's
great to be able to say that they have them and that I got paid to do them.
Anthony Hopkins is the latest one, and he sent me a photo of him holding the
portrait! What a rush!

I wasn't financially independent until I left home after graduation and
moving to DC to work for the FBI. And it certainly wasn't because of the
money that they paid back then either, which was around 5500 dollars per
year.  An apartment in the DC area back in '67 and '68 cost $800 dollars per
month, furnished, and without utilities.  Nobody could afford to live alone;
everyone had at least one room mate. I had 3 for the first six months there.
Then after squabbles, I left with one of them and we got an apartment of our
own.

My buddy, Jim, was from PA and looking back now, I can't believe I roomed
with a guy who was such a slob.  Now, I may have been messy, but no slob.
The apartment we rented, went for six hundred per month, unfurnished.  And
that's how it stayed, basically. We made, what is affectionately referred to
as 'palettes' here in the south for a bed...really, just some heavy quilts
or blankets for padding, a sheet or material atop that, and another quilt or
blanket or sheet, for a cover, depending upon the time of the year. That was
it. Sleeping on the floor is the way the Yankees put it.

For a table to hold our plates of food, we resorted to packing crates turned
on their sides. Then, other crates were used to hold cheap lamps and linen,
such as towels and washcloths, etc. We did have closet spaces in each of our
unfurnished two rooms in the apartment.  So if we ever entertained ladies,
we didn't bring them home for obvious reasons.  Needless to say that when my
folks called from Arlington (I was living in Suitland, MD, and Arlington was
on the other side of DC) to say that they had come for a surprise visit, I
begged to meet them somewhere, such as their motel room.  No dice.  I still
remember mom crying to this day over the meager way that I lived.  I had
lost about 30 pounds back then, because Jim and I couldn't afford to eat
much due to the other expenses.  Peanut butter, with jelly was a staple
food.  Sometimes, we went in together and purchased a ham quarter, boiled it
and lived off that for several days.  Other times meals consisted of
potatoes and salt and butter for garnishes.  The potatoes were boiled, skin
and all, after scrubbing, and eaten heartily.  A similar style of living I
was forced to repeat for the first three months I lived in Utah when filing
for divorce nine years ago.  I had a decent amount of money when I got
there, it was just with no job during that time that things were again
meager and what I had, required a lot of stretching.  When I see myself
today with the extra weight I carry, I wonder how in the world did I gain
back the weight after losing so incredibly much.

In DC, I neglected to say, that back then, if you worked for the Bureau, you
couldn't live just anywhere.  Your abode had to be approved by the Bureau's
Movement section.  They approved or disproved the location...the apartment
complexes were all comprised of Government workers; Obviously, not every
complex; only the ones where you worked for the government.  There were
servicemen and their families.  People who worked for the Department of
Defense, Bureau of Standards, Census Bureau, etc.  The reason for that, we
were told, was that there were foreign agents who tried to get to any young
person through any means available to get information for them to send back
to the motherland...it was still in the cold war era.

I could tell you a lot more of working back then for the government, and
some I would love to tell, but cannot.  I can tell you I did get censured
while there, something our president has somehow managed to get past for the
last eight years.  I survived because I made extra money back then from
painting and selling the paintings.  Sometimes there were commissions -
where someone hired me to specifically paint something for them-landscape,
seascape or what have you.  I painted only in oils back then, and they cost
enough.  If someone hired me and they wanted a large painting, I had to
charge extra for the amount of paint that would be used.  I usually got
around the same prices then that I get today for pastels.  Both are
pigments, and generally lightfast, and will last for longer than we will
live.  But it supplemented my income and allowed me to survive.  Oh, and I
did leave out Brut cologne.  Susan Losey reminded me of that one.  I adored
that scent back then!  And even though it was expensive, I managed to have a
bottle as often as I could.  The same way with Obsession for men today.  50
dollars or so for cologne is high anytime, but I manage to have it because I
like the scent; and kept refrigerated lasts a long time.  The same way that
photographic film does.

So there is a bit more of the bio of life immediately after SW High.  A lot
has happened in my life that made for excitement.  I was there in DC when
Bobby K was killed, and also when MLK was assassinated.  Neither time was
good for a white boy in that area.  Riots broke out, and one feared for
their lives.  Especially when you had to drive directly through their
neighborhoods that lasted for a three to five mile stretch.  Rocks, pop
bottles, and bullets were hurled in your direction during that time.  Just
rocks and pop bottles any other time.

I wasn't girl crazy, just girl wanting back then. I wanted to feel normal,
and nothing I did worked. Jeff L did his flips and other physical
attractions, because he could. All I could do was write, sing and paint.
Nothing that any of the girls I knew back then found as desirable traits.
Alas, I was also a gentleman, then and now. Never knew any other way to be.
I wasn't bold, although tried to be; tried to copy a couple friends when
they 'fixed' me up with someone's sister or friend...usually connected in
some way to their date partner. It was an awkward time for me and the girl I
was with.

It wasn't until after HS that I found my boldness. The first week in DC,
while working for the Bureau, everyone stayed at a boarding house, arranged
by the FBI, as sort of a clearing ground. It was here that they decided who
of the group would be your room mate, in what apartment complex you would be
sent to, etc. I wanted to go to Oxen Hill, where it seemed all of the good
lookers were going. Alas, I got put into the socially inexperienced sector,
where people who played instruments, painted, wrote poetry or exhibited any
creative bent were destined to be. I wanted Oxen Hill, but got stuck in
Suitland, MD. Oxen Hill was where all of the wild parties were also. Those
who lived there had a ball several nights per week. I got invited to some,
eventually, but that was later. Much later.

The first week there, at the boarding house, though, I saw and fell for a
girl from Hawaii. A real Hawaiian girl by the name of Georgia Yuen. I still
recall her name and face. Her complexion was dark, like all Island girls
from Hawaii or any of the Polynesian Islands. I was still re-running Mutiny
On The Bounty, with Marlon Brando and his leading lady, who became his wife,
Kamiah. The music, the dancing, the free spirit of the people where it was
filmed, on Pitcairn Island, left me reeling for years after seeing it, while
at SW. I had seen it 5 times then, had the soundtrack LP, played it
constantly. So when I met Georgia, that second night there, she was like a
dream. All of the guys there, better looking than me, and seemingly suave
and sure, all wanted her for a girlfriend, and made a play for her. I wanted
her, but something inside me said, wait. I did, played my guitar and sang
ballads and romantic songs, including some I had written. When I saw her
watching me and noticing that I wasn't making monkey shines for her, she
wondered why...I could see it in her eyes as she watched. Then I sang Don
Ho's songs: Pearly Shells, and Tiny Bubbles, even doing part of the Hawaiian
words. She came over to me, and sat there by my side until we retired, and
went to our separate/shared rooms with our to-be roomies. We eventually
dated steadily over the next few weeks, but she grew tired of my politeness,
I guess, because by the time I kissed her, our third date, and became a
little frisky, risking it all, I got the surprise of my life when she said:
"what took you so long to kiss me? Hawaiian boys are much faster. I was only
18, very inexperienced with girls and she knew it. She moved on to someone
else.

The object for me here was to be myself. Just myself. I was married a year
later, after dating a number of girls. Even a model. But one can reach their
goal, whatever it might be, by being true to oneself. If you want to play an
instrument, paint, write, or build a better mousetrap, trust and believe in
yourself. If you want it, I have found, it will come to you. At least that's
the way that I have found things to be. God gives us all gifts; Some more,
some less. He gave me more than I knew what to do with. Which is why I never
settled for one career. I wanted to experience each and every aspect of my
abilities. And I have never been bored for very long. I tire of one thing, I
put aside one love and pick up another, sort of rotating my interests or
hobbies.

This has nothing to do with SW, just life. Reason : I didn't believe in
myself in school - I wasn't sure of my abilities, and my juvenile legs were
still wobbly. Some of us are late bloomers. There are many stories in the
naked cities. This has been one of them.

Bio April 27, 2000

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