In Memory

John M. Hager - Class Of 1970

John M. Hager

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11/15/14 10:31 AM #1    

Tom Brody (1969)

I went to John's house on only one occasion.  He was interested in music by the Mothers of Invention.  He also told me that he wanted a career in science administration.  I believe that we knew each other from working on the school newspaper, The Current.   Loss of a child is a tragic event in the lives of the parents, not to mention that it is a tragedy for the child as well.  This is my rememberance to honor Mr. John Hager.

07/15/18 09:42 PM #2    

Carol Ann Thieme (McDaniel) (1970)

As I recall mike Hager died from a jump from an elevated level of highland hospital in Oakland under a severe drug reaction. He was another one of the 07 21 1952 group from 1970.

07/15/18 09:43 PM #3    

Carol Ann Thieme (McDaniel) (1970)

He was a good friend!

07/15/18 11:48 PM #4    

David Merrick (1970)

Actually "John" Hager went by "Michael/Mike" Hager but I have found nothing of him on the net. It is sad, but thank you for updating what happened to Michael. We saw each other frequently, from elementary through after high school,  but were not "close" friends. [At least not by my personal definition.] I thought he had died in a motorcycle accident. I contuned to "hang out" with Michael after PHS throughout my two years at Chabot JC but lost contact when I graduated to San Jose State. It is not phenomenal that Michael was "into drugs" as were most baby boomers in my neighborhood in the 1960s into the early 1970s. But almost all of my contemporaries went on to college where drug use had to slack off.

Michael did not go on to college.

Michael introduced me to an interesting club in Oakland whose name evades me. [Something to do with chess, like "Bishops" comes to mind.] It was a club that did not serve alcohol, and had, for instance, a room with pillows but no other furniture. Hippy-ish. It was a very well thought out collection place for under age people I discovered 'Constant Comment" tea there.

Also, working for a consumer electronics store, he did sound and recording for an aspiring amateur [garage] band. He turned me on to "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Tommy," and "The Steve Miller Band." I believe one of his favorite songs was "Windy." 

Michael was, unfortunately, a rather troubled person who had difficulty "fitting in." He was convinced that this mother and step-father favored his their son [Michael's younger (half-step-) brother] even though I witnessed no direct evidence of that. As a result he was pretty much an "unintentional loner." 

Michael was also the one who turned me on to hashish. This was a fairly wild ride considering I had never been stoned before. I am not surprised that Michael would have experimented with harder drugs, although he did not do so in my presence. I do know that the members of that band and their followers "dropped acid," etc. 

Michael would occasionally go on rides with my other friends, such as Bruce Cassaro David Bunch and Angie Darnell, to Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco. He wasn't exactly reclusive.

One time, returning from a ride on Skyline Blvd in Oakland, the brakes went out on my dad's Thunderbird and even the parking brake failed. Michael later joked that he thought I was kidding when I yelled 'THE BRAKES ARE OUT! THE BRAKES ARE OUT!" until he said, as we sped faster and faster down a steep Oakland street, he looked at the dashboard and saw the red "parking brake" light on!

Michael never dated. He was simply painfully shy. Most here now know I am gay and I became aware of that as far back as 1967. But I did not begin discussing that with others, save for my brother (and a psychiatrist!), until 1975, years after I had last seen Michael. I am positive that Michael had no problems at all with his sexuality, but I will always wonder if one of the reasons why Michael felt so comfortable with me is that, unlike his other contemporaries, I did not date and we never discussed the subject.

One time as we were talking he made the comment, to the best of my memory "Sometimes when I am on the freeway I feel like veering off and slamming my motorcycle into an overpass." That is probably where I got the wrong idea how he died.

Comments like this led me to believe that Michael was often sad, although I would not characterize him as depressed. My education in psychology, and years of my own therapy suggest that Michael simply had the most staggering low esteem of anyone I had every known up to that point, even though I cannot at all account for that. Could there have been an unspoken reaction to the fate of his real father? He never mention his birth father.

Other than his complex about his brother I sensed no adversity in the Hager household when I would visit him there [on Birch and Spruce, in Bonaire, I believe]. That mystery would go on to perplex me from elementary school until our association faded away in the early 70's. I know Michael aspired to be more "cool" than he could be, and he was, unfortunately, very lacking in social and interpersonal skills

It was very telling to me, when attending our 40th class reunion in 2010, I noticed that Michael's thumbprint with our classmates, indeed, in life would end up so vague as to be remembered with a name imprinted on a card on the "In Memory" table as "John" Hager rather than "Michael," "John" being a name totally foreign to me.

So I say I spent a lot of time with Michael, from James Madison Elementary School past our Pacific High School years, but we were not really "friends." We shared a lot of social activities but our association was not deep. I suspect that is the way Michael wanted it. I don't want to think he felt condemned to it. 

But the best memorial I could offer Michael is to compare him to somone he would have been elated to have been compared to. I think that perhaps like Jim Morrison of "The Doors" Michael was just not meant to live much farther beyond the age that he did.

I hope you finally found your place Michael, your peace, an escape from the demons that nagged you to do the drugs that finally took you.

You "broke on through to the other side" much earlier than me, Michael, but I hope to meet you again some day when it is my turn.


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