David Merrick

Profile Updated: September 6, 2010
Class Year: 1970
Residing In: San Francisco, CA USA
Occupation: Hotel Desk Clerk
Comments:

SHAKESPEARE MERRICK HAS REVISED THIS COMMENTS AREA 9-3-10

Da-yamm I sounded bitter in the first draft.....Thank you for not taking up a collection at our reunion [and having me committed...]



Some of you may have figured out that the reason I appeared a bit "strange" in high school was because at some point in 1967 I became aware that I am exclusively gay

Don't worry, guys. My center of attention was one of our teachers. And for those of you who shared the showers with me in gym class, you can rest easy. I undoubtedly looked "down south" on any of you less often than most of you str8 guys that would sneak an occasional glance to see how you "ranked" amidst your peers may have glanced at each other. I could hardly describe ANY of my classmates below the naval.

Why?

Look at it this way. If someone in gym class called you a fag, you could just snap a towel at him and curse back. But if somone accused me of being queer you could probably have heard the tinkling of urine slowly filling my gym shoes as a panicked voice in my head chanted: "Is he only teasing or DOES HE KNOW"

Remember that in 1970 The American Psychiatric Association still considered homosexuality a mental illness.

I remember a comment made by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane: "I have met the enemy AND THE ENEMY IS ME."

As with most homosexuals, I can remember exact moment I realized I was gay, along with the Kennedy assasination and Buzz Aldrin's and Neil Armstrong's landing on the moon.

And I have learned since then that everyone has some kind of cross to bear. Others much more than I.

But, using my intuitions and judgements, I have not once been in a position to be mistreated or maligned for being gay. Not once.

Although you could not know the secret I was carrying as a senior, a confidentiality I have since discovered several of us Pacific High School seniors carried...and I suspect there are more, I can say something that not everyone I know can say of there high school experience.

I AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A PART OF THE PACIFIC HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATING CLASS OF 1970 AND WOULD GLADLY LIVE THAT YEAR OVER AGAIN! WE WERE A DYNAMIC CLASS. WE HAD A SPECIAL ENERGY.

My best wishes for each and every one of my classmates!
___________
GO VIKINGS!
___________

School Story:

STEINBECK MERRICK was horrified when I re-read what I first wrote here, too. More editing to SCHOOL AREA here too, puh-leese...

And unlike I inferred in my first draft of this, my senior year was not a gay soap opera... I did actually, occasionally, stumble upon a textbook and take a quiz.

I do have alot of fond memories of my teen years.

I was not as social back in the 60's as I would later become, and I suspect a number of people may have confided in me because they assumed I would not remember much about the 60's as time passed.

Although there is a memory of our blonde-haired, grey eyed, John Muir Junor High School boy's P.E. Teacher, Richard Spears, who earned his teaching credential in Texas, who would often yell "pump!-pump!-pump!" during our stretching exercises, oblivious to the snickering of adlosecent boys who were trying to keep running in place without doubling over in laughter at the potential double meaning of that, who favored khaki or gray slacks, loafers and solid colored, pastel cotton shirts, and drove a battleship gray 1965 Volvo P8100 with the license plate "SOU 222."

How could a man ever forget that his first gay crush was on a man named..."Dick Spears..." [Years later, a seond teacher who did not know I had a crush on him, also first name "Richard," became friendly enough,at one point, to formally invite me to call "Dick," too. [Oh, Dick, if only you knew....]

And our quirky English teacher, Nona Vaala with the metallic blue 1967 Mustang, who lived in an apartment off of east 14th Street, was Norwegian, with relatives in Minnesota, was unaware that one of her favorite dresses had a small hole under one arm, was a friend of Rosalind Russel, and who some of us saw acting in the role the strong willed, protective maid in Alameda's "Altarena Theatre" [Theatre in the Round] in the play "Night Must Fall," who advocated travelling by train rather than the increasingly popular jet "to get a sense of how vast is this country," and whose memory I am now gently teasing by having composed this last paragraph as one, long, run on sentence, dangling participles and all, which by starting with the word "and" does not even qualify a complete sentence at all but, which technically speaking, is merely structured as the second half of what should be a compound sentance!

But don't worry if you confided in me back in our youth, because, as you can tell, my memories are sketchy and vague...

I am, however, considering the establishment of a small Swiss bank account for any charitable contributuions by those former clasmates who would like to assure my memory remains sketchy and vague...

For those of you who might remember stealing my gym clothes, or teasing me for nearly drowning in swimming class, or taunting me for crossing my legs whilst sitting in math class, what are the chances I would ever remember who you are?

Like what are the chances I would remember that my John Muir Junior High School locker combination was 32-6-25, or that the license plate on my dad's 1961 Ford was LKS 315, or that the top selling single for 1969 was "Sugar, Sugar," by The Archies, the first commercial stereophonic record was sold in 1959, that Neil Armstrong told no one what he was going to say when he stepped on to the moon, causing some Americans fear he might claim the moon as U.S. territory and trigger WWIII. And I would never remember those who tried to sell us Pacific High sophomores tickets to what turned out to be only a SERVICE ELEVATOR, near the lobby, or the ones that flicked their pencils up to stick in the soft ceiling of the acadmic building, only to find out now that this was RAW ASBESTOS you were sprinkling down onto the linoleum floor at our feet. And I can barely remember the fellow who, upon trying to back out in front of me on the student parking lot, before I could get in front of him in my car, accidently popped his clutch in his '64 Mustang, sheared off his drive shaft, sliding it out between his back wheels. And you can assure I would never remeber the regret of having no corners to hide in DURING THAT FOOD FIGHT that broke at lunch our senior year beause our cafeteria was ROUND!

+ + + + +

My senior year was hardly bad, though. Some may remember that the two family cars I has access to were a '62 Thinderbird and a '65 red Cadillac [with a white leather interior]. Not once did any classmate ever refuse a ride with me!

I was one of several who visited Mr. Linford at home periodically throughout my senior year. One night he and his wife, Suzanne invited me to stay for dinner. Suzanne Linford [who spun her own wool and played the cello professionally] made awesome spaghetti sauce.

As a result, I reciprocated by inviting Linford to my parents home for dinner. He and my mother hit it off so well that I sat there for most of the evening, in awe, just listening. Linford had to call his wife to explain that he was going to be late getting home. The 'link" was that both my mother and Linford were born and raised in the pacific northwest. Small towns. Until she passed away in 2006, my mother would still refer, affectionately, to that teacher she insisted on continuing to call "Mr. Linford."

I and several other students also visited Mr. Aldridge in his apartment. For such an unorhodox person (was he siimply a socialist or really a registered communist?) he had a very mundane looking apartment. He awarded me the "Top German Language Calss Student" award for 1970. It was our own little inside joke. You see I was THE ONLY student still taking German our senior year!

But my most fond school memory is surely is chronologically, my last:

As I stood outside the gym, next to David Bunch, the night of our graduation, in the warm June dusk light, near the student parking lot, my green and gold, vinyl- bound diploma clutched in my hand, I turned to ask why it was taking so long for David's parents to pick us up to take us to the social club my dad had reserved for our joint graduation party, The "Man Friday" Club, at The San Leandro Marina.

David turned to me and said that he had told his parents that MY parents were driving us to the club. I told David I told my parents HIS parents were taking us to the party. David thought my parents were driving us to the party. I thought David's parents were driving us to the party. So as our parents cars each faded out of the parking lot into the sunset, - without us - there stood David Bunch and I with our thumbs stuck up our mortar boards ready to strangle each other.

As all the other students piled into their respective cars, with their respective families, headed toward their respective graduation parties, David and I stood on the sidewalk, watching the cars go by, trying to look, desperately, as if we knew what we were doing, but evidently failing to do so.

Because it was at that point that a car pulled up, and a window rolled down. It was Jean Segal, our civics teacher. She asked why we looked so lost, and we told her. She leaned over to her boyfriend, who was driving, then leaned bacl. "Get in," she said. We'll take you!"

And that is how David Bunch and I were delivered to our graduation party, to the company of our confused parents, from the back seat, a spiffy, new, forest green 1969 Dodge Charger - - by our civics teacher and her boyfriend - - in style and fashionably late!

Ah, like they say. If life deals you lemons, just grab them and make lemonade!

+ + + + +

Had a blast at our 40th Class Reunion. Looking forward to our 50th. I HOPE WE WILL ALL BE THERE!

+++++
GO VIKINGS
+++++

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David Merrick has a birthday today.
Apr
29
Apr 29, 2019 at 1:33 AM
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30
Jul 30, 2018 at 8:01 PM

Posted on: Jul 25, 2018 at 9:03 PM

MR. L:

I just received your book. Do I have to read it before you collect royalties? [I have a bit of adhd, but it took less than three days to read the cover.] P.S. Those before and now pictures are awesome. Superior idea. DDM/SF

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31
Jul 31, 2018 at 1:53 PM

Posted on: Jul 25, 2018 at 9:00 PM

Happy Birthday. BTW: I have only one niece, Courtney [1987] and she lives in Grass Valley, too. But don't look for her if you remember me. She does have a bit or red in her hair, but she evaded the butt ugly Merrick looks and inherited her mother's beauty. DDM/SF

David Merrick has left an In Memory comment for John M. Hager.
Jul
16
Jul 16, 2018 at 1:33 AM

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.

DAVID MERRICK/CLASS of 1970

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Jul
15
Jul 15, 2018 at 9:32 PM

Posted on: Jul 15, 2018 at 8:41 PM

Happy Birthday Carol. I'm living in San Francisco, now. Hope all is well with you.

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Apr 29, 2018 at 7:05 AM

Posted on: Apr 29, 2018 at 1:33 AM

David Merrick has a birthday today.
Apr 29, 2017 at 1:33 AM
Apr 22, 2017 at 10:01 PM

Have a happy birthday Dave. I hope you have a happy day. Welcome to Medicare.

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Apr 30, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Posted on: Apr 29, 2016 at 1:33 AM

David Merrick has a birthday today.
Apr 29, 2015 at 1:33 AM
Jan 04, 2015 at 10:42 PM

THEY CLOSED SEVERAL SCHOOLS ON THIS SIDE OF TOWN. KENNEDY, CLEVELAND, PACIFIC. THEY STARTED TAKING KIDS FROM MONROE TO SLHIGH AFTER MY 8TH GRADE CLASS. 1967 WAS SO BIG WE DIDN'T FIT IN THE GYM. THEN THEY SAID THERE WERE MORE KIDS ON THAT SIDE OF TOWN. THE MONEY IS ON THAT SIDE OF TOWN.

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