I like writing in my blog. Hopefully, that’s obvious. Whether anyone reads it or not, it’s an opportunity to vent and reflect. There are, unfortunately, far too few places to do either.
A side benefit of having a blog is the web presence it gives me. Do a Google search for Geoff Fox and you’ll find me first, even though there are other Geoff Foxes – most more accomplished than I am.
Once you’ve found the website, getting in touch with me by email is simple. From time-to-time I get a note from someone I knew a long time ago who stumbled across this site. One came in tonight.
Actually, I’m lucky I found the note from Dave Kulka, because it was in my spam box, snuggled between herbal Viagra and mortgage offers¹.
David Kulka here. Geoff, how the hell are you? We haven’t spoken in a
long time. I was sifting through DX artifacts and other memorabilia
from the past and came across a batch of old letters from you. You
were certainly easy to find on Google.
Email seems insufficient for catching up after 30 years, why don’t you
give me a call. 818-xxx-xxxx.
He’s David now, but I first met Dave Kulka in person in August 1968. We had met through correspondence and a mutual hobby, broadcast band DX’ing², months earlier.
I had just turned 18. Dave was a few years younger. We planned on meeting for the National Radio Club convention in Los Angeles, visiting another radio nerd in Riverside, CA and spending some time at Dave’s house in Marin County, just outside San Fransisco.
This was my first time away from home by myself. I was flying cross country to meet a stranger. Who knew what he’d be like?
At 18, I was naive. There was never a question of fear or worry. I remember getting some incredible 1/2 price youth fare on TWA and flying from Kennedy Airport to Los Angeles.
There’s not a lot I remember, though a few individual events stand out.
The convention was held in an older, somewhat worn, hotel in Hollywood. I believe it was the Roosevelt, but I might be wrong. Within an hour of being in LA and checking into the hotel, I got myself arrested for jaywalking at Hollywood and Cahuenga! I think Dave got pinched too.
When we went to the desert in Riverside, it was as foreign a place as I’d ever been. I remember how bare the ground was, and how we were fairly close to a bluff which overlooked Riverside Airport. I went there a few times to watch the Hughes Air West Fairchild F-27’s takeoff and land
One day while we were in the house in Riverside, everything began to shake. I could hear plates and glasses rattling. Earthquake! It scared the living daylights out of me… though Dave and the home’s owner, Don, made like it was nothing. To this day, it’s my one and only earthquake.
Spending time in Marin County was also an eye opening experience. Dave and his family lived in a beautiful home on the side of a hill. There was a deck which ran from the side to the back. His parents cars were parked on the narrow road in front of the house. Their auto registration was somehow affixed to the steering post. Having grown up in apartment 5E, this was all culture shock.
I remember Dave’s mom. I couldn’t pick her out of a crowd today, but I remember thinking she was pretty and young for the mom of a contemporary. Mostly I remember her during the days of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
This was the convention where Mayor Daley attempted to quash the dissent of the anti-war movement. There were riots in Chicago during the convention. It was all televised live.
Dave’s mom cried. It was a soft, emotional cry. Over 35 years later, that moment is strong in my mind. I remember her standing there, turned 3/4 away from the TV, in an emotional state because of something going on half a country away.
I didn’t understand the significance of what was going on at the time. Dave didn’t either. But her emotion from that night is still strong in my mind.
Dave’s uncle, Leo deGar Kulka, was the proprietor of a well known recording studio in San Fransisco. We spent a lot of time there, though I never met Uncle Leo.
Like I said, Dave could have been a weirdo – who knew? I was going out there on blind faith. But, he turned out to be a nice guy, and it was a trip which still stands out in my mind.
Tonight, on my way home from work, I called him and we spoke for a while. He has had an amazing life, traveling through much of Asia. These were not tourist jaunts to capitols, but trips through the countryside – places where Anglos are oddities. That kind of world traveling is one thing I’ve wanted to, but never will, do.
He sounds bright, self assured and content. On the phone I told him he sounded happy with his life, but I think content is a much more fitting word.
Dave’s in Burbank, in the San Fernando Valley, designing and installing recording studios. He is married with no children.
We get out there every once in a while. Next time, I’ll have to see him. How much could he have changed in 36 years?
¹ – I always hope I find all the non-spam in my spam box, but, as good as popfile is, I am never sure. The downside to having a website like this is the amazing amount of spam I receive – hundreds of pieces every day.
² – Broadcast band DXing is a hobby where you try and listen to distant, often foreign, broadcast stations on the regular AM dial. Using sophisticated, incredibly nerdy equipment, I was able to hear Europe, Hawaii, even Africa on an AM radio from the East Coast. I haven’t been involved in years, but still know the calls of most of the dominant clear channel stations and many of the strong regionals.