About Jon Griffin - Part 1

First off, thanks for checking my pages out!

Second, these pages represent my personal and geek life. For those of you interested in my music you can visit http://jongriffinmusic.com and if you want to know more about my writing, you can head over to jongriffinauthor.com.

Now that the preliminaries are done, lets continue where I left off.

Me as a teeny tiny baby with my mother.

In the beginning

I was born in Inglewood California a long while back but have lived in many places since that fateful day.

My early life was spent in Northridge California when there were still dirt roads and orange fields for a kid to play around in. Building forts in vacant lots and digging a huge underground network covered in grass clippings, tree branches and other junk that people threw in these vast empty plots of suburban land!

My parents got divorced when I was 11 and eventually moved to Mission Viejo California when my mother remarried. I lived there for a year and a half and my stepfather, who was an abusive drunk, decided he didn't need another male in the house, so... off to live with my father in Rolling Hills and one semester at Rolling Hills High School.

Summer came and I moved in with my aunt and uncle in Van Nuys California and did a year I barely remember at Grant High School. Alas, my uncle had a heart attack and I moved back with my stepfather and mother for my last year of high school. By this time they had moved from Mission Viejo to Fallbrook California (really Rainbow, but who the hell would know where that was). I did my senior year at Fallbrook High School, with one fairly major setback.

With my sister in Rainbow CA
While travelling down Rainbow Blvd on my Suzuki 250 enduro, a truck driven by a drunk preacher cut across the road and right in front of me. I broke 5 bones in my right foot and split my shin down to the bone for about 8 inches. Yes, I still have the scars.

I did finish high school and true to his drunk form, my stepfather said I had a week after I graduate to get out of the house. I had been talking to my Uncle about options and ended up signing up for the US Coast Guard, but I couldn't go to boot camp until October 31. I moved back in with my father who had moved to Marina Del Rey, and took some more guitar lessons with a childhood friend of Frank Zappa (read more about my time playing with Frank Zappa).

Off to boot camp!

Oct 31 came like every other sunny and warm So Cal beach day. I got picked up by my recruiter and off to LAX. There were three other guys with me and we boarded the plane to Alameda Recruit Training Center. It was all fun on the plane, four young guys with no frickin' idea what they were heading into.

After a short wait for other recruits at the Oakland Airport we boarded a grey bus with about 40 of our soon to be, closest friends. Plenty of noise, and I am sure the driver (some poor sap seaman that had a commercial drivers license I am sure), was quietly laughing at all of us.

Reality hit when we pulled up to the gate. There were a bunch of guys in very official uniforms waiting for us and the second the gate opened, we pulled in about 40 feet and came to a stop again. 

"Maggots! get your asses in gear and leave this bus now single file," yelled the first drill instructor we encountered. "Move it! What is taking you maggots so long?" Holy crap, what had I gotten myself into was all I, and I am sure most of my bus mates, could think.

I graduated boot camp!
Don't worry, I won't bore you with the tedium of boot camp. The shaving off all my beautiful 1970's hair, the marching with 70 pound sea bags into the Alameda Bay in December, or the two times we got to leave boot camp (once for the funeral off Harvey Milk, the other I forgot whose funeral). If you really want to hear that story, let me know, but this was long ago, and the pain is far away. I don't think I could remember that much of it anyway. Suffice it to say, I graduated from boot camp right before Christmas and got a two week break before going to my first assignment at Coast Guard Air Station San Diego (yay, no ship and I could drive my car home to LA sometimes).

Again, I won't bore you with the details of my USCG assignments, but after San Diego, I was selected to go to radio school (back then we actually had to learn morse code—18 words per minute—to graduate). Well, I didn't graduate, but not for the reason you think.

Remember, this was the 70's and lets just say some people in my dorm smoked a little wacky tobacco and our whole room basically got booted out. Was it fair, well lets just say after all this time, maybe I partook a little. That is all I will say about that though except I haven't touched that crap since 1980, Easter Sunday to be exact.

So, back to the story, I was then sent to the USCGC Walnut, a 175 foot buoy tender based out of Terminal Island California, and I got to work on the hardest working ships in the fleet. You don't believe me? You spend a day or two on deck pulling, cleaning, and repairing buoys, then talk to me.

Eventually the motorcycle accident got the better of me, and after two years of putting up with pain, the steel deck and steel toed boots really started bothering me. I was given a medical discharge and went on my way.

So ends part one of my story. Stay tuned for part two.

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