ALL ABOUT ME!
The Early Years 1964-73
I was born on June 8, 1964 in Seattle, Washington. I was told later in life that I was an "oops" baby, which makes sense since my brother (who is closest to me in age) is nine years older. My sister is thirteen years older than me.
My father was a high school football star at Stadium High School in Tacoma.
As halfback for the team, he was known for his speed, cleverness, and accuracy, which led to a thrilling win in the 1940 Thanksgiving Day game, where, after three scoreless quarters, he faked a reverse to the left, then went tthrough the right side and scored the sole touchdown. The local paper said that "not a person in the stands or on the field except Moody knew who had the ball, so cleverly did he conceal the pigskin."
Dad was offered a football scholarship, but instead enlisted in the Navy and served in both World War II and the Korean War. He later was a real estate agent, disc jockey, tugboat captain, and head of maintenance for the Seattle Public Library. He had a wacky sense of humor, a fairly hot temper, and a very generous nature. Tinkering in his shop brought him great joy, as did music of all kinds, and most of all, the open sea, which he loved more than anything in the world. He died in 1992.
My mother was born and raised on Alki Beach in West Seattle, and graduated from West Seattle High School in 1940. She was what you would call a "looker."
She always had a big gang of friends (and boys) hanging around her back in the day, and when they were not hanging out on the beach, they would love to go swimming at Lake Wilderness.
Mom usually worked as a secretary, and enjoyed gardening, cooking, reading, and writing letters to newspaper editors - and being a mom. She was a very sweet, ever-supportive mom, and tried her best to make others happy even under the most difficult of circumstances. She died in 1989.
My mom and dad were married in 1949.
I grew up in a house on a hill overlooking Alki Beach, which had a magnificent view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
My dad built a big deck to enjoy the view, and when it snowed we would sled down the steep hills until we froze. During the other seasons we would swim in the summer sun, play in the autumn leaves, and watch the vegetables grow. I was a very, very happy boy.
In 1968 my brother, who had played guitar for a few years, started to show me some chords.
The stereo or the TV was always on at the house on the hill. My brother would rock out the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Johnny Winter, Mountain, Jethro Tull, and whenever my dad had control of the needle (or the reel to reel) he would slap on Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins, Enoch Light lounge music, Dixieland, organ music (Lenny Dee, etc), whatever. Dad liked a lot of genres. My mom preferred Glen Campbell, Robert Goulet, and Mario Lanza (all of whom dad couldn't stand by the way). Me, I soaked it all in, and still love all of those early influences. I inherited the majority of their records, and still have most of them.
Before long, I was obsessed with playing guitar, and my parents and brother both responded. The folks bought me a Stella acoustic guitar for Christmas, and a few years later bought a Decca electric guitar and amp.
My brother always let me jam with him, despite how annoying it must have been, and kept on teaching me things. Most importantly, he and my dad taught me how to learn songs by ear, just by listening to the record.
Somewhere along the way, I also developed an obsession with US presidents. I was a voracious reader as a kid, and began collecting books about the presidents on family weekend trips to the thrift shops. Of particular interest to me were the Kennedy assassination and president Harry Truman. On a side note, I also read quite a few books about Hitler when I was young. I was a weird little kid. Every Christmas, I would get several music-related gifts, several president-related gifts, and some normal kid gifts. You can see examples of each in the photo below.
One year I got a book of presidential speeches, and began reciting them into my new portable cassette recorder. (you'll want to turn volume down if you're brave enough to listen)
My parents had the patience of Job. My brother used to practice with his band "Syrennia" then later, "Pistol," right smack dab in the living room. They let me practice there as welI - a little kid leaning how to play with a very loud high-pitched voice with a mike and electric guitar screaming away in the main room of the house? I really don't know how my parents put up with all the noise!
Or perhaps "The Ballad of John and Yoko"?
I quickly followed male Moody tradition and became a big ham. I would dress up like my rock heroes or historical figures, depending on my mood, and go all out imitating Elvis, John Lennon, Chuck Berry, Johnny Winter, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and many others. I used to love watching Rich Little and Frank Gorshin do their celebrity impersonations on TV.
We got a sweet dog named Hokey in 1968, and she was a big part of the family. Scared the hell out of the milkman and the mailman every time. My sister lived in the house with us up until about 1970, then ran off and ended up in Portland with her future husband. My grandma moved in after sis moved out.
In 1970, I decided to write my favorite president, Harry Truman. I liked him most because he had a warm smile and a good sense of humor, kind of like the grandpa you always wanted to have. Much to my surprise, I received a personal reply from him! My mother, who slipped in her own explanatory letter along with mine, received a letter as well! I then made a point to write all of my heroes and presidents, and over the years received replies from Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Glen Campbell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, "Reed and Malloy" from the TV show "Adam 12," "The Fonz," and probably others I can't remember (I skipped Nixon because I just didn't like him).
I began attending Alki Elementary School in 1970 and became fast friends with a kid named Jon. We met because I noticed we both had the same Beatles Yellow Submarine lunchbox (worth a fortune these days). We were pretty much inseparable through our elementary years, and have stayed friends to this day.
Our family was very close during this time. My sister was married in 1972 and moved to Portland to be with her husband, but they would always come up for Christmas, and let me tell you, Moody Christmases were legendary. Tons of presents, poker games, visiting grandparents and aunts, window holiday paintings, more food than you could stuff in your craw, and more FUN than you can imagine. Good times.
West Seattle was a great place to live in those days. Back then you could be a kid and go down to Alki Beach alone with no worries. Back then you had Uncle Barney at Red Wing Shoes in the Junction, who would make a squeaking noise as he pressed on your shoe while fitting it. And we always got a "Golden Egg" full of goodies after we bought the shoes. Back then there was Meredith's Dime Store, Kress' Variety Store, People's Drugstore, Richey's Drugstore and soda fountain, Junction Feed and Seed, and more mom and pop stores than you could shake a stick at . There were the "whispering woods" all around our house where we had a rope swing and a fort. There was the rotting, scary "Mrs. Allen's house" up the street who was said to be an insane hoarder (my brother snuck in there after she died, and confirmed the latter to be true; there were molding newspapers and magazines dating back to the 1930s, stuff stacked to the ceiling, and rats everywhere). There was crazy and drunk Dick Pratt who lived a couple houses up, who used to occasionally run naked and screaming down our street .
Indeed, I was a happy boy.
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More to come soon!