Kim Berry - The Laid-back 1970s
In 1970 I was finishing the sixth grade at Orvis Ring Elementary school near UNR when we moved to a home on Sagittarius Drive in southwest Reno. See Education.
Here's a group photo Halloween 1971: Left to right, sitting: Jay Scott Berry, Bill Henderson; standing: Tim Henderson, Mike Henderson, John Ganser, Joe Ganser, Eric Schuft, Kim (me), Ingrid Berry, and Piper Hendrix - and the dog Kawasaki.
A big part of my life was dirt-bike motorcycles:
I attended Swope Middle School and Reno High School. At Reno High I was intrigued by the photography class. I spend a lot of money (about $250) for a Canon FTb and set up a black/white darkroom in by bedroom. (That is why some photos are black/white.) Here are some time exposures I took at night in Reno with the Canon:
Around 1970 we hiked up the mountain to the East of Pyramid Lake - I believe with my mother on a Sierra Club hike. Mostly I recall the cold wind. (Ingrid, Jay, Kim)
Here's a photo I had taken with my Kodak Instamatic of the other hikers:
Ed provides additional information about the hiker:
In 7th and 8th grade I delivered the Reno Evening Gazette after school, 30 houses, earning about $30 per month.
In 9th grade I worked as a dishwasher then assistant cook at family-run Spaughi's Italian Inn. When I gave two-weeks notice the owner took it too personally, berated me behind the bar in front of customers, and then told me not to come back. When he didn't pay me my mother sent this letter to him:
In 10th grade Conrad Stitser brought me over as a busboy at Pepe's Steak House at the Eldorado Hotel. His neighbor was the matre-di. On Sundays I worked the Champagne Brunch with Alana and Erin. We sipped on champagne through the shift that we hid in metal teapots.
Visit to Washington DC
In July 1974, still age 15, I quit the Eldorado job to fly to Washington DC to visit my father and Valerie, then drive back across the US as his job with National Science Foundation (NSF) transferred from DC to San Mateo, California. i still recall looking out the window and a few of the songs on the headphones:
Interesting that 35 years later a flight across the U.S. has not changed 5 hours in very similar airliner. probably the food was better then. (You can probably still hear those songs on one of the channels.)
My brother was already living with them in DC, so Jay and I spent some days alone touring sites like Smithsonian and the Mint. Then with my learners permit I helped drive to Denver - including through the night across Kansas. From Denver Jay and I took a flight back to Reno - and both got jobs at Sambos as dish washers. (Jay resigned after several weeks, while I was promoted to chef and stayed through high school.)
In summer 1974 I turned 16. I took my drivers test in my friend Bill Henderson's father's circa 1968 White Mercury Cougar, because it had an automatic transmission. It was build on a Mustang chassis - it looked like this:
My first license was paper and is long gone, but this one from a few years later was laminated:
First Car: Dodge Charger
I bought a 1968 Dodge Charger, which was incredibly fast.
For "fun" after work I would do things like head out the Pyramid Lake highway and bring it up to 115mph so I could hear the headers rumble. (I had installed the glass packs myself and didn't mount then well, and one fell off on the way home from this trip. But I then had a muffler shop mount them correctly.)
One time I drove my Charger to the top of the mountain above Verdi - looking over Boomtown towards Reno:
Here's the ad from 1968 Road and Track Magazine. (See the bottom of 2005 Car Show for more Dodge Charger ads from magazines.)
As if motorcycles and fast car weren't enough, I also bought a hang glider. I never went real high, but enjoyed flying down gentle sloping hills - such a here flying east on the hills west of Stead.
One time we were flying down into a "V" valley at seventh-street pits. This caused the wind coming up the "V" to turn to a downdraft near the bottom. I went first and warned Jay. When Jay encountered the downdraft he put his arm down when he hit, and broke his arm. I rushed him to the emergency room. We had to wait for my mother since we were both under age 18.
My mother recalls the day:
In 11th and 12th grade I worked as a cook at Sambos. It was through this job that I met my first real girlfriend, Diane Stockford.
Her father, Charlie Stockford, raced on the dirt track at the Reno Fairgrounds
The boyfriend of Diane's sister Sandy was Mark Forbes. He had a magnetic personality and we hung out a lot. But he was the kind of guy that if you hung around too long, you go to jail. This is Mark and Kim at a large mining structure south of Virginia City - at this Google Earth link.
It was things like this:
In my senior year "Saturday Night Fever" had become the rage. We would often
go to a teen disco named "Yori's Disco 2000." One time I was mad at Diane for
entering the dance contest with another guy Wild Willy, So I requested a
dedicated to her and the DJ did: The Bitch is Back Elton John.
In my senior year I took flying lessons, passed my FAA exam, and soloed in a Cessna 172 at Stead Airport at age 17. (Hug High School across town offered flight grown school as an elective, so in the second semester of my senior year I enrolled in that and a government course at Hug in the morning, and then took a few afternoon courses at Reno High.)
After graduation I bought a 1974 Matador because I wanted a more reliable car. I had first seen this car in the James Bond movie "Man With a Golden Gun." Photos from that movie and more info is here.
These photos show how 6040 Verner looked before the trees were planted and the houses were build next door.
In the summer of 1976 I put my favorite songs, mostly from 45's I'd accumulated over the past 6 years, on four cassettes. Interestingly these are still popular songs - many are my karaoke favorites and are now MP3 on my Zune player (At this time the most popular format for car stereo was 8-track tape. But cassette was catching on since you could record your own):
Also after graduation I worked as a chef at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks for about six months. Then I moved to Sacramento to live with my father and figure out what I wanted to do.
Jay moved to Hollywood in fall 1978 and got a Job at Hollywood Magic.
Here we are at Griffith Observatory:
In 1978 I purchased a condo, 4533 Greenholme Drive #2 for $23,500, and sold it a year later for $34,000. I didn't get a phone for a few months, so one time to reach me my mother sent me a Mailgram:
In 1979 I moved back to Reno for a year. From July through October I worked at WES Construction. Then I worked at Jensen Precast until I returned to Sacramento in fall 1980 to complete my AA degree at American River College.
On my 21st birthday Randy and I had met some girls at the MGM Grand Hotel arcade the week before and they invited us to visit them in Marin County sometime. There was a Day On the Green with AC/DC. We drove down the night before arriving after dark. We were nervous ringing the parent's doorbell. A guy (the father) answers the door nude, offers us drinks, and suggests we strip and join them in the hot-tub and pool in back. They had covered their backyard so indeed they had an indoor swimming pool. Holy cow! Well still Randy and I slept on the floor in the living room and we all went to Day on the Green the next day.
That is Bon Scott with no shirt. I recall the moment I read in the Reno newspaper of his death on February 19, 1980. He had died of hypothermia being left in a car in below freezing weather after too much drinking. (I believe I had come close to dying just a few months prior under similar circumstances.)