Who Am Us Anyway?

Recently released from an institution and a card-carrying, certified Strange Person, I am a mid-years Boomer, born September 28, 1952. I have always lived north of the river in the Kansas City (Missouri) area, having been born into a house in North Kansas City. Two weeks later, my family moved to Gladstone, MO, where we lived until 1966 when we moved east to 55th and N. Garfield. In 1969 we moved to 107th and N. Walnut. I graduated from Oak Park High School in 1970 and in the fall of that year began college at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, receiving a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Conservatory of Music in 1974.

I married my high school sweetheart, Carol Shomer, in October, 1971. We had no children and were divorced in 1977. I then married Kelly Doughan, who I had met while on the road in Minnesota with a disco band in 1977. We have a lovely daughter, Bess, who is currently married and living in Lee's Summit. I am blessed with a grandchild, Benjamin by her, who is now three. Unfortunately, we were divorced in 1982. I met Judy Shoop on a blind date arranged by mutual friends in the fall of 1984 and were married in 1985. Our daughter Jessica was born in August of that year. After nearly nineteen years, we divorced in 2004. Is there a pattern developing?

My mother, oldest sister Sandy and paternal grandmother all passed away within three months of each other in the summer of 1993. It was obviously very rough on my old man. In the spring of 2011, I lost both my older sister Wendy (in February) and my dad (in April). Dad was 90 years old, lived a great, long life and I miss him very much. I have two younger brothers (by 2 and 4 years respectively), Dave and Ted. We all live here in the Kansas City area.

Currently, I live in Parkville, MO, with my Lady Jane, our three cats and my stable of old air-cooled Volkswagens. I fly my rockets and love to travel out West, where I camp and hike in our great national parks, most notably the Grand Canyon.

I worked for AT&T twenty years and retired from them on January 1, 2009. I will continue working as a professional musician and substitute teacher in the public schools until I cain’t do no mo.

My current sensibilities were shaped by my traditional working-class family upbringing and my "coming of age" during the latter part of the Vietnam War (read "hippie"). Politically, I would say I am an Independent Democrat (some might call me a bleeding-heart liberal, although I like the label “progressive”). I could vote for a Republican, but I've never seen one yet who shared my views! I prefer to be looked at as a Cynical Optimist. The words of the great Mose Allison typify this outlook: I don't worry 'bout a thing, cause I know nothin's gonna be alright .

My religious views are Independent Protestant. I don't currently attend any church.

My tastes in music are dominated by classical music, especially late nineteenth, early twentieth century composers. Among my favorites are Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Sergei Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, Bela Bartok and Maurice Ravel . As a professional drummer, I have played nearly every genre imaginable, rock, blues, jazz, country and a long stint in the Liberty (MO) Symphony Orchestra. I currently play in Lonesome Hank and The Heartaches, the Northwinds symphonic band, the Parkville Symphonic Band and the Kansas City Wind Symphony. I have done a few arrangements for wind band, including Frank Zappa’s Main Title Theme from Uncle Meat. Another was The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles, from a Jethro Tull album. You can see a performance by the Parkville band here. (link opens in new window)

I rode road bicycles all my life, but really got serious in 1983. I have done many cross-state bike tours and have Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Utah and a tour in Ireland under my belt. I have raised money for and ridden the annual MS150 Bike Tour for 23 years running. Over the 30 years I rode (I quit suddenly in 2013, having lost the entusiasm for the sport) I have logged well over 50,000 miles. Whew!

Lately I have taken more to flying my high-powered rockets, camping in my VW Bus and hiking, as evidenced by my Grand Canyon stories elsewhere in these pages.

That's about it. I've led a good, full life and, while I'm not ready to check out of Motel Life yet, I am satisfied. There is so much more to come, I 'm sure.

If you ve read this far, you might want to know even more. Feel free to contact me via email or phone:

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Guess Who?

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Dad c. 1970

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Mom c. 1970

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Osburn Women c. 1966

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Osburn Men
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