George – The Rugged Outdoorsman – Part 2

I was going through hundreds of files, artwork, stories, and comics about a month or so ago. I was searching for some ideas for a future book or screenplay. I was going through some old stand up routines and jokes a friend and I had written. But during that process I came across a stack of the little comics George and I used to draw and laugh at in high school.

It’s been over 40 years since I’d seen or talked to him. I was reading the comics and laughing, and thought… I wonder what ever happened to that guy?

So like anybody, I went on facebook and searched his name. A couple people came up, and I looked carefully at their photos. But this one guy, who didn’t look like my 16 year old friend from high school, got my attention. It was the eyes. He had those kind eyes.

It’s weird how after 40 years you can look at a person and even though we’ve all changed a bit, you can recognize them.

I decided to take a chance and sent him a message. “Did you go to Frankford high?”

A day passed. Then I got this response: “Do you not go by Chaz anymore?”

Holy moley! It’s him! I found him!

That was easy. We exchanged numbers and started texting. I brought him up to speed. Wildwood, Rock bands, Los Angeles, more rock, back to Jersey, then into banking. Got married in ’92, had a daughter in ’96. Divorced in 2001. Worked in banking for 20 years, and advertising for 10. It was a storied, colorful past with it’s ups and downs.

After college, George got married in 1983, and went to work for an aerospace company. And not just any aerospace company.

At General Dynamics Mission Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, they develop mission critical C4ISR solutions across the land, sea, air, space and cyber domains, but that doesn’t tell their whole story. When downed pilots are isolated in enemy territory, their equipment gives them a lifeline to call home. When a student opens a textbook to learn about the universe, they’re looking at data and pictures sent using their technology. When the government needs to share crucial top-secret information, their products help them keep this information out of the wrong hands. When sailors need to locate underwater mines, their technology allows them to find explosives with unmanned underwater vehicles.

Wow! All I wanted to do out of high school was get my van detailed, run off to LA and play guitar. This guy has really made something out of himself! That’s like some top level stuff! It’s the only career he’s had since college!

And… he’s still married to the same gal! He also has two grown children in their twenties.

So, dramatically different histories. But the memories remain.

I took pictures of the comics we used to make and sent them to him. He got a good chuckle out of our work, and we decided to meet up.

George lives up in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania now. That’s not too far from Philly. Just a couple of hours. But his office is in Lancaster, PA.

I took a train up to Lancaster to meet him for lunch. It was nice to get out of the house during the pandemic. I always like going out on little journeys and missions around town when I can. Not being able to go to work, and sitting home all day writing has been a bit of a grind, so I’m always eager to get out of the house.

Now I was going to meet up with my long lost friend! I think the older I get the more I realize how important it is to stay connected to quality people from my past.  We have the shared experience that I just don’t have with all of my young lady friends here in the city. They’re great, but I really haven’t seen any of them in over six months.

This was a chance to reconnect with an old friend. (And old we are!) I always picture people the way they were when I knew them. Sometimes it’s a shock to see them years later. Everybody ages differently. But George looks basically the same and so do I. We’ve put on a few pounds and have developed ‘dad bods’ and a bit of grey, but we’re basically the same guys.

After a peaceful ride on the train, I arrived at the train station in Lancaster. George was there to greet me, and we reunited both wearing our masks.

It was great to see him again after all this time.

I hopped into his SUV and we headed over to a local country club for lunch. We were actually allowed to dine inside. There were only two other tables of people in there at the time, and they kept us far apart.

George ordered a Manhattan and I did the same. We like the same things! A nice cold cocktail to kick off lunch is always a good idea.

We chatted about our pasts and did our best to bring each other up to date. There are so many more stories to tell, but we only had a couple of hours.

What I learned during that lunch is that George is a serious fisherman. He has been for many years. He writes articles for a sportsman magazine. (So yea, a published author like yours truly.) He has his own website dedicated to his fishing adventures, which is cool. It’s called Pocono Outdoors Guy!

When not on the water fishing, George can usually be found talking about fishing, sharing new tips, techniques, and new tackle with others through his Video Podcast (Weekend Round-Up) or his YouTube video series.

George will fish for just about anything that swims, Freshwater/Saltwater, 365 days a year. His favorite has to be Freshwater Landlocked Stripers as it is a local challenge in his own back yard. However, Smallmouth, Musky, Pike, Catfish, Salmon, Carp, Trout are always welcome targets.

After spending nearly 40 years in the aerospace industry as a senior executive, George decided to pursue his passion of videography in the great outdoors as Pennsylvania’s own “Pocono Outdoors Guy” and started “Lone Fish Studios” as a means to help others in need of these video and production services.

George Schauer is an accomplished videographer who partners with companies and organizations to grow their exposure through the creative use of video.

George knows what truly drives exposure on social media platforms.  Video, creative video! George states: “If a picture is worth a thousand words, video must be worth….well, you can guess”.

The Prequel S3:E5 Getting ready for some special guests... - YouTube

George has been on numerous outdoor TV shows (local, regional and national) and has taken that experience and put it to work helping create engaging video for companies.

Projects have included marketing, training, and safety videos, company event, tv commercials, and other social media content to increase awareness of their products/services and activities.

“I love working with people in the outdoor sports industry the most. Guides, tackle manufactures, distributors, lodge owners, etc. We all share the same passion, and I enjoy being able to help share their story to the world.  Increasing exposure they never thought possible through the use of creative video!”   

     ~ George Schauer

Simple, and to the point. There’s a gallery, fishing tips, sponsors, tackle, a fishing forecast, and video services. So cool, right?

Check it out! (Click the link below)

About

On top of all that, he also has a Youtube channel by the same name. It’s got all of these awesome videos of he and his friends doing what they’re great at…fishing! Boat, surf, deep sea, surf, river, lake, and even ice fishing! Yep!

The dude’s a pro! He even does a weekly live show from his own studio that runs every Sunday.

Here’s his Youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwfJ_Gga6mtccVnz8d8rI_g

So, this guy is legit and has really made something out of himself. Not just the aerospace guy, he’s the cool fishing and outdoor pro! What a great catch! (No pun intended.)

I’ve done some fishing in my lifetime, but it’s when I was young and out with my dad. Some solid surf fishing, and a bit of fishing off a little boat we once had at the shore.

Oh, and did I mention George has a really nice boat too?

George has done quite well for himself! We’ve taken different paths in life, but George has managed to keep a steady home and career for himself. But the best part is, he has all of these cool things going on in his personal life.  He’s found his passion and has turned it into a cottage industry!

I’m really proud of him and I’m happy we’re back in touch.

The lunch was wonderful, and it was so nice to just sit and reflect with an old friend for a few hours over a delicious snappy lunch!

But there’s more…

George has a head for audio and video. I had been digging through more of my old stuff in storage and came across some old masters of some songs I recorded in the studio over 30 years ago. I think after seeing and hearing what my daughter was doing in the studio with her music, I reawakened the itch.

I was texting him about it and we jumped on a call. George, although an accomplished musician doesn’t really play much anymore. I told him what I had, and he said if I could somehow get it into an mp3 and send it to him, maybe he could help me get my songs on Youtube! He’s a genius when it comes to stuff like that and frankly, I’m clueless.

So, hopefully, he can help me make that happen. I knew once I had that conversation with him, that the story had gone full circle. 40 years ago he gave me the breakthrough I needed to move forward as a musician. Now here is again, back in my life and now he has the know-how to get 3 of my original compositions onto Youtube!

Oh yea, he rides motorcycles too. badass!

George, you are the man!

The links are here. Check out his stuff. It’s all awesome! (Phicklephilly approved!)

Thank you for being in my life, George. I’m honored to know you, sir.

I want to schedule another lunch with my old friend soon!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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George – The Rugged Outdoorsman – Part 1

I was having a tough time in middle school. The year was 1977. I didn’t like school or any other part of my life back then. I was a smart kid, but school just wasn’t my thing. To me it was simply happy hunting grounds for bullies and teachers alike.

However, I did have artistic ability and my parents signed me up for Saturday morning art classes at a high school across town. I would take the 26 bus north on Rising Sun avenue to Cottman street, and then get a transfer for the Y bus east up to Northeast High school.

Times were so bad for me that I have few memories from junior high. I think I’ve blocked most of them out to cope and grow as a person. I was skinny, had bad skin, greasy hair, glasses, braces, no athletic ability, and was getting bad grades. For some reason my mom made me wear polyester slacks and black leather buckle shoes to school. All of the other kids wore more casual clothes. I stood out like a sore, swollen, pimple faced, tinsel toothed, thumb.  I was basically a target for anyone who wanted to use me as an object of their scorn.

Just horrible.

It’s funny, when you’re that age and ravaged by puberty, many of your friends suffer from the same ailments. I always had a few loyal friends.

I brought nothing to the table back then, and take responsibility for anything I did, or didn’t do. But I can see now why I was such an enormous disappointment to my parents.

So every weekend, I would go to Saturday Morning Art Classes each week at Northeast High. There was a nice group of kids in attendance, and I met a few of them.

It was a welcome repose from my tortured daily life. It was a pretty laid back experience full of kids like me who enjoyed making art. The structure was loose and creative. I think the teacher’s name was Mr. Gilper. He was a talented, chill dude and always had cool projects for us to create.

They would play the radio during class and I thought that was cool. Back in the Seventies the two big rock stations in Philadelphia were WMMR and WYSP. Now only WMMR remains, but it’s become an incredible bore like most terrestrial radio stations in America. They played most of the popular rock songs of the day, and WMMR did the same, but played a bit more deep tracks. So, if you were a music fan, WMMR was the cooler station. I think DJ Pierre Robert worked there back then and he’s still there to this day.

I met this boy named George and we shared a passion for comics and rock music. He was a nice, gentle kid with kind eyes. I remembered that he liked how I made my own comics and created my own team of superheroes. Deneb-6, Lazar, Midnightess, Cestus, Prince Apollo, and The Prowler come to mind. I can still envision those characters.

We got along well enough, but once the classes were finished, I didn’t see him anymore. He was my art class friend.

I remember one Saturday I came out of class and they were holding a flea market in the parking lot. I browsed the usual junk people were selling at their tables. I saw this one guy had a box of comic books for sale. I had some cash on me, so I bought a few choice books the guy had. There were more that I wanted because I was an avid reader and collector of good comics. I basically spent all the money I had in my wallet on comics with this guy. (Like, $10.)

I got home and showed my dad what I had gotten and that there were more good books there. So my dad being awesome, put me in the car and we went back up there and we got the rest of the books I wanted. The guy had many first issues and I knew they were more valuable than what he was selling them for. My dad was a hard core toy train collector and so he understood my urgency. So that ended up being a great day!

I was 14 in 1977 and in 9th grade, which thankfully was my last year at Fel’s Junior High School. The nightmare was ending and next year I’d be attending Frankford High School. I used to describe 9th grade as the worst year of my life back then. But, that summer turned out to be the year I went from caterpillar to butterfly and everything changed for the better.

Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1977 – El Morro Motel

There are more great tales from that summer, but it was a watershed moment in my life. You can find the rest of them in the Search bar under Wildwood Daze. (See: El Morro Motel, Terri,  & Anna Marie)

Anyway, you get the idea. So I get to Frankford High in the Fall of 1977, and the world is a better place for me. It felt like all of the animals who tormented me in junior high all went to Northeast High. Frankford was filled with a better group of kids.

I don’t remember if I ran into George in 10th grade or 11th grade at Frankford. But for this story let’s say 11th grade because it’s the most memorable.

I was 16 now and everything in my life was better. I was getting better grades, my braces were off, I wore cool shirts and jeans to school. My mom let me grow my hair. I was lead singer in a rock band, and my level of cool had gone way up over the Summer.

I was sitting in English class one day and noticed this guy sitting just one seat ahead of me of to my right.

It was George from Saturday Morning Art Classes! By that time, it seemed like a world away. I think he recognized me first and we connected. We shared that class, lunch and gym.

We would draw funny comics about our lives. Not our real lives but a world where we were these cool dudes who played rock and got all the chicks. I mean, in real life I sang in a band and was teaching myself how to play guitar.

You can read the complete saga if you enter the word Renegade in the Search bar.

Renegade – 1978 to 1979 – Chapter 5 – The Sears Silvertone

George and I would have so much fun laughing at all of our little exploits in our comics. (I still have them all on sheets of notepaper!) We also started having lunch together. I had come such a long way from the little weasel I once was in junior high. I had become friends with the most powerful student in the school. This guy Chris, who my sister Janice had known since 1st grade. He sat across from me in art class. He was not only president of the student body, but quarterback on the champion football team. But he wasn’t a jock. He had all these powers but liked music and had a bunch of nerd friends, and he and I connected immediately. He and my sister were a grade ahead of me, but he took a liking to me and my sense of humor.

So my friend George and I got to sit at the end of the cool kid’s lunch table everyday at 5th period lunch. It was like just a couple of regular guys who got to sit at a table full of celebrities. It all seems funny now, but it was just football stars and hot cheerleaders. But in high school that’s a coveted spot to be in. High School is like a little fictional world you get to act out for a few years before entering real life. It mirrors adult life in some ways, but none of it has any real sustainability for the rest of your real life. I always felt like high school was a show I was on and it lasted three seasons before my character was killed off and I had to move on and find a new gig.

So George and I happily munched our peanut and butter and jelly sandwiches at the end of this table. Not card carrying members, just a couple of B-rate extras.

But, we started to hang out a little bit outside of school. I don’t even know where George lived. I never went to his house. I know he liked to go fishing.

He would come to my house and I think he brought his guitar with him. I was pretty clueless, in regard to the instrument but was eager to learn in the Spring of 1978. I was just the singer in the band, but the guitarist would let me play three notes on the break during the song, Draw the Line, by Aerosmith. (My favorite band on Earth.)

But George could actually play, and he started to show me things on the guitar. I knew where the notes were on the neck of the guitar, but needed some rock n’ roll fundamentals. George had these huge hands and he could reach from the first fret to the sixth, which is basically impossible for most people. It gave him the ability to create complex riff runs that would be unique to his playing.

I was struggling to pull the concepts of the guitar together even though I had a head for music and an excellent ear. I had some books with sheet music and chords in them, and George showed me how to read and follow them. Technically not read music, but enough to understand it.

Sidebar here: Someone once asked one half of the two greatest composers of the 20th century about how he wrote such incredible songs. He stated that he never learned how to read or write music in the traditional way. “I never understood all of those little lines and dots.” he said. “My music simply comes forth from my heart and my head.”

That man was Paul McCartney.

One of the hardest things for a new guitarist to do is to create the muscle memory to hold a chord in place. All of your fingers have to be on the right strings and you have to press them down with enough pressure so that the chord rings and doesn’t sound muted or buzzes against the frets. It’s a difficult feat and takes a while to learn and master. You have to train your mind to get your fingers to just automatically land on the right strings in the right formation to make the right sound. Once you get the chord right and the smile appears on your face, you feel like you’re getting it, and it’s a wonderful feeling. But then you go to move your hand to hit another chord and the whole thing falls apart.

It’s like being a baby and taking your first steps. One step… two steps… oops! Then you fall down. You get up and keep taking steps over and over, and the next thing you know you’re running down the street. Same thing works for learning the guitar. (Or, probably anything in life!)

So, George realized I was a neophyte, and simplified the process for me. He taught me a super basic way to get it done with less fingers and still achieve the same sound.

That style that he taught me, is the basis for twelve bar blues. The boogie woogie chord, he used to call it. With my index finger and ring finger he showed me how to play the chord in a simplified manner. He also taught me how the blues worked and the chord progressions. How certain notes went together. What he was teaching me as we sat in my bedroom, was the foundation of all rock music.

George taught me how to play the blues.

Once I understood what sixth route and fifth route was, I was on my way. That was the evolutionary leap I needed to go forward. I don’t know if I ever told him, but in that moment, George was literally the monolith and I was the ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I swear to god… it was on that level. That evolutionary leap.

What George taught me on those afternoons, catapulted my music creativity. The first thing I did, once I understood the basics of rock was to start writing songs. They were simple, and sounded like Ramones songs, but it had begun. My rock and roll life as a musician began thanks to George Schauer.

I know in high school he always thought I was cool, because I knew some hot chicks and had art and humor going. But the boy that gave me his friendship and time were more valuable than anything else in my life at that time.

Thanks to George, when I put that guitar on and started actually playing songs by Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, and the Rolling Stones, I had become part of a secret club. Little did I know that my friend who I knew from Saturday morning art classes and English class, had become my mentor.

Once I learned the fundamentals, the rest fell into place and because of my love of the instrument and the music. From what George taught me took me from novice, to rhythm guitarist in the band Union Jacks six months later!

That fifth and six route basic style were the building blocks to some of the heavier riff driven stuff I would go on to write and perform in my future bands. Yes, the building blocks to my heavy metal sound.

I’m sure George didn’t know what he had given me. But he actually gave me his post prized possession.

His time.

That’s the greatest gift you can give someone, because once you give it, you can never get it back.

Thank you, George. You changed my life.

 

After 11th grade my family moved and I had to take my senior year at Wildwood High, which is documented in this blog. (See: Wildwood Daze)

I never saw or heard from George again.

Until now…

 

More tomorrow!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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