Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Calvin Earl Owens

Calvin was one of my best friends during the years I lived in Phelan (1973-1980). To this day I remember the first time I saw him walk into Mr. Hellman's 6th grade class. We were both new to the school, but he already had a following. All the kids called him "Okie." I'm not sure how he got this nickname but it definitely fit with Calvin's crazy buckwheat-colour hair and home-style clothes. Even in grade 6 he had lots of charisma. We grew very close through the years, almost like brothers really.

Every day was a new adventure with Calvin. With his guns, dogs, and hunting trips to the edge of the known world, Calvin led my brother and I to the precipice of death and disaster many times, but somehow we always just made it. So many of the life-defining experiences I had as a teenager were with Calvin.

I took these pictures on a visit back to Phelan in the mid-80s. I had spent the day alone, miles from nowhere, painting and shooting pictures way out in the desert. Just before sunset, I drove to Calvin's house for a visit with his family and new baby. I told him I had seen a Mojave Green rattlesnake in a hole while I was out in the desert. Calvin could not believe I just left the snake there. Even though it was probably 10 or more miles from any human habitation, he insisted we drive out there right away and kill the snake. It was a matter of public safety.

Calvin and I never really kept up with each other after I moved to Santa Cruz. We spoke by phone once about five years ago. He told me he was now a gospel singer living in Idaho.

Calvin, if you happen to read this, I still miss you bro.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:40 PM

    hey, you know Calvin was always-in my memory "Indiana Jones". I have fun memories from that house way down "Goss Road". He surely was charismatic and crazy-fun to hang with. Sharon