< A Cal Fan's Notes

A Cal Fan's Notes

Monday, March 24, 2014

 

WE CALLED HIM BOOMER






          The first time I saw Boomer (ne Paul Andrew) I was playing for Doc and Boomer was blowing a whistle, and “making a mark,” by digging his heel into the mud (this was back in the 60’s when we had rain at Memorial Stadium); doing a quick 180 and pointing  to the team which was about to get a free kick.

          He had a shock of full hair (not shoulder length which was the new “hippie” trend) and was fit, tall, and handsome.  He was  definitely in control.

          Truck yelled out something to him (mockingly questioning his call) and Boomer told him to “Shut up or ‘I’ll throw you out of the game.”  Little did I know they were best friends.

          Though he and Truck hadn’t been teammates they both played for Pappy Waldorf and were cut from the same cloth. 
 
          Plus, they both played Rugby for Doc.

          Boomer wasn’t reffing our game for money.  (In fact , as I think about it he might have been reffing a scrimmage).  He was doing it because helping out kids came as naturally to him as playing the bass fiddle—which he did expertly up until his last stroke.

          I say “last stroke” because he had one some 10 or 12 years ago and unlike most guys his age—he beat it.  For a guy who was constantly smiling and laughed a lot, Boomer was one tough SOB.

          A natural people person, Boomer had been in a bunch of clubs at Cal while an undergraduate—some sanctioned—some not.  There might have been some beer involved and perhaps some chugging during rites of passage for young boys.

          As chance would have it we were in a couple together and Boomer always showed up at the reunions and was fast on the wallet.

          In fact, I’m not a tombstone writer, but one could do worse than write on Boomer’s block of granite, “Boomer showed up.”

          He was always there—dependable to a fault.  He supported  people, especially youngsters, before “support” became a part of the psycho-babble argot.  

          If there was a committee to serve on, or a meeting to be had—Boomer always raised his hand.

          Back in 1990 when my father had only a few months left (and before they gave varsity letters to Ruggers—remember when there were “Major and Minor” sports?), I called Boomer and said, “Who do I have to sleep with to get Jim Pop an honorary Big C?”

          (Jim Pop had lettered three years straight—Doc’s first three years—was a Rambler and had played Frosh Basketball).  Boomer agreed that “No one deserves it more than Jimmy,”  as he said.

          He not only made it happen but made sure Jim Pop got a Zebra sweater which was given to him at a (surprise) Big C banquet.  Moved to tears, Jim Pop was so proud he wore his sweater to bed that night, and every day before he died some six months later.

          Boomer did things like that for people.  Many of today’s former ruggers got their start or played in the Montery Rugby Tournement which was almost single handedly started by Boomer.  He organized it; raised money for it; and reffed it.

          He actually played the game until he hung up his jock at age 55.

          Boomer’s first stroke would have imprisoned thee or me.  He couldn’t read, had trouble with some words, and couldn’t utter anyone’s name—though he recognized each and every one of us.

 Partially paralyzed, he doggedly  rehabbed his way out of it and not only walked and functioned again, he could be seen late at night, traveling up and down the Road at the Bohemian encampment, toting his huge bass fiddle and going from camp to camp to entertain members.

          Though Ginger was clearly his first love, music, rugby and Cal tied for a distant 2nd.

          In 1979 Cal played in the Garbage State Bowl against Temple in New Jersey.  Living in New York and about to be married, Cindy and I  met Ginger and Boomer at O’Neal’s Balloon (a local Irish watering hole on the West Side) and to hear Boomer talk about it later you’d have thought it was the greatest night of his life.

          It wasn't, but he was like that—always made you feel that no one around was more important than you were—and the time he had with you was the best time ever!

          He was devastated when Cal demoted Rugby to “Varsity Club” (whatever that means) and he worked tirelessly with Jack Clark and behind the scenes with guys from his era who had some clout to help get rugby reinstated.
          Here’s an e-mail he sent me on this”
Hi Jeff,

MAD MEN are you and me, right? Cal, nuts!

Boomer

            He mailed me a book on Ben Swig just because Ben and my grandfather were friends.  That wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but when one is recovering from a stroke, and is having trouble reading and writing, just addressing and mailing a package can take forever.
         
          I wanted (for a change) to get my facts straight, so I googled Boomer ( to get birth dates, years married, exact years at Cal etc.)

          Of course, I came up with nada, zero, zilch. 

          How stupid was I?  Boomer was one of those Loyal Golden Bears who never needed to get any credit.  He got stuff done, came to our aid when we needed it, but always remained in the shadows, letting others get the credit.  

          Boomer showed us how to do it right.  He showed us how to work behind the scenes.  Like other super heroes, he showed us the importance of righting wrongs—yet never demanding credit.

          He showed us so much.  Like a true Cal Bear, Boomer showed up!

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren '70

If you're up this way, stop by and we'll toast Boomer over a glass of cab. 

From Jack Clark:

As some of you may know by now, we lost Boomer yesterday, Sunday. The family is making their calls today.

The family is planning a private gathering at first, then a celebration of life at a later date.

Loved this man...

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From Lefty Stern:

Sad, but not unexpeccted, news. We lost Boomer yesterday. He went to a better place in peace with family at his side.

I talked to Ginger this morning and she asked for help in spreading the word to  some of his friends. Jack Clark covered his rugby world--see below-- and Randy Bradner got the word out to Meyerling campmates faster than I could. Don Bull let the family know that we lost a great guy and good friend.

I'm sending  you this  in case you hadn't gotten the word and encouraging you to spread the word. The family is getting together today to discuss plans and will let you know about a celebration of life as soon as possible after they have their private time to honor husband, father and close relative.

All of our thoughts are with them as we remember the good times we all had with Boomer over many years.  

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From Stanford Indian, Brad Williams:

  Boomer was a GREAT Golden BEAR, Bohemian, Rugger and Man.  He
was A frequent guest on the Hermits stage and a Pal.  Steve Thurlow and I
had the pleasure of visiting him in Hospice a few weeks back and he had a
firm handshake, a Smile in his eyes and said, "Nice to see 2 of my favorite
fucking Indians."  He Was a Special guy who, among many noteworthy
accomplishments, helped found the Monterey Rugby Tournament year ago.  I
will miss him.  Boomer was a member of Meyerling Camp, as most of you know.

Brad