Wednesday, April 09, 2008

THEY CALLED HIM "HAROLD"

He also answered to Harry, Hay Seed, Seed, or
Loren (among the printable names). H. Loren Hawley was a legend in his own mind and time.

Like a literary mythical figure out of a Chip Hilton sports story, he blew into Cal from the back waters of Trowbridge in the early 60’s.

Craig Morton (soon to be the number three pick in the NFL draft) was on Campus. He and “Harry” were to become inseparable friends, inconsolable antagonists, and then best friends again over a 40 year span.

Harry was an unlikely hero. Tall and gawkey, he looked like Ichabod Crane. His forehead was faux Cro-Magnaon. His eyes deep set, dark and piercing. His proboscis, Aquiline.

He was too "unselfconscious" to understand what comical figure he cut. His sleeves barely covered his elbows—his pant legs were at flood depth.

But like Giancarlo Gianinni in Lina Wertmuller's “Sette Belleze”, he had the gift of “the Seven Beauties”—the Italian version of the “unlikely” man who was irresistible to women.

Gals literally “fought” over Harry. But I’m ahead of myself.

He excelled at everything he tried—-except paying taxes.

He was not for everybody. Like all originals, he had his share of detractors.

But he could play. He could hit. He could party. And he could laugh.

He came for football and found himself, perhaps the greatest Rugger ever to play the game at Cal.

That’s a big boast—-one Harold wouldn't approve of--but understatement was not Harry’s forte.

In ’65 “Harold” went down under with guys called Brownie, Rookie, Botch, Threebes, Ruggles, Igor, Stanly and Blockhead.

They were rough guys. Hard drinking, hard playing, Cal Ruggers. Aussies of a certain age, still speak of them reverentially.

No matter how many people Harry fooled—-no matter how many hundreds he peeled off while wearing that 10 gallon Stetson and those $1,000 snake skin cowboy boots—-his teammates remained non-plussed. They’d known him when—-and loved him anyway.

He loved boats, pro athletes and Hollywood starlet’s. Naturally, at Cal, he had to date Miss California.

He liked action. He was with Spider Sabich the night before Andy Williams ex, Claudine Longet “accidently” shot him.

He was tough. I’m not sure former Notre Dame All American and 49er tight end Monty Stickles took many mandatory eight counts.

He called women “Gladys—much to the chagrin (one night in Mr. Laughs in New York) of boxer Joey Archer’s wife, whose name was—you guessed it—Gladys.

He could sell.

If you had an Eskimo in need of ice, or a Saudi in search of sand, Harold was your guy.

St. Helena’s Tom Blanchfield was his roomie. They played football for hall of Famer Marv Levy when his Cal “Wonder Team” won three games.

Harry would come up to the Valley and Sybil would cook for him, Nutzie, Walt and the boys. They’d deer hunt before double days. We RLS’ers were in awe.

In eighth grade we’d take the Greyhound bus down to Oakland, switch to a local bus--transfer and then walk to Memorial Stadium to see them play for the Bears.

Hawley was ever present.

One summer (after telling Al Davis to stick it) he arrived at the Lair with Morton, who’d just signed with the Cowboys. They took some staffers to Diamond Jim’s where their stash of Tequila was drained and the stone fire place was littered with "post toast" broken glass. Mi-Wuk old timers speak of it still.

We got to know each other as adults. I was working in N.Y. when Morton got traded to the Giants. Hawley arrived, with a scheme to build oil rigs--each one with our name on it.

What did we care? It meant nights at Studio 54, DP at McMullen’s and dinner at 21. Maybe a “Gladys” or two would join us.

We went to six straight Super Bowls. We arrived on Wednesday's (the games were secondary).

The stories are legend—if unrepeatable. From watching the sun come up over Bourbon St. with Jerry Jeff Walker, to Bungalow 10 at the Beverly Hills (which we hear still holds the record for the most complaints in one night. Burning the dresser in the fireplace seemed like such a good idea at the time—ask Tanya Tucker). TJ’s entrance through the skylight was original.

Then it was off to “Hef’s” to see the sun rise again. But I digress.

Suddenly, Loren had kids and so did we. Overnight, life was different.

One day, the unthinkable occurred. Loren, the world's toughest guy, had the Big “C”—not the one we wore on our sweaters.

Back in the 90’s a party was held in Trowbridge for “all the guys who’d been kicked in the head by Harry.” All the bad boys turned out. It was a last good bye.

Only Harold wouldn’t play by the rules--something new! Though they cut out his tongue and most of the muscles around his neck and shoulder, he wouldn’t check out,

The most powerful man we’d ever known was now talking like Donald Duck and writing words on a pad.

Still he played golf regularly with the Wankers and Shankers (don’t ask).

And he beat the disease. He had kids to raise. Soon, Garret was playing Rugby in San Diego and Collin at Cal. He was the MVP in last year’s NCAA Championship game.

A man who couldn’t speak was crying in the stands.

Cal finally inducted Dad into the Hall of fame. His boys gave a speech as he looked on—-stooped, but unbowed.

He had no tongue, no muscles in one shoulder, and a hole in his throat. But he still eyed the ladies—and they giggled back—as they always did.

We dared not show him any pity. Silently, we admired his courage. We were in awe of his dignity. He never complained.

Harold was a happy guy. He loved his kids. He loved friends. He loved Cal. He was the definition of a true "Character." Say what you will, the world just got duller. He will be sorely missed.













































Jeffrey Earl Warren
James Warren & Son
1414 Main St.
St. Helena, Ca.
94574
707-963-2748