Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Randon Axxes

Arlo loved to sing, and would often solo for school programs. His favorite song to sing at the time was: "Blue Moon", which he sung in a high-pitched voice.   He was braver than I was; he sang in the Westview School lunchroom/auditorium on several occasions. Some of the kids would snicker, which made me mad, but Arlo was oblivious.   In his later years, Arlo was a musician and radio personality. 

Arlo also enjoyed listening to late-night radio, long after the rest of us had gone to bed.  I would get up in the middle of the night, look downstairs, and see a light under his door.  He liked to listen to far-off stations, like XERB in Tijuana, Mexico, with Wolfman Jack.  

We used to put together simple crystal sets, mostly for the novelty of being able to produce our own radios.  They didn't pick up much signal, but they were fun, nonetheless. 

Arlo enjoyed messing with electronics.  One memory that stands out is when he was about 10, and I asked him to test some Christmas lights for me.  When he plugged them in, a huge spray of sparks flew out of the socket, sending my brother reeling back with several loud shrieks.

Arlo's interests in electronics and radio continued; as an adult, he was a licensed electrician. His business was called: "Watt's Happening!", He was also the originator of KMUD radio in Garberville. Soon after the small station was built, Arlo also became a radio host for KMUD radio in Humboldt County, California, hosting the "Random Axxes" program. 

All of that is only an example of Arlo's contributions.  He was heavily involved in cleaning up the environment.  He worked for the Southern Humboldt Recycling Center, while hosting KMUD's Environment Show, with issues ranging from cleaning up our oceans, to forest destruction to be dealt with.  Saving the redwoods was one of his prime concerns, and he was instrumental in helping save the Sinkyone Wilderness from clear-cutting and development. 

The concept of clean energy was also a favorite topic.  It was on KMUD radio that Julia Butterfly's story first broke, the "girl in the tree" - who, for 738 days, lived in the canopy of an ancient redwood tree. She was called Luna, and wanted to help make the world aware of the plight of ancient forests.  She and Arlo were friends (I think he had a serious crush on her), and they shared a common mission.  
So, there was more than entertainment in his programming - updates on community news, activities, environmental concerns and how his listeners could help, etc.   With his soothing deep voice, he kept his listeners tuned in.  My mom loved the show, never missed one.  

Arlo passed away from stomach cancer on October 5, 2002.  Prior to his death, his community planned an event to raise funds.  Arlo was not only a radio personality, he was the community's electrician, and also helped put on the Kate Wolf Shows each year - for starters.   

Many memories were shared at Mateel Community Center in Redway CA., during his Celebration of Life. 

As I told him the last time I saw him: "You are leaving the world a better place for having been here." It just wasn't long enough. 

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