Goodness only knows what I must’ve learned from him as a little kid — I sure don’t remember. In writing his memoirs, our grandfather, G.M.C. Massey, described us as “two of the rompingest boys you’ll ever meet.”
I do remember Scott turning me on to the great rock music of the late 60’s, including Jimi Hendix and the Gratfeul Dead and Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young and Moby Grape and Donovan and Dylan and James Taylor and Frank Zappa — as well as taking me to see the Who when I was 12. That show sure turned my head around!
Then there were all the folks I got to meet that he played music with, starting with guys like David Rodowick and Jim Scheppke and Michael Quinn and Bill Browder and Vince Bell in high school, and later, David Rodriguez and Scott played music together awhile in college.
He didn’t just open my ears to music, though, he opened my eyes & mind to stories and ideas as he fed me books & authors, typically by putting something like “Under the Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry into my hands, saying, “Read this,” or, “Check out this guy Walter Mosley.” He helped inspired my love of theater & performance, from watching his high school drama competitions, to seeing him in some of the earliest performances of the Shakespeare at Winedale, with folks like Terry Galloway.
And I learned to love poetry and appreciate small press publishing, from Scott’s involvement with his first wife, Wings Press co-founder/poet Joanie Whitebird. That later led to my getting to know their friends Susan Bright, Plain View Press publisher/poet, and Vassar Miller, whom Larry McMurtry once described as “the only world-class poet Texas has produced.”
Basically, my big brother has always been there for me, breaking ground and showing me how to move through new life experiences, from those early glimpses of UT student life, to handing over the college rent house he & his friends had to me & my friends. He always made the big moves first to getting married, buying a house and becoming a father. He also showed me how to deal with difficulty, struggle, and the kind of loss that can flatten most: the death of a young child.
He’s even shown me how a new start can make you and your life so much better, when he met & married his second wife, Dianne Kraft, beginning again and building a great new life, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Surviving a stroke and triple-bypass surgery with humor and stubborn independence mostly intact, he’s still teaching and learning and laughing and living.
Thanks for reminding me it’s never over till it’s over — and even then, you might get extra innings or overtime or that second, third, fourth or 543rd chance you really need right about now…thank you, Scott!
…and have a Happy Birthday!