T.G."Torg" Hadley (74)
I came into this world on the eve of Seattle's great blizzard of 1950, which set record cold temperatures which still stand to this day. The specter of Polio stalked the land, having touched me en utero. Apocryphally, Mama later testified that "the Salk Vaccine saved us." It was touch 'n' go from the start, although, as I was placed into an incubator, beset with pulmonary edema. I then survived had acute shock to the chloromycetin administered to clear my lungs. It was a minor miracle I survived so far, less than five days old. Finally, after a harrowing ride through snow-choked roads, Dad had to then lower Mum 'n' baby by means of a Radio Flyer sled secured by a long rope down the steep grade to our humble Lake Washington boathouse-cum-cottage.
Dad was the lead advertising artist for the Seattle Times, a Kansan who would later trace his ancestry back to 17th Century England*. Mama was born in Minnesota, speaking Norwegian until her first school day, having been then sent home with a note pinned to her coat stating "Teach this child English before returning her to school!"
I managed to keep breathing. Concerned about my boredom with school in 5th grade, my folks had the school district psychologist administer the Stanford-Binet LM to me to determine if I was experiencing "cognitive disengagement". My result was a score of 149. I was reading at a college level, but arithmetic bored me to tears. They totally missed my dyslexia. Not knowing how or what to do, they promptly labeled me an "underachiever" and ignored me thereafter. However, (perhaps a portent of things to come, Mom got my first head-shot taken for a talent agency, and I made my first on stage appearance at age three, modeling "for the young set" in tennis togs from an upscale department store in our hometown Bellevue. (The acting bug must have bitten me hard right then when I received my first rousing round of applause). I learned to keep my head down, mouth shut, and camouflage myself as a "good boy".
The '50s and '60s were a problematic time to grow up in, but I came through the buffeting forces of Conformity vs. Counter-culture by writing poetry, feature articles for the Bellevue Barque high school paper, and immersing myself in art classes, managing to guard my artistic bent and Bohemian idiosyncrasies.
Luckily, I missed the September draft in '68 by four digits. Relieved, I carried on, a full-flowered, counter-culture consciousness explorer. Disenchanted with dull academia, I later took a break from college. I hitch-hiked through Europe, taking a freighter to Haifa to winter over by working on a kibbutz just north of the Gaza Strip. In spring, I thumbed north to Germany, and wound up working on an Army supply depot as a forklift driver. Over a year later, I returned with reborn motivation to graduate from Fairhaven College at W.W.U., (Bellingham, WA), with a BA in English Literature, with minors in Creative Writing and Secondary Education certification training.
Subsequently, my real world roles included that of sous-Chef, house painter, bar tender/bouncer, off-shore barge clerk, and fish 'n' chip restaurant manager, amongst others. Fortuitously, a dispute with a comely blonde over who had legitimate claim to a particular bar stool during a concert in a jam-packed tavern led to a passionate romance. Janise Marie and I were married in '78.
The '80s began with a brutal recession. In order to avoid starvation and homelessness, I found myself having to voluntarily join the Army as a Combat Engineer. I rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant by '89, and was poised for promotion. The toll of such duty, however, is quite rough on a near-forty body. Despite the Division Commander's recommendation to retain me in an admin specialty, I was given an Honorable Discharge for service-connected injuries. A few months later, back home in Seattle, I entered the U. S. Postal Service in the clerk and then maintenance crafts.
After ten years of this service, heavy lifting had exacerbated my service-connected injuries, which resulted in disability retirement. I had been getting nowhere in that "good ol' boy" system anyway, so I had decided to earn my M.S. degree in Education. I became a Certificated Residency Teacher, and made a foray into substitute teaching whilst seeking a permanent position. I was greatly dismayed to discover that there was yet another glass ceiling, being being "overqualified" and "too near retirement age". Disgusted that public schools were still just glorified day care centers which produced homogenized students, I let my Certificate lapse.
Serendipitously, in '01, a colleague invited me to audition for a community theater production of "The Odd Couple". Despite paralyzing stage fright, I delivered my first line. I soon caught fire as a natural actor, and reveled in "treading the boards". I then landed a TV commercial which aired in '05 and '06. An Indie Film director discovered me and I became "Sergeant Hogan" in Mall Robbers. This slapstick flick is available at http://mallrobbers.com. Following this redneck mall cop role, I was cast as "Graham Baker, Esq.", star of the upcoming supernatural-horror feature, "The Haunted". After post-production, this movie is slated for the Indie film circuit, HBO consideration, and hopefully major promotion. My dear wife Jan is a truly gifted Master Gardener and a "forensic book-keeper". We live in our cedar log home alongside Chuckanut Creek by it's namesake pocket bay with our two Scotties Poppy and Christina, our Jack Russell terrier Tika, and Jack the tripod cocker. We are justifiably proud of our adult kids, Marisa J.R.J.H. Papetti, her husband Dominic Papetti II, and our son Gavin S. J. Hadley, and his lady Terra and wee, darlin' daughter Noemi. *please see http://hadleysociety.org