Off The Press
July 29, 2014
By David Hayes
And now, the rest of the story
Over the years here at The Issaquah Press, I’ve been privileged to interview some fascinating people. Thinking back, however, some interesting tidbits from these interviews didn’t make the story. So, I thought I’d share three of my favorite looks behind the scenes of what can unexpectedly happen during a routine story assignment.
The first was a feature about a group of families that were homeschooling their children. Homeschooled children undeservedly earn a bad reputation as being not socially well adjusted or being underserved by learning from home. On that day, when I arrived at the home they took common lessons from, a group of six or eight were playing a friendly game of soccer in the front yard. Looked pretty socially adjusted to me.
After the interviews were over, I needed a photo to go with the story. Instead of having them just sitting there smiling for the camera, I asked the children to each grab a book from the prodigious library for a quirky concept photo. But a funny thing happened. After I was done taking images, they kept reading. Their moms didn’t recommend they study further. Rather, they all showed a natural curiosity for a random history book they pulled off a shelf. That’s something that might not be taught in a public classroom.
Another time, I was surprised by the direction a story assignment took at an open mic night at Malarky’s Sports Grill. Present that night was Issaquah’s own renowned music man, David Harris. But this time, while an amateur band blared away on the miniscule stage, Harris yelled in my ear, “You don’t want to interview me. You want to interview him.”
He led me to a table to an older gentleman with long, white hair flowing past his shoulders. The scraggly fella was none other than Goldy McJohn, the original keyboardist for Steppenwolf. It seems after the group broke up, lead singer John Kay was still touring, using the Steppenwolf name while other members were left holding an empty bag.
McJohn was happy to share his personal story post-Steppenwolf, picking up where he was making ends meet as a landscaper for The Golf Club at Newcastle. Recently, a Hollywood bigwig recognized McJohn and eventually secured his share of royalties from Steppenwolf songs used in commercials. The significant sum was enough for McJohn to get back on his feet an open his own recording studio and get his foot back in the music industry.
The most out-of-the-blue incident during an interview occurred when I was chatting with longtime hydroplane racer Nate Brown at his Preston shop. One year, he was building from scratch his own hydroplane. As we were standing there chatting, it dawned on me he was just like some guys I knew back in high school. The rage back then was to rebuild an old pickup truck to become the main means of transportation to and from school.
So, I asked Brown, “You rebuilt a truck back when you were in high school, didn’t ya?”
He got this stunned look on his face and replied, “How did you know?”
I just told him it seemed natural for a hydroplane driver to go through the trouble of building his own mode of transportation would have done it before.
His reaction was priceless.
Great tales await when you wander off a list of prepared questions.