A Sketchy Bio

I hope you find this amusing . . . .

I am Wayne Steele Elkin Jr. and my writing skills are rusty, as you will soon witness. I am a fifty eight-year-old male a fully acculturated citizen of the United States. Ethnically I'm Californerio on my mother's side and a variety of Anglo/European Americans on my father's side. I was placed squarely in the heart of the American baby boon and share those common experiences. My father was a career officer in the United States Air Force. My mother was a housewife.

Our family was unique among the isolated nuclear families in the nuclear age because we had Nana. Nana was my Spanish Californian/Chumash grandmother a very wise person proclaimed by Grandma Elkin (also quite wise) to be a wizard. Nana provided my little sister Carmen and me with an abundance of love, attention, devotion, and the perspective of three generations. (Nana loved the song el Rancho Grande. Scroll to Cowboy Songs then click on Rancho Grande to hear a tame version of the song.) My mother had the security of her mother and my father usually felt out gunned in the early years of his marriage.

Riverside California ~ 1955

As an Air Force brat I experienced a variety of military bases, towns, Catholic schools, public schools and military base schools. An assignment I enjoyed thoroughly was at Sculthorpe RAF base in Norfolk, England. I lived in two storybook English villages Sheringham by the Sea and Fakenham. Fortunately my father was unable to obtain base housing which enabled our family to submerge itself in early sixties rural English life, back when a pound was a pound and a pound was two hundred eighty pence. I turned eight years old and learned to ride a bike in Sheringham. Bicycles at that time in those villages were a dominant form of transportation. This afforded an eight-year-old with a bike an inordinate sense of freedom. I have vivid childhood memories of Fakenham and Sheringham. Perhaps I have never since felt so free.

My parents moved between their hometown of Santa Barbara and assignments in California and New Mexico. My greatest sense of stability was my father's two consecutive assignments in Albuquerque New Mexico (my birthplace). I was in one town for six whole years. After three different sixth grade classes I was able to go through my entire junior high school and two years of high school in one town (unheard of among air force brats). My experience in the southwest introduced me to lessons in bigotry. I smiled at the Mexican jokes but inside I felt a strange mixture of shame, self-loathing, embarrassment and anger. I looked like an Anglo/Euro-American but I wasn't. Eventually I gained the confidence to let my peers know how I felt about that kind of humor. I value these lessons and feel vindicated that now this type of humor is virtually taboo in the more enlightened parts of this country. I now am able to place such issues in perspective with greater ease and understanding.

My father was stationed in Vietnam my senior year the rest of our family moved to Santa Barbara, California. I didn't like leaving Highland High and being without my father. At my new school noticed I dressed more conservatively than the other students. I didn't fit in very well. The move proved difficult for all of us. The war was on the news nightly and we all worried nightly about dad. Later that school year I was attracted to the anti-war movement and some of its trappings. I remember my first pair of Levis, work shirt and writing my first protest song. As I remember I had an easier time being accepted by the longer haired teens at San Marcos High. After graduating from high school I continued my education at Santa Barbara City College. It was there that I developed my interest in philosophy and psychology. I took every class I could that explored consciousness, world religion, philosophy, and anthropology. These subject areas were so interesting to me. The attraction was natural the topics seemed to nurture my being. Yet I realized was swept up in a movement. It was almost as if I deliberately sacrificed the individuality I thought was so precious. I adopted a typical set of interests that continues to shape the person I am. I became distracted after community college and traveled to Europe and Asia like so many of my contemporaries in the early seventies. I spent two months on the northern most isle of Greece, Korfu. I traveled east to Istanbul eastward on the Terran Express I was shocked by the primitive life way of Afghanistan. It was as though I went back a thousand years in time. I spent months in India and months in Nepal. I saw how hope faith and a sunny attitude could overcome all deprivation.

After a year of traveling I returned to Santa Barbara. I played music, wrote songs, developed an environmental art piece/party pad infamously known as Rancho Bozo, and worked odd jobs for a few years.

The single most pivotal event in my life was certainly meeting Wendy. I met a woman who profoundly changed my life. Wendy suggested I go back to school. I enrolled at UCSB and finished my last final in descriptive statistics on my wedding day and graduated later that month. I obtained a job as an adult education instructor in adaptive programs for Santa Barbara Community College. We had our first child sixteen months later. This was an earth shaking experience for us. We later moved to San Francisco and took care of infants in our Sunset apartment. I enrolled in San Francisco State University and studied developmental psychology. It was perfect I could confirm Piaget's findings on cognitive development by observing my daughter. We gave up our apartment and rented a small house moved across the Golden Gate to Mill Valley. I completed all course work toward an MA but didn't complete my thesis. I wish I had picked a more quantifiable topic and worked more closely with my advisor in retrospect. I went to work for a non-profit called San Francisco Community Care. I was an instructor for developmentally disabled adults. I was then promoted to behavior specialist. Our second daughter was born in Marin County. We moved back to Santa Barbara and received help from my parents.

The move to Santa Barbara did not work out for our family. We moved back to Mill Valley as soon as we could. Wendy's father worked for Boeing therefor Wendy was Boeing brat. The transient life way of those entrenched in the military industrial complex in the fifties and sixties often involved the uprooting of families. Wendy and I decided that our move to Mill Valley would be our last. We wanted to offer our children stability (roots). We were able to buy the house next door from the house we rented. I went back to San Francisco State and earned a multiple subject credential. I taught for the past two decades for San Francisco Unified Schools. Working for the children of San Francisco was rewarding beyond words. We were able to raise our children and give them a sense of belonging and a strong sense of self. Wendy and I are now entering our first years as empty nesters. I love her more than ever and she still puts up with me. We brag about our children, well we all have our faults. Courtney is twenty-eight-years-old she has completed her third year and is now the youngest PhD in the thirteen year history of her program (critical studies in theater) at UCLA and her husband George who also has his Ph.D. in applied mathematics. Genevieve is twenty three-years-old and is has completed her BFA in illustration and animation at Parsons in New York City. Both of our daughters in addition to being bright and capable are good human beings.

I am confident that I have character strengths and experience that would enable me to be an effective world wide authority on aging hippies. With humble respect to true authority the late great Chet Helms and those who truely walked the far out walk. Oh yes, I've never done nothing that's never been done, that should count for something.


© 2022 Wayne ElkinSuburbianCowboy@RanchoBozo.com