In Memory

Rick Alsobrooks - Class Of 1970

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05/22/09 12:57 PM #3    

Scott MacLennan (1969)

I was with Rick at Ft. Polk ran into him at the beer tent there. We took off on a weekend pass one time and hitched to Houston, Texas with a couple other army buddies. We got tore up and went to a Santana-Stepenwolf concert there. Had a great time there and just roamed around the city the next day, barely made it back to formation on monday morning all hung over.
Then I was in Germany and I took a weekend pass and went to a pop festival in Speyer, Germany in 1971. Thousands of people there and I ran right into Rick, we walked past each other staring then he hollered MacLennan and I hollered Alsobrooks! Small world we said and partied all weekend. We got drunk among other things and we charged the stage like we were playing football knocking everybody out of the way, got right up front and saw Ozzy jam out. We rode back through Germany on a train together getting high and went to our different posts.
I always had fun with Rick and his care free living style, I will always cherish those wonderful memories with him!

09/03/09 10:50 PM #4    

Nancy Lemon (Scheufele) (1970)

Rick took me out to see the town on my very last night in Chattanooga. He heard I was moving away and took me out on an adventurous evening tour. Kind of a grand farewell, I guess. I was WAY out of my league (it was an eye-opening experience), but I was always grateful for his kindness in taking care of a sad southern girl who was moving away. Thanks, Rick, you were always the coolest guy around.

05/10/10 07:58 PM #5    

Cindy Tobias (Wilson) (1969)

Rick was a great friend. We kept in touch through the years, and shortly before he died, he had his sister track me down. I got back in touch with her and 2 days later he showed up at my house at 10:00 am and stayed till the next morning. I always loved him but it was hard to watch how badly he treated himself over the years. I'll always remember those eyes of his and how we cared so much about each other no matter where our lives took us. You should have stayed with us longer. I'll always miss our all night conversations.

08/29/17 11:40 AM #6    

Jean Anne Gardner (1970)

I just finished reading the stories about Rick Alsobrooks on the memory page of this website. I feel the need to add my own. It will probably sound familiar to many women whose paths crossed with Rick’s.

It was the “Summer of Love”…. Actually it was Fall, and I’d missed the Summer of Love by several years and was determined to make up for it. I was in Knoxville at UT and out from under the watchful eye of my mother when I received a phone call from Rick…collect. That took some cajones because we barely knew each other in high school. I was in neither the popular nor the fast crowd, both groups he ran with. But it shows what kind of power he had that I accepted those charges. That call began a long distance romance and an accelerated education for me in how (as Bruce said in his post) to live by my own rules.

Rick called me regularly from the base, Fort Polk, Louisiana (always collect). One day he showed up at Clement Hall with his duffle bag, a charming smile, and no money. I took him to lunch, and we spent the rest of the day just hanging out. At some point, he told me he had no place to stay that weekend, no hotel reservations. Sidebar here: If you remember Rick on the football field, then you remember how he could maneuver...nobody could catch him if he broke free.  Well, he was pretty good off the field too. When I asked him where he was going to sleep, he suggested I prop the dorm exit door open so he could slip into my room. (Despite Woodstock in 1969, it was still a quaint time in Knoxville. No boys were allowed in the dorms.) At that point in my life, I was still afraid of getting into trouble, but there was something about Rick, so I propped the door open. My roommate was less than thrilled, but Rick won her over too. Neither she nor any girl he passed in the hall on the way to my room turned him in.

We fell into a pattern for quite a while. I dated frat boys and engaged in sorority hijinks until Rick breezed into town. When he was around, I became a hippie chick with a G.I. boyfriend who kept going AWOL to visit. I assumed he was risking the brig to see me, but, in retrospect, I realize there’s no telling how many girls he visited on his way to Knoxville.

One time, back in Chattanooga, my dad asked me to take a ride with him. Out of my mama’s earshot, my dad told me that he knew I was seeing Rick. I was stunned. When I asked him how he knew, he said, “Jean Anne, I get your phone bill.” I still don’t know how my dad put it all together, but he cautioned me about my “relationship,” and then added, “Let’s don’t tell your mama.”

I didn’t stop seeing Rick despite my dad’s warning. In fact, Rick visited so often that my roommate had a place she stayed when my “boyfriend” came to town. Rick and I would push the dorm beds together, open the windows, play music, and drink cheap wine out of my Chi Omega glasses. One night he sang me to sleep with the Billy Joel song “You’re My Home.” That sounds sappy, but it wasn’t. It remains a wonderful memory.

Our time together ended when he was stationed out of hitchhiking range. It’s the only break-up I ever experienced that had absolutely no drama. He hitched his way to Knoxville one last time to say goodbye. On the last day of his visit, we sat for hours in front of my dorm, talking and hugging. After he left, I didn’t grieve, or wait for letters (although he sent a few). I’ve never wondered “what could’ve been” as I have about other relationships because I never considered that we’d stay together. I guess I couldn't imagine Rick "tied down," but I'm glad to hear he found a woman he wanted to marry and had children.  I don’t have a single bad feeling about or memory of Rick…not one. I never saw him drunk, mean, jealous, anxious, or angry.  

I think I’d have been sad if I’d known that I’d never see him again, but I didn’t know that the day I watched him head off toward the freeway.  Maybe it’s for the best.  This way, my memories are untarnished. In my mind, he’s still young and charming.  I do regret that I didn’t pay more attention to that time in my life and to the girl I was when I was with him, totally free and in the moment. I need to be in touch with her more often.  

As for my dad’s advice…well, I’ve made better choices in men, and I’ve made worse…much worse.  

08/29/17 11:28 PM #7    

Paul White (1970)

Wow Jean Anne !  Rick was one of a kind for sure. I always called him my worst best friend but he sure made life interesting and fun .When I think of him I always smile and wonder what made us so damn crazy. Thanks for sharing . PLW

08/30/17 09:08 AM #8    

Jean Anne Gardner (1970)

That description works for me. He was the worst best boyfriend too. I loved him for it.  

08/30/17 07:09 PM #9    

Jean Anne Gardner (1970)

08/30/17 07:18 PM #10    

Jean Anne Gardner (1970)

Well, I felt compelled to look through all my albums until I found the Billy Joel cut (the one he sang to me) on the VERY album we listened to on the night I described. The lyrics are so telling. Frank and I danced (in our living room) to that scratchy record spinning on an old fashioned turntable, and I cried. Thank God for a man who supports me in all my sentimental shenanigans. Of course, Frank loved him too.

08/31/17 06:03 AM #11    

Bruce C. Campbell (1970)

As Petey says, thanks for the memories. The last time I spoke to Rick was the day I drove him back from Panama City to the UT campus. I asked him where he was going to stay since he had already informed me on the trip back that he wasn't ready to go back to Fort Polk. I remember he looked at me, laughed, and said "I'll find someplace", and the last time I saw him he was heading across the parking lot towards the Girls Dorm. I later heard he had taken up "permanent" residence in the dorm and remember with a certain amount of envy how cool I thought that was.

Anyway, I hope you and Frank are doing well. Please tell him hi.

Bruce Campbell, Calabash NC



08/31/17 01:23 PM #12    

Jean Anne Gardner (1970)


And now you have the rest of the story. We kept our relationship a 'secret' for lots of reasons (Nice to know he honored that.). One unexpected benefit was that we made our own world that was pretty special (at least to me).  

Frank is amazing, as much fun as ever....well, he no longer drinks a six pack before a physics test, and he hasn't picked me up on a motorcycle lately, and the last time we attended a formal occasion, he wore a black tux instead of a gold flocked one from the Soul Man Shop. But he makes me laugh every day. I'm lucky that my choices led me to Frank (I don't deserve him.). My life could easily have gone in another direction (I've screwed up a lot.). When I think about Rick's struggles, I think...there but for the grace of God go I. 

Come visit. We'd love to see you.     

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