IN MEMORIAM: Robert “Bob” Fishback

Below is a memorial written by longtime Boulder Creek resident Robert “Bob” Fishback’s nephew. Bob passed away in July of this year.

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When I was about 12 years old my father and I went to visit Grandpa Bill and he never showed up. I was upset but the weekend wasn’t a total loss, not by a long shot.  Luckily Uncle Bob lived only a short distance from him. So that afternoon my Dad dropped me off with Bob at the house where he was renting a room in Northern California in the mountains. I’ll never forget that house because it was HUGE, full of weird stuff and best of all it was like I was taken back in time to the late 60’s early 70’s. It was a red, typical Cali-style playboy mansion retro house on a bunch of property. That week end Uncle Bob and I had a blast.

Uncle Bob wanted to change the oil on his bike so we took a ride to the auto parts store and bought oil. He showed me how to change the oil on a 1980’s sport bike, and then we went on a wild motorcycle ride cruise around the Stevens Creek Dam road in the mountains just haulin’ ass! Pardon my French but it was awesome for a 12 years old kid.

We played guitar, I learned my second song with Bob that weekend he taught me The Animals “House of the Rising Sun” along with a set of blues scales and the major C scale which became the basis for all  my guitar playing for the next decade. We went hiking and killed a scorpion. Bob’s roommate was a big scary one eyed hippie guy, and he told me the story of how he lost his eye. He turned out to not be so scary and was really cool and mellow.. That was when I learned that looks can be deceiving.

That weekend I rummaged through a mountain of National Geographic magazines with Bob and his roommate (the big scary hippie) in order to find the oldest one. I remember they were all stacked up outside of Bob’s room and I asked “which one was the oldest”?  Bob’s roommate was standing there and replied “you know, I never thought about it”. It took us an hour I think but we found a 1967 edition.

I’ll never forget it because on the back was an old wave runner advertisement which basically looked like a big orange floating pontoon with an outboard motor attached and a cute blond jumping a wave.

I remember waking up before everyone and going downstairs to eat breakfast and in a house full of old hippies and bikers only to find that the only thing they had for breakfast was a ton of dirty dishes, a jar of pickles and Captain Crunch, with no milk. Bob went to the store and got us milk and we all sat down and ate Captain Crunch. Bob, the big scary hippie, myself and some old lady who didn’t eat but sat down about 2 feet away from me and smoked a cigarette. It was at that moment, that I decided Captain Crunch and cigarettes don’t go together. I’m not a smoker, thanks, Uncle Bob.

Uncle Bob and I talked with Joel (Bird Brain) Parrot, that afternoon and it was the first time I had a bird sit on my shoulder.  I tried to teach him to say “cool” and “radical” for the entire weekend by repeating it constantly, Bob just laughed…so did Joel, so did I.

Uncle Bob taught me how to use a camera, which sparked my artistic passion and appreciation for photography. I remember Bob gave me an entire roll of film and one of his cameras and we went out and shot some photos. I think he was taken back at just how much I enjoyed it and so was I. After we came back Bob showed me how to develop film in his makeshift dark room, he also showed me a lot of his photographs, I mostly liked the motorcycle ones. My favorite was one that Bob had just taken from a motorcycle race at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California the prior week end. It was a really weird super hero type racing bike, purple and yellow going mid-way through a corner leaning at about 90 degree’s just sitting on the pavement probably doing 90 mph. I remember thinking that it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

When the week end was over I left with a lot of lessons learned and a small fortune of skills which could never have been learnt without him. Uncle Bob was a standup guy and my favorite Uncle.

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