1965: “….up in the air…”

This week’s Re-run Saturday selection. Our relatives down south were constantly amazed at how much time we spent in the air. Alaska leads the country in general aviation and small airlines provide transportation to small  communities in the same way that bus lines function in the Lower 48.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

Cordova DC3 art

Few things are as mysterious as kid-logic – the oft slightly warped reasoning children give for their opinions and explanations of events around them.  The intensity of our opinions as children was usually an inverse ratio to our actual knowledge. Debate between the merits of “Combat!” vs. “Gallant Men” had less to do with the fighting in France vs. fighting in Italy than it did with the fact that no one alive could walk or talk in a manner more totally cool than Vic Morrow, the actor portraying SGT Saunders  in “Combat!”

For example, the totality of our knowledge and experience with high school was limited to Archie Comics leavened with an episode of “Dobie Gillis” on TV. Nevertheless, attendance at East Anchorage High School would have been a fate worse than death for me, my buddies or any of the other students at Woodland Park Elementary School in…

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1968: Shear Pins and Pinky Rings

Rerun Saturday post for this week. I’ve been missing my Dad quite a bit lately and thinking of how at sixteen I grieved for him as the youngest case of senility ever, and then at twenty-one how surprised I was at how much he’d recovered in just five years.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

For all his years as a sailor in the Orient my father picked up very little foreign language. He occasionally answered the phone with a “mushi-mushi” or tacked the Japanese “-san” honorific to the ends of our names, but the only Asian word he used much was “cumshaw”. It’s a Chinese word that originally meant “grateful thanks” but use by American sailors over the years gradually changed its meaning to “anything obtained by other than official channels”. Think of the character “Crapgame” from Kelly’s Heroes or Milo Minderbinder from Catch 22 – but with the criminal aspect dialed quite a bit and you’ve got a good idea of the meaning.  For example, a tool set issued to replace one lost during an air raid comes with an extra undocumented hammer which gets traded to the cook for a steak peeled off the allotment for from the officer’s mess…

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1969: The Order of The Purple Toe

This week’s Saturday Morning re-run – I still shudder a bit when I read this story. Normally both Donny and I were fairly responsible young men but when we got together most of our individual good judgement disappeared. I’d like to think that being the country mouse and used to hunting I’d have cleared the weapon first, but to be brutally honest Don was the triggerman only because he’d picked up the rifle first.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

The summer of 1969 was a scary time for me in many ways. I had some big decisions coming up; I was half-way through high school and supposedly preparing for adult life but I was in fact totally clueless. There were a number of careers that had minor appeal but nothing that jumped out to me. I thought about police work but military service was also a strong possibility; not only was the conflict in Viet-Nam running hot at the time, I was a “navy brat” and military service – especially career military service – tends to follow family lines. I was a little worried though – while there were aspects of military life had great appeal to me, the very real prospect of death or wounding had very little appeal. The Purple Heart was a medal I really didn’t want to win.

There was more than school and career…

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1966: Concerning Primate Posteriors

Re-run Saturday – we finally have cooler weather in Middle Tennessee and it’s brought back memories of winters past.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

My dad did not have it easy growing up. On top of the general Depression/World War 2 experience most men his age went through, his home life was pretty chaotic. He lived on a ranch in south-east Idaho with at least a dozen siblings and at least three step-fathers, not all of whom had his best interests in minds.

David Soren Deitrick wasn’t raised to adulthood; he was dragged up.

Unfortunately we ended up “cross-threaded” quite often. In addition to the effects of his childhood there were other factors involved, the kind of things pop psychologists make their living telling us all to obsess about. I’ve gone back and forth about it all and the bottom line is this: my dad was a good man, I wish I’d known him better and my life would have been richer had we spent more time together…

…but don’t doubt for a second…

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1966: Fighting Crime on Scout Lake Loop Road

I’ve been overcome by events this week so the re-run is a Sunday rather than Saturday event. It was fall break for my Beautiful Saxon Princess giving us the whole week together but she pulled a muscle in her lower back on Wednesday and helping her became my first priority. I didn’t get much else was accomplished…but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

I’m not sure what initially (please forgive the pun) drew me to comics and superheroes. The genre was not nearly as popular then as it is now so it wasn’t a social thing. I liked the art…but there was something about the idea of making people safe and avenging wrongs that really appealed to me. Having endured varying degrees of pain at the hands of others I liked the idea of someone preventing that sort of thing.

My cousin Gary introduced me to comics in the early sixties but the hook was set during the summer of 1964 not too long after the Good Friday earthquake. I can trace my interest to three specific issues:

  • Detective Comics # 327 “ The Mystery of The Menacing Mask”
  • World’s Finest #142 “The Composite Superman”
  • Justice League of America “29 “Crisis on Earth-Three.”

My buddies and I had a great time reading…

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1965: “Luuuuu-jon! Luuuuu-jon!”

I guess this would make it “Re-run Friday” instead of “Re-run Saturday”…

David R. Deitrick, Designer


During her life my Grandmother went from “if man were meant to fly God would have given him wings” to “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. There’s no denying that the world has changed radically in the last century but there was a time in my life when I thought all the really cool stuff had already happened before my time.  I was mistaken. (I promise to not queue up “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel at this point)

 There actually have been a lot of changes in my life but most of those changes have been subtle. For example, when we moved to Sterling, Alaska in the summer of 1964 most people – including many Alaskans – had no idea where Sterling was located but since that time the Kenai Peninsula has become a very popular vacation site. The spot at…

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2018 Stargirl (color version)

2018-09-02 StargirlColorI was surprised to find that I posted the original B/W version of this image in mid-2016. I apologize – my goal was to follow up with color versions as soon as possible. Twenty-eight months does not fall  into the ASAP category.

I’ve been schooled in this subject quite often as of late: setting realistic goals. I thought I was doing better  but as I was limping back to the car after a marathon copy session at Office Max I had to admit that there is still room for improvement. As I said the other day, no matter how many push-ups I try to do, no matter how far I try to walk at the end of the day I am still 65 – and a disabled 65 at that.

I also makes me thankful that we live where we do. The hurricane is a day’s drive to the east of us but the fluctuating barometric pressure still takes a toll on my arthritic joints.

I’d rather not think about how miserable I’d be right now if we lived along I-95 instead of I-24.

2018: Studio Deitrick

Due to a very fundamental misunderstanding with Dad we spent most of the summer of 1987 without a studio. “Useful studio space” was one of the deal-breaker conditions  to be met before we assumed house-sitting duties while my folks served a mission in Nova Scotia, but evidently there was a generation gap in the definition of the word “useful” and we were left to work out of an unfinished/unheated garage. Nevertheless I had clients to service, so after squeezing my drawing table into my old loft bedroom, I divided my long Alaskan days between marker renderings and carpentry, taking care of both my clients and construction chores.

It was a happy day in mid-August when Lori and I nailed the final bit of trim, hung the last of the curtains in the windows, and had an impromptu party sipping New York Seltzer, eating poppy-seed muffins from the Soldotna Safeway and listening to the Peter Gabriel blockbuster album SO.  I was feeling great relief at having the wherewithal to go into full production, but there seemed to be another intangible presence dancing along with us to “Your Eyes”.

For the preceding three months it felt like a member of our family was missing, and it was only after three sets of verbal volleyball that we figured out  what had been missing:  Studio Deitrick.  The studio had become a part of our lives in the same way writers described the Starship Enterprise as being as much a character as Kirk, Scotty or Uhura in Classic Star Trek.   For years most of our life revolved around that particular kitchen of the mind – no matter what else was happening, we all eventually congregated in the studio. In addition to serving as delivery room to countless works of art, our children grew up in our studios, we entertained in them, and all my prep time for thirty years of college teaching happened in Studio Deitrick.

…but then something happened in the early summer of 2015 and Studio Deitrick went away. Even though the house we bought had a very similar floor plan to our previous rental, there was no room for a studio as such and I was left to cram what I could into an extension off the back of the kitchen…and when I was done  nothing clicked. Oh, I got the room into a semblance of order but there was no magic and it remained nothing more than a converted breakfast nook …and the three years I spent in there were the three least productive years of my life.

It was only after we started making changes when I lost my contract with Nashville State that the Studio came back into existence. As we sat in the sitting room that we’d organized from the old studio space it just felt capital-letter R Right. When we trudged up to the new studio in the old bonus room it felt capital-letter/bold, underscore/Italic R “right” – the strongest impression of “rightness” any of our studios have felt since leaving Sterling in 1989.

That extra member of our family has come home.

It still has that vibe now. No doubt the resemblance to my loft bedroom back on the ranch has a lot to do with the feeling, but even on the worst days when that flight of stairs seems a thousand feet long, I continue to feel a calmness of certainty when I sit down at my desk.

Does that mean that our troubles are over and all of our challenges are being solved?

No…but for the first time in years I feel hope.

1981: Lieutenant Moonlight!

This week’s selection for ReRun Saturday. It’s been interesting working with so many veterans at Nashville State – among other things I’ve learned that I was far from being only soldier trying to reconcile two vastly different worlds…

David R. Deitrick, Designer


(Boy, that sounds like a Golden Age superhero titles, doesn’t it? Flyer’s helmet and goggles, short cape, boots and a half-moon logo on my chest.)

Ah, but it is not to be. Rather than fighting criminals or “Ratzis” the subject of today’s post has to do with the amount of freelance art work I did while serving in the Army – and it started the summer before my last year of undergraduate study.

Actually, it had been an issue since the day I signed up for ROTC. I knew that there would be a built-in conflict between the two career fields and I would bounce back and forth between planning for a career in the active army and a career in the design field combined with duty in the reserves. I would like to note that it never was a question of whether or not I would serve, but when…

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