Friday, November 26, 2010

They Passed This Way: Jim Morrison

"If only I could hear
the sound of the sparrows
and feel childhood pulling me back again"
 (Jim Morrison  1967)
As the son of a naval officer who would rise to the rank of Rear Admiral, James Douglas Morrison enjoyed an idyllic childhood.  Born in Melbourne, Florida on December 8th, 1943,  Jim was raised in the typical manner of military dependents.  It was his father's rank and service that brought him to the Land of Enchantment, which was not a normal destination for a career naval officer.  The Morrison family would live in Albuquerque, not once but twice. The family's first stay was from 1946 to 1948.  Following a brief post war assignment in Washington D.C., George Morrison was assigned as an instructor at the Naval Special Weapons Facility, located at Kirtland AFB.  The following year, 1947, would be memorable for the Morrison clan. Jim's sister Anne Robin was born in Albuquerque, then during a weekend outing to Santa Fe, the family came upon the aftermath of  a highway accident involving some Indians in a pick-up truck.  The scene would have a lasting effect on four year old Jim, the memory  would haunt him for the rest of his life.     Jim's father spoke of the incident years later: "We went by several Indians" George Morrison recalled "It did make an impression on him, He always thought about that crying Indian"   Although Jim described it as "Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death" his sister offered her thoughts on the matter. "He enjoyed telling that story and exaggerating it, He said he saw a dead Indian by the side of the road, and I don't even know if that's true." As for the nonsense that the spirit of  a dying Indian passed onto Jim as they drove by, chalk that up as part of the Lizard King mystique
  In 1948 George Morrison received his orders and the family relocated to Los Altos, Ca. where Jim would begin his schooling.  More moves would follow, Washington D.C. (1951) Claremont,Ca. (1952) and then in 1955 back to Albuquerque. George Morrison now returned to the Naval Special Weapons Facility as  Commander.  The family took up residence at 8912 Candelaria NE, forever known as the "Morrison House".  Jim Morrison now 12 years old would attend both Monroe and Wilson Middle Schools.  Jim's stay in Albuquerque was normal and without incident, the family lived a quiet life in a quiet neighborhood.  After two years, the family left Albuquerque for good, moving to Alameda,Ca., In 1958 they moved again, this time to Alexandria,Va. where Jim graduated from high school.  Following a short stint at a junior college, Jim enrolled at Florida State Univ., where he was arrested in 1963 following a drunken prank. Having soured on the restrictive attitudes of the Florida panhandle, Jim transfered to UCLA in 1964,  where he earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA's film school.  He now pursued his love of film making, producing two films with his roommate. It seemed that Jim was destined for a career in movie making, until he met fellow film school student Ray Manzarek.  Their acquaintanceship would lead to the formation of The Doors in 1965.  The band's self-titled debut LP, released in January of 1967 was the beginning of the band's success.  The Doors would go on to become one of the most popular rock bands of all time. Jim Morrison would transcend rock music, becoming an icon for an entire generation.  His death in 1971 at the age of 27,  robbed the world of a rare and unique talent.  The Lizard King, he passed this way, we felt his presence, we shared his pain, the king is dead, long live the king. 
"Some call it heavenly in its brilliance"
Jim Morrison