David R. Williams

Profile Updated: October 27, 2015
David R. Williams
Residing In Zapata, TX USA
Spouse/Partner never married
Occupation photographer, oilfield supervisor...not simultaneously
Children 1...Pretty sure
Yes! Attending Reunion

#682.808.2100. southerner_now@yahoo.com
How does one synopsize a lifetime?
Mine has been very Forest Gump like: dumb luck and great timing.
As if an invisible hand was steering its course.
To make it fun I'm gonna be Tell All.

My Mom remarried 7 years after my father died. The man she chose, the 2nd husband, a feeble excuse for a man, was a doctrinaire, unapologetic STALINIST. (Crazy, right? You can't make this up.) He hero worshipped the monster that had exterminated 100 million people. Politics meant nothing to Mom so we guessed she just overlooked his politics. He was the size of a Linebacker, a Momma's Boy in his bones, and preferred not speaking in English. Believed all things in the Soviet Union was best. And like the current crop of "Progressives" vehemently Anti American. He was an IMBECILE. (Ironically, Stalin detested his fans in Europe and America: Liberal Infantilists.) Naturally, he passionately disliked River Forest folks. River Forest is the encapsulation of all things wrong in America.

During WWII Mom and 3 men who were 4F designees founded Saint Charles Kitchens. And they quickly became integral participants in the American architectural avant garde. Ray and Charles Eames were buddies and vendors. She worked for Schindler, Neutra, and Mies Van Der Rohe. She knew Frank Lloyd Wright personally. Mom was actually REALLY cool.

Dad died when I was 9. Brain cancer spread everywhere. Caused by exposure to fall out radiation at Nagasaki. Prisoner of war twice and twice liberated by the British. Survivor of the Battan Death March. He was the 1st engineer in the world to specialize in concrete. And became the adopted son of a Japanese national to save their lives. (That's a great story.) NASA's vertical assembly building construction he quarterbacked; the Sands Hotel...the one blown up in Oceans 11...was the 1st earthquake proof skyscraper in the world & he quarterbacked that, too. His Las Vegas buddies ranged from Astronauts to the Rat Pack. Sometimes they came by the house.

Remember when the Prudential Building was the tallest in Chicago? Dad refined skyscraper engineering. (They are structures with center support columns and cantilevered floors.) His patents allowed them to be higher and no load bearing walls. Became towers of glass. He changed the skylines of the world. Chicago's not excluded.
He was tough. Former Marine. I didn't know his 1st name until I saw it posted at his wake. Honestly, I thought his name was Yes Sir. (No, I am NOT kidding.) Mom's Dad, also an engineer, rescued AT&T. He was my Dad's best friend. Gran Pa Longerbeam knew Thomas Edison. It was an interesting home to grow up in. Personal goals were always to be set beyond one's easy grasp.

I was not prepared for Miss Yoder's talk with me. Turns out my SAT and ACT scores were really high. I was soooo relieved. My Dad's death had been harrowing to survive. (Mom fell apart. We didn't always have food in the house. We were so young we didn't know about 411 so we couldn't locate our Grand Parents numbers. It was scary for a while.) Dean Yoder advised graduating after Junior year. And I did.
Mom's 2nd husband could not tolerate the idea of me attending elite private schools. He meddled with things and I lost all of my scholarship money. He threw me on their combined income tax. Why? Private schools, like Harvard and Oxford, who dogged me to attend, who were offering full ride scholarship monies, made him appoplexic with anger. You see they were actually "enemies of the people." It was his moral obligation to save me from them, don't you know. (Guys, you can't make this up. No, I am not kidding.)
Mom did not lift a finger to remedy this: just amend the income tax return.
It was just that easy. To avoid a spat with Hubby it did not happen. I was 16 and my Dad was dead. I didn't have any money in the bank. No apology. No remedy. No remorse. Period. Blindsided...Shocked...Disappointed...Angry...you get it.
3 years had passed with no contact, Mom showed up tearfully one day uninvited. Remorseful. Deeply sorry. "I love you more than my own life."
Mom promised not to make the mistake again. Of course, SHE DID IT AGAIN. It ruined our relationship. It never recovered. I was the "Good Son" indeed but in form only.

She had breast cancer twice. I became her primary care provider, of course. But that deep loving trust most people enjoy with their Mom was absent from my life. 5 years later she called me from her deathbed. Troubled by her conduct. She had no clue how she could have been "so cruel." "You were trying to please your 2nd husband," I said reminding her. "Oh yes, that's right." 12 hrs later she was gone.
She made my Dad turn down Ray Crock. Mr Crock came to the house from Des Plaines with Dad. Mr Crock needed $10,000.00 and would make Dad a 50/50 partner. To Mom it was "just too much for a burger joint." No, I am not kidding. Mr Goelitz our neighbor witnessed it, too.
Mom refused to let us "Garbage Pick" the discarded, original Frank Lloyd Wright furniture that would be set out during "Village Days." Years later, reminiscing about her "Greatest Hits," she would laugh and say, "Goodness sakes, I make awful decisions, don't I?"
I never spoke about my Mom...now you know why.

BUT...where a door closes a window opens.
Bye, Bye Oxford...Hello University of Chicago.

My interview at the Univeristy of Chicago was on Plato's Nichomachean Ethics...believe it or not. Made the mistake of saying I had read The Republic to the world's foremost Plato scholar (how would I know who the interviewer was?). Routed him in a lively discussion. My essay topic, Dad took us to walk with Dr. King in Cicero, had hit the right note. So, I had to move downtown...away from idyllic River Forest...to work and commute to school. Luckily, U of C was simply extraordinary.
I didn't receive any financial aid not just because of the Stalinist. There was another wrinkle. 1974 was the year Affirmative Action was embraced by Academia. And "indigent White Boys were not going to be helped." They said it to me angrily. I pointed out that I am Quaker descended and had done no one harm. "White Privillege." Stupid me...I had selected 2 Mayflower descendants as parents. Bad, Dave! I worked & studied & worked etc. FYI...Not one of the original 50 Affirmative Action scholars even attended one day of a single class that 1st year. They were not expelled.
Dr. King's dream, that cost his life, was turned inside out.

Yes, I am a proud Republican: the party of Lincoln and I would argue Dr. King. Eisenhower integrated Little Rock and passed the 1st Civil Rights Act of 1958. JFK used Hoover's FBI to blackmail MLK in an effort to cease his cause. Everett Dirksen's Republicans joined with LBJ to pass the subsequent Civil Rights Acts. Sorry, but America is suffering the Democrats' lieing revisionism. I digress.

A string of odd events landed me at Playboy. It was 100% accidental. Had Oprah not knocked me to the ground it wouldn't have happened. She literally and accidently knocked me to the ground in front of Playboy Tower. (She has knocked me down twice actually...again, no I am not kidding.)There I was the last person trained by the original photographers. Richard Fegley was Barry Gordy's (Motown founder) photographer & I met just about all of the Motown greats. I did shoot 1 international cover (Marie Williams, I think.) Then pursued commercial photography on my own for 17 years. You actually make more when the subjects have their clothes on. (Think about it...makes complete sense.) Clients included French Vogue, Armani, & Calvin Klein; Sears, Wards, and Field's. Yes, I knew Cindy Crawford and Halle Berry, too. They are nicer human beings than they are good looking.

Through Phyllis Kind (an Oak Park resident) I wrote for The 2nd City. I saw Dan Castellanetta's 1st appearance on the Main Stage (OPRF 1975). And I turned down Del Close's invitation to join SNL 2nd season when he became its Director/metaphysical wizard. (Yeppers, big dumb mistake). Writer not performer.
Had 2 pieces in the 25th year anniversary show: Emergency Room and Bus Ride. Originator of John Belushi's Samurai skit. Original outline for "There's something about Mary"...based on Vanessa Bronecke.
David Mamet had been a waiter there at 2nd City, John Hughes would show up in his Janitor's uniform, and we 3 routinely sat at the same "Onesies Table."
(But I was sooo lonesome! No one would come downtown. Once in a while I could "kidnap" Cathy Booth. And in 17 years I never saw, met, or photographed a more beautiful woman. I would rank her looks easily with Catherine Deneuve. Wasn't Cathy something else! )
Read for Hughes to do Risky Buisness and originated the dance scene. He didn't like my voice. Somewhere in there, I worked for Phyllis Kind, befriended the painters Eric Fischl and Dan Ramirez, and everybody in the Hairy Who? Ed Paschke painted my portrait a couple of times. "Fumar" is the one above. Spent a lot of time at CBGB and in the East Village in New York. The Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith were clients of Phyllis and kinda buddies. Billy Corrigan was a friend, too.
NYC was sooooooo much fun. And I coined the phrase Bad Painting.

(Trish encouraged me to make this Bio personal and resume like. This is difficult and kinda uncomfortable. I usually just tell folks I've been working full time since I was 16. Here it is nevertheless. Uncomfortably.)

After 9/11, I moved to the South: photography imploded. Became an Oil field Supervisor. Enjoyed the warm winters. Kinda on purpose forgot the way back North. Every Fall I dream of the scent of burning leaves.
***And I would gladly accept a HUGE bag full...I'll pay the postage.
***Or send ya some Mesquite Its everywhere down here.

The Arts gave me a fascinating life. Not purposeful one, of course. Tom Pelham (OPRF 1973, remember him?) was running Leo Castelli/SoHo. The #1 art gallery in the world. He had a lot of fun in the Arts, too. Graciously made NYC fun for me also. Hello Tom!!!!

No, I never married: it is my greatest disappointment. The ONE thing I wanted the most. I am so jealous of the folks blessed with marriage and kids.

Biggest thrill...having drinks with Tennessee Williams (who I was hired to photograph) while he chatted with Mick Jagger and James Brown at the Blackstone hotel. That was better than running the "You talking to Me?" lines with Robert Deniro. Which I did. In his private elevator...in his private building. I was at the wrong address in NYC of course. We both hadda big laugh. The arts are crazy like that.

The best thing...Sunday School.
Yes, that determination includes living in Paris and Rome. (Bury my ashes in either city, mix'em in the soil and plant a flowering tree, please.) Those lessons which introduced me to considering morality, deductive reasoning, a personal responsibility for conduct and thought, how to handle the thorniest issues humans can face, and to try to be Good, fueled the life of my mind.
That paradigm began there in Sunday School under Rev. Nichols. Its through that prism I view the world. And to the greatest extent formed my core. I would not be Me myself without them.

To me the best thing ever was encountering Jesus Christ.
The older I get the more I appreciate the letters in red.
****Highly recommend to everyone PLEASE read C.S. Lewis

Relax, I was Churchy in high school, too. I'm the same Dave. And I remain pretty much a Northerner about my Faith. Not as private about it now. Just being honest here (and why not?). But I have spent enough time in the South to give a Shout Out of thanks to God, y'all. (I'm allowed to say "y'all.")
Its been an incredible ride.

No, I don't own any regular street shoes any more. 100% cowboy boots and I can ride pretty durn good, too. I can't jump a fence YET I'm gonna one day. Yes, I wear cowboy hats. Despite what you're assuming The South is awesome. It is also a lot..really a lot... like Talladega Nights. They work to live...not live to work. Jetison your 1950's stereotypes. Think instead: one extended family with really good manners and a bunch of fried food.

Man, I miss everyone of you!
Countless times y'all have been in my conversation and thoughts. Pizza at Nancy's...Jackson 5 at Ellen's. Perfection. Wasn't it just hours of the pleasantest of times. My face hurt from smiling. I wouldn't change a thing for the world. I was certainly blessed.
The South is just like those evenings...pretty much...with fried food.
(No pizza...pizza really, really sucks in the South.) If you're ever at Due's think of me.

Thank you so much for being some of the best part of my life!

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Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 PM
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Oct 12, 2015 at 9:37 AM

Posted on: Oct 12, 2015 at 8:22 AM

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Oct 12, 2015 at 9:38 AM

Posted on: Oct 12, 2015 at 8:21 AM

Oct 11, 2015 at 3:33 PM

I am so sorry. I can still remember a short story she wrote in 5th grade...it was brilliant.

David R. Williams has left an In Memory comment for Patrick Marie Dowling.
Oct 11, 2015 at 3:33 PM

I knew Patrick since 1st grade...I am so sorry.

David R. Williams has left an In Memory comment for Vincent DiBenedetto.
Oct 11, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Vince was an hilarious guy...I am sorry.

David R. Williams has left an In Memory comment for James P. Moffatt.
Oct 11, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Jim was a neighbor and friend since 1st grade. He was hilarious all the time. I think I was the 1st person he 'came out' to. We all kinda knew...NBD. He loved his time in So Cal with his Spider sports car. He blossomed out there. He contracted AIDS I think. It moved quickly. My heart still goes out to his parents. God rest his soul. Miss ya Jimmy.

Oct 11, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Msureen was the 1st girl to tell me she had a crush on me. I am so sorry.

David R. Williams posted a message. New comment added.
Oct 12, 2015 at 1:50 PM

Posted on: Oct 10, 2015 at 1:13 AM

Hey...im working...or else Id attend! Damn I miss you...! Whete/how can I contact Cathy?

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Posted: Oct 12, 2015 at 8:21 AM