1972 - Rush Limbaugh Home
For the summer of 1967 I had gone up to Calumet to spend the summer with Vic. His father Verne owned a bar in Calumet and Vic told me his dad had been involved with the mob. We stayed at an old closed down bar that had been a hot spot for the mob till the 50s. Verne was a Cub's fan and I was a Cardinal's fan. One day Vic dropped me off at his dad's bar and Verne and I watched the Cardinal's win a double header over the cubs. I had a good time rubbing in how the Cubs had traded Lou Brock to the Cardinal's as Lou had a good day that day.
Vic had told me that his dad was not enthralled with the fact that he was dropping out of school and planning on continuing to live on the campus. His dad told him that the universities were supported by the taxpayers and the local economy around the campus was not real. He wanted Vic to move on and get out into the real world. That argument had made an impression on me and by early 72 I was beginning to lose enthusiasm for the hippie drop out lifestyle. My parents had moved to Florida in 71 and walking around in the winter slush with no money in Illinois was not that appealing. I had several good friends that I didn't want to leave but I also noticed how many losers like me were just hanging around the campus living off the economy supported by taxpayer dollars. That and the fact that the democratic party had a real anti-Vietnam candidate convinced me that it was time for me to drop back in. I decided it was time to move on.
On April 15th, 1972 I boarded a bus to begin my move to join my parents in Naples, Fl. My mom had inherited enough money from her rich aunt Blanche to buy a home in Naples in 1971. Aunt Blanche had been married to Flo Ziegfield who founded the Ziegfield Follies.
The bus stopped at a bus station somewhere in southern Illinois around East St. Louis for a several hour wait to transfer to a bus to Atlanta. I entered the station and sat down at the food counter next to a young black man and said hi. I noticed a jukebox about 40 feet to my right and as I got off my stool to walk over there to play some tunes I looked to my right and saw a portly short haired, well-dressed young man in a suit and tie sitting on a bench and looking right at me. I had long hair and was dressed in jeans, sport shirt, and tennis shoes.
After dropping out in 68, I had went into my hippie phase, working as a dishwasher, car wash attendant, and cab driver while I hung around the campus, got high, tried to get laid, and attended some classes without getting credit. I still tended to classify people at that time as either cool or straight depending on the length of their hair. So naturally my first thought when I saw this guy was, "Boy, is he straight." I went to the juke box and played two songs. The first was the theme song from the Clint Eastwood movie "Kelly's Heroes" by the Mike Curb Congregation. I had recently seen that movie and liked the theme song and the theme of the movie which demonstrated the peacefulness of the market vs the insanity of war. The name of the song was "All the Burning Bridges" by The Mike Curb Congregation.
Friends all tried to warn me
But I held my head up high
All the time they warned me
But I only passed them by
They all tried to tell me
But I guess I didn't care
I turned my back and
left them standing there.
All the burning bridges that have fallen after me
All the lonely feelings and the burning memories
Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door
Burning bridges lost forevermore
Joey tried to help me find a job a while ago
When I finally got it I didn't want to go
The party Mary gave for me when I just walked away
Now there's nothing left to say.
Years have passed and I keep thinking what a fool I've been
I look back into the past and think of way back then
I know that I lost everything I thought that I could win
I guess I should have listened to my friends
Anyway the song was talking about leaving one's friends which is what I was doing so it really struck a cord with me. It started off with a march type tempo with a marching drum sound so I figured maybe the straight guy sitting on the bench behind me would like it. After that the second song came on which was BB King's "The Thrill is Gone." I had seen BB King live at Ann Arbor Michigan around 71 and liked his sound. The "Thrill is Gone" song was getting a little old at that time, but it was the only BB King song I saw, and I figured it would play well with the black man sitting to the right of me and show how hip I was. I talked to the black man for awhile and he left as the BB King song ended.
It was then that the man sitting on the bench behind me came up to the counter and asked me point blank what I thought of the war. I appreciated his directness and told him that I thought it sucked and that I had burned my draft card and wasn't about to go to Vietnam. He was the first person that I had mentioned the burning of my draft card to. I didn't tell him that I was one of the two protesters shown on national TV burning that card five years earlier in Washington, DC or that I had gotten out of the draft by claiming to be a homosexual. He didn't express an opinion of the war one way or the other. We discussed where we were going. I told him I was leaving the U of Ill and mentioned I wanted to get away from a bunch of losers on the campus (of course I was talking about myself being a loser also) and that I was going to Naples, Fl to stay with my parents. He said he was going to Atlanta to start a new job. Then he started asking me questions about my political beliefs.
I was raised on a golf course in central Illinois and had absorbed the conservative values of the heartland. After some 9 years on a university campus many of those values had been eroded by the leftist indoctrination prevalent on the college campuses at the time. I soon figured out that the man talking to me was a heartland conservative. He asked me what I thought of Nixon and of course I was a Nixon hater at the time. He mentioned how he had gotten his beliefs from his dad and his dad had voted for Nixon. I mentioned that my dad had also but I had changed in college. Then we got into the market and the role of the federal government in regulating business. I was very anti-big business at the time and considered the federal government to be the protector of the common man. He was arguing for the free market and the evils of excess centralization of power in the federal government. He was pretty persuasive and forceful in his argument and I must admit that I did not have a good rebuttal.
I didn't think about it then, but I should have known that I was going to be on the same bus as him as I was going through Atlanta myself. He said he had to get on his bus and started to leave. He asked me my name and I told him. Then I asked him his name and he said "Rush Limbaugh." I thought that was a strange name. The first name made me think of my roommate Tommie who was always talking about a drug rush. I thought Rush's last name was strange also and as he started to leave I asked him if anyone ever called him Limburger - my idea of a joke I guess. He just said no. I put my hand on his shoulder and said "OK Rush."
Ten minutes later they called me to get on the bus and as I boarded sure enough I saw Rush sitting half way back on the right. I really didn't want to sit next to him as I was probably intimidated by his presence and didn't want to be challenged anymore. He was sitting on the aisle side leaving a window seat open which told me he didn't want anyone sitting next to him anyway as they would have to climb over him to get to their seat. Besides I saw a good-looking young woman sitting toward the back on the left in a window seat so I headed back there. The poor woman - I was probably pretty rank by then anyway. I had no other encounters with the gentleman named Rush Limbaugh and we parted ways in Atlanta.
That would be my last actual physical encounter with Rush, but as you will discover when you read Rush Limbaugh-2 I did have a very strange near encounter with Rush in the 1980s.
See Rush Limbaugh-2