Bobs 60th Birthday
For my 60th birthday party, Diane sent the following email to many friends and family:
Dear Friends and Family,
My best friend and partner of 36 years is turning 60 this month. As such, I am having a party for him on Saturday, March 26, (invite to follow later). Knowing that many of you won't actually be able to make the party, I was hoping to put together a collection of thoughts and stories about Bob over the last 6 decades - a funny story or adventure, a mishap or touching moment - anything that will bring back a memory of those whose lives have intersected with Bob's over the years.
This should be pretty simple. Just reply to this email (so that I have the subject line above) with your story or memory or just thoughts that you'd like to share with Bob on his special day. I'll copy & paste everything into a Word document, bind it and make it all pretty to give to him at his party. If you have a picture to add - all the better, I'll include it as well.
The party on March 26 is not a surprise, but the collection of memories and stories will be a surprise and will allow him to feel your love and connection from afar - or nearby if you can make it. Please get your stories to me no later than March 24.
Thanks everyone, for helping the ol' boy (as I affectionately call him occasionally) to feel not quite so old.
And here are the responses:
From daughter Mariel:
Didn't we do this already?
From daughter Terra:
I have a wonderful memory of standing with you on the front porch at the house on Del Norte during a heavy summer thunderstorm. I think I was around 4 years old and a little scared of all the thunder and lightning. I remember looking up at your face, watching you scan the sky. You were completely fascinated by the storm, and even though I was scared, I wanted to stay out there with you. You told me that we were safe and we counted the seconds between the lighting and thunder claps until the storm eventually passed.
I feel like that experience sums up, in part, how you look at life. You’ve always taught your children to seek out adventure and appreciate the awesome wonder of the wide world around us. You’ve showed us how empowering it can be to take a risk, which is a compelling lesson in a time that seems to be becoming overly cautious. I hope to pass these lessons on to my kids in my own way, but at the very least, I hope they will come to love a good thunderstorm as much as I do.
Happy 60th birthday, Dad! I love you
Love, Terra Lea
From old friend since high school Jane:
So the old man is gonna be sixty? How come we aren't getting older? I can't believe it's been 10 years since Saxapawhaw Bluegrass. Here are my memories of Bob...
I met you on our first high school Outdoor Club trip to Cranberry Lake when I was in 9th grade. We went backpacking in the Adirondacks in the Spring and there was still feet of snow on the ground. All of us ill-prepared. Of course a blizzard moved in after Day 1 so we had to leave early. What a fun bus ride, singing songs and carrying on. Many more Outdoor Club trips would follow: singing Boy Scouts at Howland Island, spelunking near Albany, hiking around Otisco Lake, backpacking on the Northville-Placid trail in the Adirondacks and staying at the lean-to at Duck Hole and Mr. Moran always finding a Catholic Church so we could go to Mass all smoky smelly. My best memories of high school are the Outdoor Club trips.
Then we all had to move on. You graduated and left Tut, RB, Zinsy, and sister Patty behind. But you came back to help the boys get my 18th birthday present...a brand new US Route 20 sign. It still hangs in my garage. Thanks, Bob!
Then travel, jobs, marriages, babies, and all the responsibilities that come with those stations. Finally we re-connected at a family vacation in the Adirondacks. The Eggman and I rode up on the Yamaha to see the gang. It was the first of many vacays I crashed. So happy to be welcomed as a part of your family.
And your 50th b-day in Saxapawhaw! My kids' introduction to how to party Steinbeiser-style! I was so very glad we made the trip. It's the only video I have of Mark (aka Potato Chip). And so much bluegrass...
I wish you the happiest of Happy Birthdays, my friend. And many more...
From sister-in-law Terry:
Memories of Bob
M Merle Fest- Watching you and Andy wave from the stage door
E Exploring NYC-do you remember geocaching in Central Park?
M Mobilizing the siblings and younguns- someone has to do it!
O Orientating at night by the light of the stars and one flashlight
R Repairing the Harpswell shack-the siding came out great
I Italian adventures- looking forward to the next trip
E Evening bike ride through downtown Raleigh
S Snowy mountain death march; you were not the favorite uncle that year!
O Occasional surprise visits to Plainville
F Fabulous Uncle Bob French toast breakfasts-a family vacation tradition.
B Blueberry Picking in Acadia- my first road trip with you and Di
O Organizing the battle of the north against the south, fun for all ages
B Behaving as beach bums in Virginia Beach
A letter to my brother Bob on his 60th birthday....
Where does one start when writing about our relationship? I mean think about all that we have done together over the years. It's a lot to sum up in one letter. I think it's best to get the mushy stuff out straightaway. I know as men we don't often express our feelings for each other very often so I think at the 60th anniversary of your birth this may be a good opportunity to do just that. Who knows at your age I may not get many more opportunities. Sorry dude, but I love you.
Bob you are an amazing person and I'm so very fortunate to have you in my life. You have been a great brother and friend over the years in so many ways. Let me remind you of a few examples of this amazingness as I'm sure as you're reading this you're in denial. I needed help getting new siding installed on my home in Maine. Who was on a plane headed north to help me get it done? You were my friend. Okay perhaps I did have to perform most of the technical cuts, but we got it to a point where I could easily finish it alone. I wanted some company for the long cross country drive from San Diego back to the east coast. Again, who was on a plane headed west this time? Yup, brother Bob to the rescue. Granted I had to do most of the technical driving, I'm sensing a trend here. You did make the trip great and I'll never forget the bourbon tour in Kentucky along the way.
One of your strengths that I admire most is your never ending sense of adventure. I could go on and on about the things we done, places we've seen, and trouble we've gotten into. Remember the Russian fishing vessel we meet out at sea and traded trinkets with? Or how about the hike to the top of Mt. Katahdin and then the return hike with the threat of getting electrocuted by lighting! Then there's the first Euro-adventure with the almost missed rendezvous at the Eiffel tower. That was epic! I've told that story over and over through the years and it never gets old. Yes, there's been many such adventures and I hope there's many more to come. Terry and I love sharing adventures with you and Diane and we hope to experience many more with the two of you in the years ahead.
Which brings to mind another one of your great strengths, I'm referring to your choice in women of course. They say there's a great women behind every great man; well in your case there's a great women next to a great man. I know I don't need to remind you, she's your rock and the two of you are a great team. From my point of view you can't admire one without admiring the other. You won the jackpot when you married Diane. Well played.
So as I close I'd like to leave you with this one thought. Bob, as you enter into your twilight years, don't change. Please stay that witty, funny, adventurous and lovable guy you've been for the past 60 years. Your best days are still ahead and I want to be there next to you on top of that mountain or breaking into the next green room. Stay thirsty for life my friend.
Wishing I was there to hoist a bourbon with you today, know that I am in spirit.
From old friend since middle school Kevin:
Sixty years old is no big deal and anyway, I am right behind you having turned 59 just a few weeks ago. All is well here in Minneapolis and the family is fine. I think you heard about my mother passing away. She was happy and healthy and fully engaged up the last day of her life. She died surrounded by her family (and a few empty wine bottles) and all her grandchildren were able to be present for her funeral. All in all, there are much worse ways to go. Nerm came to the calling hours so it was good to see him. Also, Mike Pierik was there and Dennis Daly too. I keep in pretty good touch with Dennis but he is about the only person from back home. I made it back to my 40th high school reunion last summer and it far exceeded expectations. Some people I recognized and others I did not. Par for the course after 40 years I guess. Diane was looking for a few stories or memories so she can serenade you at your party. Here goes. This is the sanitized version and the inside scoop edition. Probably will not make any sense or resonate with anybody but Bob so perhaps no need to share too publicly. Your call. We can dig into this more when we speak live next. Hope you have a great day!
· Remember playing pool in Nerm’s basement. Chicago blasting in the background playing “25 or 6 to 4”. The smell of not so fresh kitty litter boxes.
· Plotting to see what we could do to come up with the fastest toboggan at the school’s winter carnival.
· Back to Nerm’s basement. This time with ginormous steel “keg” of soda fountain Sprite syrup. I think that this was liberated from the Marcellus Worlds Fair. At the time it must have seemed like a good idea but it was so sweet and so gross it was actually pretty revolting. Ugh.
· Fast forward to the back receiving area of the Marcellus Big M. Some genius thought that the donuts would be safe from teenagers but they were proven wrong. Again, several (dozen?) boxes of “fried cakes” were liberated from their surroundings. You can only eat so many donuts and the donuts will only stay fresh for so long. This was another exercise in helping ourselves to much more than was really needed.
· I can remember camping out and listening to one of the cool radio stations. One of the songs that came on was “Funky Nassau”. Due to the low fidelity of the transistor radio we had we interpreted the lyrics to be “fucking asshole”. I recall we thought this was pretty hilarious.
· Bob was always getting grounded for (in my opinion) minor infractions. I never got grounded or at least never got caught.
· I remember doing really smart things with Bob. We would ride his dirt bikes with no shoes, no shirts, and definitely no helmets through the Garden of the Gods. Buzzing all around and making it back to the house on Uintah street.
· There was also the time when Bob was back in Marcellus on Christmas Day 1978. It had snowed a ton and at around5:00 PM Christmas Day the roads had not yet been plowed. Bob trudged through the snow to my house and said hi to everybody. Then, we headed out to the Alvord House as everybody was getting a little cabin fever from being inside all day. As we headed out we ran into Philip Epp (may he rest in peace) and he said he had some great weed we needed to try. The only problem was is that it was still coming down and we had no place to go to blow this bone. However, our neighbors were gone and my brother Marty was watching their cats. I recalled that they never locked their car doors so we climbed in – Philip in the driver’s seat, I am in the front passenger seat, and Bob was in the back. We smoke the j and while we are doing this Philip is tapping the brake pedal. My brother Marty is looking out the back window of our house and sees the brake lights go on. He tells my father and they reach the conclusion – somebody has broken into the neighbor’s car on their watch! My father comes rushing out of the house at the exact same time we are exiting the vehicle. Kind of like a scene out of Cheech and Chong movie smoke billows out of the car. Just as Philip is getting out of the car my father rushes him and throws him into the snow and starts wailing on him. We are in “hey man – relax – its just us mode”. My brother Marty saw the drama unfold and was laughing hysterically when we went up to our house. My mother knew what was going on so she gave us a big Harumpf! It seemed pretty funny at the time.
· I could go on but I will spare you.
Enjoy the day! Hope to see you in person some time soon!
Message to my brother Bob,
Sending best wishes your way on the occasion of your sixtieth Birthday! I wish we could be there to help you celebrate.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much you are admired and appreciated! You are a wonderful role model for all of us by always being curious about things, having many creative talents, interests and ideas. You continue to motivate us all to think about "the next big thing" and what we need to do to make it happen!
Maybe you were not always the best role model though, as I remember the old days of childhood teasing, tweetzes and paralyzer punches! Nobody is perfect! I also remember you being a helpful big brother when needed, like when you assisted me with getting my driver's license ( at age 23), which for some reason was a challenge for everyone else!!!
Nowadays, I am thankful for your great sense of humor and the fun and adventures you bring to our yearly family vacations and gatherings! Wishing you many more years of happiness, family bonding and fun!
You are my favorite older brother!! :)
With love, your little sister,
From brother-in-law Dan
I find it a little disconcerting getting older every year, but then I think of you and remember that I have at least one relative older than me! All kidding aside though, I would keep my tribute short: I have enjoyed our many conversations about topics as varied as the Erie Canal to Louis and Clarke, and everything under the sun. In between. But I will always most treasure how welcome you have always tried to make me feel with your family and siblings. Here's to many more years of health, happiness, adventure, and curiosity!
From old friend since 1987 Jim:
The carefree late 80’s…Ron and Nancy have the helm in DC…USSR on the run.
Hair metal, VHS or Beta….no cell phones…ISIS was a bad Saturday morning live-action super-heroine.
The nuclear family was alive and kicking.
Tucked away in a cozy and quiet neighborhood of Colorado Springs a young family sits down to dinner.
Its late October 1987….Aspens are yellow…air is crisp.
Bob, Diane, Tera, young-Bob.
Meanwhile….two recent college grads are finishing up shopping for their Halloween costumes.
Included in their purchase: a number of terribly realistic battery powered water guns…..
With nary a thought to the implications of their prank…an idea emerges….
Hey..”we are on the south side of the Springs….near the Steinbeiser’s….wouldn’t it be funny to surprise them?”
Car parks…two figures emerge…creep close to back door…”toys” in hand.
Imagining themselves in full comic-book realism…they sneak quietly thru back door of house.
“great timing…they are sitting down at the dinner table”
With a rush they burst in…”toys” drawn.
The young family…stunned, startled…look unhappy.
Bob, I’m so glad you and your family had an incredible sense of humor and understanding.
Today…such an act is unfathomable.
The “toys” are featured in 3 of the photos…given the “fun” we had…I stored mine in a box that followed my many moves over the last 28 years.
As you see…I still have it…and it functional J
Have a great birthday, Bob!
From brother-in-law Danny
I have always enjoyed Bob's story about muffler dogs on road trips shows great ingenuity. Bob always has great ideas and positive energy.
Best wishes. I hope you have been able to upgrade your road stops since then.
From old friend since high school Bill Z.
I fondly remember a warm afternoon in Marcellus when Bob, without my involvement, had somehow come into possession of an old police siren. Not the modern “klaxon” type we hear today, but the old-fashioned kind that gradually would wind itself up from low volume to high, and then would slowly cycle up and down in frequency. Bob was always very handy with gadgets and electronics, and he had not found it difficult to pump power into the siren from his car, I presume by tapping into the cigarette lighter, but I can't be sure. At any rate, quite a few Marcellus teenager drivers were given significant scares that afternoon as Bob, with a few friends along for the ride, picked out young victims and pulled them over with his handy little noise-maker. Possibly against the law, but I'm grateful that we didn't care about that!
Late one evening in Marcellus, a performance of the school musical had come to its conclusion. The crowd attending the performance had gone home long ago and just a few remaining stage-hands and actors were saying goodnight and departing. I was chatting with Bob on the grass of the school, when we glanced into an open door and noticed that a mannequin was “standing” unattended, backstage. The mannequin had a pleasing female shape and also lacked any clothes. We quickly realized what needed to be done and in a few seconds we had a new female companion in the back of our car. All we could think of to do with the mannequin was to place her under streetlights in key locations around town. It wasn't much of a prank, but it was enough. Cars would come cruising along, hurrying to get somewhere, but not in so much of a hurry that our attractive friend didn't catch their attention. Bob and I had many long laughs as people slowed their cars to a crawl to figure out what a naked woman (though a rather rigid-looking one at that) was doing standing under a streetlight on a chilly Marcellus night! I believe we returned the lovely lady to her rightful home much later in the evening, or at least, we put her near to the school doorway from whence she came.
From sister-in-law Debbie:
What can I say about you, Bob, turning 60 this year?
Happy Birthday for a life well lived! May you live 60 more!
I have so many memories of you over the years, it's hard to know where to start, but definitely one of the funniest, and at times awkward memory, was the time of that family reunion when our beds were so close together, Diane and and I could literally hold hands over that tiny gap between our beds in a shared cabin for a Hickey Family Reunion. Thank God Diane and I could act as that buffer between our husbands when we laid our heads on the pillows to sleep. Definitely one for the books...and the tiny living room where our kids slept sprawled on the floor. And to think....you kept coming back for all those Hickey Family reunions.
You also endured a lot over the years dealing with a myriad of Hickey in-laws, especially my Mom. I know all too well how much you endured over so many years...but...despite everything, because of the love you have for my sister, Diane, you kept taking the high road and gave so much to my Mom. You made a difference in her life.
Bob, I have memories of you hiking a few hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail...because I was with you in spirit the whole way as I read all of your journal entries.
THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION!
Bob, Technically you may be my brother-in-law, but in reality, you are one of my best friends, and a brother like I needed. Over the years you have been there for me in the ways I needed, and in ways I didn't realize, you supported me when I was down, and you made me laugh, you make me smile.
Bob, You traveled across the world to come to my son's wedding in Spain. I was, and am, truly touched. It meant a lot to me, as well as to my son and his new bride. Just a perfect example of how you often go 'the extra mile' when it comes to family. (It was one helluva wedding celebration, wasn't it?)
You are the best! You're a loving and devoted husband, you're a loving and supportive Dad, and you're a great Grandpa too! Family comes first and you've lived that, so that your children know it in their bones.
I love you dearly, wish you the best in the years to come, and know that you always have an open invitation to visit me and Jer wherever life takes us!
I wish I was there in person to give you a nice big hug!
Happy Birthday, Bob.
Love, hugs, kisses and more,
From old friend since high school Tom:
Let’s see what can I remember from 40+ years ago . . . my memory is getting so bad:
Working in the Forest Homes Hotel kitchen at Otisco Lake (and many parties at the lake after work).
Riding around in the Beiser family black ford station wagon.
Camping and spelunking with Outdoor Club.
Borrowing Route 20 sign for Jane’s birthday / going away to college present. Those sign posts were pretty tall and there seemed to be more traffic than we expected for that time of night/morning. It seemed like a great idea at the time though.
Summer trip with Mr Moran and RB. That I’ll never forget until the day I croak. Let’s see, Coors Brewery, Estes Park, Pike’s Peak, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Ensenada, Malibu, San Fran, Yosemite, Redwoods, Mt Rainier, Oregon coast, Mt Hood, Columbia River, Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise, Glacier Park, Grand Tetons, Mt Rushmore. It’s still unbelievable.
Bike trip down to Lansing or Dryden or somewhere in the boonies for the Farm Days to see your dad, my ass and legs hurt for a week.
Weekend trips to Alfred State. Don’t remember much about those for some reason.
Riding around in your VW beetle with the broken starter and broken windshield wiper motor. You had to park on a hill in order to start it unless someone was with you to push (that was usually me). On rainy days the passenger had to move the string tied to the windshield wipers that ran thru the window vents (that was also usually me).
You got me a job at the restaurant in Colorado Springs, but I quit after one day so I could head up to Estes Park with Opie and Pete. I still feel bad about boning you like that. You did end up coming up for a visit though. And I had to leave it all to go back to school, tough decision.
My mom said you reminded her of the TV character Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver. She knew you were the nicest kid but was always worried whenever I was hanging out with you. First thing she asked when I ran afoul of the law that time, where’s Bob? Nope no Bob but I was with RB, Cut, & Cow-Cow.
Happy Birthday Bob,
From nephew Steve:
Sorry I missed the deadline and hope the celebration was wonderful!! I do remember that someone let a possibly endangered turtle make it back to the wild once upon an Arkansas vacation!
From niece Rachel:
What a lovely idea! I actually checked last-minute airfares to Raleigh since Mike and I had been talking about visiting down there, but there weren't any practical options.
I tried hard to think of a memory, and this is all I could come up with: mooning the Duck Boats in Arkansas. (That was him leading the way, right??)
I hope the party is great!
From sister-in-law Gail:
The first time I saw Bob Steinbesier I had just flown into Colo Springs to help my little partner with her wedding. She produced a picture of her future husband. He was all dressed in a red satin suit including tail. I said you're marrying that devil. I remember thinking he really looked like a devil.
Lots of love from your favorite sister in law,