Lest you think there were no good teachers at all in Redmond, there were. I had great social studies, math, biology, and of course, music teachers. I had a great english teacher, a student teacher from the University of Oregon, who really got me into the right books. 4 out of close to 50, hmmmm... probably not a good average.
I didn't learn much in school because by now I was totally disenfranchised from the system. I was a "troubled teen'! But I listened to tons of music, and read voraciously - Hemingway, Faulkner, Kesey, all the Beats (Kerouac et al), and the reigning informational text of the time, Rolling Stone Magazine. I vividly remember reading Hunter Thompson's Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas in Rolling Stone. This proves what I call the "Lincoln Doctrine of Education". You actually can educate yourself by reading, and that education is deeply personal, you don't get someone else's opinions in there. Think about it.
I also read all the original National Lampoons and managed to save all this stuff (which would be worth thousands today), until my Mom threw them all out, along with my brother's Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris rookie cards, all the original Elvis Presley Sun 45's, etc. She DID keep old golf balls with cuts in the covers, pots and pans with dents in them, and appliances that didn't work. She didn't understand why we would want "all that junk". She was the greatest. :-)
My Mom also studiously destroyed all pictures of me during this time, so no one would ever know what I looked like. I had long hair, I wore homemade tie-dye, the whole Oregon I-want-to-be-a-hippie thing. What Mom doesn't know is, I saved my student ID card from my freshman year in college. I have never shown this to anyone, but here for all the world to see, is me in my 17 year old hippie glory (it's been through the washer a few times, so it's a little distorted on the left :-)
Here's another bit of good luck, and one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me (at least in retrospect). Mr. Moore had hired a second band director, a young guy fresh out of the U. of O. named Tom Kranovich who played the trumpet. He ran the Brass Choir and the Jazz Band, was a positive influence on me musically, and was a very decent guy. I was starting to improvise (although I had no idea what I was doing), and he showed me the "blues scale", that ubiquitous bit of semi-accurate information prevalent in jazz education at the time (it still is, but that's another issue). He also tried to teach me to double-tongue, which I still can't do, but one day I showed him what I had been doing naturally, which is called doodle-tongueing. He didn't start lecturing me, he told me, "just do that, you sound good". By letting me do what came naturally, he set up my entire musical career and every success I had as a trombonist later on. Thanks, man! He also did me a huge favor, although quite by accident. One day I asked him where I should go to school, because I wanted to play the trombone. I knew he went to the U of O, and I also knew the trombone teacher there was a little behind the times (no disrespect intended, he was an older guy). So this young turk from the U of O did the unthinkable (at least for a U of O grad :-). He said "You know, they are starting a jazz program at Southern Oregon, and I heard they hired David Baker". (David Baker is a very well known and well respected African American jazz educator, a real pioneer!). I was too dumb to check it out, I signed right up!
Now, this was slightly incorrect, they had hired a guy from The University of Texas named David Caffey, who is definitely not African American. David ended up being my second great mentor, and someone I think the world of. A great teacher, and a great friend. He helped me more than anyone in my life. We have always laughed about our first meeting - I was his first college student, he was my first college teacher. I walked in to the music department, and went to his office to audition. I thought when the door opened, I would see David Baker, and I couldn't figure out why "Caffey" was on the door. Going to a college because David Baker was going to be teaching there, and end up with David Caffey, I would have to be REALLY stupid, right?
When that door opened, David visibly jumped. Standing before him was a disturbed, vile looking tree hippie, as you can see from the picture :-) He was expecting a fine young collegiate prospect, who had taken lessons, knew his scales and the basics, someone he could mold into a good young trombonist. This is kind of like ordering a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne, and the waiter bringing you a bottle of Olde English Malt Liquor, or Ripple. I was just kind of stunned. David was even more stunned when he heard me play. I couldn't play a damn thing by civilized standards. I'm lucky he didn't just send me packing :-) Thanks, David!