< Riegel Entry No. 3, The Bottle House >

Pharm Phantasy Series

        While sitting on the sand one evening, and watching the waves break on the shore, I could not help but think just how blessed our lives actually are. We live in the greatest nation in the world, we have cherished and enduring friends (pharm phriends are the best), we have our families and we all had the rare opportunity of knowing one of the most unique personalities of our time. Michael Rubel made an indelible imprint on each and every one of our souls in one way or another, but mostly another.
But just exactly who was this multi-faceted being who so affected our lives? Ted Shepherd said “There never was a man called Michael Rubel.” But for so many of us fortunate ones, Michael was very real and he affected many aspects of our lives. Michael was our surrogate mother superior in a nebulous religion of life. He was our ‘Mother Goose’ who would nurture and protect her goslings to the very end and he had hundreds of goslings over the years. He was our Boy Scout Master extraordinaire with merit badges like no other troop in history. For example, here are a few of the merit badges I played worked for; 1: Liberating torching techniques for use between the hours of midnight and five. 2: Fire starting using a whole telephone pole by dragging it in from another city. 3: The celebratory shooting of rifles, pistols and cannons within the city limits. 4: Building character and castles without an official permit or W2’s. 5: The exploration and continuation of abandoned and condemned water tunnel systems under Glendora proper. 6: The use of prayer and dynamite for constructive and/or destructive purposes, depending on how the blast went, and those are only a fraction of them. Michael was our drill sergeant in a Montessori boot camp smack dab in the middle of affluent suburbia. He was our Pied Piper whom we intuitively followed into the kitchen, into the battle or into the night, in reverse order from bad to worse. He was also our Don Quixote with whom we chased and captured those elusive giants, just like Sancho. But most of all, Michael was our Peter Pan. Yes! Our ‘PAN’ . . . the unofficial, unelected and unopposed leader of all the ‘Lost Boys’ of Glendora and a few tinker belles too!!
That’s right, BANGARANG!!, boys and girls, BANGARANG!!!!
You know it’s ironic that although he repeatedly and habitually thanked us for giving to him our time, talents and creative endeavors, it was incommensurable to that which he gave us. As it turns out he is our benefactor and he gave to us all an unobstructed, unlimited and crystal clear perspective of life that only he alone could gift. I personally will never be able to look at life in a fuzzy one dimensional plane ever again and I’m extremely thankful for that. Thank you Michael for the concrete rewards you gave to us all.
This next poem was never published or read by anyone. It was just written, shelved and ignored until now but remains to this day one of my favorites. I’m still in awe of how Michael was able to survive in that little bottle house for so long of a period of time. On a double dare back in the 70’s, I took up residence in it for 14 days and almost died and went insane or is it went insane and almost died??? Anyway, this poem is dedicated to all those who spent one night or more in that ridiculously non-subsistent but extremely magically little bottle house, especially Michael. If you haven’t spent a night in it before, I strongly recommend it, especially for the cleansing of ones soul. But be forewarned, at the first symptom of dementia, pack your bag and leave post haste, on second thought, just leave the damn bag and get the hell out of there as fast as you possibly can as your mental well being is depending on it!
Hope you enjoy and HAPPY 2008!!!
        Remaining an old pharm hand, RonThe Bottle House, completed at Rubel Castle in 1968.

Brother with family                                      but nowhere to live
               Mother concluded                                          her place to them give
She’d move in with Michael                    and Grandfather too!
               What was young Master                             expected to do?

Kinetic was life                                               in the palace of tin
               Habitually celebrate                                       the sentiment within
Food and fine wine                                       perpetually at hand
               Elegant the dance                                            of the famed Sally Rand.

The regal, the royal,                                      the famous and wealthy
               All this cavorting                                             could not be that healthy
Relations grew strained                              and progress delayed
               A decision to move                                        was soon to be made.

Millions of gallons                                        did reservoir hold
               In dreams of the orange                               and not of gold
Phlushed of phrogs                                       and liquid drained
               From palace life                                               escape was framed.

But what form of structure                        would be conducive
               To a life so simple                                          they say reclusive
Deeply hidden                                                from an ambivalent world
               None could imagine                                      what would be unfurled.

Inspired by                                                        a unique soul
               To build a retreat                                            was his primary goal
Cement and bottles                                       were destined to meet
               A massive slab                                                 of vintage concrete.

Diminutive it was                                          as needs were little
               A good smoking pipe                                  and a place to piddle
A bed with a ladder                                     a chair colored blue
               A potbellied stove                                         hooked up to a flue.

Conditions extreme                                     subsistence at best
                Essentially a place                                       to muse and to rest
Winters were hard                                                       the summers overbearing
                The little tin roof                          either frozen or searing.

But in his abode                                           he was able to dwell
                Away from the limelight                         and bad witch’s spell
To work on his castle                                with minor distraction
                To ponder dissension                                and outside reaction.

Neither oracles nor shaman                   could ever foretell
                This was the birth                                       of the castle “Rubel”
The alchemy profuse                                the inner-light sublime
                A place where “Lost Boys”                  could get lost in time!

                                            – Ron Riegel    ’71

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