Len Edwards 


Born May 4, 1940, Grand Rapids, Michigan

One of my two favorite brothers.  It is a pity that he was never able to win the Got You Last game against me, despite shooting me with the bazoop bop ray: I was always able to shield myself by covering my nose.  

Len Talking.MOV

As I was growing up, Len was my closest friend and constant companion.  We were only a little over 2 years apart, and with Bruce almost 4 years younger, we really had no choice.  I remember best our years in Menlo Park, on 1801 Edgewood Lane, with John the newest member of our family, and Iva May Davis, our live-in maid.  Evenings we would gather on the street and play Kick the Can with our neighbors; weekends we would ride all over Menlo Park on our bikes, visiting friends further afield.  And of course Saturday afternoons we would catch the movie at the Park Theater.  Special outings included miniature golf with John, or Brooks Brothers in San Francisco, followed by a treat at Blum's on Union Square.  And the pool at the Menlo Country Club was often a destination, with its ping pong tables and snack bar for lunch.  Another great destination was a small beach just south of Santa Cruz where we would body surf (board surfing hadn't really caught on yet), exiting the water every few minutes to warm up by throwing a frisbee - wetsuits hadn't yet caught on either.

We enjoyed regular vacations at Pop and Gay Gay's home in the foothills East of San Jose.  They had a swimming pool, one of the few in the area, which reputedly emptied the municipal water supply when it was filled.  The best activity was to curl inside the larger airplane inner tube and roll down the slope from the pool to the house.  We played bug doctor, reviving them in flowers from the flower garden.  We organized treasure hunts, following from clue to clue, throughout the house.  We built card castles many levels hight, then destroyed them by rolling golf balls through them.  We put on mini Olympic games, with track and field and swimming events.  Are only breaks from play were daily Christian Science readings by Gay Gay. 

Sports were a much bigger part of Len's life than mine.  He was a fan of all major league sports, and was always listening to a game either at home or while driving.  Bruce got hooked on sports as well, particularly through the board game of All Star Baseball.  They would play for hours, choosing up teams, playing games, and documenting them for later discussion.  (Bruce revived this interest later when he became a teacher at the University of Florida, playing a much more advanced baseball board game with fellow faculty members on a regular basis).  

Mention should be made of two games we played, The Ant Express (which typically took place when Len was on the toilet), and Got You Last, which involved a zoopbop ray (which you could defend against by covering your nose), and the triumphant call "Goo Boo Lah Loo", if you managed to get someone last.  We haven't played The Ant Express in years, but Got You Last is alive and well, and now includes Bruce as a participant.  (Please see me for an explanation of how The And Express was played. played

I saw less and less of Len as we got older, and went to colleges in different states.  We did share a Summer working as laborers among the cherry and apricot trees in what is now Silicon Valley (we can thank John's buddy Joe Eichler for the jobs).  We would try to his only green lights on Embarcadero Road on the way out.  At the end of each day we would grab cherries and apricots off the trees adjacent to our construction site.  I wonder how many fruit orchards are still around?

Finally, a mention of how Len got the nickname "Whirly": he was born on the day Whirlaway won the Kentucky Derby.  Well, almost: he was born on May 4, 1940, and Whirlaway won on May 3, 1941 (the winner of the 1940 Kentucky Derby was Gallahadion).  Another family myth bites the dust...