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The Rat & The Brick
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My first "wheels"; 1952 Schwinn
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At work during high school; running distribution point for Detroit News
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Me on my BSA motorcycle
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Sharon and I; dinner after our Wedding
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Sharon and 1971 Cougar
(Note similarity of color to
the Brick; not an accident)
Z Chickz Driver Profile
July 2004
Dennis - The Brickyard Rat  


Born in '42, I grew up in inner city Detroit; on the edge of the section that burned in the '67 riots. (We had moved to the 'burbs 'by then.) My one and only hero was my sister, Areleene, who was 22 years older than me. Areleene came out of the hospital when I was a year old after three years and six operations for TB minus one lung. Since my mother and dad were divorced, she had an instant family to support--which she did well. I have a great deal of tenacity, glass-half full attitude, and positive outlook--all of which comes from Areleene.

After high school, I spent seven years as a truck driver for the Detroit News before and while s-l-o-w-l-y getting through college (MSU, 1966). At 20, I bought a new '62 T-Bird vert--my first pride and joy. When not working or going to school, chasing "skirts" and playing sports were my favorite activities. The T-Bird was chosen over a Vette because the Bird had a back seat! LOL! My first "go-really-fast" set of wheels was a BSA 650 Lightning. The first time I rode it, the guy who sold it had to hop on back and grab the clutch to keep me from crashing through a plate glass window. Since then I have owned six bikes (Trumphs, Bmeers, and a Honda 900F) and rode roughly 150,000 miles without a scratch on the bikes or me.

On cars/bikes, my mechanical ability and knowledge is virtually nil. (Though my vehicles have always been well maintained.) On the other side, I really, really like driving and the faster the better. I've always had a good feel for whatever metal is under or around me as well as the roads I'm on.

The two years after college were spent as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. Can't say I enjoyed it but I did come back with a strong sense of accomplishment. Upon returning to Detroit I got into the housing business eventually going into the development end of the biz.

In 1969 I met Sharon while still in Detroit. We dated for a year or so before she split for a stewardess job with Delta in Texas. Shortly thereafter my work took me to San Diego; accepting a job in San Diego in December (think snow/ice in Michigan) was a no-brainer! Sharon and I kept in touch and she eventually moved to SD as well. We were married in '74 and just hit our 30th (GASP!). We moved to the Sacramento area in '75 and built our own house in 1988 where we have raised our two sons.

The boys and me? Think the Fraiser TV show with my sons as the two brothers and me the dad. I'm a car/sports guy who started dating seriously at 13. My sons could care less about sports or cars. With girls both are considerably more casual and develop actual friendships! Both are heavy into music (no rap, thank God), philosophy, and plays. The older son has the soul of a poet and is now married to a terrific girl and figuring out a life path.

The younger just completed his third year at Cal with majors in psychology and neuro-biology. He also sings and acts. In high school he nailed the sadistic dentist role in Little Shop of Horrors. He also sang the closing solo backed by 250 other singers at a regional concert. When we discover what planet he is from and who his real parents are, we'll post the news!

"Rat" comes courtesy of a Texas friend on a sports collectible site. In a friendly feud (Cowdungs VS. 49ers) he referred to me as "the rat"; it caught on. Figured I could go with the flow and have fun or be mad all the time. Flow/fun seemed the better path.

For anyone still awake and reading this, the Brick is my first sports/muscle car and, basically, replaces my bikes as a fun vehicle. I was looking for a second car and fell in luv with the Zzzz the first time I saw it. The reputation of Japanese reliability, and seeing the Brickyard in person, cinched the deal. In addition to its go-fast-engine and rock-steady handling, the car is a great cruiser, and Sharon and I enjoy weekend trips around NorCali. Plus I like early morning solo "scoots" on deserted roads where I can crank up both the Brick and music such as the Hollies "Long, Cool Woman" and The Bellemy Bros. "We Dared The Lightning".

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"Hopalong Cassidy" in Detroit
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"I started early" - Age 13
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My 1962 T-Bird Vert
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Me in the Peace Corps; 1968; Phillippines
(Second from left seated)

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Me and my 900 CC BMW
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Dennis, Sharon, and Sons
Grand Tetons, 2002
(Dog was a "ham" that belonged to lodge owners)
© 2003 Z Chickz
Last updated: Sunday, January 14, 2007 8:45 AM