Local man recalls bridge collapse, brush with rock royalty

By Clara Glendale | Bass Lake profiles reporter

Greg “Buzz” Beeswax, left, leaps into the past with Clara Glendale. (Patsy Beeswax)

You procrastinate and then one day you wake up and say “today is the day I will buy Captain Beyond tickets.”

At least that’s how rock fan and Bass Lake resident Greg “Buzz” Beeswax remembers it. The year was 1972 and Beeswax, 54, was a mere 11 years old when he somehow managed to buy a ticket to a concert in New York to see Captain Beyond, his favorite band after Yes and Iron Butterfly. But things would not turn out as planned.

“My older brother Hummer brought their first record home from college,” Buzz said. “I played that thing till my dad used it for target practice. Boy was he mad when he found out I spent my summer mowing money on bus fare and a concert ticket. I think that’s what killed him. Of course, I was in Youngstown when that happened, I think.”

It was the year Richard M. Nixon won re-election, the year of Munich, the Miami Dolphins, and “The Joy of Sex.” Things were changing fast for Buzz. The transition from fourth grade to fifth grade is often tricky for adolescent boys, and Buzz was no different.

“Things were changing fast,” Buzz said. “First my brother left, then I left. I thought those days would never end.”

Sadly, tragedy struck young Buzz just before he hopped that bus to New York. Years of dental neglect had resulted in Buzz having been fitted with a new upper left plate when he was just three years old. By the time he was 11 the partial denture no longer fit his expanding head.

“I could only eat corn on the cob on one side of my face. The fellas teased me something awful.”

With the departure date looming, Buzz spent the remainder of his lawn mowing money on a discount bridge. That decision proved fateful.

“We were in Scranton on a driver break and I was hungry so I bought a Zagnut bar at the counter and I’ll be damned if that Zagnut didn’t crumple my new bridge like a paper cup.”

Buzz’s seat mate, a grandfatherly type person, offered young Buzz some hooch from his flask and Buzz, willing to do anything to quell the pain the bridge collapse had caused, quaffed that whiskey like a pro.

“I had no pain,” Buzz said. “It was great. That old man had bottles of the stuff. I just kept drinking it. But then I passed out and missed my stop. I missed the concert. Sure, my dad died while I was gone but, boy what a ride!”

Clara Glendale occasionally writes about random Bass Lake residents. Sometimes we publish her profiles. This is one of those times.

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