Saturday, October 31, 2009

From MasonBaronet

Life Coach

Happy 50th Birthday, Willie!
From all of us at MasonBaronet

Thursday, October 22, 2009

From Marc Pelletier

I guess we got to know each other in 9th grade, as my memory of Willie before then is, well, non-existent. But I’m older than him by three days so I’ll just attribute that to my fading memory.

We sat together in the 9th grade band in 1973. Geeky clarinet players both, but in terms of true geekiness I had him beat by a mile; Coke-bottle glasses, clothes out of the ‘50’s, etc. At the mere mention of the word ‘Girl’ I would turn beet red. I embodied the definition of ‘Nerd’.

I can’t remember exactly when or how we officially met, or any meaningful conversations we may have had at 13 years of age. I think we had some classes together that year? For the life of me, I’ve forgotten most of my first two years in High School (‘geek-trauma’, no doubt). But we found friendship and liked each other pretty much from the start I think.

What I DO remember is…Bud.

The 9th grade band was where Willie was supposed to be. But not me--I was the better clarinetist. First chair all year (no, I DIDN’T date in High School thank you very much) and could sight read anything Mr. Kenney put in front of us. I had been mis-scheduled and had to sit through a year of remedial band. Willie got me through it. The word funny did/does not begin to describe Willie. We laughed and cut up every day. Looking back on it now just makes me giggle.

It all started when Willie fell in love with a jingle. Admittedly, it was an extremely catchy jingle, so much so that I can still recite the song today:

When you say Bud
You say a lot of things nobody else can say.
When you say Bud,
You say you care enough to only drink the King of Beers!
There is no other one.
There’s only something else.
Because the King of Beers
Is leading all the rest.
When you say BuddddWeiser,
You’ve said it all!

I can see now why this tune had such an effect on him. I mean, it was straight out of Madison Avenue. Hell, this musical event may have shaped his entire future. EVERYONE knew that song, but Willie wanted to--no, needed to--learn to play it. So he wrote to Anheuser-Busch.

I like to think that went down something like this:

Picture a young corporate executive at his desk in St. Louis. The beer business is booming. A-B has a 40% national market share and he has the CEO’s ear. His assistant brings him his mail and he unfolds a letter (neatly printed, because Willie has always been perfect) and begins to read.

To whom it may concern:
I really like your song and would really like to play it on my Clarinet. Can you send me the sheet music? By the way, the Clarinet is tuned to the key of b flat (the proper key would be helpful). I’ve enclosed a self addressed stamped envelope for your convenience.

Thank you for your time; I look forward to your prompt reply,

William Baronet
Lafayette Louisiana
Age 13

Well, a few weeks later Willie got his sheet music. And it was a very straightforward melody (you’re all humming it now, aren’t you?) with a killer bass line; perfect for a duet. So Willie and I practiced it; got pretty good at it, actually. Okay, we owned it.

But that wasn’t enough for Willie, being the born performer that he is. So one day in 1973 we (he) asked the Band Director (actually I think we got the Student Teacher in remedial band) if we could perform it for the class. And Willie and I (up to that time, a clarinetist of some reputation), in 1973/74 and probably all of 14 years old by that time, took the stage in the Lafayette High School auditorium and played our duet to our assembled band mates.

Today, I wonder if anyone that was there remembers our performance? And I wonder if our band director thought it humorous that two decidedly under-aged band geeks were promoting alcohol consumption? And I wonder if the young exec at A-B is still alive, and if he tells the story of how he single-handedly insured the growth of an entire industry? Hell, now that we’re 50, I wonder if either of us remembers which one of us played the killer bass line.

So after thirty-five-plus years we arrive at 50, three days apart. Our divergent paths have kept us going in different directions for many years, but we’ve found new ways to keep in touch. And though I missed the deadline (some things never change) for your Birthday blog, I wanted to let you know, Willie, that I smile every time I think of you, and I think of you every time I hear that melody.

As the song says, “When you say Bud, you’ve said a lot of things nobody else can say”. So true.

Love you, Bud…

Saturday, October 17, 2009

From Gilberto & The Riojas Family

Willie, having known you for very few later years and seeing pics of your earlier ones, all I can say is that 1) you do not look 50 (not nearly) and 2) you definitely look better now!! (as all of us over 50 will claim...untruthfully on most of us though). All of these short years have been an honor my friend.
Muchas felicidades desde Mexico!!!

From Jim Guy


You’ve been a very good person to get to know through basketball. Our playing together has been always been fun, and you’ve always been an easy person for me to play with.

Why? Because of three important things that you do very well.

First, you are the best person in the game at moving without the ball, and your moving makes it easy for me to pass to you.

Second, you catch what I throw you, and I know that that is not always easy.

Third, you make the shot after you make the catch on the highly questionable passers I throw you after you’ve moved to get open.

Passers need scorers.

You do all of the work, and I get credit for a nice pass.

Thanks for making me look good.

More than that, you’ve been a good friend, and a person that I’ve enjoyed getting to know.

Your commitment to helping Paul has been commendable and inspiring to the rest of us. It’s a long tough road, and we all need help to walk it.

That’s what being a good teammate is all about.

Thanks for always being a good teammate.


From Doug Rogers

From Mike Thompson

In college I did an essay on aging and had to share this small piece with you on your special day:

"I am a young man and do not realize what will happen to me as I get older. However, I can visualize how I will have an impact on other people as I age. For me, age is simply the number of years a person has been able to bless this world with their presence."

Thank you so much for giving this world 50 years of your life. As you read this blog, see old faces and receive all the well wishes know that you have blessed them as much as you have blessed me by being here. I love you my brother, father, mentor and friend.

Happy Birthday.
Mike Thompson

From Ed Chassaing

17 October 2009
[btw, I know your birthday is next week, but this is when I’m sending this]

Names that have crossed my path my entire life, and have had the most positive effects on me.

The first “William” was ‘Uncle Bill’ my adoptive father. He met me when he and my Aunt were engaged and I was living in an orphan home, around 3 years old. I owe most of my upbringing and values to that William. Uncle Bill passed away in November of 1995.

The second “William” is my son, Willy, or how he has wanted to be called since his early teens, Will. I didn’t know I could love anyone as much as I did my daughter, Katie, since she captured my heart immediately after she was born and our relationship has continued to grow to this day. But to my amazing surprise, I found that I could love another every bit as much as I did my daughter, but this time it was my son, Willy. As I may have mentioned to you before, I cannot love anyone more than I love my son, Katie, but I cannot love anyone more than I love my son, Willy, either. It’s an unexplainable phenomenon, but it’s true…the loves are different, of course, because they’re different people, but they are both all-consuming and wonderful. Despite what good counselors may proclaim, and I don’t doubt their wisdom, I am unable to love anyone more than my children.

But I have found through this love of Katie and Will that I can in fact have other relationships that are every bit as heartfelt and deep and loving, even if they are not exactly the same. One of those has been fairly recent with my wife Lisa. I know we’ve all spent a little time together – you Tanya, Lisa and me –and we would definitely like to get back together again. As you have probably taught me as much as anyone, all loves are not equal, and of course not the same, but each is unique and fulfilling in its own way.

And of course, this note is not about me or the others whom I have come to love over the years, but to you, the third of the “Williams” who are so special to me (and forgive me, but I don’t remember if you are indeed a “William” officially, of if “Willie” is your given name). From the time that Tim introduced us – was it 1990? 1991? – I felt a strong connection and mutual respect that I had not experienced since I left the seminary in the late 70s. It’s so rare to find another mature, creative male figure that I can share a deep respect and loving friendship with. It’s not something that is typically expressed openly amongst heterosexual males in our society. But I do love you Willie, and I wish we could spend more regular time together.

How are your studies coming? Are you still developing your “personal / career development” business? When are we going to get back together again?
Well these are only a few of the dozens of things that we need to catch up on, but now we’re getting ready to celebrate your graduation into the AARP fraternity. Welcome…jump on in…the water’s cooler, but not freezing. Caution is a good rule to live by, as certain harsh realities become more clear: you’re still the best basketball player that I’ve had the fortune of teaming with and playing against on a regular basis, but I think the Lakers are going to stick with Kobe over the “next Michael” who performs weekly at Richland CC. But as you know, injuries are more painful and take longer to recover from, so please take it easy…at least easier.

In the end, when I try to describe the Willie that I’ve come to love so much as one of my dearest, albeit distant friends, I think of the a Jonathan Swift saying that I admire: “May you live all the days of your life.” Sounds simple, but I think so many of us, and this is definitely applies to me, simply exist…survive…struggle to make it through the present times, with the hope of something more fulfilling in the future. But the ‘present’ is the gift of life today, and there’s no way of knowing if any tomorrow will be better, or if we even get another tomorrow, so living each day to the fullest is our biggest challenge. And I can honestly say that you, Willie, are one of the people that I truly admire in this regard. You’ve lived your life, regardless of the challenges or barriers, to the fullest of anyone I’ve known.

And as we celebrate this milestone birthday, I look forward to hearing about your plans to live the next 50 years!

With all my love…Ed

From Mike Squires

From Danny Willhite

Wilson T-Noon Baronet,

Words are not enough to express how I feel about you (but I think this photo pretty much of sums it up!) :-)

How fortunate I've been to have you in my life for the last 31 years. You are truly my oldest friend (and I've known you longer than most people, too. ba-da-bump!)

It really is difficult to put into words what you mean to me. Who knew on that first day of college when we happened to sit next to each other that I had found one of my best companions on this journey called life. We've been through a lot since that day. We've struggled to share our deepest thoughts and deepest fears. You've been there for some of my happiest times and saddest moments. We've made each other laugh a lot and we've managed to hurt each other's feelings on a regular basis. Most importantly, though, you've always made the space for me to be me. And through it all, we're still the best of friends. You have been both a conduit to my past by staying in touch with so many people, places, and events that I would never have been able to keep up with on my own. And you've also been a guide to the future, leading me to experiences and knowledge that I'm not sure I would have found without you. You've been a great friend to me and countless others and you do it with such style and grace that you make it look effortless.

With much love brother,
Happy Birthday and Welcome to the Over 50 Club,

From Shane Chantaca

From Anne Miano

10 things historians 50 years from now will conclude about Willie Baronet after reading archives of his blog.
  1. He never discovered lined paper.
  2. He spent all day online.
  3. He loved spitting.
  4. He wrestled with turning the corner, which would both bring him salvation and take him out of his comfort zone.
  5. He couldn’t draw eyes.
  6. He didn’t realize that hairballs contain more vomit than hair.
  7. He had nothing going on in September 2005
  8. He had everything going on in September 2005
  9. He did drawings Saturday through Thursday, and illustrations on Fridays.
  10. He liked boobs.

Happy Birthday, Willie, you wonderful man.


From Candace Jaworski

This is an assignment Willie gave me at Syracuse. The answers in purple are me completing the assignment – FINALLY! The markups are in true account style as that’s the side of the fence I sit on these days. Fortunately I still have a little designer in me and was able to put this together. It’s not much, but I hope it brings a smile to his face.

From Beryt and Adam Nisenson

So--- We've finally decided to move your birthday message from our "to do" list to our "ta da" list. Thanks, Willie-- for "ta da's" and the MANY other invaluable gems you offered to us both while on our journey at Active Imagination, and after. You are an amazing cheerleader and an inspiration to many. As clients and friends, we are grateful to have been a part of your 50 years.

Since you always had an uncanny knack for showing up at our office when it was birthday cake time.... really, how did you do that????... it's only fitting that we celebrate your birthday with you.

Happy 50th to you, Willie-- and many, many, many, many more!

From Richard Zeid

Willie Baronet
A man that should be cherished
A true and dear soul

Willie and I never laughed SO HARD together, for days!
And even now when we see this photo.......

From Beth & Lynn Noack

Christmas 2008, Willie and Tanya blessed us with their presence for Christmas; this picture is from that Holiday.  Lynn and I love Tanya like a daughter and that makes Willie our Son-In-Law.  We wish him the best in the next 50 years and we know he’ll have them because he has Tanya Jo.  
We love you BOTH so much, Happy Birthday Willie.

From Michael Bailey

I remember the first time I met you - a circle in North Dallas in some apartment complex community room. You walked in looking all hippy-like with long hair - was that a MULLET? This intrigued me, I mean it wasn't the 60's (HIPPY) or 80's (MULLET) so were you somewhere lost in time or what???

I remember the next time I met you, my first staff weekend. You were bigger than life. The Big Man on Campus - and I was the geeky freshman. I remember hiding and I remember calling you out. Standing among the stones, asking to be seen, to be accepted, to be loved. That was hard and you made it easier.

I remember seeing my eldest son half-embrace you the first time - and you grab a hold of him, telling him, "Come-on dude, give me a HUG!" I watched him do it, my son who is reticent with physical emotion. And each time I see him "really" hug you, I think a little bit of healing happens.

I see you stand in front of men and love them. I see you walk gently but firmly among men and women. I see this energy of listening and wisdom. I see this honoring of people around you - honoring not so much with words, but with simple attention. I see this and realize, I want to be more like this, like you.

I am blessed to know you as are my sons. We love you, even if you are fucking OLD!

Michael Bailey

From Frank Miller

Happy Birthday Willie,
Our paths have crossed many times over the past ten years, but never so poignantly as in March of 08 when I was facing the darkest time of my life and you were there to help hold me up. I am proud and honored to call you friend. At fifty your light grows ever brighter – let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Live like your hair is on fire!
Your brother,

From Sandy Aycock

Willie – I love you as a brother and trust you as a father -- happy birthday son, and many blessings! 

From Tim Chumley

Willie (aka Homey, Bro, Penis, Homeslice, Duder, Beeyotch)-

Twelve years. That's the number I always come back to when I think about how long you've been my dearest friend. It seems like I'm stuck on that number – in part because I'm lazy and don't want to do the math, and in part because it's hard for me to grasp that our friendship has lasted longer than that.

But it has. From 1991 to 2009 – that's 18 years. And I have to say you look much older.

Leaving Dallas on December 5, 1993, I was uncertain about my future. And I was uncertain about the future of our friendship. I moved a lot as a kid, and my history was to leave everything behind and start over.

But that didn't happen with you. You are the exception. And you continue to be the exception in many, many ways.

Eighteen years don't pass without a lot of change. Divorces for both of us (Willie 2, Tim 1). Friends and family went away. A broken nose (not that anyone can tell – no, really). A business sold, a decade of teaching relinquished. Houses, cars, pets, companions, friends. ManKind Project.

That's a lot of change. A sea of change. Two things have endured during that time, for me: my sons, and you.

Not that we haven't changed along the way: weight (me, mostly), hair (both style and quantity), attitude, maturity (you mostly), jump shot percentage (me, higher).

You play many roles in my life: brother, teacher, friend, mentor, patient listener, jackass, artistic critic and catalyst, technology suck, introducer to many things. But mostly, friend. My dear, dear loving, caring, generous, smart, creative, compassionate enormous-hearted friend.

So you're 50, bitch. I don't know what that means – to be honest, nothing, I suspect – but if I had to put something out there I'd say it means we have another 35, 40 years to do what we do: compulsively watch the tv show of the moment (maybe Arrested Development will return in 2035), eat embarrassing amounts of sushi, argue about literally anything, bless each other, push each other, encourage each other, and do another 60 mkp weekends. But mostly just continue being the richest of friends for each other.

I love you, brother.

P.S. – I'm glad I was able to complete this note without mentioning how you unceremoniously forced me out of Steve's office so many years ago, leaving me virtually homeless. I just didn't need to bring it up. I've moved on. Clearly.

From Kevin Prejean

Your Fiddyness,

Sup? Sappnin? S'coop? S'cone?
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot is up? Over.
How come, becuz?

Half a century gone by and we still act the fool like a teenager.
Deal with it, world.
Have a great time, Homey. Sorry couldn't be there in person.

The true measure of a man is determined by the size of his stick.

Oark, Arkansas general store. That's right. Oark. Not a typo.

". . . and then there's Louisiana fresh sausage, never to be confused with that Brats crap . . ."

So Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

Sorry, Allen. Gary insisted I send this one. Blame him.

Texas Mudbug Massacre

George, Lisa, Willie, Susan and that guy on the right.
Love you like a brother.

Kevin / YK / Spanky / Bona Fide Cheetah

From Francisco Vargas

To Willie B on his 50 Birthday

I am changed because of you
My false chains you helped remove
And thus
I walk taller,
My step is stronger
My smile moves from honesty
And I see straighter than before

But more importantly this new breath of freedom
I pass on to those I meet
and they
In turn
Move the seed to those they meet,


One change in me because of you,
is moving many
to take little stronger step
to walk a little taller
to smile more honestly

And that’s just your effect on me
Now multiply it by ten thousand and you will see
One man in only 50 years
Changing the world
Forever and For the better -

And thus your birthday celebrates us all
Happily affected by your Spirit and your soul -

Here, here! I pray and cheer for 50 more!
¡Feliz Cumpleaños!
Your friend, Francisco - Singing Whale

From Gary Armstrong

Happy Birthday, Willie.
I write this late, putting it off to the last minute, of course. But I have had the opportunity while sifting through my thoughts and memories to read some of the postings on this blog of many of your friends and family.
The blog reminds me of our trip to Sedona for Donny's wedding. One night we talked about how you view or don't view yourself as worthy. Each of us human beings has our doubts from time to time about whether we are worthy of the love we receive, whether that love is real, whether if people really knew us that they would love us, whether the respect and admiration we sometimes may experience is real. Self doubt springs eternal.
What is readily apparent to anyone who reads this blog is that you are truly loved, appreciated, wanted, even needed. That you give of yourself in ways that you probably don't even realize, just by showing up and being yourself. That people of all ages see in you a man of courage, wisdom, humor, and compassion. They see in you a friend, a lover, a mirror. People look at you and you reflect back, like magic, only the best to them.
If there was any gift that you could give yourself this birthday, it is only to accept what is communicated in and by this blog to you and about you. To accept that you are loved and worthy of that love; that you are appreciated and worthy of that appreciation; that you are enough, just as you are. I hope that you get it.
Love and blessings,

From Janeen Gledhill & Kim Carter

Happy 50th, Willie! 
We wish you all the best that life has to offer as you continue your grand journey!  Thanks for being you and sharing all that you do! 
Enjoy your special milestone!

From Jeanette Cooper

Willie, In honor of your birthday I'm going for 50 jumps in a row. Happy
Birthday to the biggest kid I know!


From Jane Mills

W itty
I nspirational
L oyal
L oveable
I ngenious
E ndearing

All in all...pretty nifty. Even if he is now 50!

Happy Birthday, Willie.
Jane Mills

From Gary LoBue

Time is a funny thing.
It flies as it marches on.
It divides.
And it conquers.
Yet it heals all wounds.
It's easy to waste.
But you cherish every moment of it.
We mark it by sand or shadow,
by ring or dial.
It marks us by line and color,
by fear and love.
Some say you can save it.
Most of us just spend it.
All I know is
it took just a little time
to grow a dear friend.


From Chantelle Randolph

Dear Willie,
May your second half of life be filled with love, joy and adventure. May Life wrap its soft hands around you as it gently presents your path to walk. The Gods have smiled on you my friend. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!
Love Always

From Andrew & Melissa Szabo

Dear Willie.
Happy birthday old friend ... welcome to the ranks of the fun fifties! They are even better than the forties we have found. As I am a mere 2 years ahead of you (and Melissa one month) we get to reconnaissance these things in advance of you.

Here's the report so far:

You will find the 50's are more fun than the 40's. I am fitter now than I was in my 40's - hope you will find the same. We are definitely much wiser than we were in our 20's and 30's. Haven't needed Viagra or Cialis ... although the idea of a 4-hour erection is intriguing!

The world is just as messed as it was in our youth - only the enemies have changed. There is still evil in the world but there will always be good. If we look for good we will still find it. If we seek truth it will find us. If we sow love we will reap love ... some things don't change with age.

I read the news today oh boy, 4,000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire (1967) I read the news today oh boy, the Arctic to be ice-free in ten years (10/09) Bad news for some with beachfront property / good news for others because they will now have beachfront property. In the folds of every setback is an opportunity of something greater to happen. All things happen for a reason for a season. Wisdom of the 50's.

And then there is the fascination with the Cheetah that we both share. The lion is said to be majestic, the leopard ferocious and shrewd. But swift, elegant and graceful best describes the cheetah. And that best describes you my friend, Willie.

Swift thinking
Elegant creativity
and full of grace.
That's our friend Willie.

My wish for you for the next 50 years:
that you be of swift foot and mind;
that you continue to elegantly bless all that cross your path;
that you receive the grace you deserve.

Be the Cheetah!
Happy Birthday!
Enjoy your next 50 years.
Love you lots ... Andrew & Melissa Szabo

From David Mills

Although Willie was a full year older than me and his brother Marc, he could usually be seen around our little league baseball team when practicing or playing a scheduled game. (I say little league but our ages were nearly 13/14. our skills were a good deal better than that, more like a "pony" league just before high school).

Mr. Baronet coached our team. Any one can do the real young teams, but at our level it requires a person to have either playing experience at a high level or be very familiar with the game in its advanced form. Mr. Baronet possessed both qualities and he could teach. Willie, being a year older, couldn't play for our team but he did help his dad out, especially with the pitching crew.

I'm tellin' you that at some point or another all of the Baronets must have been pitchers. At our level, young pitchers could start to throw some "junk" and if they were well coached and were just simply talented they could have a pretty diverse pitching layout. So in summary, between Willie,his dad and Marc, I was exposed to some pretty good talent and coaching.

I'm not sure if it was because I hung out with Marc nearly everyday of that summer, or if Mr. Baronet saw some potential in me, but he decided to let me take a crack at "pitching". Me, well I was fair in the field, with some speed, but could barely hit. But I was Marc/Willies' friend so he (coach)usually put me in the game somewhere.

Willie and Marc had worked with me on the fundamentals and even taught me a rudimentary form of a curve ball and a slider. (Willie, do you remember the "slurve" Marc used to throw) Well game day came and I was put on the mound in my first (and last) start as a pitcher. I was nervous!!

So onto the mound I go and the very first batter I hit in the head with the very first pitch!! He gets first base and is licking his wounds. Coach Baronet told me to calm down and throw straight pitches.

The next batter steps to the plate and I go into my windup. Throw, uhggg! I hit him too. In his ribs! At least I did it on the second pitch. He had to duck the first one. By this time the players in the other dugout were begging to chant me pretty heavy and and I clearly heard some comments from the people is the stands.

Coach Baronet walked toward the mound with a quirky look on his face. He is generally a nice man, tall and lean. So his look as he approached me spoke volumes.

He said he would leave me in for one more batter but that I must simply let him hit the ball or anything but do not hit this next guy and put him on base. Two batters, two base runners, and there were no hits and no walks!!

Then as the third batter was being pushed out of his dugout to face me, something happened that I will never forget. Willie Baronet brings out our catchers gear (remember Will Stoneceipher) and tells the next hitter he had better put it on. The people in the stands bust out laughing. All of my team mates in our dugout were laughing. And as I looked toward coach Baronet, hoping for some comfort and encouragement, he was laughing the hardest of 'em all. It was terrible.

Now I may not be relating the details as they actually occurred but that is not important. In my mind's eye this is how things went down that day and that is good enough.

Sincerely, David C. Mills

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From Holly Mason

Happy Birthday! I feel like we’ll always share a special bond since you’ve entrusted me with your business. I certainly wouldn’t have been ready to take that responsibility on without the support and mentorship you’ve provided me over the years. You’ve always been there for me both personally and professionally and for that I’m both grateful and appreciative to have you in my life. Despite the fact you are no longer at the agency, you continue to inspire me. I’m so proud of you and wish you the happiest birthday! I look forward to continuing to be a part of your life and learning from you.

Here’s to many more healthy and happy years! Happy 50th!!


From Cheryl McCue

Willie, we have a problem.

I looked through boxes and boxes of photos going back to when we met at that agency-that-shall-not-be-named in 1990 (pre-digital, as you may recall) and years of digital photos and there is not one of you and I together. Sad, but true.

That, my dear, will have to change now that you are FIFTY.

You are an enduring figure in my life. And a beloved one. My very best to you on this special birthday.

Love, Cheryl

From Judy Hoffman

Willie Baronet reaches the big 5-0

Willie, I’ve known you almost 15 years now. Who knew we’d be this old? Congratulations on reaching this milestone. May you have at least fifty more -- all in good health and enjoying life.

Willie, there’s so much about you I treasure. Sure, there’s the creativity, wit, intelligence and business savvy. But more importantly I treasure your kindness and generosity. In all the years I’ve known you, you have made a difference in people’s lives and you’ve made the world a better place to be. You genuinely care about people, and your life reflects that spirit.

What sets you apart from almost anyone I know is your ability to give of yourself in everything you do. You’ve demonstrated that as a friend, business owner, designer, student and teacher. You bring your best and share it. From doodles on butcher block paper during lunch brainstorming sessions to teaching me how to create a blog…you’ve been an awesome inspiration.

Here’s to your first fifty years and fifty more! And to many more years as friends.

Love and hugs,

From Dave Perna

Hey Man!
Wow! Seems like we were just celebrating 40, weren't we? Oh well, guess time flies when you're having fun!

We would like to think it's time for you to lose a step or two now that you are reaching this milestone, but I know that won't happen. (It certainly didn't happen at 40!) So once we start playing again, I guess I'll have to look forward, once again, to the steady diet of being run ragged along the baseline, constant drainage of your jump shots over my fraction-of-a-second-late defensive efforts, and, of course, the occasional ass-pinch of which I have become so fond.

But seriously, Willie, Saturday mornings have been a blast over the past I-don't-know-how-many years, and you've been a big part of making them so. I've really enjoyed the lunches at Café Lago (we need to start those up again!) and spending the time with you and Tanya solving the world's problems. I'm grateful to have both of you as friends. And I know everyone appreciates all the time you've spent with our friend Paul and the efforts you've made to get him re-connected with the group. It's great to have him back!

Happy 50th, my friend... and welcome to the club!


From Susan Langley

50 words to describe some of the ways I see you.

Knowing you has made me a better person.

Love (and Hugs), Susan

From Francois Bouville

Mon cher ami,
Je te souhaite un joyeux anniversaire pour tes cinquante ans! Un grand pas dans la maturite! :)
It is truly awesome to have gotten to know you over these years and my most memorable moment with you was on a New Orleans week-end spending time chatting on the porch. There were many more moments too but that one was special.
My Cajun / French brother, have a truly wonderful birthday!

With fondest wishes and have a great time!
With love,

From John Bacon

A Haiku of Haikus for Willie

From Chris Richter & Todd Davis

Dear Willie,
We wish you a very happy fiftieth birthday!

Chris and Todd

From Sarah M. Pucci

One of the things I love about Willie is that he is not one of those people that thinks, "Out of sight. Out of mind".

I moved from Dallas to Los Angeles 9 years ago, and I always hear from Willie when he come this direction. I hear from him on my birthday. I hear from him just out of the blue. It warms my heart that he is part of my life still.

I can not tell you how much this means to me. Willie was my boss for many years, but I always think of him as a friend first.

I hope Willie has the most wonderful birthday any human can have on this planet.
Much love,

From Neal Baronet & Family

Bro i just wanted to say happy birthday and thank you for always taking care of me from changing my diapers to protecting me from our other brothers. you have always been someone i could look up to. you have done wonderful things for our family. i thank you very much and love you very much. i hope you have a wonderful day. wish i could be there to let you know these things in person.

From Denise Blessing

May you continue to find all the joys and mysteries life places in front of you with each step you take on through your journey. I am blessed to have your friendship and love.

HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY! Can't wait to see what the next 50 bring for you!
-Enjoy, Denise

From Sharon LeJeune

Happy Birthday to my favorite dance partner ever!

From Dana & Ken Triwush

New York's siren song:
Dumplings, broadway, pizza, art,
Sucumb and visit.

Haiku and love to you,

Fifty is nifty.
Don’t be too thrifty.
We like ya cuz you’re swifty.


From Max Wright


Can it really be that you are nearing the end of your first half-century on earth without yet releasing your pent-up sexual energies?  Surely, your inability to find an outlet for your desires other than your incessant doodling on your Big Chief tablets is the ultimate plea for help.  One doesn't have to have several semesters of psychology classes under one's belt to recognize your hamfisted efforts for the soul-stirring cries for human contact that they are.

I know it was trying, but I wish you would again find gainful employment, like when you worked for Levy Pants, or Sullivan Perkins.  There, painful though it may have been for your ununhealthfully bloated ego, your life had at least some element of direction and purpose, as well as the human contact you so urgently (and, I must add, somewhat pathetically) require.

Still, Ignatius, even I must admit that  despite your numerous attempts at self-sabotage and refusal to face your many personal demons, reaching the ripe (in your case, extremely ripe) old age of 50 is something of an accomplishment.  That's why it's all the more important for you to cast off the shackles that have held you back and blossom into the being I know you can be.  It's not too late, even for you! There is hope that you can emerge a complete, sexually realized person without resorting to blue pills, degrading pornography or excessive self-gratification.

Please, Ignatius, it's not too late to live a little.  I hope you will celebrate this auspicious occasion with an evening at an establishment such as the Night of Joy, where you can begin an Odyssey of self-discovery as you liberate the joyous sexual being longing to break forth from the shackles of your obsolete medieval theology.

With deep concern,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

From Cynthia Asensio

Willie - as you reach such a significant milestone I hope you will reflect on all of the people who have been a part of your journey to this point.  Rejoice in the love that has been given and received, the family members who have touched your soul, the friendships that have endured and the laughter that has carried you through life's ups and downs.  You are a good man, a caring friend, a devoted partner and a gift from the universe.  I am touched to still call you and Tanya friends, after so many years.

From Mari Guas

Feliz cumpleaños mi hermano.

You are one of my heroes because you are:
  • A good friend,
  • You care enough to speak your mind and what is in your heart,
  • You give of yourself lovingly but not at the expense of yourself,
  • You are brilliantly creative,
  • You are a leader that leads from your heart,
  • You like to play and have fun,
  • And oh yes you have a sense of humor (Hedda said so)
  • You do your work,
  • You have created the life you want,
  • You inspire me and others,
Wishing you a wonderful B-DAY!!!
I love you bunches,

From Michael Walti

Dear Willie,
Happy Birthday!

And now for the technical portion of your B-day blog :-).

I've left you a message to decipher. It is a simple algorithm and I'll give you a few clues. One of the earliest conquorers of the world used it. You are 37 years it's senior.

Sebz nyy gur oybtf cbfgf jvgu fgbevrf, cubgbf naq rira zbivrf vg vf boivbhf va lbhe fubeg 50 lrnef ba guvf rnegu lbh unir gbhpurq gur yvirf bs fb znal va n cbfvgvir jnl. Vg'f orra na ubabe gb xabj lbh naq orpbzr lbhe sevraq. Znl guvf or gur orfg oveguqnl rire.

Purref naq nyy gur orfg,
Zvpunry Jnygv

From Scott Cole

To a fellow Happy Hutter........
Hope the next fifty are as exciting for you as the first fifty. I miss the Happy Hut. It was always happier when you were there.

Many, many blessings,
Scott Cole

From Tammy Schriewer

It seems trite to start this out this way but it's really the only way to say it...

Thank you so much for being you. For your kind heart. For lending an ear, a shoulder to cry on and offering your friendship to me. You are truly one-of-a-kind. A genuine, softie. A shining spirit and warm soul. You are the epitome of the "smiley" face, in person and through email/text. I love your positive energy and admire your outlook on life. Your silliness almost out does my goofiness. And you always brought the best out of me and everyone around. Your appreciation for every person is unmatched by most, and is one of my most favorite things about you.

From the GB fair day, Halloween party, the end of the White Swan, the whirlwind of the 'temporary space' and on and on... I shared some of the best times of my life with you and the rest of the GB/MB gang. Formed some of the strongest bonds with the most amazing people - what a blessing, those memories.

I'm a believer in things just don't happen. It wasn't just by chance that I walked into the doors of GB to sit with you a few short years ago. It was all for a reason. And for that, again, I will say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being you.

Have a "glorious" Willie Birthday!! And I look forward to your answers, on your milestone 50th, to the infamous birthday questions.

Much love and the biggest hug ever...
Tammy Schriewer

From Todd Tucker

It seems like I never stop learning just how much you taught me. Congratulations on 50. You're still da Man.

I found some old photos from my wedding. I was so glad that you guys made it. Looks like you were having fun.

-Todd Tucker

From Walt Stewart

Happy Birthday Willie,
Brother Willie hope you have a great Birthday.
May all your wishes be fulfilled.

Pawpaw Elephant

From Honor M Banks

My favorite Uncle!!!
Words cannot begin to say everything I want to express to you. You have been an incredible Uncle to me and have been more like a father figure to me as long as I can remember. You have shown me and my sister more love and compassion than any girl can ask. For that alone you have made me one lucky lady! You are such an inspiration to everyone who knows you, and are one of the best examples I have had in my life!

You chase your dreams and inspire me to do the same. I absolutely love hanging out with you, and you are the only person who can make it feel like we see each other everyday even if it has been years. That is a gift, especially to me with the whole family situation.

Andrew said he thought you were awesome and wished you lived here cause he would hang out with you all the time. That says a lot for only meeting you for an hour and being nervous too!

You are fun and free and always have a smile on your face! You have done a lot of work to discover who you are and have done the soul searching that most people try to avoid at all cost. You are an inspiration and proof that freedom doesn't come cheap, but it is well worth the time and work. (It seems like this message is so scattered but I have so many thoughts about you I want to express but can't find the right words :)

You have made such an impact on this world and you have done it one person at a time, and you will still be leaving an impact 50 and 100 years from now! You are an amazing human being, and I love you so much. Thanks for always remembering me, thanks for always loving me, and thanks for being who you are.

I am blessed to have gotten to know you and be a part of your life, and I am excited about continuing to know you more in the years to come. You deserve the best birthday in the world and I truly hope that's exactly what you have.

I am pretty bummed that I couldn't be there for this special day to celebrate you! I hope you have a wonderful day, and shed a few tears as you see how much you are loved and how you have impacted so many people! I mean how many people wrote something to you? I don't even know that many people, let alone people I have touched in the way you touched so many!

I love you and treasure every memory I have with you. Have the most wonderful Birthday of your life!!!!!!

Love, Honor' Maria Malcolm

From David Sunshine

Willie my brother,
You are a sweet and gentle soul of the kindest kind. Your BIG heart skillfully and attentively reaches out with loving hands to uplift the hearts of others.

I wish you all that is good with a pinch of naughty for all your many blessed joyful healthy years to come.

Lots of love,

From Cristella Medrano

Happy 5 0 Willie! 
In the next 50 years be nice to Pigeons. 
Best Wishes,

From Marc Kaufman

One of the three men in my 46 years that I have considered to be a role model, of what a man is.

Happy Birthday Bro
Howling Wolf

From Jenna Malcolm

I hope with all my heart that the next 50 years of your life are even better than the first!
Love you!
Happy B-Day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

From King Douglas

A first word, then another, coaxing from dusty memories feelings and facts to share with you and others as you cross another milestone. Milestone...a good word, reminiscent of signs along old Route 66.

Mile 1: Hungry vet
Mile 2: No food in sight
Mile 3: No home, no place
Mile 4: To spend the night
Mile 5: Burma Shave

I remember one night in Montreal when you bought one of those signs. "How much for the sign?" you asked a young homeless person. "Ten bucks," he said defiantly. You reached for your wallet. "Twenty bucks!" he shouted, quickly adjusting the price to take into account new information. I watched the delicate negotiation as you closed another deal.

That trip to Montreal in September 2003, shortly after the death of your mother, was a highlight reel for me and what fun we had: going to see "Fosse" at the Place des Arts the same evening we arrived in Montreal--we were inspired; followed by the irony of our own improvisational dance performance at the Musee de Beaux-Artes; the long walk we took in the university district (that night you bought the homeless sign) that ended with your having steak tartare (moo!) at L'Express; at breakfast the next day when you protested, "How can we get a good breakfast at a place that calls itself Eggspectations?"; your discriminating choices from the sushi menu at Na Go Ya and the portrait of me that you drew on the paper table cover (and which, to my regret, we left there); and of course, our great visit to the Cirque du Soleil headquarters during their once-a-year open house.

We learned a lot about each other on that trip and I learned so many things from you, especially about how to see the world. "Here, put these on," you might have said to me, offering me a very cool pair of Willie Glasses. "They're for seeing things you don't expect to see." And that was just how it was.

Milestones, we've shared a few, but but even one is not too few to mention. What a great thing to have shared with a good friend experiences that can be recalled with deep satisfaction, wistfulness and gratitude.

So here's another milestone, to which my first response is to say, "Oh, to be 50 again!" I'm proud to have been your friend for so long...going on 30 years now, and I still learn from you each time we get together. Happy birthday, my great and youthful friend!