Ritchie Valens: Meeting Bob in the Strawberry Fields

L.T. Garvin
7 min readMar 21, 2022

One Brother’s Story

My favorite small-time rock band is Hell On Wheels out of San Francisco. Frontman and songwriter, James Craig Paylor had quite the interesting story of meeting Bob Morales. Many people enjoyed a reboot of Ritchie Valens’ music when the movie premiered in 1987. The movie continues to captivate audiences on vintage movie nights everywhere. Here is an excerpt of JCP’s experience learning a bit about Ritchie’s life from the inside.

I was sitting in Golden Gate Park among the giant trees contemplating the ups and downs of the construction industry focusing mainly on the downs.

I liked the greenery, the peace, and majesty here in the park. In the distance, the drum circle people were practicing their rhythmical beats. Drum circling had carried over from the sixties. It was a great day to be off. I had picked up a watermelon, cut into it, and found that I had gotten lucky. It was good and sweet and helped to make this Saturday pretty much perfect. I had cut it right down the middle, and I was trying to figure out what to do with the other half when I saw a homeless guy walking nearby.

“Hey, Guy!” I said.
He turned to look at me.

“Would you like this watermelon? It’s way more than I can eat.”

He smiled at me. I had taken a chance. This guy was in good command of his senses. He walked over, and I handed him the melon.

“Hey thanks,” he said.

We ate watermelon and talked a bit. His name was Ernie, and he seemed like a nice enough guy.

“This isn’t what I do all the time,” he said, pushing his backpack with his foot. He told me that he did some jobs here and there then goes back to his home base.

“Where is home?” I asked.

“Watsonville, I work harvests a lot and sometimes odd jobs to boot.”

“Well I’m in construction, don’t know if I can recommend that,” I laughed.

“I was actually thinking about heading to my kid’s house, and regroup a little,” he said.

I smiled and nodded.

“Hey,” he said a bit nervously fumbling at his sleeve, “Would you like to meet Ritchie Valens’ brother, Bob Morales?”

“Unh?” I said, being caught off guard. He had noticed my guitar sitting there still in its case. Let me…

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L.T. Garvin

Lana Broussard writing as L.T. Garvin , Author -English Teacher - ESL Tutor — Writes Fiction, Poetry, and Various Articles on the Quandries of Life.