Living with ALS

By Mike Rayl

California Governors I’ve met!!!

 

Wow LOOKING BACK I’VE BEEN LUCKY to have met some very interesting people in my life... this is the story of the California governors I've met...

 In the early 70's i was working as a fry cook at Mammoth mountain main lodge cafeteria. Part of my job was to keep the line moving smoothly... One day there was a big guy who was speaking GERMAN TO AND OLDER GUY HE was mixing his hot chocolate in line, slowing down the line. We give them a cup of hot water a a packet of Chocolate mix like you would buy in the store. We are told to ask them to mix there hot coco once they get past the cashier. I knew who he was and he was intimidating although he was my height, he was muscular with arms twice the size as mine. I was a little afraid to ask him not to mix hot coco in line. But my personal policy has always been to treat everyone equally no matter who they are. I got up enough courage to ask him. He spoke in German to his friend. The older man spoke back to him. Then ARNOLD SAID TO ME NO PROBLEM in broken English AND SMILED. I could sense that he was really a genuine gentle soul and a nice guy... And I took away from that experience, that the bigger a person is the gentler they are.

WE WERE AT A BLACK tie affair in Irvine an international banquet in the mid 90's and i was introduced to a man with grey hair and a young woman who i thought was his daughter...  Wow was I wrong she was his wife. Turns out he was prematurely gray, which just happens to be also his first name…

It was the mid 70’s and I was in Bishop, CA for the Mule Days parade… It’s about 30 miles south of Mammoth Lakes, CA; Where I lived for 8 seasons. Bishop is a beautiful little town at the foot of the Eastern Sierra Mountains. I brought my 8mm movie camera, hoping to film some action and action I got!!! I was able to walk right up to the then Governor and future President of the U.S. with my camera and CAPTURE HIM ON HIS ASS… Unlike today where security is tight, it was a different, innocent time… One would not even attempt to even think of doing such a thing today… For years I have loved to tell people; I am one of the few people who once saw Ronald on his ASS!!!

When I was 16 I had a nervous breakdown, caused by, I believe, experimentation of drugs!!! I was misdiagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic, SUFFERING FOR MANY YEARS, TILL I was correctly diagnosed a Manic Depressive in 1976 by Dr. Goodtoknow. Back then the medications side effects were worse than the disease, and since I was being treated for the wrong disease, it was even worse!!!

 In 1975 I found myself in Metropolitan State Hospital. We had a new Governor and he was determined to fix the broken mental health care system, which the prior governor had neglected…  He was a young man, whose father served as Governor prior to the last governor.  Four years short of forty years later, this same man, WHO ONCE STUDIED TO BE A JESUIT PREIST, WORKED alongside MOTHER TEREASA, became California’s governor again in 2011!!! The hospital was all astir as it prepared for the new governors visit…  People came out of the woodwork, to groom the landscape, spruce the place up, like I had never seen before!!!

I was determined to meet this young, energetic and charismatic, determined new governor, soon I would get my chance…

Well the day arrived the governor was here along with KABC NEWS. I walked right up to him and said, SOMETHING TO THIS EFFECT, “They think I’m crazy, what do you think?” He put his arm around my shoulder, gave me a hug and said, “You look fine to me!!!”  IT was a surreal moment for me… I KNEW HE WAS A GREAT MAN, compassionate soul, humanitarian, from that moment on… Later when I got well, I became a volunteer for the Governors special mental health program… I’ve always believed he would make a great President. I hope he runs in 2016…