In Memory

Michael Horne

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08/14/15 08:15 PM #1    

Robert Ambrite


     I have known Mike Horne since we were in kindergarten at Wayne Elementary School. Mike and I were in Mrs. Head’s class and became close buddies who thrived on causing chaos wherever we went. We played baseball in the weeds and dandelions of Wayne’s playground together and touch football in the autumn on the asphalt streets of Detroit’s east side. But, most of all, throughout the entire year, we looked for ways to cause mischief like it was Halloween hell night every day of the year. In high school, Mike and I used to hang out at Duncan Burger’s on Eight Mile Road and the Elias brother’s Big Boy on Jefferson and Nine Mile.

     Mike was very creative in picking up the girls. Once we settled at a the respective drive-in, we would stand behind a car and wait for what we thought were a couple of good-looking hotties who were cruising and then run out to tell them, “Please get us out of here. We’re being chased by Pershing High kids.” It didn’t always work, but there were plenty of nights that it did, and it resulted in Mike and me and our new friends spending the rest of the evening down in Dave Philips basement on Revard Blvd, drinking Boone’s Farm, smoking Winstons and listening to the Mamas and Papas singing California Dreaming. In the cold Michigan winters, we would drive our car into a snow bank outside of Dominican High and spin the wheels as we asked the plaid-uniformed girls to help us push the car out. These staged episodes may have helped me appreciate the merits of dating Catholic girls, but, to this day, I still have a bad back from pushing snow-paralyzed cars too many times.

     At Denby, Mike and I were not the best students .While most of the graduating class of ’65 headed off to U of M, MSU, Western, Central or Eastern Michigan Universities, Mike and I barely got into Detroit Institute of Technology. DIT, or as Mike referred to it, “Daddy, I Tried,” was notorious for accepting low-achieving students from Grosse Point, Oak Park or just any kid whose parents were willing to pay the high tuition in order to say, “My kid attends college.” But, located in the heart of downtown Detroit off Woodward Avenue, and surrounded by the Fox Theater (Motown Review), The Village Pump, The Purple Onion, the Cass Corridor music scene and all of the action happening on John-R, the school was the perfect match for a couple of wayward boys who were searching out their own kind of special education. Mike, Dave Philips and I ended up leasing our own crash pad on Prentis Avenue near Wayne State. As our hair grew longer, we kept our door open 24/7. Mike would be perched on the water bed, smoke in hand, instructing us all on what tunes to play. He loved the Doors, Dylan, the Byrds, the Left Bank, the Velvet Underground and could always belt out a soulful tune like Lee Dorsey’s Workin’ in the Coal Mine.

     Mike bought a white TR-4 and I bought a black one. We would race down Lakeshore Boulevard to see who would be the first to downshift as we took Dead Man’s Curve at about seventy mph. Mike was cool and usually won those challenges. We would often park our cars near the lake and sit on the banks talking about sports, music, politics, the war and what would become of us in the future. What is it John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when we’re busy making plans.”

     At the close of our sophomore year, I left DIT, Mike transferred to Northern Michigan and Dave to University of Michigan. That June, Mike and Dave saw me off at the train station headed to basic training at Fort Knox, KY. I would not see either of them again for over two years - a lifetime when one of those years was spent in Vietnam. Upon my return, Mike and I remained close until I finally graduated from college and moved to NYC. Dave moved to California and Mike stayed in Michigan for a few more years until he and his new wife, Pam, decided to start life over in Florida. Mike spent the rest of his life in south Florida where he started his own construction supply business in West Palm Beach. He and Pam raised two beautiful daughters. Over the years, Mike and I would visit each other. I moved around quite a bit, but Mike always seemed to “be in the neighborhood,” so, we always had time to share a meal, a few glasses of wine and reminisce about the good old days.

     The last time Mike and I got together was about six years ago in Florida. I rented a Mustang convertible and we cruised Boca Raton and West Palm and stopped at a local beachside bar where we toasted growing old and trying not to regret all the mistakes we had each made in our life’s journey. Michael Horne was my friend. I will cherish the good times and bad times we shared together until my final day also arrives. I raise a glass of Irish rye to you, Mike – and I promise I’ll take another run down Lakeshore Drive loudly playing a Jim Morrison tune with the memory of you right by my side.

Robert Ambrite, Dallas, Texas

08/15/15 10:34 AM #2    

Nancy Gould (Gomoll)

Great memories, Bob, that you will hold in your heart forever.  RIP Mike.

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