CHEESE DELUXE: A Memoir, is a collection of mostly true tales of a group of baby boomers in a time of transition. They are high school seniors, full of their own good fortune, bright prospects and parents’ money, unaware of a world waiting impatiently to gobble them up. But they are beginning to get some inkling of that world as they make tentative forays into it and then come rushing back to the shelter of home. That home is the Samoa Drive In, a classic teen hangout, and purveyor of the Cheese Deluxe, one of the world’s best burgers.
The time is 1965, and the place is an upper middle class suburb of Seattle called Mercer Island, known for fancy houses on the lake, one of the best public school systems in America, and an almost entirely white citizenry composed of attorneys, doctors, accountants, middle management, and the ubiquitous Boeing engineers of the Northwest 1960s. It is in many ways an idyllic place to grow up, the kind of community where one of the “gangs” in high school is made up of members of the drama club. Moreover, the class of ’65 is the last drug-free class in America—at least on the West Coast—as well as the last class where the boys don’t feel the increasingly ominous presence of a war in Southeast Asia awaiting them if they opt out, drop out or flunk out of college.
Cheese Deluxe author Greg Palmer was a member of the Mercer Island Class of ’65, who worked evenings, weekends, and all summer after graduation as the Samoa’s main cook. Over many a Cheese Deluxe he and his fellow Samoans enjoyed the vicarious escapades of their colleagues. Sometimes as a participant, sometimes as an observer and sometimes as a confessor, Palmer tells fourteen stories; some romances, some comedies and one or two tragedies.
|Publisher:||Bennett & Hastings Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.51(d)|
About the Author
Mr. Palmer’s international documentaries for PBS, as producer, writer, and sometimes host, include: Inside Passage; The Perilous Fight: America’s World War Two In Color; The Video Game Revolution; The Art of Magic; and Vaudeville: An American Masters Special, named by People Magazine as one of the ten best television programs of the year.
Mr. Palmer’s six plays for families have been produced around the world and include adaptations of Puss In Boots and Snow White; The Big Bad Wolf (And How He Got That Way); and The Falcon, part of the 1990 Goodwill Games Arts Festival. A film version of Falcon, directed by Mr. Palmer, was shot entirely on location in the Caucasus mountains of Georgia, and broadcast to an audience of more than 200 million viewers.
For 13 years Mr. Palmer was the Arts & Entertainment Editor of KING Television News. While at KING he also wrote and produced regional documentaries, including: Small Town Saturday Night; D-Day: The Last Wave; and The Royal Wedding. He is the winner of broadcasting’s highest honor, the Peabody Award, as well as commendations from Action for Children’s Television, the Ohio State Awards, and 13 Emmy awards.
A fifth generation Northwesterner, Mr. Palmer was born and raised on Mercer Island, and for forty years lived with his wife Cathy in Seattle. Mr. Palmer passed away in May 2009. Cheese Deluxe was his final book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Those of us who live in the Seattle area have been savoring Greg Palmer¿s wit and pithy insights for years on radio, television, and in print. True to form, Cheese Deluxe, his roman à clef memoir of a lost time and place (1965, the Samoa Drive-In, Mercer Island, Washington) is by turns hysterical and poignant. Palmer conjures a world of adolescents brilliant and dim, naïve and precocious, sex-obsessed and unwillingly celibate, all lumped together as ¿underachievers¿ in the tacky booths of the Samoa. This book is laugh-out-loud funny, a la David Sedaris.
But the acuteness of Palmer¿s memories prevent him from wallowing in the warm bath of nostalgia. Instead, the yearning, confusion, earnestness, and bizarre adventures of adolescence suffuse every page. His outlandish characters stumble through their strange days in an odd suburb during an in-between time. This was the last Mercer Island High School class before drugs and Vietnam took center stage. Beyond the quest for beer, a quest for a stimulating and authentic adult life was launched by a cadre of remarkable teachers. This provocative foundation had wide-ranging consequences. After all, Barack Obama¿s mom was a graduate.