Once Upon A Time…

The Tale Of The Face On The Music Store Wall…

Once upon a time in the almost mythical place called California
In an almost mythical village called Redwood City
Was an almost mythical music store called Gelb Music.

And it was good.

Gelb Music was the last store owned and operated by the late Sidney Gelb.
Sidney Gelb had occasion to hire one Norm Van Maastricht as his store manager around 1964.
This guy was pure as the driven snow. Noted for his black suit and black tie he was the epitome of that rare species the “happily married family man”. A paragon of Americana was he, clean shaven, a monthly haircut.

And it was good.

And it came to pass that Gelb Music hired a young Kevin Jarvis as an instructor in things guitar. Kevin became a Teacher and his skill with the guitar increased his fame.

And it was good.

Sidney Gelb announced his intention to retire in 1972 and sold the venue to Kevin Jarvis and Henry White, another instructor in the store.

And it was good

Norm, at this time had undergone a major metamorphis. He found himself single and shortly after the change in ownership of the store decided to grow a beard and let his hair grow.
The suit and tie vanished; less fromal garb was worn and he started to wear a black cowboy hat.
With a feather in it.

Was this good? Let us say it was good.

It came to pass, during Sidney’s reign, that the building was deemed too bland so an itinerant muralist was hired to paint the building and on the north wall he painted a figure of a bearded thief climbing out of a painted window stealing a painted guitar. The figure was wearing a painted Dutch Boy billed cap.

As art it was mediocre but it was eye catching.

And almost from the day the piece was finished the mantra became “The guy on the wall looks just like Norm.” even though it looked nothing like Norm at all. Norm, at this time, wore a Cowboy Hat With a Feather In It and the mural figure still had his featherless Dutch Boy cap. But still the “It looks like Norm” mantra persisted.

It came to pass that Norm left the store. He became “The Norm” and moved on to the adventure of becoming the de facto manager of a roadhouse of some repute, but that is altogether another story we won’t go into here.

But the wall mural remained there for lo, thirty nine years. Still referred to as “looking like Norm”.

It came to pass, in 2011, that Kevin Jarvis, now sole owner of Gelb Music, decided it was time to repaint the building.
And he had an Inspiration! An Epiphany!

A little conference with the involved parties.
A two minute session with a digital camera

And a new mural appeared on the north wall.
A painted figure stealing a guitar and some amplifiers from a painted window.
A painted cowboy hat with a painted feather and a painted beard.
It looks like, no, it is The Norm!

And it was good…

For further adventures of The Norm you can go to YouTube or Google and type in

the norm

…in the search field and be taken to a gathering of musical events, He plays guitar! He plays Dobro The Norm has been known to burst into song and actually sing!

Accept no substitutes!

One thought on “Once Upon A Time…”

  1. I knew Sydney. He was my teacher at age 8. I also knew Norm, and Kevin and Henry. They were all my music buddies, I worked at Gelbs for four years. It put gas in my ’62 Volvo. And Kevin would rock the music studio down with his guitar feedback, which Norm had a bit of trouble dealing with. Great memories. Love you guys. -Coke-

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