The Jim Marsters mystery
I have been making use of the web site called “Flickr”. It has its up side and its down side.
On the down side, when I upload the photos, the uploading process mixes up the photos into some bizarre (and uncontrollable) order, and then there is no way to change the order of the photos once they are uploaded. You just cannot use “Flickr” to tell a story!
On the up side, “Flickr” has a very good search engine system. This means that, if you label your photos correctly, people can find stuff. And find stuff they do!
A few weeks ago, for no particular reason, I decided to scan in, and post, my Asilomar photos. Of course, I want to put them up on my web site, but Comcast has not yet expanded my web site into a usable size. Two weeks ago, Comcast notified me that they would expand my web site to a full Gigabyte within the next week! So far, bupkis! Grrr!
In the mean time, I put the photos on “Flickr”. I used information from the back of the photos to label the “Flickr” entries. The information on the back of the photos was written (by me) back in the seventies, when I got the photos developed. I labeled my photos for “Flickr” as best as I could, and the result gave me an unexpected surprise.
For nine consecutive summers in the nineteen seventies (including the year 1980… because I say so!), I spent one week in every August at a Unitarian Universalist retreat called The Stebbins Institute, held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds near Monterey, California. For the first few of my visits to Asilomar, I did not possess a camera that took reasonable photographs. I touched up those photos from 1974 the best that I could, and posted them to “Flickr”. The camera was so poor, that I did not take any photos during my Asilomar week in 1975.
By 1976, however, I had my Kodak Instamatic camera. So, one of the days at Asilomar (Aug. 17), I took some photos of whatever me and my friends happened to be doing that day. Over the years, those photos have faded, but they still required less touching up than did the earlier Asilomar photos. I posted them to “Flickr”.
Then something weird happened!
I received an email from a stranger asking me about a person in one of the photos. The photo in question showed a bunch of kids sitting in the sand dunes. None of their faces are clearly visible. But, using the information on the back of the photo, I labeled the “Flickr” entree thus: “Karl Anderson, Paul Marsters, Russell Denney, Lisa Dolit, Naomi Selig, Lisa Selig, Alisa Levy and Jim Marsters on the Pacific coast beach at Asilomar State Beach on Aug. 17, 1976.”
The stranger in the email asked me about the name Jim Marsters. Was that “Jim Marsters” in fact the actor James Marsters who played “Spike” on the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”? In my response, I allowed as how I did not know.
I have had no contact with Jim Marsters since 1976. I did not know what he has done with his life. I do not know what has become of almost all of the people I knew at Asilomar. But I will tell you this: almost all of the kids that I knew at Asilomar were very intelligent and talented people. That was one of the main reasons that I loved my time at Asilomar so much! Any or all of them could have done fabulous things with their lives. But if so, I am ignorant of it.
Since I responded to the stranger’s email, I have done some research. I can tell you now that, yes, that photo does include the person who later became an actor who plays “Spike” on the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”!
You see, the photo in question also contains a person named “Paul Marsters”. According to the “Mini Biography” of James Marsters on IMDb, the actor has a younger brother named Paul. The age for James Marsters matches, and the location where the Marsters grew up, Modesto, also fits. I have no doubt that it is the same guy.
I made a blow-up of the part of the photo that has James Marsters and put it on “Flickr”. I have more Asilomar photos yet to post. But James Marsters is not in any of them. So far as I know, James Marsters did not go to Asilomar after 1976. But his brother, Paul, did. Paul is in some of the photos that I have yet to post. Well, truth be told, the back of Paul’s head is in a photo that I will soon post, not his face. Heh!
---Pip R. Lagenta