Corky on Babysitting Laird
by Corky Carroll
After ten plus years of scribbling out notes I finally just finished writing my autobiography. A few months ago my pal Brad Fiedel, great keyboard dude and composer of movie soundtracks, asked me how it was coming. My response was, “not done yet.” He said that would be a good title for it. Yeah, made sense to me. The book is done, but I’m not. So, perfect title. I will let you know more about release dates and all that when I know, well, all that. In the meantime I thought I would share a tale or two from the book with you here.
Today I thought I would talk about back in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s when I used to spend a lot of time on the North Shore. One of my best friends was Billy Hamilton. Billy lived right in front of “Pipeline” with his girlfriend Joanne and her son Laird. Eventually they would get married and Laird would take Hamilton as his last name. I always stayed with Mark Martinson, who live right up the street from Billy and Joanne, and was often called for babysitting duty when they wanted an evening out. Laird was just a young kid, but already was showing the sort of competitiveness and aggression that would later make him into probably the greatest big wave surfer and innovator of all time. So, here is a little snippet from NOT DONE YET about my adventures babysitting Laird Hamilton.
“My pal Billy Hamilton had moved to the North Shore and was living in a house right in front of Pipeline during those years. He had met a great girl named Joanne and she was living with him, along with her son Laird. They called him Laird-John when he was young, the “John” part got dropped sometime later. When I was staying on the north shore during the winters I sometimes got called into babysitting duty for Laird when Billy and Joanne wanted to go out and nobody better qualified was handy. Babysitting Laird, who was really young but already ultra-high energy and super competitive, was an adventure. He liked to play Checkers. Playing a board game with Laird was sort of an art form. If you beat him he would sulk off to his room and before long checkers would be pinging off the back of your head, followed by the checkerboard itself. If you let him win he would know it and the same result would happen, only he wouldn’t bother with sulking off to his room first. So the challenge was to sort of make it as even as possible. Barely win one, then let him barely win one and sort of keep it really close with him coming out the eventual “grand champion.” I remember that Joanne liked to play “Jacks.” One day I was driving past their house when all of a sudden a whole bunch of jacks came flying out the upstairs window and hit the windshield of my car. I had to laugh. Obviously Joanne had just beaten Laird. I got outta harms way before the little rubber ball or anything else rained down on me. It wasn’t unusual for Laird to toss a chair or even a couch, the kid was pretty gnarly. When Billy and Joanne got married Laird took Hamilton as his last name. That kid grew into the greatest and most fearless big wave, no….GIANT wave, surfer of all time. I have been in constant awe at the things he has done over the years and have proudly pointed to a few checkerboard scars on my head a number of times and stated, “Laird Hamilton?, yeah I know that dude.””
Stay tuned, I will try to get you a few more of these little bits from the book before it comes out. Cowabunga.
Laird's Babysitter Article