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  • Karl Thunemann

John Scarborough Bio

By John Scarborough

I was born in South San Francisco in 1950.  I had lots of allergy-based childhood asthma.  I loved to read; and Mom would help me relax by playing Beethoven, especially, at the beginning of afternoon naps. 

Let me start with my recollection of life at 5 Hillcrest Court, where we lived until I was 9. As one entered 5 Hillcrest, a visitor would find-- immediately to the left--one of the end-tables Mom and Dad inherited from Grandpa, and just beyond it the couch, also inherited from Grandpa, whose color was similar to the shade I’ve pasted in nearby. Over the years it grew slightly more gray by virtue of our constant unmonitored use.  Against the wall immediately to the right as you entered the living room from our one and only hall sat the upright piano (a Jefferson).  Sitting on the right end of the piano bench one could warm cold hands over the heater’s immediately adjacent floor register. 

 At least once I also warmed the thermometer Mom had stuck under my tongue to determine if I was really sick or just faking it.  For my naps, I would lie on the couch, feet toward the front door so that I could watch Mom play as I fell asleep.  She played  Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Mozart, Debussy, Grieg, some Bach, Handel, even less Bartok, others that don’t come to mind at the moment (Czerny’s Technical Studies pops up), and many hymns, since she accompanied the choir (and other faithful) at Parkwood Methodist.  And of course she would accompany Dad and sometimes his friend Francis Doran as they sang operatic arias or pop music (one was “See the big ship we’re sailing on, me and Donald and John…”).  It seems to me that, for my whole life, whenever I have heard certain pieces by Beethoven, e.g. the Moonlight Sonata, I have instantly felt secure and at home.  In 1959 We moved 18 miles south to Belmont in 1959. Even in Belmont she would put Beethoven’s 6th on our Magnavox Entertainment Center’s phonograph, as would I. 

At puberty, as predicted by our family doctor, Dr. Bachman, my allergies fell away and I tasted doughnuts for the first time, and bacon.  In 1965 I played RF for a team in Belmont’s Babe Ruth League, at least 20 of whose players hit better than I did.  My high school English teacher, who had also taught my brother Karl, had me read Montaigne’s essays, and turn in at least one essay of my own per week for the duration of the term.  I got into Seattle University on the strength of an essay on the practical value of liberal arts; after graduating from its two-year Honors Program, I worked for Shorey’s Bookstore, where I was given responsibility for running its newly purchased hand bookbinding business.      

In 1975 I joined a Hindu monastery in Seattle started in 1939 by Swami Vividishananda, a monk in the Ramakrishna Order, based in India and founded by Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) in 1897.  I resided there for 11 years.  I married Margaret Scarborough in 1986, taking her last name (replacing Thunemann).   Several college classes and a few years later, I started working at Microsoft in 1989, leaving in 2000 as test manager.  We moved to Ashland in 1999, where I planned to retire.  That didn’t work out, so I got a job working for a start-up, Disha Technologies, based in Pune, India, the first of a string of jobs based in India, for which I would travel to India at least 25 times before finally retiring in 2018.      

I’m an active member in Rotary Club of Ashland, OR.  Margaret and I have rented our Victorian Garden Carriage House through AirBnB for the last five years.  She has been studying cello since 2001, and I recently renewed study of the piano.  We have one indoor and one outdoor cat.


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