A serial memoir by Jean Fogelberg

Full Circles

Dan played every instrument on Full Circle: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, mandolin, piano, electric keyboards and percussion. He recorded each instrument onto its own track so they could all be “mixed” later. As with any fine dish, too much or too little of any ingredient can make a big difference. 

    Tweaking the instruments for one song could take Dan weeks. He’d bring the guitar up here, the drums down there, all the while making sure the vocals didn’t get buried in the mix. Once all the songs were mixed, they were taken to be “mastered.”

    Mastering engineers are like the sous chefs of the kitchen, in charge of plating the food and wiping off any drips before it’s served. Put simply, the songs are sequenced in the correct order, with equal space between them. Mistakes are fixed, and levels are adjusted so the listener isn’t turning some songs up to hear better, and ripping their headsets off in pain on others. When the tracks sound as good as possible, with equal volume levels throughout, they are transferred to the final format.

    Although he played all the instruments, Dan added four fictitious musicians to the credits:


Roland Laboite - drums, percussion

Donny Traut - bass

Sven Birkebeiner - keyboards

Lee Mealone - congas, percussion

  • Roland Laboite/drums: the drum machine Dan used was made by Roland Corporation. La boite is French for “the box.” 

  • Donny Trout/bass: Trout. Bass.

  • Sven Birkebeiner/keyboards: Skiers call their skis "boards". Dan was proud of his Swedish ancestry and loved Nordic history. As a Nordic skier himself, Dan especially liked the story of the Birkebeiner soldiers who skied young Prince Haakon from Lillehammer to Østerdalen during the winter of 1206, helping to end many years of civil war. Sven-Åke Lundbäck and Sven Utterström were two great Swedish Nordic racers.

  • Lee Mealone/percussion: a reference to Dan’s reputation for being a recluse: Leave me alone.

    The title track, “Full Circle,” was written by Gene Clark; “Earth Anthem” was written by Bill Martin. The rest of the tracks were written by Dan. He explained each song in his 2003 interview with Rex Rutkowski.

Reach Haven Postcard
00:00 / 04:06

Reach Haven Postcard


The first breath of autumn blows through the trees

And the nights are getting long and growing colder

And the maples are turning and the fields have gone brown

And the waves against the shore make such a sad sound


Now there’s a meal on the table and a fire in the stove

And a candle burning brightly by the stairway

And a lamp in the window that shines out to sea

And I wish so much tonight that you were here with me


Now the moon is in danger of running aground

As she sweeps the tattered clouds above the island

And the stars lay like diamonds on the breast of the sea

And I wonder where you are and if you’re thinking of me



Now I’ve grown so accustomed

To having you near

And I miss you so madly 

When you are not here

When I think how you love me

Oh, it brings me to tears

And wish so much tonight 

that you were here with me

Oh, I wish so much tonight 

that you were here with me


Well I dropped you a postcard today in the mail

With a picture of a sailing ship upon it

And I tried to say something that was clever and clear

But the only thing I wrote was that “I wish you were here”


Repeat Chorus

In January we left the snow-packed mountains of Colorado behind to spend two weeks in Hawaii. We went every few years, and usually rented a condo unit on Maui within walking distance of Lahaina. Dan and his friend Wyland would sometimes dive in the afternoon and the three of us would have dinner together. Our last few days were always spent at Wailea, visiting David Backstrom and his wife, Marie Laure.

    This year, we had made arrangements to get my mother to Kalaupapa, the Hawaiian leper colony where she was born, on the island of Molokai. Mom was rapidly losing her eyesight to Macular Degeneration, and she longed to see her childhood home one last time. I spent most of 2002 looking into it, and learned that you can take brief tours of Kalaupapa, riding down the steep cliff on mules. But, since it’s still inhabited, you can’t just go and wander around.

    Surely, I thought, since my mother had lived there, and since her father was the superintendent of the colony from 1925 until his death in 1939, a more personal visit might be possible. After almost a year of futile attempts, I created a website about my grandfather and called it “Remembering Kalaupapa ~ the Doc Cooke Years.”

    On it, I said, "My hope is that this website, like a message in a bottle, will float through the ethernet to someone who will be able to help." I posted the website in August of 2002, and in December I got an email that was an answer to all my prayers.

    Valerie Monson was a reporter for the Maui News. She had been writing articles about Kalaupapa for fourteen years and came across my website while doing research. She said she’d seen Mom’s tiny footprints in the cement near the the staff quarters and thought, “I wonder what ever happened to the footprint girl?” She asked if she could interview Mom while we were in Hawaii and, oh yes, if there was anything she could do to help… 

    Val arranged for us to be sponsored by the priest at Kalaupapa, Father Joseph Hendriks. We would stay for two nights in the visitor’s quarters, and Val would take us around the settlement. All we had to do was get there, and bring our own groceries. Dan got into the spirit of the quest and paid for my parent’s plane tickets to Maui, where they would stay in the condo with us.


     When he described my father to people, he would say “He’s six foot, three!” That was a bit of an exaggeration, but he looked up to my quiet father. For his part, Dad considered Dan the son he never had. They had a lot in common, and enjoyed talking about politics, religion, music, history, and photography.      Neither of them was keen on visiting Kalaupapa with Mom and me, but Dad said he’d go with us. This place was a part of my mother’s life, and Doc was the beloved father who had died when she was twelve.


    Ralph “Doc” Cooke was an ex-Navy man, working for the Mutual Telephone Company of Honolulu when he was sent to Kalaupapa to install radio receivers. It was a day that would completely alter the course of his life. Others had tried to bring radio to the residents of “The loneliest place on Earth,” but they had all failed.

    Doc got the receivers working and the people rejoiced, believing him to be a Kahuna of great power. Later, when the superintendent at the colony retired, the Board of Health had to find someone the residents would accept and respect. They offered the job to Doc, who devoted himself to making conditions at the settlement the best they could be, for fourteen years.

    In his book, “Home Country,” beloved World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle wrote about his visit to Kalaupapa:

    “One day Superintendent Cooke’s baby girl got outside the compound and was crawling around under the feet of a horse. A number of patients saw the peril the baby was in. The natural impulse, of course, was to run up and snatch her away, but they knew they must not touch her - must not rescue her from one danger and subject her to another. They were panicky; they ran frantically in all directions around the settlement, yelling for some well person to come and get her. Superintendent Cooke said the horse was so old and docile it wouldn’t have stepped on her anyhow, but the patients didn’t know that. He was deeply touched by the incident.” 

    The little girl was my mother, who would love horses all her life. Ernie Pyle remained friends with Doc and corresponded with him until Doc's death. Ernie Pyle was killed on April 18, 1945 by a Japanese sniper bullet while on the frontlines with American marines on an island four miles west of Okinawa.


I woke in the dark, to the sound of the alarm clock and high winds, and I really wanted to stay in bed. Dan could sleep in; he was going diving later with Wyland. Because of my inner ear configuration, I can’t descend below fifteen feet, so I was glad Dan had an experienced buddy to dive with. He had done so much to help with the Kalaupapa quest, I didn't begrudge him his playtime.

    The smell of coffee meant Dad was already up, so I got out of bed and dressed. I wrote about that day on my website:

    "January 24, 2003. Our flight was at 7:00am, and I hadn't been to the Kapalua Airport before, so I set my alarm for 5:30am, then proceeded to lie awake, listening to the wind as it increased in force with every minute that ticked by. By 5:30 it was howling, by the time we drove up the hill to the airport at 6:30, it threatened to knock us off our feet as we carried our boxes of supplies into the terminal.

​    A business man was the only other traveler in the small terminal, and as I tried to convince myself it really wasn't too windy to fly, I heard him on his cell phone telling his office that he had cancelled his flight due to a small craft advisory warning.

    My parents looked perfectly calm, but then so did I. We smiled, took photos, watched the windows flex and bend; palm fronds skidding down the runway. My stomach was begging me to call the whole thing off, and my mind was debating whether this trip was worth dying for. I decided to wait until I met the pilot before making any drastic decisions. Maybe he wouldn't even show up. Maybe Val would call my cell phone any minute to tell me the pilot said "Only a suicidal maniac would fly in this weather!"

    A small cardboard airplane pulled up on the runway outside our gate. A suicidal maniac in a leather bomber jacket hopped out and walked sideways in the wind to the building. He wrenched the door open and said (smiling, and with a British accent): "Hi! I'm Nik, Paragon Air. Are you going to Kalaupapa?” He sounded sane. 

    As we shook hands, I said: "Nik, tell me you fly in this kind of weather all the time." He casually waved my worries away with his hand: "Oh sure.” He grabbed the box of groceries and we took our overnight bags and followed Nic out the door.

    As we walked out on the runway, the plane got bigger and I could see that it was actually made of metal. Things were looking up. Then I saw that Val was waiting in the plane for us. Don't ask me why, but the fact that she was flying with us erased any of my remaining fears.

    We climbed into the 6-seater and were off. As soon as we were airborne I could see that Nik wasn't a maniac at all, but an experienced pilot who knows his plane and skies. He probably went home that night and told his wife that the day was "a bit breezy.”

    Flying just below the dark clouds, rain pelting the windshield, the ocean churning below us, the sun broke through the clouds onto the water and I felt a great, swelling sense of adventure."


    We stopped at the Kalaupapa Post Office so Val and I could use the phone. We each called our worried husbands and let them know we had survived the flight. While there, Val pointed out the community bulletin board, and the hand-printed poster announcing the special events planned in honor of Mom's visit:


Welcome back…."The Footprint Girl” 

When R.L. “Doc” Cooke was administrator at Kalaupapa from 1925 - 1939, he and his wife, Wilhelmina, had two children. Those children unknowingly became part of history when they put their footprints in cement in the sidewalk near the (new) State Kitchen and the Staff Quarters. This Friday - Jan 24 - one of those children, Leslie Cooke Mayer (now a grandmother) is coming back to find her footprints.  

Please welcome Leslie and her family! 

4:30 pm Friday - Footprint Ceremony by Staff Quarters. 

5 pm - Hot dogs, cake, talk story. 

St. Francis Social Hall



    The Footprint Ceremony was attended by fifteen people, both residents and staff, a good turnout considering a bad cold was going around. Afterward, there were indeed hot dogs, cake, and "talk story." Just before Mom cut the cake, the ladies sang her a beautiful old Hawaiian song that echoed through the social hall. Everyone made mom feel so welcome, you never would have guessed it had been seventy years since she had been there last; seventy years since she and her little brother were sent away to live with their grandparents on Oahu.


    That night, I was exhausted, but my mind was spinning. I was reminded of Ernie Pyle's Kalaupapa chapter, when he said: "I could not believe I was really there. My brain whirled, and all night I tossed and rolled…"

    The next we explored the settlement and the day flew by. As we were getting back on the plane the following morning, it seemed like we’d only just arrived. We soared into the clear blue sky and I glanced back at Mom, who was smiling wistfully at the rugged Molokai coast. 


    Later that year I wrote about our adventure on the Kalaupapa website and asked Mom if she wanted to write an epilogue. She wrote: 

I wish to thank my beautiful daughter Jean and her husband Dan, who spent hours of time and research and love, for making my impossible dream come true. I once said, "Someday before I die I would like to go home to Kalaupapa again.” She never forgot my wish and arranged the trip, for my husband and I to take this journey back in time to realize that you can go home again.

    It was one of the best things I ever did for my mother, and I was so grateful to Dan for helping me to close this circle for her.


    We had a few fun days, showing Mom and Dad around Maui, then it was time for us all to return to the mainland. Back at the ranch, Dan spent most of February reviewing each song on Full Circle many times, looking for little glitches or mistakes.

    Ears listening to console speakers all day can become strained, just like eyes staring at a computer monitor can. That’s where Buckaroo used to come in, jumping up on the console to say “enough.” Dan must have decided a fresh pair of ears should mix the album, because he booked some studio time in March with mixing engineer Elliot Scheiner, in Connecticut. 


    On March 11, we drove down to Santa Fe with the Full Circle master tapes safely packed in a box. We had dinner and spent the night, and the next morning we headed to the Amtrak train station in Lamy, just thirty minutes south of Santa Fe. When transporting master tapes, Dan always took trains. He didn’t fly with them because he was nervous about sending tapes through the X-ray machines at airports.

    Since we were taking the tapes to Connecticut, we would be riding the Southwest Chief east, from Lamy to Illinois. The train goes all the way to Chicago, but we would be getting off in Galesburg, where Dan’s mother, Margaret, would meet us. After visiting with her in Peoria for a couple of days, we’d drive to Connecticut.

    While we waited for the train, I photographed Dan, the station, everything. Dan had just given me my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D100, for Christmas, and I was on fire. He was my model and mentor, posing and then patiently answering my questions about depth of field and shutter speed. 


    The Southwest Chief pulled into the station and we boarded, stowing our luggage and the precious Full Circle tapes in our cabin. As soon as the the train began to move, we changed into our comfy travel clothes. 

    We loved traveling by train; it was the ultimate down time. We had privacy, room to move or lie down, our own bathroom, and time to read, nap, or work on the laptop. Our LG flip phones rarely had service in the middle of nowhere, so we were unreachable. The rhythmic beat of the wheels and the gentle rocking of the car made for a great night’s sleep. Sometimes we’d go to the dining car to eat. Mostly, though, we ate in our cabin, on the fold-down table between the seats, and watched the endless scenery speed by.


    Margaret met us at the train station in Galesburg, Illinois. From there, it was a straight shot down I-74 to Peoria, and the brick house that Dan had grown up in. That night, we slept in Dan’s childhood room in the narrow twin beds. The next morning, Margaret offered to drive us into town for breakfast. We walked out to the free-standing garage behind the house, and Dan said I could sit in the front passenger seat. 

    As we approached cars waiting at a red light, Margaret didn’t slow down. I glanced sideways at her, and she was wide awake and concentrating on the road. She stepped on the brakes at the last second, just as my left foot was pressing my body into the seat, and my right foot was lifting in search of a phantom brake pedal. It was gratifying to hear Dan catch his breath from the back seat, and once we’d come to a full stop, I turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow. I had complained about this very thing many times while riding with him. 

    After breakfast we walked out to the parking lot and I made a point of telling Dan he should sit up front this time; after all, he so seldom got to see his mom. To his credit, after that visit, he made a concerted effort to undo what was, apparently, an errant genetic trait.

    We had two lovely days with Margaret, and I got to peruse the photo albums in the bookcase behind the couch. Dan sat down next to me to look at a few. “Your hair was so long!” I said, looking at some faded family shots taken in the very living room we were sitting in. “Oh, yeah,” he said, pointing to his Scottish grandfather. “Poppy hated it.” Imitating Margaret’s father, he shook his head and said, “Ach, Danny, yeh look like H!” 

    Margaret showed me a very old photo of her mother as a young woman. There was Dan's grandmother, Mim, a bonny lass, but mostly obscured behind rough streaks of crayon. “I did that,” Margaret said ruefully, “when I was a little girl.” I told her if she sent me the photo, I’d try to clean it up in Photoshop.

    She did send it, later that year, along with a few other photos. I used one of the images of Loc Lomond for the scene behind the restored Mim image, and Margaret was so happy with it, she sent me a whole bunch of antique family photos. I scanned them all and made photo albums for her, and each of her sons, with their family tree on the first page. We sent them as Christmas presents that year.


    In the small kitchen at the back of the house, Margaret made her famous Ginger Snaps for us. I’d never cared for gingerbread cookies, but Margaret’s Ginger Snaps were chewy and sweet, with just enough ginger and molasses. She sent a box of them to us every year at Christmastime, each sugar-topped cookie wrapped individually in foil. (Dan thanked her for them in the liner notes of The First Christmas Morning.) 

    The smell of baking cookies reminded Dan of sitting in the living room with his father and brothers, watching football on TV while it snowed outside. He reminisced about the old days, as he always did when we were at the house in Peoria: 

  • Playing “roof ball” with his brothers: tossing a basketball as close to the top of the roof as possible without sending it over, bouncing into the street. 

  • The epic Lima Bean Wars, fought at the dinner table by Larry Fogelberg and his stubborn youngest son. 

  • Larry, sitting in the back yard on summer days, wrapping and carving his own oboe reeds. The high squeak as he tested them intermittently, moistening and blowing into them until they sounded right.

  • Christmas day, careening down the steep driveway on toy wooden skis and crashing at the bottom.

  • Home from college for the summer, playing piano in the living room while watching the sun come up over the rooftops across the street. Writing “To the Morning,” his “first real piano song.”


    We said goodbye to Margaret and drove a rented car to Westport, Connecticut. On our first evening there, we had dinner with Elliot Scheiner and his wife, actress Diana Canova, at their home. Diana was best known for her role in the late-seventies TV series Soap, but she had guest-starred on Happy Days, Starsky and Hutch, The Love Boat, and many other TV shows. While we ate the delicious, healthy, meal she’d prepared for us, she regaled us with great insider Hollywood stories. 

    The next day, we took the master tapes to Presence Studios, where Dan and Elliot would mix Full Circle. I can’t remember how long we were in Connecticut, two or three days, I guess. When they were done, we took the digital mixes to New York, to be mastered by Darcy Proper at Sony Music Studios. 

    On our way north to Maine, we drove along the coast and stopped at Mystic Seaport Museum. We bought admission tickets and got our hands stamped. Beside a huge old ship, I photographed Dan leaning on one of the pier pilings. 


    In Maine we met with Eric Chase Architects and Bryan (Song for a Carpenter,) who would be our contractor. With each meeting, our notes and sketches were looking more and more like professional house plans. As we walked around the property with the plans, Hubert Billings, the island code enforcement officer, showed us how close we could build to the water. As the men pointed and plotted, I photographed it all with my new camera.


Dan, Hubert Billings, Bryan Kearns, Eric Chase


Architect Doug McMillan and Dan, not quite on the same page.


Carpenter and pan band percussionist Bryan Kearns.


    On April 7th, demolition of the little yellow captain’s house began. As I walked through the rooms with my camera, the ghosts of moments past mingled with dust fairies and asbestos fibers stained with squirrel pee.

  •     There was the kitchen shelf where Dan had added a bottle of wine each birthday since he bought the house, with the year written on it with a Sharpie.

  • The main bedroom, with the striped wallpaper. The bed was in the corner of the room and I couldn't sit up without hitting my head on the steep ceiling. I'd crawl carefully into bed and then wake at night to red squirrels running up through the rafters, and the rattle-rattle of dropped acorns. Lovely memories of lying there with Dan on wet mornings, listening to the sound of rain on the roof. 

  • The dining room, where the boom box radio was broadcasting a late baseball game that got interrupted with the news that Princess Diana had been in a car accident. And where, four years later, we listened to 9/11 unfold. 

  • The old cast iron Jøtul stove that Dan would light on cold mornings, as we began to stay later and later in the year. Once the wood was stacked and the fire lit, he’d run back upstairs and snuggle under the warm covers with me. 

  • There was the living room we were sitting in, the night Dan stared into the Jøtul's flames and told me he didn’t think we were right for each other because of my motion sickness. Just around the corner was the tall kitchen window I was standing at the next morning, when he put his arms around me and said we would work it out.

Here we were, six years later, married and building a new house together. We would fill it with brand new moments that would drift and fade into memories. Each memory would settle into a dent; a stain; a sconce, then emerge as a ghost at the flicker of a light, or the scent of lilacs in the summer. And maybe, now and then, the sound of rain on a rooftop would conjure up the old captain’s house. 


Once the demolition was well under way, we took one last, bittersweet glance, then drove the rental car back to Peoria. I had seen the house where Dan spent his childhood, now he wanted to show me where his career as a musician had blossomed. We went to Champaign Urbana, and Dan showed me the Red Herring Coffee House, where he met Elliott Delman, and came into his own as a solo act.


We wandered over to the University of Illinois. The rooms and hallways seemed deserted and silent to me, but for Dan they were alive with the echoes of big dreams looking for a ride to fruition.


Note the Schoolhouse chair in the music room.

    The next day, Margaret drove us back to the Amtrak station in Galesburg. We would see her again in two months, when the tour came to Peoria. We rode the Southwest Chief west, to Lamy, then drove up highway 84 toward Colorado. It was mid-April and we were just in time for mud season, but we were looking forward to being home. I had a long list of websites to design and Dan had interviews to do, then band rehearsals for the 2003 Summer Tour. 

    As he stopped the car in front of the house, I waited until Dan said what he always said when we returned home from a journey: “There and back again!” Only then, with the allusion to Bilbo Baggins, was the circle closed. As we got out of the car, a new circle had just begun.

Full Circle
00:00 / 02:51

Full Circle


Funny how the circle turns around

First you’re up and then you’re down again

Though the circle takes what it may give

Each time around it makes it live again


Funny how the circle is a wheel

And it can steal someone who is a friend

Funny how the circle takes you flying

And if it’s right it brings it back again



Funny how the circle turns around

First you’re lost and then you’re found again

Though you always look for what you know

Each time around it makes it new again


Funny how the circle is a wheel

And it can steal someone who is a friend

Funny how the circle takes you flying

And if it’s right it brings it back again


Funny how the circle is a wheel

And it can steal someone who is a friend

Funny how the circle takes you flying

And if it’s right it brings it back again


Words and Musics by Gene Clark


Posted December 12th. 2020 Copyright ©Jean Fogelberg 2020