Loved Zappa as a musician and a thinker
Clean Zappa for this tribute
Always looking for better days ahead
High School interest
It went with the times
Listened to new wave before new wave was cool
But then Jazz became the passion
Named a kid after this womandunno
Named a kid after this guy
Always loved Freddy. Saw them in 1978 in St. Louis
Lance was born as kid number three into the Karl and Rina Hammerdorfer family. Karl was USAF and stationed in Mannheim, Germany, so Lance was delivered at the US Army hospital in Heidelberg's Casern, Patrick Henry Village. He was to spend almost 6 years of his young life in Germany, both on Air Force Bases and out on "the economy" visiting German aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. So he learned a bit of German and acquired his love for antiques. Mom, Rina, was always collecting old treasures from German farmers, sometimes in trade for Jim Beam whiskey or marlboro smokes.
Like all military brats, Lance lived in a lot of places: Utah, Florida, Germany, Virginia, Illinois, and the UK before "settling down" at 17 in the US Coast Guard. Along the way, Lance distinguished himself as a expert in music and culture but not an enthusiastic student. Nevertheless, when the CG required study of airplanes and helicopters, he excelled, earning his A&P and going on to work on Dolphin helicopters... mostly. He also had some polar operations trips on icebreakers way above the arctic circle which, at that time, was still frozen, (Thanks Exxon) Lance flew search and rescue on the same aircraft that he fixed, saving a few lives and risking his own a time or two.
20 years in the USCG brought him to Mobile, Puerto Rico, and Savanna GA, but 20 years was enough for Lance. Loved the sea and the sky, but not the command structure all that much. So he turned in his wrenches and retired at the ripe old age of 37. He worked at a variety of things, selling oxygen, fixing planes, collecting and selling antiques, fixing more planes, doing supply chain work for a startup, and fixing planes. These days, that's where you'll find him, out on the flightline, wrench in hand, contemplating an Airbus or a Boeing, surrounded by planes and the sky.
Those who know Lance best, though, know that he has three real loves: Music, fishing, and collecting. So someday soon, once the kids are in college, we know what he'll be doing. Could be in Florida, or Mexico, or Puerto Rico, but he'll have some good music on, a fishing pole in hand, and dreams of collecting in his head.
First days on planet earth
Portrait as young artist here with mom, sis, and bro
Before the US Coast Guard cleaned him up.
Lance's dad, Karl, CMS USAF, seen here in Vietnam. (Remember that moustache)
Joined Coast Guard at the tender age of 17 (moustache)
Tender age of 18 with Dad (Karl), Sis (Diana), and brother (Carl)
It wasn't all smooth sailing
First son, Andrew, seen here all grown up. (has his dad's looks)
In the Coast Guard, you have to fly in what you fix.
Retired at 37. Yes, retired.
But eventually it all paid off.
He had some more kids along the way. Miles and Ella here.
Washed a few cars (thanks Miles!)
Baked a few cakes (thanks Ella)
But he survived... mostly
Still fixing airplanes and enjoying sunrises.
The year was 1970 and the Hammerdorfer family were on a summer vacation in Spain, down in Costa Brava. Not having much money, our family vacations were all about camping and chilling on the beach.
We had arrived in the campground and I was dutifully helping my dad, Karl senior, set up the army-green 5-man tent that we'd checked out. It was an ugly thing compared to the brightly colored and exotically shaped tents that the Spanish, German, and Dutch tourists who were to be our neighbors for the next ten days had erected.
Hammering the last stakes in the ground and watching my mom and sister organizing our camp kitchen, I noticed that one of us was absent, that being the littlest one, Lance.
Before announcing it, I remembered this drill several years earlier, on a beach in Fort Lauderdale while my dad was in Vietnam. Lance had disappered and we all ran up and down the beach for an hour finally giving into grief and accepting that he had drowned. Until he came toddling back, a popsicle in his hand, wondering what the crowd had gathered for.
"Lance isn't here," I observed to my dad. "(expletive)! Where the (expletive) is that kid?" My mom overheard. "Where is that boy?"
Thirty minutes later the search had failed. Obviously he'd been kidnapped by some of the local gypsys, just as my mom had warned him. Dad had to reluctantly find the campground superintendent and admit that, 2 hours into our stay, we'd lost a kid.
But wait! What's that laughter we hear coming from that big camper just a few spots down from our campsite. My mom had heard it to. "Carl, go look in that camper."
"No, mom. I don't want to."
"Go find your brother!"
When I peaked in, there he was. Sitting at the table with people none of us had ever met, a Dutchman named Henry and his wife. Lance, the socially adept 7 year old had met them, insinuated himself into their lunch, and forgotten all of us, a mere two hours into our visit.
Dad was pissed. Mom was intrigued by these Dutch people. Diana and I were both annoyed and in awe of our little brother's social skills.
Henry and his family became friends of the family. We visited them several years later in Amsterdam. We've lost touch now, but I'm sure Lance could find them for us.