Aunt Gertie and Billy the Music Man

Aunt Gertie and Billy Gowen (on right).

Aunt Gertie was blown away when Billy Gowen told me Roger Waters, of “Pink Floyd,” was 74 years old, Sept. 6, the day we sat down and talked.  He’s like a walking encyclopedia when it comes to classic rock, country and old soul music.  Billy loves his collection of 994 CDs which includes every album the Beatles recorded and his favorite high school days music artist, David Bowie.  He’s seen Bowie in concert four times!  Pretty cool!

Billy walks his neighbors’ dog, Riley, a black chow dog in a lions clip, twice a day.  You may have seen him on Main Street too, with a little spiral notebook inside his shirt pocket.

He writes everything down because of memory problems that occurred after he was hit by a motorcycle.  He was riding a bike with no helmet and ended up in a coma for three months.  He’s lucky to be alive and wants everyone to wear a helmet when riding.  Good advice, so listen up riders!

William Rip Gowen the 24th was born in Los Angeles but grew up in Huntington Beach.  He graduated Fountain Valley High School in 1975 and knew Michelle Pfeiffer, the actress, from class of 1976.  He’s lived in Seal Beach since 1995 and now resides on Electric Avenue.  His front yard is filled with rabbits wearing sunglasses gathered from the Greenbelt across the street.  Sometimes people walking by leave a pair for his collection.  What a hoot!

He has two cats named Sweet Pea and Lucky Boy and says they’re ferocious (with a twinkle in his eye) but I’m not buying it for one minute.  When you see Billy tell him you’re glad to meet him and thrilled he lives in our lovely town of Seal Beach.  The tiny crown jewel of the California coastline!


Aunt Gertie is looking for fabulous recipes from unique kitchens and larger-than-life eccentric characters to be in some of my future columns.  If you or one of your friends has an interesting story to tell, send me an email, I’d love to hear from you.

Karen Hadley, creator of Aunt Gertie, can be reached by email at or