Gordon was born in Saint Luke's Hospital in Bellingham, Washington a few months before the "D-Day" invasion in Europe. His birthdate was 04/04/44 ---
His father was one of the top musicians in a young Hollywood and played with stars such as: Bing Crosby, the big bands, the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy's Orchestra, and band leaders of the Nevada casino theaters.
His mother was a beautiful woman who fled the tyrannic brutality that the early Mormon community in Brigham, Utah, imposed on her mother and father, namely retaliating against the family for allowing her unapproved marriage to a non-Mormon which ended up in their family being thrust into abject poverty. She ended up in Hollywood as a live-in housekeeper for a prominent musician. She there met Gordon's father Bob and married him. He was 27 - ten years her senior.
Ballroom and barn dances were big draws in the thirties and early forties. So Bob, who never could stomach the Hollywood "Tinsel Town" "shlocks" and "Piranhas" of the new studios, just left it all.
So, Gordon's father, with Bette, his mother, went on the road up the coast of California, Oregon and eventually his birth place in Washington.
Teamed up with his sister Ginger on piano and her husband Art on the drums, they set up barn dances and, as they say, knocked 'em dead! Bob did the MC with his smooth style and played guitar and banjo.
In 1942, Gordon's sister Sandy was born, then Gordon in '44. At this time the family lived above a hardware store. It was large enough to hold big dances, and folks would come from Canada and as far south as Seattle to the big dances. At night, the only heat they had came from the store below. It was not a life of luxury.
The country was still, after all, not out of the depression. But Gordon's family was now about to collapse. The first problem was that all the girls were throwing themselves at the handsome MC with the guitar on the stage, which was not lost on Gordon's mother, and it wasn't lost on President Roosevelt that a wartime economy was just the ticket to bring America out of the Depression... long before Pearl Harbor.
So Gordon's father enlists in the Army, is sent to Germany, and gets his own radio show: "Merely Music." It was broadcast over "Radio Free Network" from Cologne, Germany. When WWII ended, he reenlisted and stayed in Europe.
Gordon would not see his father again until he was seventeen. His mother was left penniless with two very young children. She made it back to Hollywood to live with her sister Ada, who's husband Sam was also away in Germany.
His mother Bette was not just a pretty woman; she could, and did, do just about anything, from designing and making clothes to building fences, painting and creating many crafts. Gordon was very inquisative as a child and learned so much from his mother and his aunt and uncles.
A few days after Bette took him to his first year in elementary school in Van Nuys, California, the school called her in to talk about Gordon. They told Bette that they wanted to advance him to the third grade. While Bette protested, he was advanced to the second grade and put in an MGM (Mentally Gifted Minors) program.
Gordon was to win awards for his artwork and get good grades, but really had little interest in school. By nine years of age he found his passion in auto racing, and at ten he could recite every Indy 500 winner along with much of the race history of the Speedway. Then, at thirteen, he entered high school and began frequently ditching school and hitchhiking to Lions Dragstrip. There, in Torrance, California, he would meet the mentors who confirmed that racing is where he was destined to be.
In his first book, Raceman, Jim Travers and the TRACO Dynasty, published in 2011, much of this story is told.
Gordon's next book should be out in the Fall of 2013: Crew Chief: Father Kelly and the Teenage Tuner, for those interested in the Ford vs. Ferrari battles of the '60s, early '50s and '60s drag racing, and sports racing cars up through the '70s.
Gordon also wrote a movie script with Dr. Thomas Carroll: "LeMans Americaine" ... not-so-loosely based on his life with Max Kelly from the age of seventeen to twenty-three, which includes the Ford victories at Sebring and LeMans in the '60s.