If his Notepaper is to be believed, Allen Gardiner is a Compleat Artist, and Humorist & Free Spirit/Pedagogue, Pithologicalizer & Preacher/Raconteur, Renaissance Man & Romantic, Ructionary & Roue/Polyglot, Peregrinator & Snazzy Dresser/(Linguisti, Touristi and Fashionisti)/Absolute Autocrat of Allen’-i-stan/Formerly/Emperor of Hayward (and Protector of Castro Valley)/and, prior to that,/The Toast of Topeka, But not, we assure you, of Brussels, Rio de Janeiro or Baden-Baden. Allen claims he can explain or justify every one of these titles. That, of course, offers only temporary relief for recently, he has had calling cards printed that read: “ALLEN GARDINER/Erudite Scholar & Educator, /Egalitarian/& Epicure,” Don’t say “Whew!” Just when you thought it was safe to go to the parking lot, there’s more. He has in mind yet another calling card that will read, “ALLEN GARDINER/cognoscente, /collage artist,/colorful character,/and counter-culturist,” or perhaps, R.O.B., T.O.B., or K.O.C. (Standing for Rich Old Bastard, Tough Old Bird, or Kindly Old Curmudgeon).
Allen was born to an American father whose ancestral lines, primarily English, were all represented in this country prior to the American Revolution, and a Scottish immigrant/G.I. war bride mother. He grew up in a farm at Denison, Kansas, in the garden spot of northeast Kansas. After 18.5 years in library work in Topeka (4 at the public library, where he worked with the statewide interlibrary loan network, and 14.5 at the Kansas State Library, where he was federal programs librarian), seeking adventure, he headed to the heart of the Golden West, where he worked at a managerial level in Pacific Bell's Marketing Communications during which time he created and taught a class, Ancestor Search, for the San Leandro Adult School, and served as editor of the California Athletic Industry magazine, researched and wrote four history books for a California publisher; and when the publisher went belly up he became a certificated substitute school teacher and later a regularly credentialed teacher, working as such from September 2002 to October 2008 when a serious stroke ended that career. He attended Washburn University of Topeka, received a bachelor's degree in English from Ottawa University, and did graduate level work through Emporia State University, University of the Pacific, and California State University, East Bay, through which he earned his teaching credential. A retired educator, Allen is leading the good life in the Bay Area and finds that it agrees with him very well.