ABOUT BILL RANEY: Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1935, Bill Raney grew up in trouble. At the age of fourteen, after his family fell apart, he spent a year in an institution before ending up in Port Angeles, Washington. There he became a ham radio operator and started cruising the world on the airwaves via short wave two-way radio. Bill enjoyed traveling to the South Pacific, and especially to the Philippine Islands, Guam, Australia, New Zealand and—his favorite—Yap.

Upon graduating from high school in 1954, Bill received a scholarship to Reed College, a well-known liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon. In 1956 he transferred to the University of California at Berkley, where he was soon exposed to the bright lights of San Francisco, whereupon he became a beatnik in North Beach from 1957 to 1967. There he met JoAnne Walker who soon became Mrs. JoAnne Raney and later the co-author of Letters to Zerky. Together they adopted Zerky when he was six weeks old. Several months later, during “The Summer of Love,” they set off on their road trip around the world, which was many years later to become a book, “Letters to Zerky, a Father’s Legacy to a Lost Son and a Road Trip Around the World.”

Returning to San Francisco thirteen months later, the Raneys moved down the coast to Santa Cruz, California, where Bill founded the Nickelodeon Theatre which is still going strong today. One year after the Nickelodeon opened for business, JoAnne died in the night of an undiagnosed cerebral aneurism.

In 1971 Bill remarried, this time to his current wife Nancy. Together they ran the Nickelodeon for many years. After Bill retired in 1994, the Raneys bought a 42’ Monk trawler on which they for the next ten years, cruising slowly up and down the coast between Central California and Alaska. Bill is now busy working on his second book, “In Search of a Lost Penny.”