The Return

 This is me in San Francisco, 1979, after Frank and I had returned from our “honeymoon” period in Santa Barbara.

 I decided we should go back to S.F. after a monstrous thunderstorm caused a flood of rain water to pour through the central light fixture in our ceiling. Our cozy little room on the Pacific Coast Highway was flooded out.

The landlord said we could stay in another room down the hall. It had just been repainted and freshened up after the former tenant, an elderly male, died there of Cancer.

We stayed there a few nights but it wasn’t the sunny corner spot our room had been. I couldn’t handle it. Hey, I’m very sensitive to spiritual detritus.

Besides, I had grown restless and used the torrential downpour as an excuse to beat it. It seems I have always used psychic or physical disasters as a reason to change venues.

There is quite the spiritual patina in San Francisco. I can always feel layers and layers of lives lived in those old buildings. It was like I was constanly picking up on this low level hum. 

I asked Frank to pose in front of the poster of Jim Morrison we had in our room. You can tell he’s a little perturbed.

This time in San Francisco Frank and I joined a fresh communal living experience. We moved into an old Victorian home on Waller Street not far from Market Street. One of Frank’s best friends, Steven Durkee, lived there and had told Frank about the extra room while we were still in S.B.

 

 

 

 

 

Steven was smart, sweet, funny, brutally honest and possessed of an old soul.  We got along famously, probably because of our shared moon in Scorpio placement.

This is Steven’s boyfriend, David Brunson. He spent alot of his time in Mexico but had come up be with Steven for a spell. Here is Frank with our big-daddy host, John.

Frank has on his lovely faded gaberdine jacket. I think we found this in a thrift store in Santa Barbara, a great old shop on the west end of State Street. You’d never find one there now. I’m sure store front rent is far too expensive these days.

I’m not sure what John is writing but it looks like a big, hairy reminder of something like a cardinal rule.

I think you can see my bra hanging from the hook on the closet door behind John, scarves too, and a pair of black gloves. Hmmm. Maybe the cardinal rule was keep your closet door closed.

Our little corner of the house overlooked Waller Street.

 Our wordly goods were few. The better to quickly change venues. Money was scarce though I soon got a job as a file clerk in an insurance agency downtown.

The best part of that gig was getting there. I looked forward to the trip down Market Street each morning in a green bullet-shaped car. Out at Third Street and up to Grant to the Cafe Trieste and a very stimulating cafe latte.

“Ciao, Bella! Cafe latte?,” asked the lovely barista.

“Yes,” said I, double thrilled to be greeted so warmly and to have become a regular.

Sometimes the juke box would be blaring a sentimental Italian song about “Mama” even though it was 7:15 a.m. People sat at the mismatched tables, dressed casually. They were reading the newspaper or engaging in conversation, enjoy the atmosphere and the best coffee in town. It was as close as I’ve ever been to Europe.

The bad part was leaving by 7:45 to make my walk to Montgomery Street and the insurance agency. This was my first encounter with mind-numbing boredom. After a few months I realized people who do this kind of work for a living could resort to very bizarre fantasies and behavior just to cut the stagnant mind space. It was awful. Getting up early also meant I couldn’t hang out late with the boys or get into much trouble Monday through Friday.

It was Thanksgiving soon after our arrival.

Left to right, there is John’s young boyfriend, Mark. John at the head of the table. Kevin, Bruce and Steven’s shiny head of hair.

 John was a pretty good cook. We had the full feast including a big turkey. The dining room  was in the back of the house. We ate by candlelight.

Bruce, sitting in the chair in the kitchen, was a very bright boy. He had a degree in biology which he earned by the time he was 19. He was a provider of psychotropic substances like mushrooms and other herbal remedies. He rode a motorcycle and was into leather.

This is Rick, I think. I’m having trouble recalling, but he made very special brownies which he is showing off in this picture, also taken in the kitchen. The sign partially obscured by his head says “Baby Meat.”

There was a lot going on with this many people occupying two floors. It was a very nice house.  John lived in the upstairs room.

There was an odd little diner across Market Street that always made me feel as if I had stepped into a time warp. It looked like a place that could have been in Montana or Wyoming.

They had great breakfasts and cool little jukeboxes at each seat. One of the hipster wait-people managed to get really interesting music. I always liked hearing “Warm Leatherette” by the Normal. It just sounded so good and it was such a weird juxtaposition in that little wood-paneled hunter’s cafe. In San Francisco the hunters were just a different breed.

WARM LEATHERETTE

See the breaking glass
In the underpass
See the breaking glass
In the underpass

Warm leatherette

Hear the crushing steel
Feel the steering wheel
Hear the crushing steel
Feel the steering wheel

Warm leatherette

Warm leatherette

Warm leatherette
Melts on your burning flesh
You can see your reflection
In the luminescent dash

Warm leatherette

A tear of petrol
Is in your eye
The hand brake
Penetrates your thigh
Quick — Let’s make love
Before you die

On warm leatherette
Warm leatherette

Warm leatherette
Warm leatherette
Warm leatherette

Join the car crash set

 A view, shot in the early morning, from the bathroom window. Hot.

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2 Responses to “The Return”

  1. Darcy Arts Weblog is my morning cup of coffee.

  2. I love to hear such things, Mr. MDR.

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