A Personal Marker
It was forty years ago this day - at the age of twenty - that I entered California for the first time. My friend and roommate, Alan Duncan, and I had traveled from our home in Arlington, Virginia - on what was supposed to be a three week vacation. We started this journey on April Fools Day. We had crossed the United States in a Volkswagen 'bug' (hi, Evie) - and it was a grand adventure.
Alan would stay here for more than three years. I am still here. It has been a very long three weeks.
When I got to California - I knew I was 'home'. There was an openness and freedom here - the likes of which I'd never experienced. An 'outside of the box' spirit of possibilities. A challenge to the status-quo. It was the miserable height of the Vietnam war. I had become quite anti-establishment and found kindred souls who saw hope in the free speech and peace movements. WE would change the world - re-arrange the world.
Now would follow: jobs as a census enumerator, book store manager, record retailer, legal investigator, taxi driver, dispatcher of taxi cabs, ferries, and then tugs and barges, a graphic artist, a travel agent, and of course - photographer; a marriage, a divorce, the relationships of fine women with whom I was more than friends - and most of whom I am grateful to still count as friends; my California homes in Kenwood, Penn Grove, Petaluma, my San Francisco homes in Downtown, North Beach, the Richmond District, the Sunset, the Western Addition, the Mission District, and in the towns of Larkspur and Corte Madera, and now Oakland; great friends, many teachers, fabulous adventures, stunning meals, and fabulous theater; pain, suffering, laughs, joys, a few broken bones, sobriety, and a robust spiritual exploration.
I am very grateful for the life I have lived for these past forty years as a citizen of California. I must note the love and value I have for my dear friend, Alan Ducan - my travel companion forty-years back. Loyal, patient, bright, thoughtful, and as good a friend as one could hope to have. Alan moved back east in 1973 and resided in Enfield, Connecticut. He passed away almost ten years ago from kidney failure. I only would wish that he could be here to share this anniversary.
And so it goes...
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