5 years ago
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I don’t know if I was in a hurry to get out and start my life as an adult. Maybe I just wanted the convenience of mobility. My personal treasures didn’t come with me when I left home. Unfortunately they didn’t leave with my mother either when she eventually moved.
Stored in the basement on a table my mother built from a door were a halfway decent telescope, my coin collection (which included several Indian head pennies), a microscope, and most important- a stick that was beautifully carved into a spiral that swirled into ornamental shapes. I was supposed to finish carving it.
The artist was a man named David. He was my mother’s favorite person in the world and a true renaissance man. He made his own muskets including bullets and musket balls he poured from molten lead. His house was filled with artifacts that seemed convincingly Native American. He was into kayaking long before extreme sports became part of the American lexicon.
I remember going with his family to a very tall river dam that had been breeched. It looked like a huge fire hose was spewing from it. He and his buddies were shooting the giant wave in their kayaks. They weren’t made from the fiber materials they use today either. The guys looked incredibly vulnerable. At the end of the day he fired a canon he brought. He must have been into noise.
He was the first friend my mother spoke to about LSD. His stories fascinated her and I actually thought about doing it with her until I thought about it. It just wasn’t something one does with one’s mom.
David and his family moved to a small island off Ketchikan in Alaska. It had something to do with his job. They had two boys and a girl who were my friends. I think they were isolated on the island. Danny, the older brother told me they would comb the beach and find genuine Indian artifacts.
They came back to visit in 1975. We were living in the home I would leave and the one pictured.
My girlfriend Pam and I were inseparable at the time. To make beds available Pam and I slept on the floor out in the hall outside our apartment. This was the winter of a great storm and we were snowed in for days. My mother and their mother (also named Carolyn) were both surprised by the liberties each others’ kids’ had. I can’t remember if it was mushrooms or peyote buttons but they had so much they were smoking it. I didn’t even know you could. “How can you let your kids sleep with girls?” “How can you let your kids do drugs?” I’m sure we were all doing both at the time.
I was fixing supper for the kids out in St. Peters last week and was interrupted by a phone call. It was Carolyn. I’m not quite sure how she found me because the phone was in my ex’s name.
Carolyn, my mom and my kids spent the afternoon together yesterday afternoon. We walked through Soulard. I pushed my mom around in her wheelchair. We ate pizza at Joanie’s and talked about politics and religion.
David died from cancer in 2005 and the rest are still living in Alaska.
I got an email from a person in LA who was looking for the Laclede Town FaceBook group. I checked out his blog about his experiences growing up in St. Louis. Just like me he was fascinated with our architecture. I rollerbladed by my old house this morning and took this picture. I’ve always loved the brickwork. I kinda took it for granted when I was growing up there until my buddy Jell Knoll pointed out how cool it was. He eventually went into brickwork landscaping. I wonder if my place had anything to do with it.