November 7, 2009

Dreams of the Beach




Mother gave me oil pastels. This was my first attempt at color. The beach with a fog bank hanging just off shore. 1977.



Himself: Feeling and acting much more positive now that a month’s worth of back Un checks arrived. Reading all the articles he can on how to find a job in this new electronic age.

Herself: Still coughing. Much more energy tho before I worked yesterday. I was totally knocked out by something in the back room, Febreze I think. Hit one estate sale and got some exceptional cookbooks. Nightmares today at dawn about the way last week’s house owner died. So very frightening…exactly how G’s mother died.

Reading: Here a bit of HP, there a bit of HP. Cookbooks here and cookbooks there.

Balance: The ability to put some of those cookbooks back when I realized the total was way out of my range.

I wrote over and over in my journals that I was naive. I had truly thought a move to the beach would be good for all of us.

This move the beach found me ending one journal volume, and I bought a bigger sketchbook for the following nine months or so. It was kind of a scary thought to face all that open white paper, and perhaps that’s why I wrote and drew with a faded blue ink.

One day when a group of us was sitting on the lawn, a friend of a friend stopped by to chat. He was looking for a property manager, and I was thinking I was healthy enough to get a job again. Our roommate liked that idea because it freed him up to move north to San Francisco to live with friends.

My journals record that this man just walked up and asked me, and I just said yes.

But yes too, I was still doing drugs on occasion. I was drinking more and more. I was eating more too. If I could find drugs, Lessa could also find drugs.

We moved closer to the beach, and I got reduced rent plus a small pittance for managing the Purple Palace plus collecting rents on all his beach properties.

Here in this old Victorian hotel now painted purple, I had two big rooms. The closets were where the Murphy beds used to be. I had a real bathroom, and a kitchen with a most amazing 1920’s three burner stove in what used to be a tiny closet. Lessa had one of the rooms to herself, and I began a many year journey of sleeping on the sofa so the kids could have a room.

For slowly, after a season or two of just stopping to visiting us, Lenora decided she wanted to go to school after all. We three were together again.

I’d drink and hold court just like in the old days. Now many of my friends had changed. They were all drinkers too. Neighbors. So were my bosses, Han’s and Ron. Grandmamma moved from downtown to just up the block, and we all partied. Not just gatherings every night, but Hans had massive parties like his traditional Christmas In July bash crowded with hundreds of friends in every corner of his over decorated, giant home.

Everyone drank. There was an actual folk bar half a block away that has live music every night. The owners were very nice. There was a little beer and wine bar in the same block that had the best chili. I’d set the kids up with their homework, and I would go out for a glass or two of wine. Of course, the kids didn’t stay doing homework, but how could I know.

Everyone smoked dope or did speed so they could drink more. I was such a failure at smoking dope because one hit would put me to sleep. I couldn’t always get speed any more, but I could still drink.

Many days that I didn’t work or finished early, I would wander down to the beach. For me the beach was a healthy clean place. The river sloughs near the apartment now were channeled, crowded with partiers, vehicles, and fires every night throughout the week. During most of the year, they offered me endless freedoms of sky and air. Sometimes I tried to draw it all, but I was always afraid of failure.

Lenora began elementary school, mid semester, three years behind her classmates. She caught up in under a year. I was inordinately proud of her, yet I couldn't see her clearly. I could only read what she showed me on the surface. Then again, Lessa began to take up all of my time.

Lessa began doing drugs and living life her way at thirteen. The insanity of a runaway teen, insane teen, sleeping around teen, screaming teen, dirty never-clean-her-room-till the smell drove us all mad teen, madness beyond all of my imagining teen, drove me to seek help at last. I put her into therapy. I put myself into therapy. Nothing I could do changed her course. I could begin to see my own insanity, the drugs stopped working, and my drug use tapered off at last. I took my journals to my therapist. I was very proud of them thinking they were artistic. Unfortunately, they were a window into my life and that of my kids.


The river flood control channel in 1977 with it’s weed choked jetty top scattered with holes from erosion.

5 comments:

  1. I love your drawings. I'm so glad you're showing them.

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  2. It is odd how it takes an outside person or many years separation to see the illusions we lived during our younger years. You sure seemed to have lived many ups and downs, it is sometimes hard for me to fathom how you got from where you were then to where you were now, though I suspect it was through people like Duck and G. that it was so. Do you see yourself as being a different person, or just the person you were always meant to be?

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  3. Whatever you see yourself, you are certainly brave to look back at it all and be honest. Then, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life...

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  4. "I was very proud of them thinking they were artistic."

    and be proud: they are beautiful. As well as windows of what we once were. Treasure each moment, now... and now...and now... and fill as many as you can with a doodle to lift your heart as you go. Even on the back of envelopes. It does help. I also like to use my finger to 'paint' in with tea, wine, etc.

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  5. Wow!

    I think the cookbooks you collect today are a much better drug choice, don't you?

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