Archive for the ‘hashish’ Category

My First Wife and Only Child “Epilog”

December 1, 2010

It’s been almost three years since I’ve decided to write this next installment.  A lot has happened but thats another story.  So lets close this chapter up so we can move on.

I discovered that being married was not much different from living together. We both did our thing and at the end of the day we were together at home.  It worked out to be a really nice groove.  Carol worked at the restaurant and I did odd jobs and surfed.  Then one day Carol told me she was pregnant.  Yep pregnant.  I was stunned.  I had been living in the bliss of ignorance for a long time.  I’d never gotten a girl pregnant in my life until then. I thought I was shootin blanks.  “Yeah thats it blanks.”  Well you idiot you’re not shooting blanks  she’s a very fertile catholic girl.

Carol was elated by her new-found condition.  I on the other hand had to let it all sink in for a while before I could decide what I was feeling and I don’t think Carol liked that. It took me a week of soul-searching to come to grips with the whole situation.  So out of necessity I warmed up to the idea that “I” was going to be a father.  We told our friends about the blessed event including my in-laws which were “kinda” cool with it.  So here we were 6 months into the marriage and with child.  Things were changing faster than I could even imagine!

Having a new baby on the way meant it was time for me to really step up to the plate and get a good responsible job and maybe even a career.  I never really knew what I wanted to be except when I was around seven years old.  I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot flying F-86 Sabre Jets just like Steve Canyon.  Well I was along way from that dream.  So a meat cutter was my next option.  At that time there was  a large meat-packing facility just up the 101 freeway in Carpenteria about two miles from where we were living.  I decided I was going to put in an application and try my hardest to land a job as a union working apprentice meat cutter.  So I  went in and filled out the long application and turned it in to the receptionist. “We’ll call you as soon as there is an opening.” She said to me.  “OK thanks!”  As I left the building I really thought I was on my way to a new career.  So I went surfing.  For about a month.  I kept checking back with the meat-packing house calling on the phone, showing up personally but I just kept getting the same answer. “We’ll call you as soon as there is an opening.

Then one day I was looking through the want ads in the Santa Barbara News Press. “MEAT CUTTER WANTED WILL TRAIN RIGHT PERSON”  I called immediately.  “Hello?”  “Yes I’m calling about the position you posted in the paper for a meat cutter.  Is the position still available?  Great I’ll come by today to fill out an application.”  I spruced up and jumped into my Rambler  wagon and sped off to Percals Meats on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.  I met Jim the owner. Jim was a big thick meat cutter of a man wearing a blood stained apron.  Percals was a retail and wholesale butcher shop supplying meats to the public as well as many restaurants in the area.  Jim took me to the back office and we talked.  I told him about my wanting to get into the packing house in Carpinteria and how much I wanted to break into being a butcher.  He liked my dedication not to mention I was a 21-year-old man-child with a new baby coming.  I got the job without filling out an app.

I had been working at Percals for 6 months learning the ropes. I mostly learned to chop up chickens on the band saw.  Then I learned how to de-bone chickens with a boning knife.  Then I learned how to make ground beef with different percentages of fat content.  Then I learned how to make sausages.  I also drove the delivery van to the restaurants with their orders.  I really liked my job and felt like this was what I wanted to do.  Then one day the swell got really, really good.  I hadn’t missed a day from work in six months and I was never late.  So I decided to take a day off to surf.  I called in and told Jim that my car had sprung a leak in one of the freeze plugs so I was going to stay home and fix it myself. He said “OK”  So I jumped into my car and headed down the coast to my old stomping grounds the pier at Mussle Shoals.

The surf that day was soooo good!  I surfed with some of my buddies that lived at the Rincon Cliff House Johnny, Dave, and Chuck.  We surfed all day till dusk.  I got home exhausted.  Carol asked me how the surf was “Awesome!” I said.  Then she handed me the note that had been stuck on our front door earlier that day.  “Came down from the shop to take you to work.  Didn’t see you or your car.  Must be running OK.  Surf looks really good too!”  Mike was another surfer that worked at Percals.  He knew what I was doing and he was jealous.  “I hope it was good enough to lose your job over.”  Carol said.  “I’m not going to lose my job.  Shit I haven’t missed a day since I started working there.  Fuck! all I did was go surfing!”  The next day I was fired.

Carol was getting pretty big with that baby in the oven and I was pretty pissed off at the world after that SOB Jim fired me.  I had to find another job pronto.  I looked, and looked, and looked. Nothing.  We were just getting by week to week.  Carols parents helped us out with some cash to live on.  Then I found another job in the paper.  WANTED LIQUOR STORE CLERK  Oh yeah!  I jumped on it!  My interview went very well and I got the job.  In retrospect I think people kinda feel sorry for you when your young and have a baby coming so sometimes getting a job is easier.  Anyway I was now working in retail as a liquor clerk and I was also in the Retail Clerks Union. I was making $8.50 to start which was pretty good in 1976.  I really loved working at Miratti’s Liquors.  They had several stores throughout Santa Barbara and I worked at the main store on the corner of Mission and De la Vina streets.  The clientele were awesome, my boss was cool, and the hours were great 3pm till 11:30pm friday through thursday.  I was to be employed there for 5 years

Life was getting pretty darn good going into Carols final trimester of pregnancy.  I was holden down the fort with my income from Miratti’s  I was surfing in the mornings and on my days off.  Everything was flowing.  Then it got really, really sad

It was mid February and I had the day off from work so I walked down the road from the house to surf Rincon.  It was late afternoon and I was starting to get a little edgy about leaving Carol alone this close to her due date.  Then one of my water buddies told me that my wife was on the beach calling me.  I looked back down the point and saw Carol in the cove wearing her Hawaiian moo moo waiving her arms and calling for me.  “uh oh looks like it’s on.”  Right away I caught a wave and rode it to shore.  Carol had a really bad look on her face.  “Are you OK ? Do we need to go to the hospital?  Did your water break?”  Carol looked at me I could see tears welling up in her eyes.  “Whats goin on honey?”  “Your sister is up at the house.”  “Yeah so whats up?”  Carol started crying.  “your brother Guy has been in an accident.” “Now what?” I said.  “Did he get into another dirt bike crash?”  “No”  “Did he do something surfing?” “He was hit head on by a drunk driver.” she could hardly get it out.  I could not believe what I was hearing.  Instead I thought “Oh boy he’s gonna be really banged up for a while.”  We walked back to the house where my sister Gail was.  When I walked into the living room and looked at her she looked like she’d been through the ringer. She gave me a hug and started crying really hard shaking in my arms.  Thats when I started to grasp the reality of the situation.  “How bad is he?”  “He’s really bad we need to go to the hospital.”  So we all got in the car and headed down the coast to Thousand Oaks crying the whole way.  As I was drivng I asked Gail what happened.  “Guy and Joe were coming back from a high school basketball game when a drunk driver in a four wheel drive truck hit them head on.”  “Hows Joe” I asked. “Hanging on by a thread” Gail said. “Then hows Guy?” no answer.  I knew then how bad it really was.  I went into the emergency room where my brother was being kept alive with machines.  I held his hand and told him how good the waves were that day.  Then I kissed his forehead and told him how much I loved him.  We buried Guy Leslie Miller a few days later with a stone that read. “May the Wind Always Blow Offshore”

Four weeks later Carol gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Olivia.  In 18 months I had got married, lost my brother, and had a child.  I was only 22 years old.  Then Carols parents decided we needed a bigger place so they put down a down payment on a house in Ventura CA. five whole blocks from the water.  All we had to do was pay the mortgage.  I left Carol and Olivia after two years to march to the beat of a different drummer.  Or so I thought.

A lady stands before an open window

Staring so far away

She can almost feel the southern wind blow

Almost touching her restless day

She turns from her window to me

Sad smile her apology

Sad eyes reaching to the door

Daylight loses to another evening

And still she spares me the word goodbye

And sits alone beside me fighting her feelings

Struggles to speak but in the end can only cry

Suddenly it’s so hard to find

The sound of the words to speak her troubled mind

So I’m offering these to her as if to be kind:

There’s a train everyday leaving either way

There’s a world you know

There’s a way to go

And you’ll soon be gone — that’s just as well

This is my opening farewell

A child’s drawing left there on the table

And a womens silk lying on the floor

And I would keep them if I were able

Lock her safe behind this open door

But suddenly it’s so clear to me

That I asked her to see what she may never see

And now my kind words find their way back to me

There’s a train everyday leaving either way

There’s a world you know

You got a way’s to go

And I’ll soon believe — it’s just as well

This is my opening farewell.

“Jackson Brown”  This is My Opening Farewell


“View From My Kitchen”

December 28, 2007

The Pier Even as a restorer of some men’s souls, the seashore has less magic than it held until a few short years ago. Seldom nowadays can one seek and find solace and refreshment from a seaside wilderness — that desert of water, sand, and sky where the only sounds are the lazy pounding of a summer surf, the faint rustle of the wind in the dune grasses, and the occasional cry of a tern. No section of our shore is now free from the jeep and the airplane. It is difficult to become attuned to the ancient rhythm of the sea while assailed by rock-and-roll from a portable radio.

Taken from The National Park Service “Pacific Coast Recreation Survey” 1960.

I had been living with my grandmother for about six months and working at Northrup as a fiberglass fabrication technician. I still didn’t have a car and Thelma was my only way to get around and getting around meant going to work and back. Sometimes I would go to the grocery store with her just to break things up a bit. My life was very boring. Sometimes my old surfing friends from the Rock “Antman” and Marcos would come by on the weekend and take me surfing. How I loved those days when I could get out and hang and surf with my buddies. Not to mention the chance to smoke a little weed and drink some Mead Wine from a botta bag.

Then one day we went to Mussel Shoals to surf the pier. Our friend Arby had moved to the coast about a year earlier and was renting a duplex there right on the water. We parked in front of his house and went surfing. The surf was really good and we surfed for about six hours straight. Later that afternoon we were all kicking back on Arbys sun deck watching the other locals getting their wave quota in for the day. Really great surfers like Dan Riley, Mike Reese, and Ross Cave were tearing it up in the late afternoon emerald green waves coming through the pier.

It was then that I thought to myself “I wanna live here, not San Diego, not Huntington Beach, not San Luis, but right here!” Then Arby said something that blew my mind. “Hey if anyone is interested the place down below is going up for rent at the end of the month.” “Really!” I said “Yeah April 1st” “How much?” I asked “$450” said Arby. “It’s got two bedrooms but one is pretty small it has a nice living room and a really cool kitchen with a big picture window looking out at the pier”. I started thinkin.”I have some money saved up but If I moved I would need a car so I could get to work. Plus $450 would be a little tight for one person to swing. If I could split it that would be just fine. Plus I would need to give a first, last and a damage deposit.” Basically I needed a car and a roommate. I told Arby that I was very interested but I had to work some things out. He said “If you want it I need to know within a week and I’ll refer you to the owner.” “Cool, thats fine” I said.

On the way back to grandmas house I was determined to get that house on the beach. The money to pull it all off would completely tap my savings. Especially the car. I would have to buy a cheap transportation vehicle that would get me through the 40 mile round trip to work everyday. Then a few days later when Thelma and I had come home from work, Thelma was going through the mail and said “Looks like you got something, it looks important” “Shit not another legal surprise” I thought. I took the envelope and opened it. It was a check made out to me for $5000. It was a life insurance policy that was from my mother. I felt a tear come to my eye then I started to cry really hard. “What’s wrong Keith?” Thelma asked. I couldn’t speak I handed her the papers and check. It took seven months for my mothers death to finally hit me. “I’ll be darned” she said “What?” I said “I didn’t think they would pay on this because it was a suicide” “Well they did” I said.

I put the check in my bank account with the rest of my savings. I had enough money to move to the beach, buy a nice car and have plenty left over. All I needed was a roommate. I called Antman back on the Rock. “Hey bro whats happening” “nothing how about you?” “Well dude I called to ask you something” What is it?” “Remember when Arby said the unit down below him was going to be available next month?” “Yeah” “How would you like to move in with me and spilt the rent?” “Really” “Yeah really” “Man I’d be stoked to move in there dude, but I don’t have enough dough for the deposit.” “Tell ya what I’ll do. I’ll pay the deposit and you get the smaller bedroom. Deal?” “Fuck yeah bro that sounds great!”

I now had a roommate. The next weekend Antman and I went to Arby’s house to meet the landlord and look at the duplex. It was such a hip California beach pad. I gave them a check for everything and signed a year lease. As we were walking back upstairs to Arby’s place I mentioned that I needed to buy a car. “You looking for a ride bro?” Arby said. “Yeah” I said. Well there’s a guy right around the corner selling a really nice 1969 VW panel bus. You should go over and take a look at it.” I walked around the corner and saw the bus in the guys driveway. It was a very clean yellow VW panel van. I talked to the owner and drove it. I gave him a deposit to hold it for me for one week. I now had a car. Not just a car but a VW van to go to work in and keep my surfboard and gear in. In two weeks I would be living on the beach in Southern California. At age 18 the real “Surfing Lifestyle” was truly just starting.

Now all I had to do was tell my grandmother.

“Ebb and Flow”

November 9, 2007

ebb-flow.jpgI drove the Pontiac Chief for about 4 months until one night while returning from a Surfing Movie in Santa Monica with my date the Chief blew up. I blew an oil seal while going over the Mulholland pass. I looked out the rear view mirror and saw a huge billowing white smoke screen blinding everyone in my path, I slowly began to lose power at the apex of my climb and pulled off on a nearby off ramp. I left the Chief there on the roadside never to see it again. My date and I hitch hiked the rest of the way to Sunland California.

I quit my job at the machine shop because without a car  didn’t feel like taking the bus again. I was back to square one. No car, no job and now no home. Yes the landlord had returned from his European vacation and was looking for his three months of rent. Needless to say I didn’t have it and I was told to leave so I packed up my clothes into a duffel bag, grabbed my surfboard and walked down the driveway with $75 and started walking the hood. I’m sure it looked a little odd seeing this kid walking around with a duffel bag and a surfboard in a town that’s 70 miles from the nearest beach. I was living on Commerce Ave. which is technically in Tujunga California, in fact I think Commerce Ave. is the divide between Sunland and Tujunga and I was living on the Tujunga side. There are alot of duplexes, mother in law, converted garages, and other non-code type dwellings in this older, more run down part of town. I walked only two blocks and on the Sunland side of Commerce I saw what looked like an empty dwelling down a long driveway. At the top of this driveway there was a big white beat up run down house. I said to myself “Hmmm looks like no one is living in that place back there, I think I’ll walk down and take a closer look.” I walked down the drive and looked through the windows and saw it was vacant. I went to the front door and it was unlocked so I went in. The power was on and so was the gas and water. It was a studio apartment 1 living room, 1 bath, a small kitchen and some closet space. But the real “coup de gra” was the Indian rug that was left rolled out in the living room over the hardwood floor.
I don’t know what it is about me but I have a floor fetish and I love beautiful rugs, not carpeting but rugs and rugs and wood are perfect together. I also like my rugs and floors swept, mopped, and vacuumed at all times.

I inquired about the empty studio with the people living in the big old white house at the top of the drive a hippie couple named Ebb and Flo. They told me it was $100 a month including utilities. I told them about my dilemma and they let me “move in” right then with a $75 deposit. At least I had a place to stay on my very first night out on the streets. This place was a step up from my last shack for sure. But now I was broke again. No food, no car, no job, no furniture. I had to find work fast! I needed money for phone calls and bus fare so I went into survival mode. I went to the local grocery store one afternoon and waited for the Coke, Pepsi, or Seven Up trucks to come in and make their delivery’s. When a truck arrived at the store and the driver wheeled in his delivery I would sneak over to the truck and take off a couple racks of empty glass bottles and stash them behind a dumpster. When the driver left I would wait awhile and then redeem the bottles for $1.25 or $1.50 that way I could make phone calls and ride the bus.

I found another job in Van Nuys California as a welder. I was working on an assembly line welding sports car luggage racks for British sports car enthusiast. The pay was OK but the little burns you got every week were a bitch. Working at speed around hot stuff isn’t real safe, however I did get pretty good at braising a nice bead with my acetylene torch. I befriended a guy at work named Art that lived about four blocks from my place.  Art would take me to work each day for cash or grass but not ass.  I didn’t buy another car but I did get some furnishings for my pad.  Stuff from ads in the  paper or garage sales. I got a couch that was comfortable enough to sleep on, an easy chair, a coffee table, and a floor lamp. I never saw much of the old gang during this time and if I did I never told them where I was living. I had a couple of one night stands with a couple of former one night stands but my social live was almost non-existent. I lived there for 5 months and paid the rent every month on time. Then one Friday afternoon I came home from work and all of my stuff was out of the house and on the driveway. “What the fuck is this all about!” I went to the front house to find out what was going on but no one was there and it looked like it was almost empty inside, like they were in the process of moving, turns out they were. I never saw Ebb and Flo again. So here I was again with nowhere to live only this time I had “stuff” including that really nice Indian rug. I slept that evening outside on the couch under the stars. It turned out to be a nice night for sleeping outside with a full October harvest moon and mild Santana Winds. I laid down and starred at the moon and thought about life, did a little soul searching, gave myself a good talkin to, then made a plan for tomorrow.

The following Saturday morning I went to a U-Haul rental place and rented a small moving truck for the day. I didn’t know where I was moving too but I needed a truck for my stuff so I went back to my driveway and loaded up the truck and started driving around town looking for places that were for rent or vacant. I didn’t use a newspaper, all of those places were to expensive.
Later that evening I found a little one bedroom house at the top of Hillrose Street in Tujunga with a For Rent sign in the window. I went up to the sign and read the details written in black Marks Alot. “1 bedroom 1bath and kitchen $125 a month including utilities. Owner next door at 1552.” I went and talked to the owners and they let me move in the next day. This was actually another step up from what I was living in before because of the separate bedroom and it was a little bigger, plus it had two big pine trees on the property complete with pine-cones and pine needles, it gave me a feeling of being high in the mountains and I like the mountains almost as much as the beach. I moved my stuff in, did a little decorating ie. hung a couple of framed pictures of waves breaking, and I even bought a cheap single mattress at a garage sale that I threw on the floor in the bedroom.

I was still a loner, still working at the welding place and I just bought another vehicle a 1948 Ford pickup truck primer gray, straight flathead 6. Things were going OK for about a month then some people stepped back into my life and it got real, real bad.

“Rights of Passage” part 2

November 8, 2007

passage-part-2.jpg…”I wanna live my life in the rivers and trees, I wanna spend my time just making ryhme and be free… and be free… and be free…” Loggins & Messina

After Marcos and I climbed back up onto the 101 highway from our little surf session at Emma Wood beach we felt refreshed and invigorated. “Lets break off a piece of that hash” said Marcos “Sounds good” I replied. We lightly heated a small corner of our “Hashy Hershy Bar” and a nice little chunk softened and fell off into our small little pipe. I took a good hit while Marcos swirled the match above the black chunk keeping it perfectly heated. I did the same for him. We finished it off and stuck out our thumbs on a sunny summer afternoon heading north on “High” way 101. The ocean to our right and the RR tracks and mountains to our left. It was perfect.

We got a ride by some cowboy in his pickup truck. He was going to Lopoc which was just past the road to Jalama Beach we threw our boards and gear into the back of his truck and headed up the coast. “Where you guys goin?” he asked “Jalama” we both said back “Where did you hitch hike from?” “Sunland” “Where?” “Sunland” I said back. “Where the hell is that?” the cowboy asked. “About 120 miles southeast of here” “Oh you mean LA” our driver said. “Yeah LA” I said, I didn’t feel like getting specific with him. “Thats a long way especially with them surfboards” “Yeah but it’s worth it” I said.

We reached the small two lane ranch road off of highway 1 that curves through the rolling hills to the beach at dusk. The cowboy dropped us off with a warning. “If in you guys are gonna stay out here tonight you better find a good spot to hide off on the side of the road.
Alot of weird ass shit has happened out here. There’s alot of crazy motherfuckers out here in these parts.” “Thanks man” Marcos said. And our cowboy drove of into the sunset. “Dude sounded like he was from Texas or somethin” I mumbled.

Since it was getting dark we decided to sleep out in the cattle pasture under an oak tree. We thew down our sleeping bags and pulled out the “Hashy Hershy Bar” for a night cap. It was pitch dark out. We did the usual smoking ritual and lay-ed down to go to sleep. We were both just about into dreamland when we heard a car engine in the distance. It wasn’t on the paved road but on a dirt road within the ranch’s property. “I wonder what there doin out here” I said to Marcos. “I don’t know” he said. We could see the headlights of the vehicle, it was about 200 yards away. Not real close but still kinda strange, especially after what our cowboy friend had told us. We watched and listened, you could hear the doors close and voices mumbling. Then we heard a gunshot! “What the fuck!” “Shit!” We froze stiff and watched. The trucked doors closed and the engine started and they drove off. “What the hell was that all about?” I asked Marcos. “I think we just saw someone get wasted” he said. We didn’t know what to do. There were no cars, no houses, no cell phones back then, nothing. We decided to stay put and be quite. We slept very, very lightly that night. The next morning at dawn I walked about a 2 thirds of the way to where that truck had been the night before to see if there was a body. Nothing. Marcos yelled “Hey we got a ride!” and was waving me back to the roadside. I raced back glad that I didn’t find anything.

The road into Jalama is a winding two lane road through hills, valleys and small canyons dotted with a few ranches. Classic California cattle country. The last hill you climb takes you to the crest with a panoramic view of the blue Pacific Ocean and a long white sand beach down below. This is Jalama Beach. This was going to be home for three weeks

“Rights of Passage” part 1

November 8, 2007

passage-part-1.jpg “I got a baby’s brain and an old man’s heart took eighteen years just to get this far,
Don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about feels like I’m livin’ in the middle of doubt… “Eighteen” Alice Cooper

The summer of my break up with Debbie was just one big bummer of a summer. It was all I could do to just surf and get stoned. My buddy Marcos and I got to be pretty tight friends. Marcos was about a year older than me. He spent alot of his childhood growing up near the water in Vero Beach Florida. A shaggy brown haired blue eyed kid Marcos was the best surfer I knew, he even made his own surfboards. I met Marcos hitch hiking to school one morning. He picked me up in his VW squareback with surfboard racks on it, “wow I wonder if this guy surfs?” I thought as I got into the car. As I climbed in the smell and the smoke of some fine herb was wafting through the early morning sunlight shining through the windshield of his wagon. Marcos had just lit up a nicely twisted joint, “Care for some?” he asked. “Thank you very much.” I said as I took a nice deep pull off the spliff. “Whats your name?” I asked as I gave him back the joint. “Marcos” he retorted “Keith” I volunteered. “You going to school?” Marcos asked. “Yeah, you?” “Yeah later today, I go to Pierce College in the valley.” “I noticed the surf racks on your car, do you surf?” “All the time.” Marcos said. “So do I.”
“Really? you wanna go this weekend? Marcos asked. “Yeah!” I’d love to go” We became close friends, and still are to this very day.

Later that summer of the big breakup, Marcos and I were just hanging out at my house doing nothing when I proposed an idea. Marco’s car was in the shop for a major engine rebuild. I didn’t have a car and neither of us were working. But we did have a little bit of cash between us from other clandestine investments. “Lets go on an adventure” I said. “Where?” “Jalama Beach! lets get as much food as we can from or moms and take our boards and hitch hike to Jalama Beach!” “You mean just pack up and hit it?” “We’re not doing anything else” I said. Now Jalama Beach was about 195 miles away. It’s located around the corner from Point Conception about 55 miles north of Santa Barbara. It’s a very magical place and the surf can get unreal. We had taken some surf/camping trips up there before and always scored good waves. “Lets do it!” said Marcos “We’ll leave in two days!” I said.

The next day I called Marco’s and told him I knew where I could get some hashish to take along on our trip. We pooled our money together and I was able to get an once of some black hash marbled with opium. It was about the size of a Hershy Bar and it had a decorative stamp on the top of the “bar” This stuff was exotic. We smoked some the night before leaving and got really stoned. We were very happy with our purchase, even if it did take all the money we had. The next day our back packs were stuffed, our boards were ready, the pipe was filled and we had no money. That morning we stuck our thumbs out on Foothill Blvd.

We made our way out of the valley and into Newbury Park California at around 2:00pm. We got stuck at Ventu Park Road for 18 hours and were finally picked up the following morning and taken all the way to Emma Wood State beach just north of Ventura. We dropped our gear on the sand and even though the surf wasn’t that good we threw our trunks on and surfed for about an hour. The water, the sun, the salt air, “wash my blues away mother ocean.” When we got out we rinsed off under the camp showers, grabbed our gear and walked back to Highway 101, then we started making our way to Santa Barbara. To be continued..

“The Low Down Dirty Blues”

November 8, 2007

lowdown-dirty.jpg“…I’m the pain, the trouble, and the truth. I am the low down dirty blues.

“Debbie and I were together for one and a half years from tenth grade to eleventh grade. In that span of time the band broke up, I didn’t hang with any of my old neighborhood friends, I dropped LSD for the first time, my mother was divorced from Rick, we moved out of the house on Wescott Street and were now sharing a two bedroom dump with a gay hippie named Mike on Kyle Street in Sunland. But I was still surfing! I had a new group of friends, Marcos, Anthony and Arby and they all surfed. We would go to the beach and surf and get high, sometimes Debbie came with us. My friends never protested about Debbie going to the beach with us.

After a day at the beach I would head home and clean up and go right back over to Debs house. Sometimes Debbie and I would go over to Arby’s house and go into his “room” in the garage and listen to music. He had a room with large overstuffed pillows arranged around a circular table with a water pipe in the center and a blacklite that lit all the posters on the walls. Arby would light some incense and fill the pipe with pot, he always had really good weed. Sometimes he would ad a little hash to the weed. The three of us would kick back and get really high while we listened to albums like Santanas “Abraxas”, The Whos “Whos Next”, Led Zeppelin “One” and “Two”, The Moody Blues “Threshold of a Dream” and of course Jimi Hendrix.

I spent alot of time at my girlfriends house, especially weekends. Debbies mom was a working mother with five kids, I think she was working at Lockheed on the night shift. But she trusted her children to take care of themselves and they did. Debbies older brother Calvin was my age, he was in my home room when we were in junior high. Cal being the oldest kinda kept things in order with Deb second in command. I really loved that family and being a part of it.

It was after being at Debs house one weekend that I came home on a Sunday afternoon around six. I thought no one was home until I saw my mother lying on her bed. I thought it was odd that she was in bed so early unless she was sick, “Mom?” I said ” are you not feeling well?” no response. “Hey” “HELLOOOO?” nothing, I tried shaking her, still nothing. Then I called an ambulance from the emergency numbers on the wall by the phone, they arrived right away. I didn’t notice the pharmacy bottle but the medics did. My mother had tried to kill herself with sleeping pills. No one had been home all weekend. My little brother and sister were with their father on a one week vacation to Canada, and my sister Linda was with her girlfriend Jann somewhere. I told Linda what happened when she got home. We both felt sorta numb and we were really not that surprised, “Well at least she’s alive.” I said.

When my mother came back from the hospital a few days later she told Linda and I not to say anything to anybody about what happened. She said she had made a mistake and that it would never happen again, as long as we didn’t say anything, so we didn’t.

Debbie and I broke up early that summer. She had gone to the beach with my sister Linda one day and came back with some guy she had met. She was going out with him that night. I was destroyed, absolutely crushed. That evening I asked my mother if she would give me a ride to Debbies house so that I could talk to her, “Sure” she said. On the way over to Debbies the radio was playing some love song. I looked at my mother and said “You know, I never really understood what they meant when they sang about the blues or a broken heart, now I do.” My mother looked at me with a tear in her eye and said “Honey, I’m glad your going through this now instead of later.” I didn’t understand what she meant. How could anybody be glad about what I was going though?

It wasn’t until much later in my life that I understood those words of wisdom my mother said to me. I guess my mother knew alot about heartache and heartbreak

“The Bean Bag Chair”

November 8, 2007

beanbag.jpg I wanna live with a cinnamon girl, I could be happy the rest of my life with a cinnamon girl”
(Neil Young)

My family and I had been living on Wescott Steet in Sunland California for about a year. I was in my last year of junior high which was ninth grade. Back then we started high school in tenth grade. My mother and Rick were rarely seeing each other and on the verge of divorce. There had been just to many nasty beatings and arguments. The only things that kept me strong threw those days was my surfing and my singing in The Purple Freightrain. Music and surfing have always been my savior.

It was on a Saturday evening when Jimmy “our drummer” called and told me about a party and asked me if I wanted to go. “Sure” I said “Meet me at my house at eight, my brother said he’ll give us a ride.” “OK see ya in awhile” I said. “Cool, a spur of the moment party” I thought to myself as I started to get dolled up. I twisted up a couple of joints just before leaving my house. Yeah I was smoking pot now on a regular basis. I had a really good connection. In fact I was moving some of it for them, made a little money and got my stash for free. So now I was a criminal. “Yeah Baby!”

Don drove Jimmy and I up to some house in Tujunga that I had never been to. “Dude, who’s place is this?” I asked Jimmy.” Some girl named Tammy her parents went to Vegas” he said. “Cool.” The house was a classic old California bungalow with a big covered front porch where alot of kids were hanging out, drinking and getting high. Jimmy got busy right away with a girl he knew from school, so I went inside. The lighting was dim except for the blacklights over the posters and a few colored lightbulbs. People were milling about some were stoned and trippin others were just getting started. The stereo was playing The Moody Blues “Lovely to See You” I started walking around looking for some cute girl(s) that I could smoke one of these doobies with. As I was heading back out to the front porch I heard a girls voice say “Hey!” I looked around and I saw this blond haired girl sitting alone in a bean bag chair in a dark corner of the room. “Come sit with me” she said. I walked over to her and she skooched over in the bag and said “here’s a spot for you.” Standing over her and looking down at her I could get a better idea of what she looked like. She looked good. I sat down. We were right next to each other in that bean bag. “Whats your name cutie?” I asked. “Debbie, and yours?” “Keith” “I’ve been watching you roaming around the house. What are you looking for?” “Ahh someone to smoke this joint with me.” “I’ll smoke it with you.” “Cool” We sat there in the bean bag and smoked the first joint. We small talked the details. Where ya from, what school, got any brothers or sisters. etc. etc. Finally I asked her if she had a boyfriend. “No” she said. Then she asked me if I had a girlfriend. “No” I said. I was looking at her not saying anything. Her face was absolutely beautiful! She asked me If I wanted something to drink and I said “Sure” “I’ll go get us something.” She slowly peeled herself out of the bean bag and stood up. “Wow!” I thought to myself as I took in the whole picture “this girl is a stone fox!” She was about five two with thick wavy long blond hair. She was wearing some tight hip hugger bell bottoms and a white linen peasant blouse with some flowers embroidered on it. She was the quintessential California hippie girl. A natural beauty.

She came back to the bean bag and handed me a bottle of Boones Farm Strawberry Wine. I took a sip and handed it back to her. Then she took a sip and turned to me. Shazaam! We kissed, and kissed, and kissed. We couldn’t stop kissing. We stayed in that bean bag for hours until she said she had to go home. “I remembered her saying that her house was only a couple blocks from the party. I said “can I walk you home?” “I was hoping you would” she said. We got up and started walking the two blocks to her house. She reached out to hold my hand and never let go of it. When we got to her place we kissed and kissed. “Can I see you tomorrow?” I asked “I’d love that” she said. “I’ll call you when I get back from the beach.” I told her. “The beach?” she said “its November” “I’m going surfing with my buddy Marcos.” “Your a surfer?” she asked “Yeah I guess I forgot to tell you” “Wow” she said, like she was impressed. “OK Keith, please call me when you get back from the beach OK?” “I promise.” I said to her.

It was 1 o’clock in the morning, I had a five mile walk home from Debbies house. I never felt my feet touch the ground.

Debbie and I fell in love. For a year and a half we were always together. I never before felt so much happiness. So much curiosity. So much naivete, So much about what life is all about. So much about how good my girl looked in a bikini.

” Surfing Rules!”

November 8, 2007

surfing-rules.jpg I started riding skateboards when I was around 10. The steel wheeled ones. Just find a nice sidewalk on a good steep street and go! I have always loved the sensation of speed in all it’s many forms so skateboarding was a natural for me. I got pretty good at it considering the type of equipment we had when I was riding. First steel wheels, then the clay comp or Roller Derby wheels. I did stuff like wheelies, hangin ten, walking the board, 360’s, jumping curbs. Old school stuff.

In my adolescents I sorta stumbled upon my identity. I was watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports when I saw The U.S. Surfing Championships at Makaha Beach. I was mesmerized buy the surf, the speed and the danger. The sport just hit a cord with me. I went to the school library and discovered that they had two issues of Surfer magazine in the mag rack. I poured over those two issues every day at lunch until one day I asked the librarian if they were going to get any new issues in. “You really like those don’t you?” she said to me. “I love em!” “I’ll see what I can do” “Thanks!” About two weeks later I went in the library to re-read “my” mags when I discovered the magazine rack had 4 new Surfing magazines. I grabbed em all. Boy did that lunch hour fly by. I found out later that the librarian got the magazines from her younger brother who had been surfing for years, but was now in Viet Nam.

Needless to say I was not a skater any more. I was a surfer. I didn’t live near the beach or have a surfboard but I was a surfer. The hair got longer, I wore Bermuda shorts, striped T- shirts and a Maltese cross on a chain. Yeah a real poser.

Fortunately my mother really liked to go to the beach and we went alot in the summer. We even rented a house on the beach for summer vacations. I was in heaven on those trips. I imagined that we really did live there year round and that this was our own little beach house.

I started officially surfing at 13-14 years of age. I got my first board from Jacks Surf-shop in Huntington Beach California. A used 9’6″ Jacobs for $60 bucks. I was so proud to have that board. It made me a “real” surfer.

Those first trips to the beach where with my friends Ed Ritchie, Larry Sallows, Paul Zubek, and Larry’s older bother Steve who provided the transportation. We all had boards, we all were beginners and we all had a blast. 5 longboards strapped on top of a 1950 Chevy. All of us going nuts down the highway to go surfing.

About a year went by before all four of my friends lost interest in going surfing. All of them except me. There were not alot of surfers in Sunland but there were a few. It got around that I surfed and I was approached by some of these seasoned older guys about my wave riding. I was invited to go to the beach a few times with these guys. We had some really great times and some fun surfing sessions. I got in with the gang and surfed whenever I could with them.

My love for the sport of surfing has never died. It became my driving force, my destiny. To live on the beach with the surf always out my window. That was my dream. Thank God that dream came true.

“I am Iron Man!”

November 8, 2007

iron-man.jpgFear is a powerful motivator.

Shortly after Rick had bought us the house in Sunland, and we were all moved in things started to go downhill really fast between my mother and Rick. At first things were “normal” much like they were with my first step father. Rick came home from work. We all ate dinner together. We all watched TV. The kids went to bed. Then the fuckin fireworks started.

Rick liked his Coors, and he drank it alot. Despite his love for his beer he was in really good shape. Like a stocky running back. He was a master mechanic, and I think he built heavy duty hydraulic machinery for a living. He handled lots of big heavy tools.

Now I think Rick got played by my mother. I think she latched on to someone out of desperation after the divorce from her last husband. Rick was young, good looking and had a good job. My mother was good looking but had some major baggage, four kids. Despite the baggage Rick took the bait. I think he got in a little over his head, although he did give it a good try. In retrospect I can see that now. The only thing I could glean out of my mothers relationship with Rick is that she cut off the sex after about 8 months into the marriage. I deduced this theory because I no longer heard the headboard bouncing against the wall on a regular basis.

Then one night after us kids were in bed, Rick started yelling and cussing and just basically going off on my mom. Then my mother started yelling and cussing and just basically going of on Rick. As the argument escalated I began to here things like “I’m going to fucking kill you, you god damn cunt!” Then SMACK, THUD, SMACK, THUD!” Then silence. I heard someone trying to get up. The lamp fell off the end table, I heard the bulb pop. “Where the fuck do you think your going BITCH,” SMACK, THUD, SMACK. More silence only this time longer. I know my bother and sisters were hearing this but no one said a thing. At thirteen I was old enough to want to kick some ass, but not old enough to kick Ricks ass. I had to do something. I got out of bed. I was wearing my boxer shorts and a T-shirt. I was really fuckin scared. I grabbed a miniature wooden baseball bat that was on my dresser and started slowly walking down the hallway to the living room. As I slowly rounded the corner I peaked into the living room to see Rick standing over my mother on the floor in the corner with his back to me. I went into the living room. “FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKIN ASSHOLE!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. It startled the hell out of him as he turned around and stumbled, he had a bottle of beer in his hand. “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU SAY TO ME YOU FUCKIN SHIT!” “I SAID YOUR A FUCKIN ASSHOLE!” Now I was really up shit creek. I suddenly thought to myself, “Your going to need a bigger bat.” He charged at me. I was standing by the front door and I went for it. I was running to save my life. I was running across the street to the Schaffers house because I knew Rick would not go there because the Schaffer bothers were some bad ass motherfuckers and their little brother Graig was my bud. I heard what sounded like a breaking beer bottle behind me, I thought Rick threw it at me. As I turned on the run to look, I saw Rick lying in the middle of the street on his face. Apparently he fell running off the curb and slipped on a big oil spot. He fell forward doing a belly flop on the asphalt, breaking his beer bottle.

It took a little while for Rick to peel himself off of the asphalt. He had some pretty good road rash on his arms and face from the fall. When he finally got to his feet LAPD was pulling around the corner as was my uncle Tom who worked for LAPD. They apprehended him before he got back into the house.

I went back into the house as the cops were dealing with Rick. My mom was beaten pretty badly. She had two black eyes and her lips were cut and bleeding her nose was also bleeding. there was blood all over in the corner of the living room. The police offered to get her an ambulance but she refused. She did go to the doctors the next day and she wore sunglasses day and night for a couple weeks.

Rick came back a few weeks later to say he was sorry. My mom accepted.