Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017
by AVA News Service, January 22, 2017
DUE TO FLOODING State Route 175 Hopland is closed from Highway 101 to Mile Marker .75 (CHP News Release, January 22, 4:42am)
ANOTHER HALF-INCH TO INCH AND A HALF of rain in most of Mendo Saturday. The measuring station in Laytonville got over two inches. Another inch or two is predicted for Sunday and Monday, followed by clearing on Tuesday for at least a few days. Gusty winds Sunday perhaps reaching 30 or 40 mph, highest on the Coast.
THE NAVARRO RIVER continues to run high but has not reached previously predicted flood stages. The latest Sunday morning prediction of flood stage may not be reached either. But that hasn’t stopped the cautious road managers at Caltrans from keeping Highway 128 closed near the Coast. As of Saturday night it was still closed.
ANNELISA LOST & FOUND
Friday, January 20, 2017 around 8:15 PM — The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a report of a missing person, Annelisa Beck who had not returned from a day hike around Lake Mendocino. Beck is five feet tall, weighing approximately 130 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last heard from mid-morning when she was texting an associate, saying she was hiking the east side of Lake Mendocino. The associate lost contact with Beck and drove to Lake Mendocino during the evening hours where he found her vehicle but he did not find Beck around the vehicle. He then reported her missing to the Sheriff's Office. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office initiated a Search and Rescue call out to attempt to locate Beck. Search and Rescue Teams searched the area along the east side of Lake Mendocino. The US Army Corps of Engineers is assisted in this effort.
--UPDATE--On Saturday, January 21, 2017 around 9:30 AM missing person Annelisa Beck was located, in good health. She was interviewed by a Sheriff's Deputy and related that she'd lost her telephone the previous day and become lost on a ridge east of Lake Mendocino. She located an old farm type building to shelter in overnight and when daylight arrived she was able to find her way back to the hiking trail. The Sheriff's Office and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team would like to thank the US Army Corps of Engineers for their assistance with this search.
TREE CRUSHES UKIAH APARTMENT, KILLING WOMAN
by Paul Payne
A massive oak tree toppled onto a Ukiah apartment early Saturday morning, killing a woman as she lay in bed, fire officials said.
The accident happened just before 5 a.m. in the 700 block of El Rio Street, said Captain Pete Bushby of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority.
A 125-foot oak that had apparently become destabilized by heavy rain fell through the roof of a single-story apartment with three occupants, Bushby said.
It crushed the sleeping, 36-year-old woman while her boyfriend and a 3-year-old boy in another room escaped.
“It just uprooted and fell right over,” Bushby said.
The woman’s name was not released.
Firefighters were still working to remove her body as of 9 a.m. A crane and woodcutters had been called in to clear the tree.
The man and woman were sleeping in the same bed when the accident happened, said Captain John Strangio, also of Ukiah Valley Fire.
A portion of the roof came down on the woman, just missing the man, Strangio said.
He crawled through the three-bedroom apartment, grabbed the boy and escaped, Strangio said.
The woman’s daughter was away at a sleepover, he said.
“With the drought years we’ve had, and the amount of water we’ve had this year, this is a good reminder to make sure you’re getting your trees checked,” Strangio said.
(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
SUPES TO ENDORSE A REPLACEMENT FOR WOODHOUSE?
Also in Tuesday’s Supervisors agenda is:
“Discussion and Possible Consideration of Submitting a Letter of Recommendation to the Governor’s Office for an Appointment to the Vacant Mendocino County Third District Supervisor Position
“Recommended Action/Motion: Direct staff to compose and transmit a letter of recommendation to the Governor’s Office regarding an appointment to the vacant Mendocino County Third District Supervisor position and authorize the Chair to sign same.
“Summary of Request: On January 4, 2017, the Appointments Office of Governor Jerry Brown announced the vacancy of the Mendocino County Third District member of the Board of Supervisors. The Governor’s Office will consider applications received by interested parties and also invites input from the community and surrounding elected officials.”
IT SOUNDS LIKE THE SUPES are going to discuss endorsing one of the five applicants: Ellen Drell, Holly Madrigal, John Pinches, Georgeanne Croskey, or John Haschak. This could make for some very interesting local political theater.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “At last a dog! John Kerry was at one of the lady marches with his dog. Four paws up for you, John!”
ON FRIDAY THE 13th the Behaviorial Health Board met in Ukiah in preparation for their annual joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors on Monday January 23. One of the topics on that unlucky day was Item 3: “Topics for Discussion at the January 23, 2017 Joint Meeting With BOS. The BHB (aka Mental Health Board but with substance abuse issues supposedly included in their nebulous purview) labored mightily for some time and produced the following proposed agenda for the Supes:
Mental Health Housing
Crisis Stabilization Units
Mental Health Education
“Mental Health Housing” is a long-time non-starter because 1. the Board and the County’s Rural Housing Association can’t even agree on an effective presentation to the three local city councils on what they can do to identify possible housing sites, and the County can’t even identify low cost housing sites, much less those for mental patients. And 2. Even if they did the grants for such housing projects are drying up. The best option would be to make an arrangement with the old Howard Hospital. But someone’s always coming up with an excuse for not pursuing that option too.
“Crisis Stabilization Units.” We’re not sure what this even means. According to a report last Saturday in the Ukiah Daily Journal by their new reporter Mr. Erik O’Donnell, “The county could look to other jurisdictions in California as examples of ways to intervene once crises flare up. Jenine Miller, the director of behavioral health, pointed to Sonoma County and the city and county of San Francisco, which employ 24/7 mobile crisis workers who respond directly to reports of people in mental distress. In Santa Rosa and Berkeley, mental-health workers work in tandem with police officers, responding to calls as a team, she said.”
This is what we’ve been calling for for years — a crisis van, one inland and one on the Coast. We’ve even cited those same examples/models in Sonoma County, San Francisco and the East Bay. The last time this came up was 10 or 15 years ago when the County’s was trying to think of ways to spend the Prop 63 mental health supplementary money. Somebody suggested something like a crisis van. But, of course, it was botched because the County mental health department refused to consider operating it, so they went out for bids (a terrible idea; it would have to be county employees working closely with cops) and nobody bid. End of subject. If Ms. Miller can make any headway at all on this subject she’d make instant fans out of us.
“Staffing” — mental health staffing is a problem across the state. No amount of Board gab will help this at all.
“Mental Health Education” — a complete waste of time.
Mr. O’Donnell’s account of the Friday the 13th Behaviorial Health Board meeting also mentioned several other dubious discussion points:
“The board narrowed down a wide range of possible future services to six – housing, case management, education, psychiatric care, help maintaining social connections, and mobile emergency responders – that it will recommend to the Board of Supervisors at its next meeting Jan. 23.”
Mr. O’Donnell continued, “Participants argued that the county should employ case managers to help people overcome the logistical and financial difficulties of finding permanent shelter, which meeting participants saw as a barrier to mental stability.”
“Case management”? That’s already a requirement of the contract the County has with their private mental health contractor, Redwood Quality Management. It certainly was a requirement of the contract with Ortner — one which Ortner was paid twice the going rate for but didn’t do much of. Why the BHAB now thinks it’s a “possible future service” means something is very wrong with the privatization of mental health services.
Mr. O’Donnell also reported, “The discussion follows the narrow defeat of a November ballot initiative that would have created an inpatient facility for people in crisis. The returns for measures AG and AH narrowly fell short of the two-thirds supermajority needed for approval but signaled a strong public majority in favor of paying for expanded mental-health services.”
No it didn’t. It meant that we need a local FACILITY, not more money for “expanded mental health services.” The County already pays a whopping $27 million a year for mental health services with nearly nothing to show for it. Nobody voted for “expanded mental health services,” we voted to keep our mental patients in Mendocino County and spend the money in more practical ways to provide real services — not more case management and pill dispensing “docs in a box.”
The Sheriff’s Department still does the on-the-street mental health work and they don’t get a nickel of that $27 million.
Mr. O’Donnell added, “Sheriff Tom Allman, who led the campaign to pass measures AG and AH, has said that law enforcement has become, by default, the county’s first responder in mental-health emergencies, a role it is not trained or equipped to fulfill. Health and Human Services is currently working with the Sheriff’s Office to arrange classes for deputies this summer and fall, Miller said.”
Guess who will pay to have deputies sit in these “classes” (that have been talked about for at least three years now with no progress)? That’s right. The Sheriff will pay. Again, none of that $27 million will pay for any deputy training, training which wouldn’t be necessary if the Mental Health Department was doing its job.
Mr. O’Donnell concluded with “The board held its discussion amid a clear public desire for mental-health services to improve, [Supervisor Dan] Hamburg said after the meeting. The failure of a third-party contractor, Ortner Management Group, to adequately manage the county’s adult mental-health system last year bred impatience for solutions to the county’s longstanding service shortfalls, which include an inpatient facility of the kind that would have been created by measures AG and AH, he said.”
Hamburg was the point man for those who questioned how the County would staff the facility which lead directly to its narrow defeat. Now he’s rewriting history saying that the vote was for more services when it was actually for a facility Hamburg fretted over staffing (while all his Supervisor colleagues said they’d make sure it was staffed with existing funds, no more — no problem).
The Behavioral Health Board and the Supes should spend a lot more time figuring out why they get so little for their $27 million and a lot less time talking about subjects they clearly don’t understand — and putting those time-worn subjects on an agenda for a meeting that will do nothing to improve the situation.
MENDO GADFLY John Sakowicz has been selected to serve on the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District's board of directors. Sako was one of four candidates. The District is in a complicated and protracted legal battle with the city of Ukiah over what the Sanitation District says Ukiah owes them for back payments for sewer hookups. The Sanitation District says that Ukiah's accounting department (which does the books for the Sanitation District) has been underpaying the Sanitation District for decades and using the "savings" for nebulous and inappropriate city services. The Sanitation District probably has a point, but figuring out how much the City owes the District (they share the plumbing; federal grants are involved with all the associated strings, etc.) will take a long time with both sides spending lots of money on lawyers. Clearer heads of the type no longer holding official positions in Mendocino County would have split the difference long ago and saved all the legal costs and hassles. If Sako wants to make a difference, he should try to come up with a settlement that his new Sanitation District Board members would like and that gets the City and the District out of court and out of the hands of lawyers. But that's about as likely to happen as getting KZYX to become a KMUD style local public radio station.
WERE THERE REALLY 2500 people marching in Fort Bragg against Trump provocations? From the film clips I saw there was for sure a large turnout, as there was in cities of all sizes across the country, and cosmically odd considering that Orange Man hasn't done anything yet.
CHECK THAT. Yesterday, he knocked off a mortgage interest deduction for people of modest means, a crumb bum thing to do but a harbinger of great economic crimes to come.
HOMEMADE PLACARDS are always proof of genuine political feeling, and say what you will about Orange Man he's already inspired a major burst of creativity:
“Build a wall round Trump, I'll pay for it.” “Chin up, fangs out.” “This pussy grabs back.” “Melania! Blink twice if you want us to free you.”
ONE PATHETIC MALE shuffled along in DC with a sign that read, "On behalf of my gender, I'm sorry."
ASHLEY MORGAN IN MEXICO CITY
‘Away with Trump’
THE HOSE AGAIN
"Two babies were born on the same day at the same hospital. They lay there and looked at each other. Their families came and took them away. Eighty years later, by a bizarre coincidence, they lay in the same hospital, on their deathbeds, next to each other. One of them looked at the other and said, 'So. What did you think?'" -Steven Wright
The recording of last night's (2017-01-20) KNYO and KMEC Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and enjoy via
Every few years, Biff Rose appears in town as if by whirlwind and shows up with a companion of some type, kind of like the Doctor in Doctor Who does, wherever my radio show is, and he (Biff Rose) plays some music and utters the variably comprehensible and idiosyncratically interpretable and vanishes as mysteriously as he came. So that happened.
And Major Mark Scaramella of the Anderson Valley Advertiser telephoned to talk about media in general and the newspaper industry in particular. I realized instantly that I had many questions for him, some of them fawning, some of them impertinent to the point of rudeness and, throughout, he was — is — a gentleman and a good sport. With a wealth of knowledge of local history, chicanery, triumph and pain and secret delight both scandalous and of the Norman Rockwell variety. You will be charmed.
Also, as promised, at the end of the show, because I’d used up all 300 or so Boston Blackie episodes (again), I moved over to the original The Shadow, from the era where Orson Welles played Lamont Cranston, and not that other guy who's just inadequate by comparison. Orson Welles is properly confident and menacing and, you know, Christ, he’s Orson Welles when Orson Welles was young and in his power.
Actually, Alec Baldwin's The Shadow, the 1994 movie version, was not bad. And it’s a good thing I thought of it, too, because it just occurred to me to wonder if they made any movies about Chandu The Magician, and it turns out they did! Several, in the 1930s. I must have them! (That’s said in a low sneering tone through gritted teeth.)
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find links to a panoply of wonders that wouldn't necessarily work via radio, for being mainly visual or requiring a lot of explanation, but are nonetheless worthwhile, that I found while putting radio shows together. Items such as:
A small 4-stroke engine with a clear glass cylinder head. You can see the valves opening and closing, the sparked fire pushing the piston down, the exhausting exhaust. The operator tries different sorts of fuel to see if they look different, and they really do.
Spanky men, neither alpha nor beta, nor gamma, delta, etc. Just sincerely creepy, spanky men of the past.
And see what it looks like to land on Titan. (Except for the insulting CGI spaceships) it's exactly like a very slow-motion version of being tripped by a bully on the playground beyond the parking lot in fifth grade. This will bring it all back to you.
TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER WRITES:
I’m almost done reading a book by James Gavin called “Is That All There Is? The Strange Life of Peggy Lee” but I keep returning to page 352 where this little gem is slipped in. Allow me to quickly set the stage. Miss Peggy Lee was dining with Truman Capote and Dotson Rader at an expensive Beverly Hill joint called Le Restaurant.
Lee brought up the subject of past lives. According to Rader, she explained: "I’ve been reincarnated many times. I’ve been a prostitute, a princess, an Abyssinian queen."
"Oh really," asked Capote. "What do you remember?"
"I remember being a prostitute in Jerusalem when Jesus was alive. I remember the crucifixion very well. I’ll never forget picking up the Jerusalem Times and seeing the headline 'Jesus Christ Crucified'."
A REAL TURKEY SHOOT
by Malcolm Macdonald
A couple of corrections from last week's piece. The four to five stacks of lumber usually present, and visible out to sea, in the Mendocino of 1879 were piled south of Ukiah Street, between Rundle and Heeser Streets, not Rundle and Kelly Streets. Even today Rundle and Kelly are pretty much squeezed together as they were 140 years ago.
My rough draft for the last piece stated that on New Year's Day, 1879, rifle fire from the south could be heard in Mendocino; however, by the time I turned the article in, through no fault but my own, the gunfire transformed to revolvers and shotguns. Rifles were the weapon in use that day as they were in this notice posted throughout Mendocino about two weeks later. “A Grand Turkey Shooting will be held at this place on Wednesday, January 22nd, 1879. Fifty turkeys will be put up. Distances, turkey's head, off-hand, 80 yards; turkey's head, with rest, 100 yards; turkey's body, off-hand 150 yards; turkey's body, with rest, 200 yards. Fun for all! The use of rifles of any make allowed.”
Firing rifles 200 yards would lead us to the conclusion that the match took place on the Heeser headlands; the broad U-shaped property that today is nearly encircled by Heeser Drive. In 1879, William Heeser, editor and publisher of Mendocino's then thriving newspaper, owned much of the property west of Lansing Street and north of Ukiah Street. Spring, summer, and fall much of that land was consumed by a large potato patch. Heeser ran a more or less constant advertisement for the purchase of potatoes, by the one hundred pound sack (87 ½ cents per sack in late 1879). The potatoes were stored in dark corners of the newspaper office for easy selling purposes.
Fifty turkeys meant that the fowl had to be brought in, since turkeys, in that number, were not wandering the fields and woods nearby Mendocino in 1879. Sometimes local knowledge is greater than history books, and personal knowledge can trump (if I may use that word as a verb) documentation. The source for turkeys in that quantity at that particular time and place would have been one of my great grandfathers, John Robertson, who specialized in not only cattle (usually oxen for woods work) drives, but, also, turkey drives from Little Lake (think southern half of Willits) to the coast.
That particular turkey drive (sometimes clipped-wing turkeys were carried westward in caged boxes stacked on wagon beds) must have been a bitterly cold one if the weather west of Willits was anything like that described by William Heeser's newspaper in regard to the thoroughfare we now call the Orr Springs Road during that same part of January, 1879.
“The driver of the Mendocino and Ukiah stage experienced a rough drive from Ukiah to this place last Sunday. When he reached the top of the mountain he found the ground covered with two inches of snow for a distance of some twenty miles, and numerous trees had fallen across and obstructed the road. The driver, seeing the impossibility of getting through with the coach, left it and the two passengers and rode to the Half Way House where he procured a 'skeleton' wagon, returned and brought his passengers through to this place by 6 o'clock.”
The Mendocino Coast's potential for isolation in serious rain storms hasn't changed much from the 1870s to the present day. If you want contrast, imagine the uproar if a rifle shooting contest (at live turkeys no less) was held today on the Heeser headlands. Having descended from Scots cattle and turkey herders I'd forego any protest and opt for the profit made in supplying the fowl.
William Heeser reported on the January 22nd, 1879 turkey shoot results in this manner, “The turkey shooting which took place in this city Wednesday drew a large attendance and was much enjoyed in the forenoon. In the afternoon the wind rose to a perfect gale, bringing with it rain, which somewhat 'dampened' the ardor of our sportsmen. Very good shooting was done, and many turkeys carried away.”
Though robbery, fire, murder, and the fickleness of fate would have their way in Mendocino throughout 1879, then as now, the bottom line of day to day life, despite protest and vile epithet, was/is ruled by Mother Nature and the most pagan of weather gods.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 21, 2017
Bell, Ceja, Collins
JOSHUA BELL, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
SEBASTIAN CEJA, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
THOMAS COLLINS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Corson, Dow, Glover
MARC CORSON, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, resisting, threatening a police officer, probation revocation.
LORI DOW, Fort Bragg. Burglary.
SHAWN GLOVER, Laytonville. Witness intimidation, probation revocation.
Golyer, Leffler, Lowry
PAUL GOLYER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
SEAN LEFFLER, Covelo. Failure to appear, county parole violation.
TAUNJA LOWRY, Red Crest (CA)/Laytonville. False ID, no driver’s license.
Lu, Luna, Medina
JUNQUIN LU, Talmage/Ukiah. Burglary, dirk-dagger.
JEREMIAH LUNA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
GERARDO MEDINA, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear.
Riley, Schenck, Watson, Wilburn
SCOTT RILEY, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JEREMY SCHENCK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
VAUGHN WATSON, Willits. Meth sales.
ANTHONY WILBURN, Covelo. County parole violation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Pico Iyer wrote a book many years ago about the “global soul,” about airports. Their strangeness. Their coldness. Itinerants united and homogenized by chain retail. ‘Murica is nothing but a giant airport these days. Itinerants doing the Wal-Mart Shuffle (using a shopping cart as a walking aid/gut holder). In the end, one must escape to a home, somewhere… anywhere.”
I VOTED FOR HIM because he is anti TPP. He spoke against war, against NATO. Against the endless Middle East war. I voted against the corrupt media. They have made total fools out of themselves. Clinton pushed Russia propaganda, wanted a no-fly zone in Syria and had a horrible record at the State Dept. She's a criminal and warmonger. I am so happy he won. I feel we have a chance to break the chains of the globalists.
— Anna Sherrill
REDWOOD SUMMER & the hippies behind it
by Thomas Cahill
"Redwood Summer" is what we Hippies and radicals and even a few liberals called the time we devoted to trying to save the last remaining rainforest once that stretched from northern California up into Canada. We especially wanted to save the giant Redwoods that the voracious lumber companies coveted. If you were ever in a grove of the giants I think you might agree with me that it's like being in a huge cathedral. Especially those of us spiritually inclined, consider the giants absolutely sacred. But we also wanted to save all the trees, even the non-Redwoods, because we felt like they were the lungs of Mother Earth that transformed carbon dioxide into oxygen. And this was back in the 1990s before the big debate about "climate change."
Alexander Cobkrun & Bruce Anderson at the Fort Bragg timber protest demo
At the second big demonstration of Redwood Summer on July 21, 1990, that took place in Fort Bragg, a costal town in northern California, a supporter of the lumber industry held a sign "HIPPIES ARE PARASITES."
Agreeing with Jesus Christ who is credited with having said, "Agree with thy adversary, quickly," I took the guy's photo and marched on. I would have liked to tell him, "Sir, you got it wrong. You capitalist wage slaves and consumerists are the parasites. We Hippies are your garbage persons cleaning up after you." But I didn't want to get into a pissing contest with him. "I didn't want to have to break the sad news to him that he was helping capitalism self-destruct. For one thing it takes many decades for a tree to grow to maturity. And the lumber companies were harvesting them like corn that matures in a summer.
Twenty years earlier, I was a dumpster diver among other things. I had a special pair of coveralls that I would don with a leather flying helmet, and in I would dive into a dumpster looking for treasure to sell at the Alameda Flea Market. I would often bump heads with "King Knob," aka "Knobby" in the same dumpster. He earned his monikers because of his passion for collecting door knobs. Well, hell, at least he had a passion and wasn't a couch potato. He especially liked the purple-tinted glass ones and had his collection mounted on a beautifully restored wooden door. The brass ones from outside doors he would keep highly-polished. Some of these came from homes that were still occupied like those in "better" neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights. Well Knobby was a connoisseur and the knobs were being honored much more than being just pieces of hardware to open and close a door. But imagine Mr. or Mrs. So-n-So when they arrived home from a hard day at the bank to find their door knob gone but nothing else in the house missing. "What kind of a maniac would do such a thing?"
Few other than me knew the name on his birth certificate--Frank Johnson. Knobby, like Sedonia, could see treasure through a hundred years of crud. My vision was good for maybe, ahhh, forty years. Frank died a few years ago at age 60. I wonder where his collection is now. I hope in some museum. Yeh, it was that impressive even to me who thought his obsession strange. But I was still building model airplanes, so who was I to judge?
A more accurate name for us Hippies was the "Flower Children." We were about love and sharing and playing nice-nice together which could only make our father who art in heaven smile. Just ask any police officer who he would rather arrest a drunk or a pot head. We were a preview of coming attractions. In order for humankind to survive, we will have to get along better, consume less and recycle more, and take much better care of our mother, aka planet "Earth." We'll have to put into action what Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, "Justice is the face of love made public."
The first Hippie generation is fast disappearing. Some of us have died off and others don't dress as flamboyantly as we used to. The present generation can pass for straight and can be found in such places at "transition towns" in the US and UK and else where, and in Mondragon in Spain and Damanhur in Italy. Damanhur is even a first class tourist attraction, but that's a story for another time. I'll be visiting there next May.
Most Friday evenings in the early Seventies, while Sedonia was preparing rations for our next day's mission, I could be found in the chart room leading downstairs with a map of San Francisco taped to cardboard. Analyzing the classified ads for garage sales, I would place colored pins in the map denoting time and place of sales and quality of the goods. When finished I would change the colors of the pins prioritizing the locations and placing a gold pin representing "Prince Albert" in the middle of the area where he would be parked. This was similar to work I had done in Air Force intelligence while stationed in Germany twenty years earlier. Back then I had to chart the weather around a secret Soviet guided missile test range at Kapustin Yar from which Sputnik was launched October 4,1957 and which we dutifully reported to the National Security Agency which then passed the news on to "The New York Times" and the rest of the Ministry of Propaganda helping the US arms industry extort more money out of US taxpayers. God forbid, the commies get ahead of us in the arms race or any race. Today there's a big scare of war with Russia. The Washington Establishment obviously hasn't figured out how to control Pres. Trump so it's pulling out all the stops in terrifying the public. I'm sorry but I already had my big fright when a Russian fleet sailed down the English Channel on it's way to a new Russian navy base in Syria last October. With all the nuclear war heads in the neighborhood, I feared at least one could go off accidentally. But perhaps the UFO people are correct that our ET neighbors have been disarming them.
I remember a cartoon years ago of a man weeping with a mushroom cloud behind him. "Nuclear war? There goes my career."
Saturday morning, with "Agapanthus" secured to the stern of our van, we would drive to the first location designated by a gold pin and a piece of colored yarn. The Prince would be carefully parked not to obstruct anything or elicit a parking ticket. I had already spent a weekend in jail for a collection of parking tickets and I was definitely reformed. Being jailed for civil disobedience was a higher calling and in my head I collected hash marks for times locked up for CD like bomber crews in WW II painted mission markers on the noses of their B-17s.
Agapanthus would then be taken down from the stern bumper and off Sedonia and I would go on the happy Honda in our shopping blitz of a neighborhood in the Richmond or the Sunset or Mission areas of the city of St. Francis.
"Hi ho, Agapanthus, the deadly duo rides again," I'd shout as we rode off, with Sedonia giggling and punching me in the back.
Sedonia would be wearing heavy wool US Navy issue bells and one of my collection of flight jackets with the Felix the Cat logo of VF-3. USN fighting squadron three. On her head would be several multi-colored scarves and a pair of RAF Mark VII split-lens flying goggles. I'd be wearing tan corduroy jodhpurs with tall lace-up boots, and a 1930s Army Air Corps issue flying jacket with the correct pre-WWII leather helmet with a later issue flying googles that fit over my granny glasses.
Before dawn on my Sundays in the Seventies, I would roust the protesting crew out of their beds in the flat on 25th Avenue near Clement Street into their assigned bunks aboard Prince Albert. The boys would come along moaning and groaning while I carried still-sleeping Annie Laurie to her cozy spot on top of the big vintage chest in which Sedonia kept her kitchen and pantry. Then I would go after M'Lady who was NOT a morning person.
"Why do we have to go so early," whined Sedonia . "It's still dark out," she would protest each time like we never discussed the reason which was so we'd get a choice spot next to our friends.
The van would have been loaded the night before with trade goods— food, firewood, ice, and enough toys to keep the kids and I happy the whole day. In place of Agapanthus secured on the stern would be bicycles for sale or for the boys to ride around the flea market with their friends from far-off Garberville or Santa Cruz or the Sierras.
While still dark, I'd take our place in line at the entrance to the drive-in theater in Alameda across the Bay from San Francisco and home of the best flea market in Northern California. With classical music low on KHFI-FM , I'd sit on the bridge of Prince Albert with a lighted lantern hanging from the shelf. Sipping chamomile tea and puffing on a dooby of Humboldt killer weed, I'd watch Fred Fraun the manager and his "whermacht soldaten" trying to keep the line orderly till they were ready to assign us our spots.
Pals like Gene Bloom and John Skallet and David Epstein and Gross Gary Kraus and Ghost Town Gary and George Marx and Ed 'n' Charlie would come by from time to time sharing joints and tea and exchanging the latest news from Guernville or Sacramento or the Haight-Ashbury or Mendoland.
"Look-a-this, Admiral," whispers Ghost Town Gary, showing me a metal box containing a US Navy officer's old-time fore 'n' aft hat with feathers and gold epaulets and sword belt, all of which would go great with my magic coat.
"I just paid twenty dollars for it and I'm gonna ask a hundred," he said to me. "Do you think it's worth it?"
"Yeh, Gary, definitely," I responded, "It's a super collector item. I wish I could afford it."
Meanwhile the kids are still asleep and M'Lady is snoring away. Yes, Va-gin-ia, Sedonia snored. Not very loud but noticeably.
We start moving in the gate, driving Fred crazy with requests for certain spaces near each other. Lucky day, Fred's in a good mood and gives us a whole row together. Our "Deadbeat Boutique" will be between Ed 'n' Charlie and Gene Bloom. Even if we don't make a dime today, we're going to have a good time.
Parking a big van lengthwise and level between two speaker poles was no easy feat in the dark and stoned to boot. Now I light the wood stove, already prepared with paper and kindling the night before, so the sleepyheads won't have to dress in the cold. Soon the bridge is filled with Hippies again, drinking tea and smoking pot and quietly tripping on the really big treasures we were going to find today that will set us up for the rest of our natural lives.
Ghostown Gary is going to buy the whole ghost town in the Sierras where he lives and where we can all live together on the cheap. Ed 'n' Charlie are going to buy a big old mansion in Pacific Heights where we can all live like in the 1920s with gas lights that they restore. John Skallet, the jeweler among us, is going to buy each couple a Faberge Egg for an heirloom to pass along to future generations. I'm going to buy us a hundred fifty foot bark and sail us to Venice where we will trade at a flea market there. And if there is no flea market, we'll create one. We had family values but it included our entire extended family. And we weren't embarrassed about sharing our fantasies. Marijuana is like that; it relaxes the brain, opens the heart, fuels the imagination, and induces altruism. Of course it doesn't work the same with everyone. But it's how it worked with all my Hippie family.
At last the sky starts to lighten and in ones and twos, everyone returns to their own vehicles. For me this is the most exciting time of the market and I climb the ladder to the roof rack where I hunker down and finish my tea. From my high perch, I watch the drama of the Alameda Flea Market unfold like a Barnum & Bailey's Circus. As the sky brightens in the east, stars are still twinkling in the west. And down below candles and kerosene lamps are flickering in windows of vans and buses and beautifully-sculpted Gypsy-like wooden campers on the backs of beautiful vintage pickups and other trucks dating back to WW II, the envy of every male Hippy in the family.
From chimneys of wood stoves in other vehicles, smoke floats lazily upward where here and there colorful banners and flags wave in the breeze off San Francisco Bay. Also attracting prospective customers are some big gas-filled weather balloons, tethered to vehicles and floating over the temporary village making it look like London in the blitz. Card tables, and colorful awnings and umbrellas are being placed about the drive-in as sleepy venders are queuing before stands selling coffee and breakfast munchies.
Already there is brisk trading as early birds seek bargains. This is the time "items"--as David Epstein who was in retail sales in NYC for a bit--calls what the late George Carlin called "stuff" or "shit" in one of his comedy routines are taken from boxes with a chorus of "how much, how much," assailing the bewildered sellers into parting with treasures too cheaply. The newcomers are pleased now with the rapid sales they have just made and dream of an early departure. But later in the day when they realize their best stuff is gone and they have so much more to get rid of, disappointment sets in. And still later when they find their early sale items in other stall greatly marked-up, they really wish they had been more careful. But what-the-hell, sometimes space is worth more than the stuff stored there.
It will be another hour before I wake Sedonia and the kids and we begin to set up, so I sling my back pack over my shoulder and off I go treasure-hunting. We flea marketeers are among the dregs of America's throwaway society, recycling some of America's trash found in debris boxes, garbage dumps, and abandoned buildings awaiting the wrecking ball.
The sun is peeking over the Oakland Hills now and the Alameda Flea Market is officially open for business. Early shoppers are lined-up at the gate paying their two bits to get in and Sedonia and I are setting up our deadbeat boutique now called "Wilde Mountain Thyme." Funky old card tables with art deco designs weren't good enough for us. We had to cover our tables with rich burgundy velvet, the material hanging to the ground in front to cover the unsightly boxes stored beneath. Hey, not only were we Aquarius sun but also Virgo rising--fuss budgets and neatness freaks.
As Sedonia pieces together the mannequins, I set up the clothes racks and bring down the awning from the side of Prince Albert. Out comes the glass display case for small valuables such as antique cloisonne costume jewelry, harness brass, Daguerrotypes, an occasional ship-in-the-bottle and old political campaign buttons and vintage cameras with red bellows my favorite of which I still have.
Next we'd arrange the vintage clothes carefully on the racks with the best on the mannequins or on the side of Prince Albert but not covering up our burlap sign with in leather "Wilde Mountain Thyme." Much of the clothing was from the Salvation Army or Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul or one of the thrift shops on Fillmore Street run by women supporting various causes. We dealt in really old clothing even dating back to Victorian times. The fabric would be old and frayed and fragile but Sedonia was a whiz with her grandmother's treadle sewing machine.
The patches she sewed on a pair of my old levis made the pants truly fit for a prince regent. I was offered two hundred dollars or three hundred in dope for the pants from a drug dealer but I declined. The pants should now be hanging in the Hippy section of the county museum in Willits.
Then there were the hats; fedoras for the gangstas, cloche hats for the flappers, spiked helmets for the collectors and even an occasional hard had dating back to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Thirties. The tables would be piled high with photo albums, ashtrays commemorating some Bay Area event, memorabilia from Sutro's Baths, scrimshawed whales' teeth, old bottles turned mother-of-pearl from the sun, tiny high-buttoned shoes worn by a child of an affluent family, Edison cylinders, stereopticons with lots of slightly curved view-cards some hand-colored. On the ground nearby would be a wicker perambulator, a turned oak hat rack, a floor lamp with a fringed lampshade with an old painting of the dome at Yosemite.
We'd then decorate our cluttered shop as if it needed anything more to attract attention. There would be the gaily-colored banner we bought on our grand tour de l'amour in Sienna, Italy and other flags including one that had forty stars for which I paid five dollars and sold for one hundred fifty. Sedonia would arrange fresh cut flowers in some of the pewter or crystal vases we were selling. And on the side of the van the thing we'd always put up last was our sign Wilde Mountain Thyme. Then on my harmonica I'd serenade M'Lady with the Scottish air while she fastened a Camilla in her hair and a white rose to the lapel of my vest. And only after this ritual and never before, would we be open for business. Then the Damon Runyon-like characters that haunt flea markets all over the world would descend on us. During the course of the day, Sedonia and I would often retreat inside Prince Albert to smooch and snack on the delicacies she brought along.
With Ed 'n' Charlie on one side, we had music from the Teens and Thirties. They were the Twentieth Century Talking Machine Company. The lyrics of the songs were often corny and sounded like they were coming out of a tin can far away. But Sedonia and I loved the music, anything to get out of our present time of raping and pillaging small countries far away in south east Asia and the assassinations and bigotry and intolerance on the Home Front.
Edward Linotti and Charles Siegfried were part of a commune who owned a home at 856 Cole Street with two flats, a large attic and two small storefronts at street level. There were seven of them, mostly Gay except for Charlie who seemed to be Ed's alter ego but not his lover. They were a community of craftsmen dedicated to preserving for use and enjoyment the products of the Mechanical Age manufactured prior to 1940. They bought, sold, traded, repaired and restored vintage phonographs, radios, music boxes, player pianos, clocks and most electrical devices and even entire gas light systems right down to early fountain pens. Each seemed to have a specialty such as mechanical or electrical restoration and wood finishing,
Chief among the specialties of Ed and Charles were the records, those huge, brittle 78 rpm platters. They had met at some university south of San Francisco where they were they became custodians, collectors and restorers of a vast collection of the original records including the earliest cylinders. Together they amassed their own collection that numbered more than 50,000 that took up a lot of space in the attic on Cole Street.
The group were so much into this period of history and the music that they had signs, plaster sculptures and even paintings of the Victor victrola dog whose name escapes me. They may even had a Jack Russell terrior or a similar dog to Victor but I can't recall.
Each member of the commune seemed to have a complete 20s/30s wardrobe from work clothes to formal wear with proper shoes and even eyeglass frames. Entering their home or one of their shops was like time traveling. Their entire habitat was like a living museum with the seven of them happily working away on some project that might include research and ferreting out those old pointed clear glass light bulbs or manufacturing some obscure part for a player piano. Ed especially loved to show and tell and would play for me very rare records with low mileage on phonographs specially tuned and with different kinds of needles including bamboo if my memory serves me right.
We all adopted each other soon after meeting at the Flea Market. And one day we were invited to dinner at Cole Street. Sedonia and I dressed appropriately since we also had a huge wardrobe. I may have worn my white linen "ice cream" suit. Sedonia was always a knock-out whatever she wore. Being a visual person, the first thing that struck me was the dinner table, laden with sparkling old china, crystal and silverware, flowers and candles all in impressive order. And above, a combination gas and electric chandelier cast a beautiful glow over the table and room.
After dinner, Ed and Sedonia enjoyed dancing to ragtime. I was very jealous, not of Ed himself but his ability to dance. I sometimes would fake it with Sedonia but I have dyslexia and stumble over my feet when trying to do the real thing.
The commune didn't last long. Ed could be overbearing at times and perhaps obsessive/compulsive, I learned. And just Ed and Charlie moved into a large house in Sebastopol where they began all over restoring it back to its grandeur in the 1920s and 30s. They had a huge workshop in back where they also kept their record collection. I especial loved the kitchen here and the auxiliary kitchen. My mother was Italian and many of our Italian relatives and friends had two kitchens in their homes. Like the living rooms that were rarely used, the kitchens were for show only. The real cooking, eating and socializing went on in the kitchen in the cellar.
The main kitchen in Sebastopol had a wood-burning stove with hot water container attached, and a gas stove, both vintage and able to cook a meal. In one corner of the room was an old refrigerator with the round motor on top looking brand new. Ed was such a fanatic that he always emptied milk out of the carton into old glass bottles. The second kitchen was on a porch and contained a workable gas stove, washing machine with ringer and a hot water heater all looking brand new. And from some source they found decals of company logos to place on each.
I especially loved Ed's study with it's big roll top desk. Once during a fierce storm when Ed was away, I took my typewriter up there and wrote a story about them that I let Charlie read. A cloud soon came over Charlie and he confessed all was not well between them. He was in love with a woman and wanted to marry her. Ed was against the union. Ed and Charlie broke up with Charlie getting the house and Ed getting the two vintage Lincolns and enough other stuff to make another start in a town in Gold Country in the Sierras.
About this time Sedonia and I also broke up. We had been together thirteen years but had been living and working apart since we closed up our studio in the village of Mendocino in 1977. By 1983, Sedonia was living in Rohnert Park, working on her masters degree in psychology at Sonoma State University. She had a lover and was blooming. I was in the advanced stages of rape trauma syndrome and had returned to the belly of the beast. The divorce was my idea. I didn't want to stunt her growth. I didn't want to take her with me into the sordid hell of America's jails and prisons. We remained close friends and rarely missed a weekly catch-up call right up until her death in 2000.
Thanksgiving 1985, Ed invited me to a dinner reunion of his friends from way back in the early 70s including the some of the original communards and a famous San Francisco piano player whose name escapes me. The spread, the meal, the music, the conviviality were classic Ed. But Charlie and his wife were not there.
I was still driving a big old Chevy pick-up with a camper on the back in which I lived from 1977 to 1987 mostly parked in the Marina section of San Francisco. After the meal with Ed and the guys, I went for a long walk. When i returned, I was shocked to see the back door of my camper had been broken into. Looking inside, I could see nothing was disturbed. But the door knob was still in place and wasn't attractive anyway so it couldn't have been King Knob. Soon I learned from Ed that he became worried about me knowing I missed Sedonia and knowing about the unpleasant work I was doing to bring attention to institutionalized sexual assault of mostly vulnerable, young, heterosexual males confined for minor crimes like possession of too much pot. But this is another story for another time.
Fortunately the doorknob system was easily replaced. Ed had been careful like the master craftsman he was. Two years later Ed died in his sleep from I think AIDS. He was a larger than life character who I could write much more about and may.