I bailed from my job as an insurance broker in San Francisco (and from my generation) in the mid-60s. In 1964, I bought a lid of weed (really a tin Prince Albert can) from a tattooed sailor in Mill Valley, smoked a bit that night and went totally on to the right side of my brain. Boy! My days in the business world were doomed.
Things were happening in SF, the world was changing, and after a trip riding the rails and hitchhiking to the east coast, I returned home, quit my then-well-paying job and went to work as a carpenter. 1965. What a relief to quit wearing suits, which I hated, and to now go to lumber yards and drive around in a pickup truck scavenging building materials.
I left the culture of my age group and dove into the cutural revolution. People 10 years younge — what they were into resonated with me. My high school and college friends stayed on the business track, with its attendant economic rewards. I’m the only long-haired guy from the Lowell class of ’52. So it’s with interest I go to the occasional luncheon reunions. Here were maybe 15 guys and I felt a genuine affection for a bunch of them, in spite of economic and political differences. Some deep roots here. When we grew up, we thought the whole world was like San Francisco, the whole world like California. (Were we wrong!) Next year in October we’re having our 60th (ulp!) reunion.
For real old people only: One of the great things about my friend Louie is that he’s older than me. We grew up listening to the radio. Jack Armstrong, The All-American Boy; Superman — “It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s sooop-er-man!”/ The Shadow/ The Green Lantern — we were glued to our radios. In the 40s, Wheaties had model fighter airplanes on the back of boxes, you cut out and assembled; they were cool and v. popular. I remember a kid walking down the street, pouring Wheaties in the street, so he could get to the model. A lot of us tried to sneak in radio listening night (I Love A Mystery), but parents would come in and feel the radio was warm.