OLD Friends

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.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

8 Responses to OLD Friends

  1. I love it when you share your past lives. I hope I have lead in my pencil when I am your age. 56 years and I feel a bit worn but then I come to Llyod's blog where you relate like a bright comet.

    Unchain yourself from achievement
    and enjoy the ordinary life
    Flow like the TAO, unhinderded, unnoticed, and unnamed
    with no goals, no expectations.

    Be like a child, like a fool.
    Know there is nothing to know
    that is the direct way to freedom….Chuang Tzu

    Happy New Year


  2. In the mid-nineties I was base-camped in the High Sierras doing a bunch of Rock Climbing in a place called Valhalla. My ski buddy M.J. and I were escaping the house-framing grind for a month to dedicate ourselves to our current passion, climbing long granite rock climbs. 5 years before, we had spotted this alpine cirque while crossing the High Sierras on skis. This was really a pilgrimage for us. We carried a month of sparse food and lots of ropes and gear. When we reached our base camp at one of those high mountain lakes that is so beautiful that even great authors would have to frown at the limitations of the pen. Well, instead of sparse living, we were adopted by the trail crew camped above the lake on the bluff. Our fist instinct was to run away from this trail camp with huge yellow tarps and furniture. We found ourselves hosted each night to an hour of AM classic Radio Show broadcasts. Two different shows per night. Dragnet, Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, Honeymooners and many more. There was a classic rhythm to the days. Everyone up with the sun, walking the mountain paths. Them to their work, breaking rocks and making trails and us to our odd mission conquering the useless. In the evenings we regrouped. We swam daily. I did at least. Then the stories of the day. Legendary acts in the mountains. As an example, our most senior member was the High Sierra expert on the explosive demolition of expired horses in the high country. These men made giant slabs of granite with hand drills, sledge hammers, wood and water. Talk about happy hour. Perfectly, after dusk, the Radio Shows would come on, and the day would come to an end under a starry sky unique to that place in time.
    Happy New Year.

  3. Love the stories you tell Lloyd! Thanks for still being inspired and leading the way, I've said this before but thanks for inspiring a 42 year old born in 1969.


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