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Jack's Bio
Wednesday, 18 August 2004
A deal in San Fran
It seemed a deal that we didn't have to have cars because of the vast network in San Francisco. Riding the cable cars for fun, or waiting for the buses seemed adventurous enough for us for the moment. I sought a Japanese class in the Adult Education program and founded one in the Presidio on the other side of town. One or two nights a week, take a late bus, and try not to get too paranoid about the snipers shooting at the buses. I travelled return trip back home with a big black guy who also took the class as I was later to find out he was going off to teach ESL in Japan. I seemd confident as I should be after spending a year and a half in Japan. My hair was pretty long and in the fashion of the slightly post-hippie days of the early 70's. Somebody in the office I worked for told me that I looked an awful lot like Cat Stevens. My hair curled easily in the natural humidity of the city by the bay. I guess I was going along pretty well not necessarily paying attention and I was approached by someone in the class.

Posted by oz/generaleclectic at 4:33 PM EDT
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Monday, 15 March 2004
From Berkeley to the Federal Building
We quickly discovered that the rents in Berkeley were very high and headed for our second choice, San Francisco. Some second choice! We wound up staying a couple of nights at the Embarkadero YMCA, a huge building near the piers for a couple of days and it was pretty cruisy in the evenings. We were looking for an apartment, a flat as PJ used to say for us both, just enough so he could send for his wife and his son Phillip Junior. We wound up hiring a real estate agent who after a week found us a 'flat' in the Mission, close to grocery stores and on the bus lines. It was shortly revealed to us that the house (we had the second floor) was very unlevel. We at one time put a ball in the kitchen and watched it's course to the bay window in the front room, which was the living room. PJ built a high bed in the dining room adjacent to the front room and I had the BR in the back next to the kitchen . He founded a job almost immediately in the Federal Building and I was not so fortunate but eventually found one in the Financial District about a month anad a half later, my funds nearly exhausted. PJ and I were together very excited about finding a yoga institute nearby and proceeded together to its doors for instruction in Hatha (physical)Yoga and more. We had talked about vegetarianism and both had decided we were but were not vegans. We were delighted in ourselves and in the fact that we had 'discovered' (albeit by looking through the Yellow Pages) our guru. PJ sent for his wife. Faye was the daughter of a Southern Baptist minister and PJ had gotten her pregnant while still in Pensacola, and they married. Faye conceded to vegetarianism with us but Yoga was one straw over top of the camel's hump too many. She was decidedly Christian. Little Philip looked like an angel but only semed that way to me as he cried and Faye struggled with herpes and always seemed upset. PJ smoked a lot of dope in those days and felt that it to be panacea to the baby's crying all the time by blowing smoke at the baby hoping it would fall asleep. PJ my friend was a friend to me but not cut out for fatherhood. He smoked before going to work, on his morning 15 minute break, on his lunch hour, during his 15 minute afternoon break, and anytime he could after work.

Posted by oz/generaleclectic at 3:37 PM EST
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Friday, 12 March 2004
Up the scenic coastal highway
We so lucked out! Imagine it: a sunny afternoon with a ride Out of Big Sur, cruising along Highway 101 with a great curving vista of the crashing ocean and rocky cliffs, over top of some of the redwoods, a ride as smooth as butter in what must have been a fairly new car. The driver was sort of a funny woman in that her hair seemed a slightly greasy uneven bowl cut, in gray. Nonetheless we enjoyed our fortune and as I was in the back seat, she asked us our names which we were glad to reply. There was a clasp manila envelope between she and PJ on the front grey leather. She said to Peej, 'go ahead and open it up.' He was a little hesitant but nonetheless agreed and found to his complete amazement a pack of joints and some loose marijuana. She urged him to light up, and obliging a fellow as was PJ, he did surely pass around a rather fat joint. It didn't take much, and we were well on our way to grins and laughter, again all the time thinking how our fortune had changed from waiting back in Big Sur for a ride. We cruised and coasted and wound our way and surely it would come from me, I complemented how nice the ride was and how old might the car be. She said she didn't know. Without even taking a breath, she said she had just escaped from jail and had stolen the car! Well, we passed through Carmel and had gotten the word that Clint EWastwood had just been made mayor. We had seen the twisting pines of Monterrey and had a great sunset, laced with a ride from a con in a stolen car, I don't think our feet were ever so thankful to touch the ground as our arrival in Berkeley.

Posted by oz/generaleclectic at 3:12 PM EST
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Leucadia, 1971
Bob was the name of the guy who had picked me as I was hitchiking southwards to San Diego. He said his assistant would be off for the whole month on vacation in Hawaii and would I like a job. I was a little concerned in that I had not a friend in the area. He said enthusiastically 'You could come stay with me and my wife, my daughters, the dog, hampster and the lizard.' Going to stay very long in San Diego was also a long shot so I decided to say 'Yes.'
I kinda mostly hung out on the extended back end of the house, a good size room and we did things like pull out iceplant and put in PVC sprinkler systems in new developments, when we went to work, i.e. Bob was a big fan of Swami Sivananda who had a main ashram there and we spent hours talking about philosophy and religion and almost anything. He paid me all the same so I didn't worry. I just thought in a way it was kind of ideal in that from a
place high on a cliff overlooking the ocean you could see the blond surfers in the waves. Playful, warm and sunny in my thoughts. On of those visions that they tell you to imagine when you meditate. A place where you could go and always feel good. Bon was also an amateur hypnotist and tried doing some regressive past life therapy stuff. His wife worked in what seemed like a sweat shop, cutting out fabric for women's clothes. He was more buoyant than she most of the time. We went up to right near Disneyland to pick up plants from a nursery. I had been writing to a friend PJ (also from Pensacola times) who also knew Sandi and he had decided the Navy was not his thing, called for a hardship to get out and eventually about a month and a half into staying with Bob, PJ showed up on his doorstep. PJ and I talked about going north and so we did. One day shortly after his showing up (Bob didn't mind), PJ and I set out on the freeway and got a little past LA right off. There were a lot of people waiting on the freeway entrances trying to get rides north. I remember one where we gave up and started to walk had about 25 people waiting and the painted hippie buses would drive by all full of all kinds of people and they would throw joints out to the ones still waiting. PJ and I went off towards a beach and eventually spent the night and then as we got another ride later the next day with some black dude, we explained that we did not want to be left on the freeway but could he take us off to the exit. He somehow decided to let us off and as we made our way to the exit, there was a policeman who wound up giving us a ticket in Ventura. We were more determined to head for Berkeley and we had gotten to landmark our journey with a ride to Big Sur. We wandered around a bit through the redwoods, along trials, enough to say we had made it, but so had many other people hitching, stopped along the road out. We had to stay there hitching for 9 and a half hours waiting before we got a ride. We were happy to score a Cadillac convertible!

Posted by oz/generaleclectic at 2:26 PM EST
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Thursday, 11 March 2004
Re-entry, review, relax
I had pretty much given up the idea that Sandi and I were ever going to be romantically involved. Speaking from a former self, she was terrifically flat-chested. She was also kooky, calm and secure as an individual and certainly independent. As an LVN, she could hop to a town, bags packed and register at an Home Health Agency and get a job. She had people around her in Laguna whom she knew in Pensacola that were gay and partied with them. They were artists and created fetishes that looked something one might imagine could come from some American Indian. I was curious, yellow.

It was nice to hang out, visit galleries during the day, chant OM in the evening and relax. My credit as a friend was not going to last despite our finances, unless I found something for myself to do.
Armed with only a bone colored Levi jacket, jeans, t-shirt and discharge papers, I decided to visit friends in San Diego. I had called them and they said I should come by there first before going to Miami. So Sandi took me to the southbound freeway where I started to hitch. Once on the way, a man
picked me up who was a gardener, a landscaper. He asked me if I needed a job; I pretty much had my heart set on somehow becoming a photgrapher but good sense gave way as he sked me if I had any experience in gardening. I told him that I had studied Ikenobo Ikebana (traditional Japanese flower arranging) in Tokyo with my neighbor, Hosoya, whom was third from the top of governmental Japanese landscape gardeners in the whole of Japan.

Posted by oz/generaleclectic at 2:46 PM EST
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Re-entry, review, relax
I had pretty much given up the idea that Sandi and I were ever going to be romantically involved. Speaking from a former self, she was terrifically flat-chested. She was also kooky, calm and secure as an individual and certainly independent. As an LVN, she could hop to a town, bags packed and register at an Home Health Agency and get a job. She had people around her in Laguna whom she knew in Pensacola that were gay and partied with them. They were artists and created fetishes that looked something one might imagine could come from some American Indian. I was curious, yellow.

It was nice to hang out, visit galleries during the day, chant OM in the evening and relax. My credit as a friend was not going to last despite our finances, unless I found something for myself to do.
Armed with only a bone colored Levi jacket, jeans, t-shirt and discharge papers, I decided to visit friends in San Diego. I had called them and they said I should come by there first before going to Miami. So Sandi took me to the southbound freeway where I started to hitch. Once on the way, a man
picked me up who was a gardener, a landscaper. He asked me if I needed a job; I pretty much had my heart set on somehow becoming a photgrapher but good sense gave way as he sked me if I had any experience in gardening. I told him that I had studied Ikenobo Ikebana (traditional Japanese flower arranging) in Tokyo with my neighbor, Hosoya, whom was third from the top of governmental Japanese landscape gardeners in the whole of Japan.

Posted by oz/generaleclectic at 2:18 PM EST
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Wednesday, 10 March 2004
Grand Opening!
Ha, after many years of waiting for a format to write about me, I have discovered the blog. Peple have told me relentlessly for years to write a book, so this is where I am starting, for laughs, comments, prayers, feedback, etc., but no criticism, of course.

I don't know when exactly life decided to give me something to laugh at as I grew older but somehow it must have been after Vietnam, after living in Japan, and then having to leave that wonderful country. Not wanting to come back to the grand ole US of A seemed to be the exact premise that the government officials seemed to be so well-versed in that they concluded to deny my petition to stay there. I was quite upset having to leave a person I was quite fond of (after living with her for over a year), a dog Chibi, my house and my car to return skeptical to a nation that did not necessarily welcome its soldiers after losing the war. I sadly had one choice to re-enlist for like 6 years with another tour of VietNam surely to come out of that, or not stay in Japan and get discharged in the US. That's the funny part. First off I was happy in Japan, secondly I was certain that things backhome would unravel me as I was aware of the differences in culture. I was very torn all the time knowing I would most likely never go back. Self-fulfilling prophecy seems to fill in any blanks there. I literally cried for hours on the plane ride back. The good news: I survived. I survived not only that experience but the next several years in California and then some in NJ.

The excitement of arriving in the US in California in 1971 with a term of 3 days left in the Navy still had merit. I had also continued to write to a friend Sandi Nevil who was willing to let me live with her in Laguna Beach. I was discharged in San Pedro. I didn't have to stay on base after the post-medical exams and paperwork and Sandi came to pick me up in early August 1971 in her white VW convertible, with the big shaggy dog in the back seat - Wilbur. Life as I know it may well be a shaggy dog story. She (we) lived pretty close to the beach, just a block and a half away, close enough in fact so that she could, we could, walk her rabbit on its leash, on the beach each night. It's name was Easter. It's was a pretty big cottage near an old tree, somehow not that different than the one Sandi's family lived in in Pensacola, which is where I met her, having been stationed at the Naval Command Center there. My roommate was her boyfriend. (I'll not go into that just yet.) At any rate, even though I had read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, I thought that chanting Om was part of his imagination until Sandi after our evening stroll with Easter convinced me that it was something real, and something she did, and so we did. On each of the three days that I still had to report back to the base Sandi drove me there and then picked me up. I was amazed and grateful. I was obviously pent up, with all the changes that one night Sandi fell asleep and I just kept right on talking, I suppose it was a bit of a relief to have someone pass out on you in English. After almost two years in Japan and living on the Economy with a non-English speaking Japanese woman, I guess the dam had broken.

On the third day I had civilian clothes and the uniform went to the trashcan.

Posted by oz/generaleclectic at 4:52 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 March 2004 7:34 PM EST
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