Dec 28, 2014

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Seven: The Parallel University/Universe and The Making of Love Not War ( ignore the Cuban Missle Crisis entirely)

The Fall of 1962.  All is swell.  I am going ¨to be¨ a ¨I have no idea what¨ when I grow-up/finish college but whatever it is that I am going ¨to be¨ is fine with me (as long as it doesn't include shaping myself into some fake form of heterosexuality). There you have it, I took my stand.  I am a 19 year old Gay man. Vamos a ver.  I am not afraid.  I am living at Anna's non-boring boarding house and Ouzo works, a full-fledged-full-time Art Major at San Jose State College and I even have a part time job...BONUS, San Francisco is only 45 minutes away on the Bayshore Freeway and the little Crystal Bar is near my new job in downtown San Jose.

I began my part time job at famous/historic L. Hart and Son, Department Store, San Jose/Sunnyvale,  about the same time as the Cuban Missle Crisis.  Although Nina and Nikita Khrushchev had no real impact on my learning, living and earning ability I started feeling  that *adult things* are not always as they seem ¨to be¨ and could blow up around me.  Real life *things* can be nasty!  What the Hell? Best to have a drink, enjoy, imagine the really bad stuff will go away.  The Viet Nam war was raging on but I had ¨Student Deferment¨..ole´.  My parents had given me a brand new medium-blue Opel Kadett car, I loved it, zoom, zoom, zoom, open up your Golden Gate, San Francisco here I come! I had wonderful new friends too.

Albee! The Beatles are coming and/or Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair (or not)
Albee invented parallel universe/university fun.  It was his own very custom invention which included everyone.  Yes, everyone. AJB arrived as a transfer student from Southern California.  He was a Roman Catholic, a Republican, a Dodgers fan and he absolutely electrified any space and anyone around him with friendliness.  Al created non-stop/daily inventions on how to have fun. Money or not, ready or not, work/study or not. Al had a plan.  He was a whiz. Al had been a child actor (born in Hollywood) and had also dropped out of a mid-west RC Seminary where they told him he wasn't quite serious enough for a priestly¨calling¨ and got sent home. Everything was enjoyable with Albee. Every moment of life was an adventure for Albert and he loved everyone equally. He and I met clandestinely/accidentally at the Crystal Bar one night and went to an ¨after hours¨ Gay  party, a first for him but not for me, with Jerry (who had been a member of my Fraternity).  We all became close friends immediately.  Al, quite literally, had dozens of friends. I think, like me, everyone thought that Al was their very own best friend.  The band/gang played on and we became a very mixed bag of fellow partypeople (some of us  disappeared in the late hours and headed for San Francisco or the Crystal Cafe, others, the straight ones, just kept dancing the night away).  We were rarely missed and nobody asked anybody much about intimacies as we ALL were very busy ¨making love and not war.¨

to be continued

Dec 7, 2014

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Six: Σ 'αγαπώ με πάθος S 'agapó̱ me páthos - it's true!

While registering for classes, San Jose State College, Fall 1962, I was standing in a very long line (trying, of course, to get the very most entertaining/good/approachable professor I could for whatever class I really didn't want to take and electives I didn't want to elect). Suddenly I glanced behind me and there was a registration table almost empty!   What class could it be that nobody wanted?  I went to see.

The guardian angel of my young life had turned me around and put me in line for some kind of beginning art class. I signed immediately. I don't know why I took art, I never had before. However, the very first day of the¨art¨ class, I did. There SHE was in person...Brilliant Artist. The visiting (one year) Professor (full) of Art (sculpture especially) turned out to be from an important University in the mid-West.  She had panache.  She had cropped hair, she buzzed, hummed, darted and chatted on/on and off/off on any topic while riding on a breeze of whatever-inspiration-it-was-that-she-appreciated-at that very moment in time. She was exciting, she was Peter Pan and Coco Chanel and Betty Davis and she filled the room with electricity...she crackled, she laughed she set us free to discover nature and its creativity!  We did. I did. I got an A.  I changed my major immediately - Fine Art (Water Color emphasis later), thank you very much destiny. 

Meanwhile, I moved into another kind of Greek house after leaving my fraternity.  This one, a room and board one, owned by Ana Poulos who was probably in her early eighties already.  Smart. Funny. A card shark. Missed nothing. Ana and her older brother, Theo Jonni, had purchased a huge old wooden house near downtown San Jose (just a few blocks from campus).  They had previously owned an Italian Restaurant in the San Francisco East Bay.  Chef ¨Uncle Jonny¨ and sister/leader Ana decided, in retirement, to bring several young relatives, directly from Greece, over to study/work in the boarding house, and then sponsor them to become American Citizens.  There we were, three floors of delightfulness eating delicious served meals served in the dining room by very handsome Greeks, plus, doing line dances up and down the stairs, eating Mousakka and drinking 5 Star Mataxa and Ouzo. There were ten other ¨boarders¨ like me (and three real Greek cousins).  I stayed for two years at Ana's and Ana never cared where I went, who I went to San Francisco with or anything else personal about me...she named me ¨the little one¨ and knew I was ¨clever¨, disappeared a lot and probably drank too much...she liked me and I adored her and I think she always knew what was ¨up¨ with me.

Σ 'αγαπώ με πάθος

to be continued