The Outline of my Life
14 years old.
Eighth grade, start Southwest High School. My mom bought her first and only house this year, a big old frame farmhouse on top of a hill at Southwest and January.
Dad moves out to CA. This was both exciting and somewhat of a relief to me, because my dad was strict and controlling, even though I liked visiting him on weekends out at his trailer in St. Peters. I also liked the idea of getting to go visit him in Hayward, California in the San Francisco Bay area.
My brother makes friends in High School who I become friends with too, in time. The two most important friends were George Crider and Mark Katz, who often came over to our house after school to sit around, listen to music and party. Having long hair started to seem very important at this time. My brother grew a shag. We started listening to KSHE, which seemed like a real alternative hippie radio back then. They would play wildly experimental music like Traffic, David Bowie, King Crimson, and the Beatles' "Abbey Roads".
By the end of eighth grade I'm starting to go out to parties in the West End at the big houses on the private streets over there and meet some of the West End kids I would hang out with thereafter.
My dad sends us bus tickets to come and spend the summer with him in Hayward, and we endure the grueling 3 day bus ride out there. Once we're there, we have a pretty good time. I fall in love with San Francisco, and we do all of the great touristy things, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square (brand new back then!), the museums, etc. We also take an awesome trip to Yosemite, which thrills me to an almost religiously ecstatic pitch. The emotions I felt just looking at the grandeur of Yosemite were unsurpassed in my life thus far. I couldn't believe how profoundly moved I was, especially since I was a cynical little 14 year old kid.
Almost end up at O'Fallon technical school studying Commercial Art.
Miss Woehr helps me off the hook, and I am accepted into the prestigious Honors Art Program, an all-afternoon 4 hour a day program for the very best of the city's art students. From Kindergarten to this final favor, Miss Woehr helped me survive a traumatic childhood of frequent school changes, divorces and separations, the difficult switch from neighborhood kid to elite gifted kid and the disruption of friendships with the other neighborhood kids that it caused, the difficulty of being the school punching bag, and my failures in math. She never lost faith in me, or if she did, she never let me know it. Sometimes I felt like I was doing it all just for her.
Walking to Southwest High School my first day with barefoot Jill Hartmann. It was such a cool hippie day for me. It seemed like such a cool hippie world, going to High School.
Honors Art classes with Signe Schmertz. Her resolutely 20th century viewpoint awakens me to the glam-o-rama nature of the fine arts.
Mark Carrol was also accepted into the program. Mark was always a better artist than me, since my style was more graphic and cartoon, and his was more polished and realistic.
I met Laurie Berger, my first kiss, and best friend for a few years, through the Honors Art classes. It was really great because at Honors Art, all ages took the same classes. She was a Senior fooling around with a me, a freshman, even though she supposedly had a older bass-playing boyfriend who liked Miles Davis. We hung out in her monkey-muraled basement or the neighborhood crash pad between my house and Shaw School, where Joey and his brother who wanged too much glue lived.
We all hung around with a crazy west end kid named Nick Moon, who was really into David Bowie and Roxy Music and other glam rock things. He had a party in his basement on Hortense Place where I saw David Udell, and Benet and Dominic Shaeffer, then known as Earwacks, play one of their earliest gigs. Later we were to become friends and roommates.
The wall collage. One of my most ambitious art projects, it was a collage of strange photographs that eventually came to symbolize the entire warp and woof of time and my life. It was very influenced by Aldous Huxley, Marshall McCluhan and James Joyce, a few of my High School enthusiasms.
With my Aunt Teddy
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