Monday, October 09, 2006

Living in Santa Barbara

I have previously told about how I came to stay in the house with Reggie in Santa Barbara.
Besides Reggie and Mary, Fred lived in the house. He was not an artist and was less involved in what was going on in the house, but his mind was open and I think he enjoyed the wildness even though it scared him a little.
I had only been in the house a few months when it was sold and we were forced to move. Every time we looked at a new house we were turned down and it became obvious that nobody wanted a random group like us. We had to be a family! At our next house hunt we presented ourselves as the married couple Reggie and Mary with Mary’s widowed father (me) who had come from overseas to live with his daughter. Fred was not mentioned but would be a cousin visiting if ever the landlord came around.
It worked right away. We found a house on a dead end road with a large backyard. A family Brown had been living there and everything in the house was brown and smelt strongly of wet dog. We did a thorough cleaning, got new carpeting and repainted the whole house; Reggie’s room blue, mine salmon, and the living room white with turquoise trim. In a small shed I rigged up a darkroom with equipment that a friend lent me and I became an avid photographer.

I dug up one part of the lawn for a circular garden whose precious centerpiece was later stolen.

Reggie worked as a handyman and he introduced me to Frieda Huttenback, wife of the chancellor of UC Santa Barbara. She always had work for me but often kept me from doing it; what she really needed was someone to talk to. I soon became her trusted listener and helper in the big lonely house that was guarded against intrusion with lights and locks and alarm. Once she called me: “Oh, can you come please. There is a bug in the house.” Through a hole in a screen an innocent little beetle had entered the house and freaked her daughter out and I had to catch it, expel it and repair the screen. When Frieda had her migraines I drove her to a healer in Ventura and after she got to know me well she trusted me to repair the brocade frames of her treasured Tibetan tankas.
Reggie was taking classes in aikido and I joined him. I made two friends at the dojo: Art and John. Art told me he was eighteen and seemed mature for his age. Years later I found out that he had been only sixteen, but he felt that people treated him with more respect when he lied about his age. Art had a beautiful body and was not shy about being naked so he became one of my favorite photo models.
John was a black belt in aikido and assistant teacher in the dojo. We invited him to one of our wild parties and I had a fantasy played out with him that night. After he got to know us he opened up and told us that he wanted to change sex and we offered him sanctuary in our house from the time he began the transformation. I was eager to repeat the experience with him but he told me to lay off and let him decide if and when we would get together. This colored Xerox is of the woman emerging.

1 comment:

Katia said...

so great to read these things, age...

and a darkroom right in your house!
i dream about such things.. :)