"Since flesh can't stay, we keep the breath aloft. Since flesh can't stay, we pass the words along." --Erica Jong

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Summer of Love


So. Suddenly I found myself with a husband, and I became a wife. In a small apartment on Mallul, in Anaheim, a few blocks from Disneyland. From our bedroom window every night we could view fireworks over the Matterhorn and watch Tinkerbell fly from the top peak down through the exploding darkness toward the Sleeping Beauty's Castle. And a block away, out the same window, there was a big red T rising above the ThriftiMart. Life was beautiful. I listened to folk music and wrote poetry all day. I practiced playing Marv's guitar and sang along with Joan Baez and Judy Collins and wondered with Pete Seeger Where Have All the Flowers Gone?Joan said the answer was Blowin' In the Wind. If we waited long enough, the Lord would Kumbaya. The Beatles sang that Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been, lives in a dream....

It was the Summer of Love, Lyndon Johnson won the Presidency and 50,000 young soldiers would die in a far-off place called Viet Nam, which was of little concern at the time. Nobody had even heard of Viet Nam, really. We had no idea that once in, there would be no way out. Flowers were in Power.

We bought furniture--a blue couch, two end tables, a lamp, a brown plaster statue of Confucious, and somewhere along the line, another of comedian W.C. Fields. We bought dishes. Marv had one plate, one drinking glass, a knife, fork and spoon.... We bought pots and pans. Potholders (Marv's kids at Juvenile Hall made us an endless supply of yarn potholders). Bath towels.

We still went to Newport Beach often, got browner, ate bananas-on-a-stick, gathered collections of seashells. We went to old art films, Black Orpheus, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. We saw Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,
and Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton in Becket,and Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek.

Rent was $40 a month, and we were happy with very little money. A lonely kid from the apartment below us came up every day to visit me. Colyer Dupont was a child actor, eleven or twelve years old, with long blond hair. My hair was long, and blond. He thought I was pretty, said I was like his sister. His mother was divorced, and carless, so when Colyer went to auditions at Disney Studios in Hollywood, I took them there in my little old DKW, which ran on a mixture of half-and half, half gas, half oil--(Janet had taught me how to drive that car in the Rose Bowl parking lot in Pasadena the year before). Colyer's mother and I waited, our fingers crossed for him. All of us were living on a shoestring, you know. It didn't matter.

Marvin worked as a counselor at Albert Sitton Hall (and Orange County Juvenile Hall), a place for delinquents and homeless children. I still saw myself as an aspiring actress, an eccentric bohemian, while I tried to learn to cook and clean and be a good wife. Marv and I were very much on the same wavelength--one or the other of us finishing each others sentences, or transferring identical thoughts. Often, even our dreams at night would slide from one head to the other, sharing words and images, a unique intimacy, a sort of "meeting of spirits," like Leonard Cohen wrote about in Suzanne. In the music we listened to the singers were like friends. It was a time of great happiness.

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half-crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbor
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind

.

5 comments:

slickdpdx said...

Really really nice.

One more thing, Colyer Dupont got a part! More More Colyer Dupont! If you scroll down,it looks like he ended up on the production end.

pepektheassassin said...

Omygosh! So that's how he spelled his name! I seem to remember that now....Well, good for him! (His mother was very pushy. A typical stage mother.) That was prolly the very movie I took him to audition for, since it was released in 1966.

Hot damn!

Jan said...

I think that I could never get enough of reading about your experiences!

CLDupont said...

Greetings from Colyer himself! It's nice to hear from people from the past. I tried to post a message here last week but it looks like it never got posted for some reason. Take two...any responses?
By the way, I can reached directly at cldupont@gmail.com

pepektheassassin said...

Colyer! I am so delighted to hear from you after all this time! I have left a message on your gmail....

About Me

My photo
1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.