1968 Seattle with Mary Jo

1968 Seattle with Mary Jo

I was about 17 and I think that 1968 might have been the year that Marnie drove me and four other people from San Diego, up to Washington to see Roger. I think he was living with my dad and maybe going to school in Toppenish or working for my dad. I don’t think any of us gave much thought to where we would stay when we got there and it turned out my dad was not gong to allow all six of us to stay at his house. Dan was still a good friend at the time and his mother was very easy going and welcomed all of us to his house where there were already about eight of her 13 children still living at home. I think Mary followed us up a short time later. Again, my memory fails me but somewhere along the line, Mary and I ended up living in Seattle with a guy named “Mouse” and some other people.

Mary had always had a job since I had known her. She had worked as a telephone operator in San Diego and quickly got a job in Seattle. I sold an underground newspaper called “The Helix” down at the City Center where the World’s Fair had been a few years earlier. Mary and I were good friends but there was often an underlying sexual energy coming from her direction. Although I really hadn’t acknowledged to myself that I was gay at that time, I knew I was not comfortable with Mary’s sexual energy.

We shared a large house with several other guys. Somebody had met, “Mouse,” in Yakima if I remember correctly. He lived in this house in Seattle and must have offered us a place to crash or something. I remember when we first went there, everybody was inhaling some kind of stuff that freezes glasses. We were told it could freeze your lungs and so they would spray it into a plastic bread bag and then you would inhale it from there. It seemed like a lot of risk for about thirty seconds of dizziness and hallucinations.

The house had a small sunroom which was where Mary slept and then there was a parlor area which was like our own living room and I think I either slept on the couch or maybe I had a mattress on the floor. My main possession at the time was a Royal typewriter my mother had given me and which was my most prized possession. I wanted to be a writer and I had fantasies of opening a beatnik type coffee house someday where I could produce my experimental plays. It was during this time that I first became aware of Andy Warhol when we went to see “Chelsea Girls.” That was a big influence on me.

On December 27th, 1968, Vanilla Fudge was going to have a concert. We were both big fans of Vanilla Fudge and wrestled up the funds to get tickets. An unknown band called Led Zeppelin was going to open for them. We were excited about the concert and were out of the house earlier that day visiting someone. We had psychedelics at home that we planned to take before the concert. Mary had a little MG ragtop and when we drove up to the house, there were police everywhere. The house was being busted. We saw our room mates being taken off in handcuffs. We didn’t stop. We went back to where we had been earlier and essentially hid out. We had to get a hotel room for a few nights. We never went back to the house where we had been living. It was in the hotel where Mary and I had our first awkward sexual experience together. Maybe exasperating would be a better word than awkward. Regardless, it was not as easy to have sex with a woman as it was with a man. I was 17 or 18 and essentially still a virgin when it came to intercourse with a woman. It just didn’t seem to be something I was very comfortable with.

When going through old papers, I came across a little description of the rundown Seattle hotel in which I stayed with Mary where I had my first harried premature orgasm with a woman:

Hotel Room for $19.95 a Week

Looking back through brown stained curtains.
One curtain rod.
Brown stains on white lace.
A shade.
Usual color.
To shut out the sun.
Torn curtain sharing rod.
Two windows.
The brown stained white lace curtains.
The torn curtains.
Shadows… of better days.
One leather upholstered rocking chair
that’s rocked an eternity’s worth of people.
A bed.
A desk. The usual Bible that no one reads..
A lamp.
A chair, and one for the desk.
Cigarette burned carpet.
An old chest of drawers with a mirror,
which has been many people.
Small room.
Wallpaper blooms,
with pink and faded white flowers.
Did a grandmother do this?

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