After I had a fairly amicable break up with Stanley, I moved to 1667 Haight Street in what is called the “upper Haight.” I bought my first brand new car in 1977 which was a Toyota Celica. I loved that car and took some great trips in it. Mary Jo and I drove down to San Diego along the coast through Big Sur. We saw Darlene and her kids in San Diego and spent some time at the beach and then drove back up Highway One again and stopped off to see Hearst Castle.
Darlene had been living in San Diego with Misty and Chris and I think she was receiving some government assistance at the time.
It was also during this time that I first discovered Russian River and Guerneville which was becoming a gay destination on weekends. I beleive there were even chartered buses that would take gay people up there but I usually went with my friend Jerry Hoy, who was another psych. tech. that worked with me at Saint Francis. Russian River had nude beaches where we would spend the day. This was really a nude beach phase of my life. Other nude beaches popular with gay people at the time included San Gregorio, Devils Slide, and Lands End.
Although I had come out of the closet to almost everyone by this time, I had not yet resolved all my own issues about being gay by this time. I came across a book that was immensely helpful called “Loving Someone Gay,” by Don Clark. It was a revelation for me and helped me immensely. I even made an appointment with the author and talked to him about some of my lingering issues. I think those issues also had everything to do with being in my twenties as well and just trying to figure out where my life was heading. Don Clark was too expensive for me to continue to see and I went to Operation Concern, where they had a sliding scale and met Jim Weber, who would be my therapist for several years.
1667 Haight was a tiny studio apartment with a small galley kitchen and a bathroom. It was about a block from the I-Beam dance club which was the best dance club in the city at that time. Everybody went there for the tea dance on Sunday evenings and if I wanted to meet someone, I just had to go stand outside my doorway and pick one out from the passing parade.
One of the problems with promiscuity is keeping all the men straight in your head. When you are out somewhere and you see someone that looks familiar, it is always a little awkward if you can’t remember their name. To solve this problem, I bought a Polaroid camera that took instant pictures and when I brought someone home, which were called “tricks” in those days, I would take a picture of them and write their name on the picture to try to remember who was who. Ultimately, I ran out of film before I ran out of men.
Ever a believer in marketing, I had “trick” cards made that I could hand out to attractive prospects that I might see during the course of my day. They were business card size and had my contact information such as name and phone number and then at the bottom, there was the tag line “Availability subject to change without notice,” as I didn’t want anyone to think that I had any commitment to actually getting together with them if I didn’t remember who they were or lost interest by the time they called.
One night I was trolling outside my front door on Haight street for the man of the moment, and across the street, I saw three attractive black men on their way to the I-Beam. I ran across the street and gave one of them my trick card. His name turned out to be John Perry. I would have a tumultuous relationship with him for the next three years.