The Mountain's New Human Inhabitants

Publisher: San Bruno Mountain Watch
Reporter: Besh Besh

The Story of Dwight

Told by Besh

Dwight was a music teacher over in South San Francisco and he taught for about 10 years. He was down in LA and he applied to teaching jobs and this was the job that he took. When he was a teacher he had a little Volkswagon he drove around. He had never been married before. He just saw this mountain and checked it out. He really liked it and would stay here on weekends and holidays.

In summers he would rent out his house and go to Bisbee, Arizona. He lived in a cave up above Bisbee which was a mining town. Then he realized he didn't have to go back to teaching. He could just keep renting out the house and move up on San Bruno Mountain.

Besh and Thelma, at their hut in Owl Canyon.

While he was teaching in South San Francisco he bought a little house up above Visitacion Valley in San Francisco. A little piece of property. He bought the house for 10 thousand and now it's worth a hundred thousand. After 10 years the house was pretty much paid off. He rented it out the whole time he was livin here. So his payments were $100 and he rented the house for $400 so he said "Why should I go back to teaching?" He liked it better on the mountain.

He had all his friends help him move up on the mountain. His first camp way up on the top of Buckeye Canyon. There's a ledge up there that he lived on. He had his friends bring all his stuff up there and his first couple week he was like really lonely. So it took him a long time to get over that, but then, once he got use to livin up here, he liked to be here. When he'd have to go to town, he'd wait to the last day just like I do. And he said it would take him about a day to recover; to get back to feelin peaceful.

He was not a philosopher and he wouldn't talk why he was doin things. He liked to meditate. He would do everything nice and careful and just slowly go through things. He always say it would take all day just to take care of business: collect the firewood, get water, cook his oatmeal for breakfast, go out, and take a poop. It was like a little schedule. And then dinner was cookin rice. I don't know how it took up his whole day.

He didn't burn wood, he burned gas. He had a little propane stove. And it was a long way down to water, so he come down the mountain and built this hut above the shellmound in Buckeye. He had a nice little round hut sittin in a flat spot covered with this heavy green cloth. And that was where he slept. There was no door and when it rained he'd get soaked. He slept real out in the open. In fact, when he lived here he slept out under the oak tree.

For his patio he built a platform with rocks and all the rocks were solid, there was not even a rattle to it. And that's where I slept. That thing was amazing, It was just perfect. He loved to make things out of rocks, he had a whole rock path. He was a scavenger he'd go down to Crocker Park and pick up car parts and drag all these pieces up there. The main thing for his kitchen roof was a car hood and when it rained it would drip here and there. He squatted there and had his fire. And if you ever go up there you see he did things perfect. He would do things like rubbin that rock for so long, it became beautiful flat surface to put his coffee cup on. He'd drink coffee and smoke a pipe.

Dwight would buy tobacco. I didn't smoke by the time I went up on the mountain. I loved it not smokin. I look stupid with a cigarette anyway. But he would have his pipe. And it was the stupidist thing to see him smokin a cigarette and drivin a car. My God, it looked dumb. But he'd smoke a tobacco pipe when he was up here. And the kids would bring him cigarettes sometimes.

Once he got rid of the habit he went through novena or some religious thing. He quit cause I was always goin on about how much better it is not to smoke. It was funny, I'd bring my bottle of rum up and tell him it's better not to smoke. He only got drunk twice in his life before he met me. When I brought my sister, who's also a music teacher, up on the mountain, she asked him, "How come your're drinkin with him?" Dwight says, "I figure it's better if two people are both drunk then one really drunk and one not at all."

Scenes from Dwight's encampment.

He was up here for I don't know how many years before I knew him. He had a lot of voices in his head. But the one social thing he kept up was going to the Good Samaritan Church, on 24th and Potrero. When I knew Dwight he wasn't goin to church so often. But he use to go regular for choir practice. He was singin in the choir. One of the people that went to Good Samaritan Church happened to be a friend of mine and she's brought me up on the mountain. She said there's a fellow livin up there and she had been up there to see him, so she brought me up here to meet Dwight.

And I'd come up here every week for a long time and in the beginning it wasn't scheduled. I'd find him by himself, singin. The day the Challenger blew up I remember I walked up and I said, "What are you doin singin? They just blew up the shuttle and the school teacher and here you are singin up here?" He had a radio for a while and then he gave it to me. He said it was botherin his birds.

The church has been torn down now. The 1989 earthquake made it unsafe. At the time they tore it down it was a sanctuary for central Americans. I went a number of times and there wasn't too many people in the congregation. They're buildin apartments there now. Dwight told me that one time he swept the sidewalk all the way from Good Samaritan Church to Saint John's Church, cause the voices in his head told him to sweep the sidewalk.

He had the voices in his head before I knew him. But the voices went away when he walked to Los Angeles. He did that twice while he was livin up here. It took him a month each time. And on one of those walks the voices went away.

He would walk down the coast on highway 1. He dragged a small cart behind him with all his possessions. The police thought he looked weird and he got stopped in every town. He got so sick of explaining he wouldn't talk, he'd just hand the cops a piece of paper, "I'm walking to LA."

I would have met Dwight eventually cause I was living down on the abandoned railroad tracks over by Crocker Park. I had two beautiful little huts. And Dwight use to walk down there and he had long hair and a beard. I woulda stopped him and said, "What are you doin?" Anyway, when met him I liked him a lot. And I loved the mountain. I'd come once a week and spend a night. We'd go for a hike somewhere on the mountain every time. Later on we discovered chess. And we'd come back and cook and in the morning I'd go back to my huts. I had my bicycle at the bottom of the canyon.

He and I were both born in February of 44 so I figure he graduated from college around 1966. I went into the coast guard for four years instead. I was on the east coast and I didn't go to college. Dwight grew up in Los Angeles and went to college there. He would write a lot when he was up here. He's a good writer and a poet too. He'd end up with these huge scrolls and give them to the lady who was renting his house to read.

The whole time he was livin up here he kept a piano in storage. And now he's got it up in Pacifica. The piano was his main instrument, but up here he had a guitar and a flute. You know he was good at playin all of em, but the piano was his favorite instrument. Now he plays the piano four hours every day. And that was a lot of why Dwight was interested in living in Pacifica. He always wanted to be good at the piano, so that's what he's doing.

He had this woman Marcy, in Brisbane, who was his book keeper. And he used her address. He paid her 50 dollars a month for book keeping. And it was 50 dollars a month for storin his piano and then 100 dollars he saved for making repairs on the house. About once a month he'd have to go over there and fix the house up; paint it, fix the roof, the plumbing and things like that. So he'd have to save up, you know that's only a thousand dollars a year for repair of the house.

So that left him with 50 dollars a month for rice and oatmeal and margarine. Then his budget went down to just 30 dollars a month. He lowered the rent cause he really likes his tenants. That's all he had for rice and oatmeal so when the cheapest brand of margarine was on sale for 39 cents he'd buy a whole backpack full. Boy, he took gobs of margarine in everything, margarine in the oatmeal, margarine in everything. And salt, my God his salt shaker has holes a half inch wide. Holy Mackeral...But he's a good cook, just salt your own plate. His vegetables were just what David and I would bring up. I never saw him buy a vegetable or piece of fruit. But he would sometimes cook watercress and miners lettuce from the mountain, more than I do. I don't use that stuff at all. But these blackberries that are out right now, my goodness, these are gorgeous. They look like they cross pollinated, they're so big this year.

Hillsides of Hummingbird Sage, April 1996.

Dwight's parents are severe Pentecostal. Oh they're really heavy. One of his sisters is still a missionary. He brought both his sisters up here. And Dwight knew the bible backwards and forwards. He and JC were into the bible. JC lived up here for a while, he's a black guy from Chicago who wore his hair in dredlocks and he was a vegetarian. He ate nothin but uncooked vegetables for 30 years. He died, a couple years ago he quit eating. He just gave up. He and Dwight really loved to fast. They both really tripped on fasting but Dwight was so skinny he couldn't fast that often. The indians use to fast too. It was intentional. You could tune into nature by fasting. It's spiritual. I've never fasted. I go frantic, I've never gone a day without eating. But I heard it's like takin LSD or somethin.

Dwight would meditate for an hour every day. It didn't give him nirvana or anything. He just liked to be meditating. He'd tell me the birds would come around him a lot more than they come around me. Sometimes he'd meditate and he'd hear em, the big birds. He didn't open his eyes though, cause he was real disciplined. He use to talk about a hummingbird flyin up to him and then a hawk flyin up to him.

He was so tuned into the mountain. When we'd go on a hike he'd show me. He'd say, "See how these plants are always tryin to block the paths. Even the dead trees are movin onto the paths." And all the special little spots he would show me how it was protected all around by thorns and bushes and poison oak, but there was always a way in. It's an art.

Once every year we would take a week long hike together. And on those times I'd occasionally lead. As soon as I'd be leading the hike we'd end up in a total snag. But Dwight, you just follow him and it'd work out. And now I've got that ability. You just keep finding the way, there's always a way.

Dwight didn't know anything about exotic plants. Not once did we ever talk about invading species. I certainly didn't know about it and I have found places where we he and I hiked where there's fennel and I've even found the pampas grass. I figure we planted it. Cause there was no conciousness of invading species with Dwight. I lived in fennel down there where my house was and I had no idea what it was. I was still in that hut in the earthquake of 1989. The Brisbane cops came along and tore that hut down. I wasn't there at the time.

One day David came on this hike with a kindergarten teacher, Barbara. And she chased after him and caught him. She could do it. She had the ability to catch a fella. But part of Dwight's attraction to bein with Barbara was that he was goin play the piano. That's what attracted him to living in a house in Pacifica.

He would do the housework, have his coffee, read the paper and then four hours on the piano every day. He said he was gettin pretty good like he'd always wanted to. The piano, it's another sort of meditative thing. That's what he's doin over there. He doesn't socialize. He doesn't go out and he hasn't become part of a social life in Pacifica. I heard he's been building bridges for a guy who's making all these trails on Montara Mountain. But I haven't seen him in a number of years. He put the cap on our house here and he hasn't been back in years.

Thelma, at home, cooking in the hut.

The Story of Besh and Thelma


During the 60's I was all over the east and west coast. I was a hippie in the 60's. And for years I would come up on the mountain just to chill out from the city. Cause I was flyin around the city on my bicycle livin off the land. I didn't have an income. I lived out of dumpsters.

I had to go out and hustle up some aluminum cans and cloths to sell and things to drink and keep goin. I was runnin around and livin free. It was livin off the land. When I'd take people out on bicycle it was like bein an indian. It was freedom, I had no papers, no name, no ID, no licenses, no nothin. It was livin off the excess. I built and lived in five little huts.

I lived in my huts, on the traintracks in Crocker Park for about five years and I'd go into the city to forage the dumpsters. When I first started livin out in San Francisco there wasn't many homeless people, just a few crazy ladies with shopping carts. And the dumpsters were full. It was a bonanza; sandwich shops, supermarkets, restaurants and all the produce stores. They threw out all kinds of good food and there wasn't any competition. I mean, I ate mangos and steaks, stuff I never bought. I ate like a king.

It's not there any more. Bein homeless is against the law now and they've locked up most of the dumpsters. But they use to be sittin right out. There's so many homeless people in San Francisco now and they were all gettin into the dumpsters, so they locked em up. Besides, it's so developed, there isn't all those weedy places to live in. I had a lot of different huts and I had a boat. My name was Bicycle. I was known all over San Francisco.

So I was runnin all around and the soup line at Martin Deporis was my favorite place. They're given out soup and there's the most smiles and I really liked that place. I was the social type. I would go around making people feel comfortable, especially women. So here comes Thelma and I go over to her and say, "Hi, my name's Bicycle." And she sat down, "I don't talk to strangers," she said. The next day she came in and I was talkin to people and I said, "Well everybodies gotta have a name," so I took this tape and I would write peoples names it and stick on em. Meanwhile I got my hand on Thelma's shoulder, to put her sticker on and so I'm gettin familiar.

She was comin in there with her little cart with books. She was studyin to be a medical assistant. So she was standin in the soup line and she kept herself adorable. Different from other women comin in there. And she wasn't easy at all.

I said, "Let me help you study for this medical receptionist job." So she came for lunch and we'd spend an hour studyin and then I asked, "Why don't you come out and take a ride on my boat? It's just down by the creek. I'll give ya lunch down there." I bought some hamburgers, cooked those, and took her on a boatride and started gettin friendly and this was pretty neat.

Then she's talkin about all this stuff so we didn't get married right away cause I thought she was too spaced out for me. You know, she had pains all over. For 20 years she was a housekeeper. She'd say she didn't want to get paid because she wanted to be part of the family. I remember we were up at Deloris Park and she was cryin and I wanted to put my arm around her. But I thought if I put my arm around her it would be like bein together and I didn't want it. I wanted somebody on a bicycle, flying around, a trapeze artist and she can't ride a bicycle. And besides she was pretty spacey so I said forget it.

So Barbara came and took Dwight away and I tried to get JC up here. I didn't want to be up here by myself and I said, Oh, this is a beautiful place and I gotta get married." I actually said kind of a prayer here. That was a Sunday and Thursday she came walkin in the soup line. I hadn't seen her in about a year and as soon as she walked in I said, "There she is." And I proposed.

Thelma and I have been married 6 years and then there was 5 years when I was lookin for Thelma. And there was the years I was with Chen Hong, that was a Chinese woman in San Francisco and I had two years with her. So it was around twelve years ago when I first started goin out with Thelma. It was 84. I'd been livin on hilltops and I went for a bikeride and found that hut that had hibachi, a front door and windows and it was real cute, it was all patchwork and it had a guesthouse. So I moved there. It was an adorable place.

Then I built a really nice hut that I took Thelma to. It had a red carpet and solar panels. It was really freezing up here one winter We got married on 7-11, 1990. We met around 10 or 12 years ago at the soup line at Martin Deporis and we lost contact for a while.

We were gonna live here in Owl Canyon.This was Dwight's place and it had been empty since Dwight had married Barbara a few years earlier. When I first knew Thelma, Dwight was livin here and my existence was offa bikes. But now I just really wanted to get married and there she was. I said, "Will you marry me?" All day long. Let's get married. The thing's meant to be. That was July 2nd, 1990. And we got married on July 11th. It was the answer to my prayer.

The day after I proposed to Thelma I brought her up here. I showed her, I said, "Look, this is where we live." You know, look at this beautiful place, compared to the city. This is my big selling point, you know, wow, look at what I got. So she said, Well, ok." And I said, "Why don't ya come and sit over here next to me." And she says, "Oh no, we gotta get papers, we gotta get married." So I said I would get enough money to get married on the 7th, five days from now. It won't be till Wednesday. I had food stamps. If you don't have any money you can apply for food stamps. You can 100 bucks a month worth of food stamps. So it costs 50 bucks to get registered and married. And you gotta go to city hall. I had a friend, an old chinese lady, who always gave me cash for my stamps. That was my income, a hundred dollars a month.

So every day I would go pick up Thelma at the Episcopal Sanctuary. She didn't believe this was gonna happen. She kept sayin, "You won't come and get me." And every day I'd be there a 8:00. I'd come back and forth from the city to Owl Canyon, to get this place ready. The morning I went and picked her up to get married, I called my sister and she had 200 dollars waitin for us, as soon as we got married, for a wedding gift. And we went to Safeway, so when we came up here we had that whole backpack full of food. We'd been livin in the soup line and all of a sudden we had Feta cheese. You know, we went to Safeway-with money. You know, nobody else would put up with us; a perfect match.

Besh and Thelma's hut, built by Dwight Taylor, at Mud Oak in Owl Canyon.

I was lookin to get married to a bicycle rider cause it was a good way to live. I had a good time. But now at my age I'm glad to be off a bike. I like goin walkin. It's fine with me. Thelma did me a favor. I thought I was never gonna get off the bicycle. But it's much better walkin. Bicycle riden, that was livin in the fast lane. I liked it though. It was magic.

You know Dwight didn't really explain things and all of sudden here's David comin up with a bunch of people. And who are these people he's taking for a hike? Some of em are so nuts. We whole bunch of people, that are strangers, asking you questions, "How long ya been here?" The best question was when that little kid asked, "Is this real?" A lot of the time I won't be here when I know David's comin with a hike. I like people to come who we already know Sylvia was a fun guest. She and her husband were startin to come regularly before they moved.

What I found out livin out here, is all about invasive plants. I didn't know anything about plants and sittin up here, I see a couple of new invading plants every year. I realize they're taken over the world. When David went down to Chili the french broom was all over Chili. I didn't know anything about these invading plants. They don't hardly ever talk about it; occasionally on the radio. They're taken over the whole world. These strong invasive species are just taken over.


I'm so greatful. It was nice to get married. I didn't really want to be a medical assistant. Maybe a hair stylist or something like that. I was sleeping at the Sanctuary. It was a new life for me because I was use to working and living in Hillsborough, which is nice. In Hillsborough, even a person that works for a family gets a room that's well conditioned. After I was working there for a while I ended up with pains everywhere, in my back. So I had to leave and I was stayin at the Sanctuary at 8th and Market. And you could only stay at the Sanctuary for a month or two. Upstairs is for men and downstairs is for women. Men and women are not allowed on the same floor at night.

I came to San Francisco 25 or 26 years ago. My dad gave me 40 dollars and I came here by myself and that was it. I wanted to come here because young people in Honduras have dreams of a home and family. And perhaps if we are not so secure in our profession we want more of a home life. I went to school in Honduras to become a english teacher but there was so many teachers and not many jobs. But in my mind I still wanted to get married. And I'm an open person, I make no trouble what-so-ever.

There's two sides to marriage. There's getting married and getting divorced. So there's a fight about being married, keepin the name, keepin the family, keepin the relationship, keepin yourself pretty and neat, keepin the house, keepin this, keepin that. And then about gettin divorced. I ain't never gonna get divorced.

I pretty much like living here on the mountain. It's healthy. We still get nervous when people come. We're use to just being with each other most of the time. When we see David we get some vegetables. Sometimes we buy swiss chard and zucchini's at Lucky's in South City. We recently bought a radio for Besh. What I think about the mountain is that anybody would be delighted to live here. The trees are beautiful. The birds are beautiful. When we started here, we had a little general assistance, like thirty dollars. Then Besh got me on SSI and now we get around 700 dollars a month, which is more than we need

David Schooley leading one of his hundreds of hiking groups. This group is from Visitacion Valley Middle School.

Dwight and Barbara


The first Christmas we had together, Dwight came back. He was up here for a week. Barbara loves to shop and Dwight said at the third shopping center he just couldn't take it anymore. Barbara bought twelve presents for everybody.

So he ran away that first Christmas and I was all for it. I said, "Dwight, why don't you just stay here?" Cause before he married Barbara I had always said I would find us a woman. We'd live on the mountain and there would be two fellas and one lady. That's the way you do it on the mountain. It would've worked good with Thelma and me. Cause when he was up here he would notice things that I never noticed. For instance, goin to the outhouse, at that time was a difficult place to get to. And he noticed that she was havin a hard time just to get through there. When he was here I thought, "Boy that guy's a good husband." And then Barbara came after Dwight and talked him into coming back.

We had Solstices and things like that before David did. And Dwight, whoever you were, he'd be the perfect match to it. For instance, when I was drinkin, he would drink. And so what Barbara wants for a husband, he'll just become. And he doesn't have to go out into the big world. He's got his rental income. The house is worth a hundred thousand dollars. Anybody that bought a house in the 70's lucked out. The houses are worth ten times the value. But he hasn't raised the rent. It's still the same tenants and they get a bargain.

Dwight is just like a housewife. Barbara comes home and has to wind down. He said he liked it much better when she had her three-month summer vacations. They'd go traveling. She said when they got married she was gonna retire but she hasn't retired. She likes teaching. I think Barbara's around 58, she's a little older than Dwight. He's 52. Barbara's kinda funny. I'd say, "Dwight, she'd kinda from a different reality." And he'd say, "Ya, that's probably good, isn't it." In other words, he was sayin that it's better to be crazy than to be sane in this world.

Besh visiting with David Schooley and Joan Davis (owner of San Bruno Mountain Watch's former garage office.

Besh & Thelma's life

Thelma stayed up here alone when I was gone for a month. I got arrested for protestin the (Gulf?)war. I got a great lawyer but they said, "Ok ya gotta do 30 days," cause I resisted arrest. I thought everybody should have resisted arrest. David got Thelma a place where she was gonna stay while I went to jail in South San Francisco to do my 30 days.

The day I was supposed to leave for jail, David came over and we all walked up on top of the mountain. Last day of freedom and I'm gonna go do 30 days in jail. So then the next morning we were sittin in the court and we'd only been married 9 months. I showed her where the San Bruno jail was, so she could visit. That's where I was gonna have to go sittin in the jail for 30 days and she started cryin when we were in the court room. And I'm sittin there and ya know, I said, "The hell with it lets get out of here."

I took off and told David, "We're on the run." We went up to Portland and were gonna go to the east coast. We were runnin around and David took us over to Berkeley to stay with the lady with the bent over head. We were makin up all kinds of stories.

I was paranoid. I thought they were after me. I was afraid to death. They eventually did pick me up about a year later. Then I had to do the 30 days. And that's when Thelma was up here on her own. They picked me up drunk in town and then the cops said, "Oh you got a warrant here for your 30 days."

David came up to visit Thelma during the 30 days. I got her on SSI but I still wonder whether it wouldn't be better just to hustle up some money. Not any more I guess. David got us a job one time workin in a friend of his garage making breadboards, in a furniture shop. It was a good job. We'd just walk over there, work all day and get enough money for the week. But it was runnin this heavy table saw. Thelma laid em out, it was a real neat job he got us.

We just did the job occasionally because we didn't need to do it that often. Because what happened was that Thelma had applied for SSI. She has chronic pains. She thought it was infected ovaries and she would go to the hospital, but when she came up here that went away. Really, SSI was retirement, for 20 years of housekeepin. SSI is a legitimate thing cause when I take her downtown and we get around a lot of people-she just turns negative. We'll be in shoppin and I'll say, "You want any of this?" And she says, "Naa, I don't want any." She gets affected by crowds.

When Thelma was workin as a housekeeper, she would go to Tanforan on her days off and I can't stand to be in there. I try for about a half an hour. We go there to the movies, that's ok. But Thelma didn't go to the movies when she was single.

This place is the best we can do. It's paradise. It's just the two of us hangin around. It's not like we're becomin spiritual or monks or nothin.

All this Northeast Ridge development is gonna cause a lot of light pollution at night. I'm worried they'll notice the smoke comin out of our chimney. If there's all those people living there I would think they'd be sayin, "Oh there's smoke over on the hill."

Thelma should never get in trouble, she's well behaved, but she does get in trouble from me. I could say a thousand times, "There's smoke and you can make a fire but you gotta do it right. You can't go put an old wet thing in the middle or let the fire burn down to where there's somethin sittin on the coals. They'll be smoke goin out."

"Thelma, there's an airplane." It's funny she doesn't pay any attention. I says, "Thelma, let's not make trails, you know when we come from the top of the mountain." Never paid any attention to that. The airplanes flyin over and she's got sheets hangin everywhere. Every week there's an airplane that patrols. When Dwight was here they didn't do that.

It's how San Mateo County patrols their mountains. They fly over and if they see somethin they'll go round and round and round. It's a real distinctive plane; you can hear the engines. One time last year they found us sittin out on top of the mountain, in the winter, when it was cold, with my binoculars, just lookin. That plane went around us, it musta been five, six, seven times. And we're just sittin on the top of the mountain. They go around to all the mountains in San Mateo County and San Bruno Mountain is at the end of their route. So we do a laundry and I'll tell Thelma, "Don't put that stuff there." She'll wash things quite often. And white things, you know, pink, hangin up there and what about that airplane. Even this morning she's standin out there dryin her hair, she took a bath and I'm hearin the little airplane. And I says, Thel, you just don't pay any attention to those airplanes, do ya?"


Dwight use to wash his cloths a lot. I remember takin the kids for a hike on top of the mountain and all the kids would look down the canyon and ask, "What's that?" And Dwight would have all his cloths strewn all over the place. I checked out how easy it is to see smoke. I had my brother keep a fire goin with smoke comin up and I went all the way down to the road and it's kinda hard to see. You have to really look and I think if you're further across way on the Northeast Ridge it's hardly noticible at all.


In the morning there's no wind. A fire at the breakfast meal is not good. But as long as you pay attention you can do fine. The way this hut is laid out is perfect. There's no windows. The trees block the light and the chimney's behind the trees. It's magical, but if you don't pay attention...but nobody's ever bothered us. Here I've been goin nuts the whole time. And Thelma's not payin any attention.

In fact she said, "Well just don't say anything and it won't happen." I was constantly makin problems for us and nothin has happened to us. But all it takes is a complaint. And we've already found that out cause that's what happened to Dwight.

Two rangers did come up here once. As soon as I saw em I said, "I knew you were comin because David told me." They said, "How did David know?" I said, "David knows everything." David had come up the day before and said, "The rangers are comin tomorrow." So when I saw the rangers I said, Come up, don't worry about it. David told us you're comin, don't worry about it."

They liked it here and we all had nice conversations. I told them we're leaving because when they started bulldozing the Northeast Ridge it was drivin me nuts. They're done bulldozing now and the housebuilding is not near as noisy. So just before the rangers left the fella asked, "Well, when are you planning to leave?" That's the only thing he said. I said we were goin by Friday.

We were gone for a year and a half. We went up to Sacramento and from San Francisco to Santa Rosa to the Russian River. We kept lookin for a place to go. We went up to Fort Bragg and all around the mountains. We went all kinds a different places and there was no place like this. Only one paradise. So after a year and a half we came tiptoeing back and we slept up in Buckeye Canyon, Dwight's original place. It was kinda hard with just the blankets.

I thought lets go down and just see what the place is like. And we come over here and here David was sweeping. I couldn't believe it. And when I would call him he would say, "Come on back, they want you back." The rangers were sayin this. They were sayin, "Don't worry about it."

They tore Dwight's first place down but they didn't take this one down. They tore out all of Dwight's beautiful rock work. He had rock paths and they didn't have to knock that down. I could see em takin away his kitchen. His carhood. He was such a packrat they had to haul out so much stuff. The other thing is that we haul all our trash out. Sometimes I'll bury compost, if I get too much fruit, melon rinds and things like that. But I haul out all the hard trash. Dwight didn't haul out trash. You go up there and find bottles, cans. He didn't carry a backpack that often. He carried stuff in his hands.


I was cleanin the place up for them. I knew they were comin. It was all neat and happy.


When Dwight was first startin up here. When he first got into Buckeye Canyon and started burning wood instead of gas. Every time he'd hear the fire department he'd think, "Oh no, they're comin to get me." He was like paranoid of people comin and gettin him. Every little sound he'd run out. People made him nervous. And that's the way I was. I was really ridiculously worried for about 30 days.

She stayed up here and the fox came and visited. They come runnin right up to her. There's a cute little cotton tail bunny rabbit that's hoppin around here now. It goes right up to her. The birds go right up to her. They're not afraid of her at all. Cause she won't even swat a mosquito. The first month we were here I didn't know Thelma had general assistance. She even had money saved up. You know, we were goin out collectin cans and goin to the soup line and bringin food back and things like that.

So there's just nothin left to do. You know I ask her, "Well, what should we do? Do you want to get married again? Do you want to get a boat? What can we do? Can we make a boat? Is there somethin we can do?" Cause then she qualified for the regular 700 dollar a month check. You know, we don't need need that much, so the money builds up.

We've already been on a trip to Honduras. And I can't see anything I want to do cause I've become disgusted with mankind. I can't find anywhere where they're not. I liked Honduras. I liked the Aljua River. But Thelma doesn't want to go to Honduras. They're puttin concrete there. It breaks your heart. It's really bad to see the development.

I listen to the radio. Honduras is a big 33 cents an hour workplace. There's so many sad stories there. They're so poor they're just wreckin the place with all these businesses that are leavin the United States. The businesses move to Honduras and they don't pay em anything. God, they're fenced in compounds and there's trucks and it breaks your heart cause you could still see the original river. The river is still there. It doesn't have dikes on it. Big river, bigger than the Sacramento River and it's in it's original flow. I mean, I cried down there.

You know I tell Thelma, "There's just makin a total wreck of Honduras." That's what happened to me during the five years I been here. I had hoped that the magic of that soup line would change things; there was a lot of magic happenin. The love and just giving of soup at Martin Deporres and from that a lot of neat things were happenin.

The lady that was runnin the soup line said a UFO that was gonna land. She kept tellin us a UFO's gonna land and change everything. And I've been waitin for a UFO. It was gonna make everything right. We got married right out of that soup line. We were famous in there. Thelma doesn't want to go there so go there once every six months. It's changed too. All these people taken speed; it really messed them up.

Here they are given soup away and these monsters come in there. Some guys got shot and killed out front after we left. Shot right in the forehead. The whole city got really bad. So I just sit here and listen to the radio and think, man now look what they've done. I don't have hope for the future. I just kinda hangin out and watch what happens.

Mostly we just stay here. It's nice to be here so that's why were here. Every time we go out of here it's down hill. I can hear it on the radio. People are finally sayin, "My goodness, things are a wreck." There's a lot of people losin hope. You can hear it on the radio. I had hopes but now I think man is a disaster because of machinery. I don't think it's gonna get better.

Without hope my health is goin down fast. Whats gonna happen to Thelma? I'm getting old. But if you got hope and spirit, boy, you can stay young. It's in the mind. My teeth are bad and I can't even bend over and touch my toes. I'm not gonna last for near as long as she's gonna last. I got a hernia and I'm not gonna go to the doctor. Thelma asks me every day to go for a walk and sometimes I don't wanna go so she just goes off by herself. You see how everything is all hand done. Everything is all swept up and she does that by hand. She keeps herself goin. Usually I just sit around, listen to the radio, do crossword puzzles.