Besh Talks About Dwight Taylor
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 would come up here on vacations, come up on the mountain.
While he was teaching in South San Francisco he bought a house up above Visitacion Valley in San Francisco. A little house, little piece of property. And that house he bought for 10 thousand and know it’s worth a hundred thousand. And he rented it out the whole time he was livin here for $400 a month but his mortgage was only $100 and after 10 years the house was pretty much paid off. So his payments were $100 and the rent was $400 so he said “Why should I go back to teaching?” He liked it better on the mountain.
Here’s his budget, he had this woman Marcy, she lived in Brisbane, that was his book keeper, that was his address. So he paid her 50 dollars a month for book keeping and then 50 dollars a month for storin his piano and then the payments on the house, a hundred dollars, plus he had to put a hundred dollars in for repairs, cause about once a month he’d have to go over there and fix the house up. He always had to do a number of things, paint it, fix the roof, plumbing and things like that. So he’d have to save up, you know that’s onl;y a thousand dollars a year for repair of the house. So that left him with 60 dollars a month for rice and oatmeal and margarine. When margarine was on sale for 39 cents, the cheapest brand of margarine, 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, real big.
Then he would buy tabacco. And I didn’t smoke by the time I went up on the mountain. And I loved it not smokin. I look stupid with a cigarette anyway. But Dwight 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 tabacco pipe when he was up here. But the kids would bring him some cigarettes sometimes. But once he got rid of the habit he went through novena or somethin. Some religious thing. He finally got rid of that, cause I was always goin on about how much better it is not to smoke. Bringin up my bottle. I brought my bottle of rum especially in the beginning. I’d bring my bottle of rum up and tell him it’s better not to smoke. In his life, he only got drunk twice before he met me. When I brought my sister, who’s a music teacher, up, she asked him, “Well how come your’re drinkin with him?” Dwight says, “I figure it’s better if two people both drunk then one really drunk and one not at all.” So then his budget went down to just 30 dollars a month. That’s all he had for rice and oatmeal. He dropped the rent from $450 to $400 cause he really likes the people.
He would write a lot up here. He had these scrolls, he would just write. He was a poet too. The words are good, he’d end up with this big scroll and the person who read it was the lady who was renting his house.
So he taught in South City and then he found this mountain. He just saw this mountain and he checked it out. He liked it and he would come on weekends and holidays. He would bring his pot up here and smoke pot.
In summers he would rent out the house and go to Bisbee, Colorado. 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 the mountain. He was a very popular guy
He and I were both born in February of 44 so I figure he graduated from college probably about 66. Cause I went into the coast guard for four years instead. I was on the east coast in the coast guard. I didn’t go to college. Dwight went to college in Los Angeles. He grew up in Los Angeles. He played the piano and the whole time he was livin up here he had a piano in storage. Paid 50 dollars a month for the whole time. And know he’s got it up in Pacifica. That 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 main instrument. And that a lot of why Dwight wanted to live in Pacifica, cause he plays the piano four hours every day in Pacifica. He always wanted to be good at the piano, so that’s what he did.
Dwight’s parents are severe Pentecostal. Oh they’re really heavy and one of his sisters is still a missionary. He brought em up here, both his sisters. 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, he 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 loved to fast. They both loved it. Dwight loved to fast but he was so skinny he couldn’t. They both really tripped on fasting. I go frantic, I’ve never gone a day without eating, I go nuts. The indians use to fast too. It was intentional. You could tune into nature by fasting. It’s spiritual. I’ve never fasted but I heard it’s like takin LSD or somethin.
Dwight liked mushrooms and he took a lot of marijuana in his earlier ages. He liked to smoke weed. He smoked weed and cigarettes when he was up here, and he wanted to stop. He was not a philosopher and he wouldn’t talk why he was doin things. He liked to meditate. He had all his friends help him move up on the mountain. He first lived way up on the top of Buckeye Canyon. There’s a ledge up there that he lived on. And 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 livin up here, he liked to be here. And when he’d have to go to town, which he’d wait to the last day just like I do, when he would go he said it would take him about a day to recover. To get back to be feelin just peaceful bein around.
He would do everything nice and careful and just slowly go through things. And he’d always say it would take all day just to take care of business: collect the firewood, get water, cook his oatmeal for breakfast, go up and sit on top of the tree, go out and take a poop. It was like a little schedule. And then dinner was cookin rice. I don’t know it took up his whole day.
And I’d come up here every week for a long time and in the beginning it wasn’t scheduled. It was certain days but it wasn’t known. I’d find him by himself, singing. 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 so we went and turned on the radio.
He had a radio for a while and then he went and gave it to me. He said it was botherin his birds. So anyway, he was livin up there and 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 came down and built this hut over 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 kitchen he would come out of his hut and he built a platform with rocks. He had a patio, 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 then little pieces of this and that. 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 that it’s a beautiful flat surface to put his coffee cup on. He’d drink coffee and smoke a pipe.
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. And the one social thing that he kept up is that he had this church that he would go to, Good Samaritan Church. It’s been torn down now, it was right there at 24th and Potrero. The earthquake made it unsafe. At the time they tore it down it was a sanctuary for central Americans. But there was not too many people in it. I went a number of times and there wasn’t too many people in the congregation. They’re buildin apartments there now.
One of the people that went to Good Samaritan Church happened to be a friend of mine and she’s the one who brought me up here. She said there’s a fellow livin up there, cause she had been up there to see him, so she brought me up there to meet him. When I knew Dwight he wasn’t goin up to the church so often. But he use to go regular for the choir. He was singin in the choir.
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. He said it’s probably from so much LSD. And the voices went away when he went on his excursions. He walked to Los Angeles twice while he was livin up here. It took him a month each time. And on one of those walks the voices went away.
On his walks to Los Angeles 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, once I came up and met him I liked him a lot. And I loved the mountain. I’d come once a week. I’d 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. I had my bicycle at the bottom of the canyon.
Dwight would meditate for an hour every day. And I’d ask him about it. 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 flying up to him and then a hawk flyin up to him. And 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 over in here.” He kept showin me how their branches are always tryin to move and cover the path up. And then all the special little spots he would show me how it was protected all around there 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 so on those times occasionally I’d lead. As soon as I’d be leading on these hikes 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.
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 a big part of his attraction in making the move was that he was goin play the piano. That was part of the attraction of living in a house. I haven’t seen him in a number of years. But he would do the housework and have his coffee and 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. But that’s kind of meditative. 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. He put the cap on this house here and he hasn’t been here in years.
For years I would come up here 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 just lived out of dumpsters. I had the shelters down on the traintracks for about five years and I’d go into the city to the dumpsters. When I first started livin out in San Francisco there were not homeless people. There was just a few crazy ladies with shopping carts. And the dumpsters were full. It was a bonanza, there were sandwich shops, restaurants, behind all the produce stores. They threw out all kinds of good food and there wasn’t any competition. I mean I ate mangos, steaks, stuff I never bought. I ate like a king.
Thelma and I have been married 6 years and then there was 5 years when I was lookin for Thelma. And then 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 that was around twelve years ago when I first started goin out with her. It was 84. I was livin on hilltops and stuff and I went for a bikeride and I saw that hut with a hibachi. That had a front door and windows and it was cute, it was all patchwork and stuff and a guesthouse. It was an adorable place.
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, a hike. And 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. A friend of mine was out there cause I had guests come out and he just told me they tore it down. I wasn’t there at the time.
During the 60’s I was all over the east and west coast. I was a hippie in the 60’s
But then I built a really nice one that I took Thelma to. It had a red carpet and solar panels. It was freezing up here when we had that ice. We got married in 1990, 7-11-90. We met around 10 or 12 years ago at the soup line at Martin Deporis and we lost contact for a while. Before Thelma and I got married I would usually stay up here only one night before I would go back down to my hut on the traintracks. I had to make a living. I had to go out and hustle up some stuff, some aluminum cans and cloths to sell and stuff and things to drink and keep goin. I was runnin around and it was 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 had five little houses.
It’s not there any more. It’s against the law now. Homeless has become a big thing, but at that time...they’ve locked up most of the dumpsters but they use to be sittin right out. There’s so many homeless people out there and they go into so many dumpsters in San Francisco. Besides, it’s so developed, there isn’t all those weedy places, cause I had a lot of different huts, 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 was my favorite place. They’re given out soup and there’s the most smiles and I really liked that place. And I was the social type, I would go around making people, especially women, feel comfortable. Just remember their names and everything. And here comes Thelma in there and so I go over there and I go, “Hi, my name’s Bicycle.” And she sat down, “I don’t talk to strangers,” she said. And then the next day she came in there and I was talkin to people and I said, “Well everybodies gotta have a name,” so I took this tape and I would write their name on there. And meanwhile I got my hand on Thelma’s shoulder 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 thought she was adorable so 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. But then she’s talkin about all this stuff so we didn’t get married because I thought she was too spaced out for me. She had too many things goin on, you know pains over here. 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. Anyway I remember 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. Buit then when she showed back up again when I was...you see this place was empty when Barbara came and took Dwight away and then I tried to get JC up here. But when Dwight left 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.
We were gonna live over here. Before, when I knew her Dwight was livin here and my existance was offa bikes. 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, and she was sittin there, I was sittin here and this is you know, look at this beautiful place, compared to the city. This is where we live, look at this. This is my big selling point, you know, wow, look at what I got. This is Dwight’s place, the thing had been empty. 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 married and you gotta go to city hall. So I had a friend, an old chinese lady, Tang Dong who always gave me cash for my stamps. That was my income, a hundred dollars a month. My drinking money. We got a note from Tang around Christmas time, to come see em our there. She’s moved. The other thing I use to do was take junior out once a week every Saturday. I got a note from him and her to come see em at their school. So they’re still there. But we’re not social. We went out there once while I was drinkin, that was it. And they had moved to some other place.
So every day I would go pick up Thelma at the Episcopal Sanctuary. She didn’t believe this was gonna happen. She was like, “You won’t come and get me.” After, every day I’d be there a 8:00. I’d come back and forth, get this place ready. Back and forth, no money. Pick up cans. And we went and registered. And there was the morning I went and picked her up. And I called my sister and my sister had 200 dollars waitin for us, as soon as we got married, a wedding gift. And we went to Safeway, so when we came up here we came up with that whole backpack full of food. So from people livin in the soup line, all of a sudden we had Feta cheese. You know we had Safeway—with money. So the day we got married turned out to be 7-11. 1990. And we’ve been up here ever since. You know, nobody else would put up with us. A perfect match.
The first Christmas we had Dwight came back. He was up here for a week. Barbara loved to shop and then the third shopping center... They got married a couple years before. That’s why this place was open. So this place was uninhabited for a year or two. Dwight said at the third shopping center he just couldn’t take it anymore. Cause Barbara bought twelve presents for everybody. That was one of the reasons she wanted a guy. And that was one of the great things about Dwight, all he had was rags and he’d start showin up with these fancy jackets and pants and suits and hair cut And Dwight and Barbara, they had their differences, that’s for sure. 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, since 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 wortha hundred thousand dollars. Any body that bought a house in the 70’s, the house is worth ten times the value. But he hasn’t raised the rent. It’s still the same people. They get a bargain. Dwight gives Barbara money. He helps her out cause she spends more than she’s got. She loves to shop. And Dwight was just like a housewife and she’d come home and have to wind down. He said he liked it much better when she had her vacations. You know, three month vacations. They’d go traveling. And the other was, she had said when they got married that she was gonna retire but she hasn’t retired. She likes to shop, plus she likes teaching. She likes it. I think she’s around 58, she’s a little older than Dwight. He’s 52. Barbara, she’s kinda dingy, cause we use to take junior and she had a little girl from her first husband. It wasn’t her daughter, it was his new daughter from a second marriage. And so we’d take em together and 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.
So when he ran away that Christmas, I was all for it. I said, “Dwight, why don’t you just stay here?” Cause I had always talked about that I would find us a woman. Here we are on the mountain and there would be two fellas and one lady. You know that’s the way you do it on the mountain. I think it would’ve worked good with Thelma and me. Cause when he was up here he would notice things that I didn’t know. For instance goin at the outhouse at that time it was a difficult place to get through there 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. Yeah, it woulda been good.
This mountain, everything’s downhill from here. It gets to be noisy and concrete and a lot of people and cars and too much. I like bein here.
I didn’t want to be up here by myself. I wanted to get married and come up here. But 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.
I’m so greatful. It was nice to have someone who was willing to marry me. 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 knew 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 on the same floor, at night, that is not allowed. 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, it was a little world here. A very small world and it still is. It hasn’t developed that much. I wanted to come here because young people in Honduras have dreams of a home and family. A 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 head 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 get swiss chard and zucchini’s at Lucky’s in South City. We recently bought a radio for Besh. What I think about the mountain 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.
Thelma stayed up here when I was gone for a month. I got arrested for protestin the war. I went through the whole thing. And I got a great lawyer and everything. They said, “Ok ya gotta do 30 days.” Cause I resisted arrest, which I though everybody should have resisted arrest. And then David got her a place where she was gonna stay while I went to jail to do my 30 days over there in South San Francisco. And then the day I was supposed to go 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 went down there and we were sittin in the court and we’d only been married 6 months. Well I guess it was 9 months by the time that court stuff was over. So I showed her 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 she started cryin and what was this? And I’m sittin there and ya know, the hell with it lets get out of here. So I took off and I told David, “We’re on the run.” We went up to Portland. We were runnin around. We were in Berkeley. David took us over to Berkeley to stay with the lady with the bent over head there. We were makin up all kinds of stories. We were gonna go to the east coast.
Oh, 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, down in town and then the cops said, “Oh you got a warrant here for your 30 days.” And then David came up to visit her during the 30 days. I got Thelma 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 sometimes because we didn’t have a need to do it that often. Because what happened was that she 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 down town and we get around a lot of people, she just turns negative. Well be in shoppin and I’ll say, “You want any of this?” And she says, “Naa, I don’t want any, I don’t want any of this.” She gets effected by that stuff down there. But when Thelma was workin as a housekeeper, she would go to Tanforan on her days off and I can’t bein 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.
With all this Northeast Ridge development I think it’s 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 and that’s from, I could say a thousand times, “There’s smoke and you can make a fire but you gotta do it right.” You know you can’t go put an old wet thing in the middle. You know and you can’t let it go down to where there’s somethin sittin on the coals. Then they’ll be smoke goin out. I says, “Thelma, there’s smoke goin out.” And I’ll go on and I could say that about a thousand times and there’s no change at all. I say, “Thelma, there’s an airplane.” And 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.” Never paid any attention to that. The airplanes flyin over and there’s sheets hangin out there every week there’s an airplane that patrols. When Dwight was here they didn’t do that. Now there’s an air patrol every week. That’s how San Mateo County patrols their mountains. They’ll come up here and if they see somethin they’ll go round and round and round. It’s a real distinctive plane, you can hear the engines. If they just find us sittin out there...One time last year they found us sittin out on top of the mountain, in the winter, where 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 off the top of the mountain. Another time we were walkin up and we hid under a bush and they God, they went round and round and round. And whenever they see someone growin stuff...Once they see sometin that’s all they got to do. That’s their patrol. There’s somethin on the mountain. There’s somethin just to look at it. They go around to all the mountains in San Mateo County and this 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 ouit 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 that. 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 went to check down there about how clear it is to see smoke goin. My brother was here and I had him keep a fire goin with smoke comin up and I went all the way down to the road to see. It’s kinda hard to see. You have to really look and I think if you’re further across way it’s even safer.
In the morning, a fire a the breakfast meal, that not good, it’s a dead calm. But as long as you pay attention you can do fine. No problem. The way this hut is laid out is perfect. There’s no windows that tree blocks the light, the chimney’s behind the trees. This is magical, but if you don’t pay attention. But ya know the thing is that’s nobodies ever bothered us. Here I’ve been goin nuts the whole time. And Thelma’s just not payin any attention. And 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. All it takes is a complaint. And we’ve already found that out cause that’s what happened to Dwight. Well they did come up here once, the two rangers. As soon as I saw em I said, “I knew you were comin because David told me you’re comin.” They said, “How did David know?”
I said, David knows everything.” Cause David had come up the day before and said, “The rangers are comin tomorrow.” So when I saw em I said, Come up, don’t worry about it. David told us you’re comin, don’t worry about it.” And they liked it and everything. We had all nice conversations and I told them we’re leaving because we were leaving. As soon as they started all that bulldozing it was drivin me nuts. There done with it now. 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, I guess. They’ve have come back up here because I’ve seen some things that have changed cause we were gone for a year and a half. We went up to Sacramento and from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, the Russian River. We kept lookin for a place to go. We wentup to Fort Bragg and all around the mountains around there. 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 on Dwight’s original place. It was kinda hard with just the blankets. And 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 em he would say, “Come on back, they want you back.” The rangers were sayin this. They were sayin, “Don’t worry about it.” They took 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. And the other thing is that we haul all our trash out. Sometimes I’ll bury just garbage, if I get too much fruit, melon rinds and things like that. But I haul out all the hard trash, but Dwight didn’t, you go up there and you’ll find bottles, cans. He didn’t carry a backpack that often. He carried stuff in his hands. He was like really paranoid, just like I am.
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 about 30 days.
She stayed up here. And the fox came and visited. They come runnin right up to her. There’s a little bunny rabbit that’s hoppin around here now. It goes right up to her. A little cute cotton tail bunny rabbit. 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 near 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 mankind, I’ve become disgusted with mankind. And I can’t find anywhere where they’re not. I liked Honduras. I liked the Aljua River. But she don’t want to go to Honduras. They’re puttin concrete there. It breaks your heart. It’s really bad there to see the developing. 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 wreakin the place with all these businesses that are leavin the United States. They’re goin down there and they don’t pay em anything. God, there 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 wreak.” That’s what happened to me during the five years I been here. I had hoped that the magic of that soup line, there was a lot of magic happenin. The love and just giving things. There just given soup and off a that a lot of neat things were happenin. And I had feelings, naiive, that uh...and besides the lady that was runnin the soup line said there was 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. We only go there once every six months. Thelma doesn’t want to go there. It’s changed too. That speed has really messed them up. All them people taken speed.You know here they are given stuff away and these monsters come in there. You know there was 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. And I don’t have hope for the future. Just kinda hangin out and watch what happens. Mostly we just stay here. It’s nice to be here. It’s pleasant to be here and so that’s why were here. Cause every time we go out of here it’s down hill. You know I can hear it on the radio, you know people are finally sayin, “My goodness, things are a wreak.” There’s a lot of people losin hope. You can hear it on the radio. You know I had hopes, but know I think man is a disaster because of machinery. I don’t think it’s gonna get better. I don’t have hope. Whats gonna happen to poor Thelma? Cause without hope my health is goin down fast. 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. And I think, “What’s gonna go happen to Thelma?” 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 everything. She does that by hand, all the little rocks and everything by hand. Just to keep stretchin. She keeps herself goin. Usually I just sit around, listen to the radio, do crossword puzzles.
David come with his groups and some of em are so nuts. There’s a whole bunch of strangers. I like people to come who we already know Sylvia was a fun guest. she was startin to come regularly before they moved. But when you have a whole bunch of people that are strangers asking you questions, “How long ya been here?” The best question is when that little kid asked, “Is this real?”
What I found out livin out here, you know I started out, I didn’t know anything about plants and know sittin up here, since I see another couple of invading plants every year, two new ones. I realize that those are taken over the world. When David went down to Chili the broom was all over down in Chili. I didn’t know anything about these invading plants. They don’t hardly ever talk about it. Occasionally on the radio, but they’re taken over the whole world. These strong invasive species are just taken over.