1970. Silver Metre. Inside album cover. USA.

Silver Metre inside cover.

Sil­ver Metre inside cover.

1970. Sil­ver Metre. Inside album cover.

Left to right:
Leigh Stephens (in back, Blue Cheer) me (in fore­ground with mous­tache), Micky Waller (in back, Jeff Beck), Har­ry Reynolds (Hair Band).
I had met Leigh and his old lady at the time Liz, when Micky Waller took me over to a mews cot­tage they were rent­ing in Lon­don around Jan­u­ary or Feb­ru­ary ’69. He had been there record­ing his “Red Weath­er” album. We got along well.
Leigh tore off a small tri­an­gu­lar scrap of paper and drew a dia­gram in pen­cil of San­ta Mon­ica Pier near Los Ange­les. He drew in an arrow point­ing to an out­side door at the top of some stairs run­ning up the side of a build­ing list­ed as a Mer­ry Go Round. That was it…no phone num­ber or anything.
Six months lat­er I had saved up enough mon­ey for a tick­et from Gatwick Air­port, which is south of Lon­don, to New York City. There I planned to change air­lines and fly on across the US con­ti­nent to Los Ange­les Inter­na­tional. The air­line was Loft Lei­der Ice­landic Air­lines who still used four engine pro­peller air­craft for their trans-Atlantic flights.
When my dad drove me to Gatwick to see me off he wished me luck and told me to be care­ful. He com­mu­ni­cated his con­cern and depth of car­ing through the look in his eyes, which is what Eng­lish­men do instead of hug­ging when say­ing good­bye to peo­ple they care deeply for. He shook my hand and asked me to write and let them know how things were going.
I was twen­ty one years old…being a par­ent of two chil­dren myself I now real­ize what inner tur­moil he must have been going through. Even though I’d lived a pret­ty full life up to that point, the unease he must have felt at see­ing his young son fly­ing off into the unknown, into what you know from per­sonal expe­ri­ence is a dan­ger­ous world full of peo­ple who would do you harm. It is some­thing that only now as a father can I ful­ly appre­ci­ate. Jean­nette and I have gone through it with both our children…when Dylan first went off to India, and lat­er when Natal­ie also went to India on her own, work­ing for women and children’s rights, as well as clean­ing feces of dying women brought in off the streets as a vol­un­teer at Moth­er Theresa’s in Cal­cutta. Pret­ty intense work for a woman trav­el­ling alone. Through­out your child’s life you grad­u­ally, step by step have to make that leap of faith and let the rope out a bit at a time. For me at twen­ty one it was all unbe­liev­ably excit­ing, and I felt the whole world was before me. I had gone through the psy­che­delic music and drug cul­ture of the six­ties; liv­ing all over Lon­don as a young rock musi­cian at one time or anoth­er and I now felt myself drawn by some imper­cep­ti­ble force to cross an ocean and a con­ti­nent into the unknown. I was armed only with the scrap of torn paper and scrib­bled dia­gram Leigh had giv­en me six months ear­lier. No phone num­ber or actu­al address. I had no idea if he still lived there any­more. After my dad left me at Gatwick I found out our sched­uled plane had mechan­i­cal prob­lems and they had no oth­er air­craft avail­able so the air­line split every­one up and put us on dif­fer­ent air­lines. It was storm­ing out­side that day and I and sev­eral oth­er Loft Lei­der pas­sen­gers were put on an air­line called “Dan Air”…who flew Comet 4’s. This was my first time fly­ing in any­thing and I had vague rec­ol­lec­tions of hav­ing read about Comet 4’s being one of the first jet air­lin­ers put into ser­vice in the 1950’s, and hear­ing that they would some­times explode in mid-air due to cab­in pres­sure prob­lems at alti­tude. This made me feel a bit uneasy to say the least, but I got on the plane any­way. I found out lat­er of course that the air­craft had been mod­i­fied since those ter­ri­ble acci­dents and were sup­pos­edly per­fectly safe. The plane was sur­pris­ingly nar­row for an air­liner, two seats rows on either side and we were soon buf­fet­ing around in the rough air, packed in like sar­dines in a can. I tried to relax my white knuck­les, took a deep breath and did my best to stiff­en my upper lip as Eng­lish­man are sup­posed to do. After an hour or so we were get­ting thrown around pret­ty bad; I noticed peo­ple were inhal­ing short bursts of air and hold­ing their breath, and nobody was talk­ing. A few were throw­ing up. Sud­denly a stew­ardess ran down the aisle and looked anx­iously out the win­dow over the wing…I grabbed the seat a bit hard­er. The air­craft then began a grad­ual descent and you could have cut the ner­vous ten­sion with a knife…a sharp one any­way. We were sup­posed to be in route to Prest­wick Air­port in Scot­land so I assumed that was the air­port we were approach­ing. We final­ly land­ed in a dri­ving rain and tax­ied to a stop out­side a small ter­mi­nal which didn’t look big enough to be Prest­wick. Sure enough we’d land­ed at a small air­port about thir­ty miles away, appar­ently due to weath­er relat­ed air traf­fic congestion…although the thought of mechan­i­cal prob­lems had cer­tainly crossed my mind. Judg­ing from the looks on the oth­er pas­sen­gers faces I wasn’t alone in these imag­in­ings. We all spent a rough night in the small air­port ter­mi­nal try­ing to get some rest on the hard plas­tic bench seats. There was not anoth­er air­line or plane in sight, and no oth­er pas­sen­gers. We must have looked a sor­ry sight by then, a small bedrag­gled, slight­ly pissed off, shell shocked group of pas­sen­gers who were sup­posed to be on their way to New York City. We dozed off as best we could but could only sleep in snatch­es. The next day we were dri­ven across the Scot­tish hills to Prest­wick in a coach. It was all very bizarre…but I was young and it was an adven­ture. By this time we were all fol­low­ing each other’s bag­gage carts and the inter­com instruc­tions like dazed sheep. We were final­ly placed on a BOAC Boe­ing 747…back to Lon­don. So there we were, fly­ing over Big Ben and the riv­er Thames bound for Heathrow on a clear bright morn­ing the day after we had left Gatwick. It was very weird. We were even­tu­ally trans­ferred to a British Air­ways 747 bound for New York. I was on my way.
The cus­toms offi­cer in New York checked my visa and asked me what I was plan­ning to do in the States. I told him I was vis­it­ing a friend in Los Angeles…he looked at my tobac­co pipes, tin of Old Hol­born rolling tobac­co with black papers, and the few antique weird odds and ends I had in my suit­case, all that I owned in the world basi­cally, and motioned me through with a wry look on his face. I made it…I was in the States. I strug­gled with my two bags over to the impres­sive look­ing TWA ter­mi­nal in the hot sun and caught a beau­ti­ful sil­ver Boe­ing 707 to Los Ange­les. It was a bright clear blue sky and I sat in my own lit­tle world next to the win­dow. I’ll nev­er for­get the feel­ing of adven­ture and ela­tion as we climbed to 30,000 feet over the mag­nif­i­cent US con­ti­nent while I lis­tened to Hayden’s Unfin­ished Sym­phony at full vol­ume on the head­phones. The pilot had one of those won­der­ful reas­sur­ing mil­i­tary astro­naut drawls…I was in heav­en. To top it all off a beau­ti­ful girl called Nan­cy who I rec­og­nized as one of the orig­i­nal Dan Air pas­sen­gers grace­fully slipped her­self onto the seat next to me…she had been vis­it­ing Europe and was on her way home to Ana­heim just out­side Los Ange­les. The sky was clear the whole way across…the Rocky Moun­tains, the Great Salt Lake, the Sier­ra Moun­tains and final­ly I caught site of the blue Pacif­ic Ocean as we approached for land­ing. After pick­ing up my bags I real­ized I was stuck with very lit­tle mon­ey in a coun­try with lousy pub­lic trans­porta­tion and had to some­how make my way to San­ta Mon­ica from LA Inter­na­tional. Nan­cy came to the res­cue and her par­ents offered to drop me off at the Pier on their way home. We spoke the same lan­guage, but it felt as though I had land­ed on Mars. Nancy’s won­der­ful and kind par­ents looked exact­ly like a fam­ily from a 1950’s, ear­ly 60’s TV sit-com…her father wore Bermu­da shorts, crew­cut, and drove a large sprawl­ing fake wood sided sta­tion wagon.

BBC tele­vi­sion used to car­ry shows like Per­ry Mason, The Lone Ranger, Cis­co Kid, Jack Ben­ny, Father Knows Best, Flash Gor­don, and Super­man. Like many peo­ple vis­it­ing the US from Europe for the first time, my image of Amer­ica was large­ly based on stereo­typ­i­cal images forged in the cyn­i­cal fires of self-right­eous arrogance.
Much of these were formed by the movies, 1950’s ear­ly 60’s TV shows and the image of the ugly loud Amer­i­can tourist throw­ing wads of cash around and smok­ing a green cig­ar chewed to mush at one end. Of course we were all aware to vary­ing degrees of thank­ful­ness, and for some resent­ment, that Europe would be a very dif­fer­ent place if the US hadn’t entered WW2 and helped save our col­lec­tive pos­te­ri­ors. We had won the Bat­tle of Britain air war against Hitler and Goering’s Luftwaffe…but could nev­er have man­aged the Nor­mandy inva­sions and lib­er­ated Europe with­out the USA.
But the coun­tries of Europe have treat­ed each oth­er with bias­es, dis­trust and arro­gant cyn­i­cism for hun­dreds of years, so why would they be any dif­fer­ent with their treat­ment of the USA. The sheer size of Amer­ica with its diverse polit­i­cal and cul­tural belief sys­tems nev­er fails to astound me…something that can often be dif­fi­cult for peo­ple liv­ing in close quar­ters in coun­tries that would fit into the state of Texas alone to understand.
Amer­ica has been very good to me, but it is still a young coun­try and is still find­ing its feet. There is still much work to be done…so much cor­rup­tion, greed with its own brand of cyn­i­cism and short sight­ed­ness. Mind numb­ing Orwellian “newspeak” spew from cor­po­rate con­trolled media out­lets; most things that air on radio and Tele­vi­sion are rat­ings dri­ven at any cost, and we have an archa­ic health care sys­tem in spite of being one of the wealth­i­est coun­tries in the world.
But there is also so much that is good: non-prof­its and respon­si­ble busi­nesses that pick up the slack where irre­spon­si­ble and short­sighted gov­ern­ments fall short, along with health care and social work­ers, edu­ca­tors and grass roots activists…all gross­ly under­funded. A coun­try that can place a man on the moon, but can’t sup­ply qual­ity health care for all income lev­els like almost every oth­er coun­try in the devel­oped world should send up a glar­ing red flag. Short term gain for the few seems to dri­ve our country’s pol­icy mak­ing deci­sions; exploit­ing the population’s nat­ural sense of patri­o­tism by call­ing any­one who ques­tions those deci­sions “unpa­tri­otic”. A sort of blind patri­o­tism. The Unit­ed States of Amer­ica is a land of inno­va­tion, but also a land that needs to come to grips with some of the ter­ri­ble wrongs it has per­pe­trated. Like on its native inhab­i­tants who have been sys­tem­at­i­cally abused since we occu­pied their land in the name of progress. Until we offi­cially acknowl­edge the many mis­takes we have made as a young nation, try to make amends and heal the wounds…we will nev­er be able to tru­ly grow. Amer­ica is the land both my chil­dren were born into…and I love it.

Nan­cy and her fam­ily dropped me off on San­ta Mon­ica Pier to the sound of sur­real mer­ry go round music pump­ing out of an old car­ni­val pipe organ. It was the boil­ing hot sum­mer of 1969 and there I stood in my big old black Lon­don over­coat, my world­ly pos­ses­sions in two suit­cases lying next to me, and try­ing to come to terms with my pecu­liar sit­u­a­tion. I had about five bucks in my pock­et, a few pound notes, and a hand­ful of British coins. I was turn­ing the lit­tle scrap of paper Leigh had giv­en me six months ear­lier this way and that, try­ing to match the stair­case and door he’d drawn with what I was see­ing. It felt a bit like a strange dream, or like the ear­ly stages of an acid trip…just as you are com­ing on. Mus­cle Beach was off to one side, which I just couldn’t come to grips with, and these beau­ti­ful brown bod­ied Cal­i­for­nia women and hip­pie guys off to the oth­er. Then there was the Pacif­ic Ocean stretch­ing off as far as the eye could see…and the waves were calm. I walked up and down the pier a bit…past old for­tune telling machines, hot dog stands and men sell­ing cot­ton can­dy. The San­ta Mon­ica area and Venice Beach were like ghost towns in ’69…with one foot still in the ear­ly part of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury. Fad­ed and peel­ing paint on old wood, warped with age…young hip cul­ture every­where, and the only sleazy ele­ment to be seen were the poor old winos lying around drink­ing rot-gut Red Moun­tain wine. There was inno­cence to it all back then…before ren­o­va­tions and new apart­ment com­plexes destroyed the charm and puri­ty of nat­ural aging. The hip­pies drank cheap Rip­ple wine which wasn’t much bet­ter than Red Mountain.
I found the steps that ran up the right side of the wood­en build­ing that housed the Mer­ry Go Round. I lugged my bag­gage to the small land­ing at the top and rang the door­bell. I rang a cou­ple more times until the sink­ing feel­ing that had begun to creep over me was cut short by the door slow­ly swing­ing open. An attrac­tive woman, about my age appeared. There was a faint hint of a smile adding a touch of mys­tery to an aura that was all too famil­iar to me…the look of some­body com­pletely and utter­ly stoned. She was dressed in a flow­ing rust col­ored dress and shawl that looked like they belonged to the roar­ing twen­ties. Her look per­fectly matched the ethe­real sounds float­ing up in the with­er­ing heat from the old pipe organ below.
She didn’t say anything.
“Hel­lo, I’ve just flown in from Eng­land; I’m look­ing for Leigh Stephens…does he still live here? He told me to look him up if I ever get to the States?“
Silence…just the sound of the pipe organ and children’s laughter.
“Leigh…he’s a musician…I met him and Liz in London.“
Still noth­ing, but her smile and eyes opened just a bit wider.
More pipe organ…and then.
“Yeah, Leigh, he doesn’t live here anymore…I live here with his friend and man­ager, Char­lie. Char­lie rents the place.“
“Do you know where he is?“
“He and Liz live near here…they might be rehearsing.“
I was get­ting very hot…I’d nev­er expe­ri­enced that kind of heat before…I was just stand­ing there out­side her door with all my stuff and I was fad­ing fast…I’d been up for two days.
I said “look I’ve just come six thou­sand miles…could you at least ask me in for a cup of tea?“
It was like she sud­denly woke from a dream.
“Yeah, of course, come in…I’ll make some tea“
We walked into an old planked paint­ed hall­way with a bal­cony over­look­ing the Mer­ry Go Round below…she motioned me through the door to their apart­ment. It was full of rus­tic old world charm…it felt like it should be float­ing under full sail in mid-ocean instead of stuck on dry land…the whole pier had that vibe. The win­dows were oval on top and every­thing was paint­ed cream with red trim. She made me some sort of herbal tea with­out say­ing much of anything…no ques­tions; noth­ing. She did tell me her name was Gin­ny. Then she just sat star­ing out a win­dow on the oth­er side of the room with that faint smile of con­tent­ment on her face. I sat down and pon­dered my sit­u­a­tion again…things def­i­nitely looked bet­ter than they had ten min­utes ago. I was no longer stand­ing in the hot sun, I’d tak­en off my big old black great­coat, and I was sip­ping some sort of hot liq­uid that was sup­posed to pass for tea. There had also been some name recog­ni­tion at the men­tion of Leigh’s name…which at that time meant a lot me.
I hat­ed to dis­turb her rever­ie, but it was get­ting late. I fin­ished my tea and asked if she had a phone num­ber for Leigh…she said she did but didn’t have a phone. “There’s a pay phone downstairs.“
She hand­ed me a coin I didn’t recognize.
I walked back down the stairs…the music was con­stant but hap­py sound­ing and it lift­ed my spir­its. I found what looked like some sort of pay phone con­trap­tion and spent some time try­ing to work out how to use it. I lift­ed up the receiv­er; put the coin in and the dial tone mag­i­cally appeared. I dialed the num­ber. It rang a cou­ple of times.
“Leigh is that you“
“Yeah, who’s this?“
“It’s me, Pete Sears…you remem­ber you told me to look you up if I ever got over to the states…well I’m here“
“Pete…you got­ta be kiddin!…where are you?“
“I’m on San­ta Mon­ica Pier…I just met Gin­ny; sort of, she let me in…gave me your num­ber. Where are you?“
“Wow, I can’t believe you’re here…I’ll come down and get you right away“
“Fantastic…see you soon“
And that was that…I had start­ed what turned out to be a life­long love affair with Cal­i­for­nia and the rest of the Unit­ed States. I moved into a small rent­ed apart­ment with Leigh and Liz in Venice Beach. They put me up on the sofa in the liv­ing room…there was only a bed­room and a liv­ing room. I shared the room with a crea­ture I was unfa­mil­iar with, they called it a Rac­coon. I once watched it push aside a chair they had lean­ing against a food cup­board to keep the door closed, some­how wrig­gle its way up onto the shelf and begin eat­ing. It was morn­ing and I had just opened my eyes…I lay there com­pletely fas­ci­nated by this wily crea­ture that looked like a Cal­i­for­nia ver­sion of some­thing from “Wind in the Wil­lows”. The first I ful­ly real­ized it was a wild ani­mal was when the neigh­bors called the police on Leigh and Liz and it was tak­en away. A dan­ger to chil­dren in the apart­ment com­plex they said.
I was recent­ly told of anoth­er inci­dent that hap­pened at that apart­ment; although I per­son­ally have very lit­tle rec­ol­lec­tion of it. Leigh and Liz were appar­ently lying in bed one morn­ing when they heard me yelling “How the &%$@ did they find me here”.
A man from “Sears Roe­buck” was deliv­er­ing some­thing just out­side the front door and was yelling “Sears…Sears”.
I remem­ber watch­ing the Moon land­ing on their small black and white TV set…that was some­thing to see.
“One small step.….
Leigh’s old col­lege friend Char­lie Osborne was our man­ager and lived with Gin­ny in the San­ta Mon­ica Pier apartment.
We start­ed jam­ming togeth­er day and night in a rehearsal room below the “Whale” bar on the land side of the Chee­tah Ball­room Pier in Venice Beach. I cut the legs off my jeans and would walk in and out of the ocean when­ever the mood took me. Leigh would take me down to a place on the boule­vard that sold Lox and Cream cheese…which I couldn’t get enough of. A beau­ti­ful half Chero­kee Indi­an woman called Dani from Okla­homa bought me break­fast a few times. I caught the clap for the sec­ond time in my life…the first being dur­ing my crazy years with Sam Gopal Dream. A shot of peni­cillin at the San Vicente clap clin­ic took care of that. I remem­ber walk­ing into a liquor store once and ask­ing for a pack­et of fags…the guy behind the counter thought I was being fun­ny until I explained “Fags” meant cig­a­rettes in Eng­land. It was while I was hang­ing out in the “Whale” rehearsal rooms that I first met Lar­ry Rainer…a sweet giant of a guy who had recent­ly returned from a tour of heavy com­bat in Viet­nam. It was my first expo­sure to the hell those guys went through over there…I saw the shrap­nel wounds on his back. I give mon­ey to every vet I see on the street ask­ing for money…you can tell who they are. Lar­ry even­tu­ally died of a hero­in over­dose in New York City…a habit he’d picked up in Viet­nam. I was told he expired lying on a bed with Dani nod­ding out in a chair next to him…oblivious to the fact Lar­ry was dying right next to her. It wasn’t real­ly her fault…that’s what it was like in that world. I had last seen him at a Brew­er & Ship­ley ben­e­fit con­cert I was involved with (they were talk­ing to me about pro­duc­ing a record for them) for Native American’s on the West Coast back in the seventies…I still think about Lar­ry from time to time.
Micky Waller and Bryn Howarth lat­er came over to help form the band…but Bryn didn’t stay.
There was this young girl who was mad­ly in love with this guy; I won’t say his name in case he reads this. Some­thing hap­pened between them one day and a guy named Doug and I heard her cry­ing hys­ter­i­cally from inside this small locked room off the rehearsal room. We broke down the door and found her sit­ting with her back against the wall in a pool of blood…she had made deep gash­es all up her arms and legs. Not deep enough to hit a major artery…almost cer­tainly a cry for help and not a seri­ous sui­cide attempt…but enough to per­ma­nently scar her emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally. We car­ried her sob­bing to an old Volk­swa­gen one of the guys had and took her to the near­est hos­pi­tal where they refused to treat her because she wouldn’t give her parent’s name and address. It came out that she was only six­teen years old. I couldn’t believe that a hos­pi­tal wouldn’t treat some­one and ask ques­tions later…this would not hap­pen in a Euro­pean hospital…so we went on to anoth­er hos­pi­tal and they wouldn’t treat her either, for the same rea­son. Her sit­u­a­tion was not imme­di­ately life threat­en­ing as the blood in her open gash­es had con­gealed by then. But she was a mess. No one would treat her…so we took her back to the apart­ment over the Mer­ry Go Round, which had shut down for the night and put her in the one spare bed­room. She could see a reg­u­lar doc­tor in the morn­ing. We all tried to get some rest on the liv­ing room floor. We told the fel­low who will remain name­less he ought to go and check on her…which he did. He was gone for about ten min­utes when we heard her cry and slam the door to the bath­room. Some time went by and we heard her slip back into the bed­room. Then the name­less fel­low appeared and said “I think she’s cut her throat”.
We’re all lay­ing on the floor in the dark…someone said,
“You got­ta be kiddin“
The name­less fellow…who I shall nev­er name…went and laid down in the liv­ing room.
“Bet­ter check it out” I said.
I went in and opened the door to the bed­room. She was lying on the bed with the white sheet held tight­ly up to her chin to hide her throat. The light was on. I imag­ined all sorts of hor­ri­ble things were lurk­ing under that sheet. I spoke to her soft­ly, and grad­u­ally coaxed her hand and sheet down away from her neck. She had cut sev­eral shal­low gash­es with a razor blade side to side clear across the length of her throat…she was obvi­ously in no dan­ger of bleed­ing to death, but the risk of infec­tion all over her body was clear. She was an emo­tional wreck and shiv­er­ing bad­ly. I told her to lie still and went to the bath­room to look for some­thing I could use. I found a tube of white over the counter anti­sep­tic cream and began smear­ing it in all the many gash­es she had made on her arms, legs and throat. I then gen­tly stroked her fore­head, telling her every­thing was going to be alright until she final­ly fell asleep from sheer exhaus­tion a cou­ple of hours lat­er. Three years lat­er in 1972, I was liv­ing on my own in a small room I was rent­ing from Doug and Shel­ley McGuire on Morn­ing Sun in Mill Val­ley when I received a letter…it was from her. She had some­how tracked me down and was thank­ing me for look­ing after her that night. The let­ter meant a lot to me…it sound­ed like she was in a bet­ter place and had got her life together.
The band became “Sil­ver Metre” and after spend­ing three months in Venice Beach we drove a cou­ple of cars up to Big Sur and spent two weeks in Charlie’s stepfather’s cab­in on “Big Creek”. We had no elec­tric­ity and I would sleep out­side in a ham­mock slung between two trees in the pitch black night lis­ten­ing to the ancient creek relent­lessly roar by. The rest of the guys slept in the cabin…although I did exchange places with them a few times. We’d some­times light a fire on some rocks in the mid­dle of the creek and hang out in a nat­ural hot spring made from a cir­cle of stones fed from a pipe car­ry­ing hot water from a nat­ural spring. The pool of flick­er­ing light from the fire burn­ing on the rock above our heads bare­ly made a dent in the ink black dark­ness sur­round­ing us.
It was all so amaz­ing; I knew I want­ed to go north.
The band rent­ed an apart­ment on Buchan­nan Street near Japan Town in San Francisco…we’d often eat at Tommy’s Joint…famous for their Buf­falo Stew. We lat­er moved across the Gold­en Gate Bridge to Marin Coun­ty and stayed at a house in Ross with a bunch of oth­er musi­cians, includ­ing the great key­board play­er Howie Wales. The house was owned by Buck Sum­ski, an attor­ney. We’d get high on this hor­ri­ble stuff I’d nev­er heard of before com­ing to Cal­i­for­nia called “Amoe­ba Weed”…I was cer­tain I could hear my brain cells pop­ping. It turned out to be our circle’s name for Angel Dust…or PCP…parsley soaked in horse tran­quil­izer. Char­lie hand­ed over man­age­ment to FM Rock DJ big Tom Don­ahue, who got us a record deal with Nation­al Gen­eral Records and a small record advance…so I had come over to the states with five bucks in my pock­et, and gone back to Lon­don with $5,000. My only regret was being so caught up in the oth­er­world­li­ness of it all that I didn’t write home to my par­ents or Lucy soon enough. I was twen­ty one and liv­ing day to day. I felt like I was on anoth­er planet…but I knew I’d be back. California’s like that.

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