Life Can Be Suite
I sold my entire (just about) rare record collection in 1967 in Berkeley. You know, I was a fairly good hearted person, and I recognize could have been regarded as a soft touch by the wrong kinds of people.
My boyfriend's parents were on the verge of losing their little homestead in Godforsaken Winslow, Arizona to foreclosure because the Dad was sick and had medical bills, the mom was old and the only place to work was in their little store in the front of the house, and the tourists weren't stopping by to buy small trinkets as they once did when the Uranium mining rush was really on.
I sold my records. Even Frank's unautographed copy of his first Freak Out! album that was shipped to me in a fancy flat cardboard mailer from the KPFK radio-thon -- that was sold. The New Lost City Ramblers went, too, (woe! and I had lots of them complete with modified lyric sheets inside).
Lots of records had I. Mark Damon went, too. 45s, 33s, 78s ... they went out like shellac.
All the records were transmuted into a yellow postal money order so the aged couple might be able to throw some money to the bank and live in their home a bit longer.
I pretended I was confident enough in myself that I would be able to remember the music, and I knew myself well enough that I would probably just get more records down the road when circumstances changed.
Off went the helmetless padded samurai warrior outfit, too (the one I carried with great difficulty into Christopher Isherwood's office to show him one day because he said he was interested in "Japonisme"), and my "IFIC" button that I'd got at the Dick Clark Show.
The autographed Bobby Vee album (who cares? I'd say to myself when that one went. After Bobby autographed that album sleeve for me, the one he'd accused me of stealing from his car .... I'd sent him a taunting letter. "The black ink is so thin on your autograph, Bobby, the lines kind of skip and dot through to the final swing of your Y - - - with a little spit and a piece of kleenex I can obliterate your autograph forever!" )
The hardest to part with, though, was Rin Tin Tin's autograph I'd gotten at a Hollywood meet and greet, but I had a dog by then who looked like Rinty so I figured what the heck. These people in far off Winslow, a town I'd perhaps driven through once without noticing, needed to live out their lives as long as they could in their small desert town as they had absolutely no where else to go. The cottage we were renting in Richmond, CA was too small to easily accommodate a white bread couple from the Rust and Bible Belt of Ohio, and we were struggling there, too.
(Sh*t! Charles Ives! I even sold my Charles Ives, the 4th of July Suite
.... Frank and I had talked about that once, and tried to compare the form to Billy the Kid Suite ... Hell's bells, I thought at the time as I was selling that one. How can they call it a "suite" when life can sometimes be so sour? Because in selling the records, I was afraid I would lose part of my musical memory, as well as artifacts from my personal history.)