Laurel Skye wrote me a whirlwind summary of her life experiences. I illustrate them here with photographs.
Lived in Laurel Canyon in ’64, then I got busted for pot, crossing from Mexico.
Hung out with Steve Mann, an extraordinary guitarist and singer who played with the likes of Janis Joplin (who was living in his bedroom at his mom’s house in the Valley) and Hot Tuna, and many more.
Introduced Steve to Frank Zappa and they soared, playing together.
Moved to NYC/the village and then Chicago, late ’64, maybe ’65. Married a journalist/reporter (Joel) while living in Chicago, danced topless, worked at Vogue, waitressed. Brought him back with me to L.A where I worked on Sunset Strip managing a coffee house called the Fifth Estate.late night (10pm-6am) after hours, lots of musicians, where I met Frank Z, Taj and more, dropping in after a gig to jam wth locals.
Got Joel a job below the Fifth Estate at Art Kunkins’ L.A. Free Press.
We drove to NY, (more than once) picked up friend and editor, Paul Williams. Paul started the predecessor to the Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy. Along came his girlfriend from NY, designer to all the rocks stars, being that Paul was in the industry (Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, whoever/ she was also an early creator and illustrator of comics with female heroines)
The four of us would go to Berkeley from L.A. In the Sixties, so much going on there. I had my first baby, traveled the country living in communes, (meeting interesting people, lived with a great black family with 10 kids – she taught me down-home cooking without a recipe, and sewing with a pattern – playing music) and lived in a home-built camper and at Drop City, Colorado. Three huge buildings completely built out of car parts! And housing artists and musicians and instrument makers,
Then with the Navejo, in the mountains of New Mexico, New Buffalo, where I had my first peyote experience in an all nigh vigil in a teepee for a woman giving birth. I remember it was snowing and winter. Lost our son to a car accident in the spring.
Moved to Santa Barbara, with Joel and friend Charles Bukowski.
Wrote How to Commit Revolution in Corporate America. Moved north to Southern Humboldt, pregnant. Bought 80 acres. Built a house. Learned great land skills, tanning hides, making leather clothes, learned to carve (I could carve a ball inside a cage box, hunted for food, (killed and ate a squirrel once, when I was really hungry-sorry) canned, farmed, building our house from the dirt up, milking goats, making cheese and bread. I am sure I have some of my time sequences screwed up.
Fast forward to the eighties. Third marriage, Dov from Brooklyn. (When did I have time for the second marriage?) Another son, born at home, and the house I bought at the beach in Northern Humboldt, in Westhaven) I’d have to do a time line or something to figure it all out .
Okay,well…Moved to Berkeley in ’77. Oh yeah, my house at the beach caught fire, and I had 75% of my body burned and was flown to San Jose Burn Unit, for a long stay and a lot of painful grafting. Maybe that was around ’75 – oh that reminds me, I had cancer too, I think that was ’73, and had a bunch of surgeries. Okay, now flash to Berkeley… bought a house on 7th and Allston for $16,000, illustrated and printed a line of astrology greeting cards, made a Tibetan Calendar, opened a juicebar/restaurant next to what used to be the Co-op on Unversity. My two young boys, Serge and Jesh went to Whittier School and Cragmont, learned a little Chinese calligraphy, and Dov decided to be a doctor and went back to Berkeley for schooling.
Lived there fiveish years. Sold the restaurant (‘Oasis/A Naturally Small Restaurant’) left the country, moved to Montreal, Dov went to medical school, I went to school of Interbeaute and became a hairdresser (but never did it again). Did a small line of greeting cards. Four years in Montreal, moved to SF.
Dov did his internship in SF. Marley was born. Moved to Portland for three years, started making and selling leather stuff. Turned down a deal with Nordstroms.
Went back to CA. Dov became an anesthesiologist. Bought a huge house in Modesto. Had cavillions of dollars. I had a car accident, rolling over 3x on the freeway. Lost my memory, traveled through light years and came back, but changed. No words about that one.
Sold the big house, moved back up to Humboldt. Dov got another hospital job. I decided to buy a house then. Oh yeah, I had been taking care of my mom for several,years who was 85. My mom, Marley and. Lived in the house I bought. Where we are living now.
Dov came back, we got divorced. Mom died. I took Marley out of school, to go to Ravenna to study mosaics. Came back to Arcata and set up a studio and started teaching classes here and selling mosaic supplies. Don’t play guitar anymore.( oh that reminds me …I hosted West African musicians at my Arcata House (great food!) for about ten years, but that got crazy when my mosaic classes stated getting bigger and more often). I kinda had to choose one or the other. Many of my West African friends still stay (from Chico and Oakland) when they’re in town, but not a whole house full and all night parties anymore.
Never had much of a real job that lasted more than 6 months. I have no ‘normal’ career skills per se. I basically stopped going to school in 4th grade, and they’d have to send out the truant officers and reel me back in. I’d be absent from school, on average, about 69 days a year, out of I’m not sure how much, since I never much learned math anyway, but I know it was too long to say I just had a ‘really bad cold.’ Haha.
Anyway, Kept going back to Italy (Cortona, Tuscany) to teach with Marley, and Puerto Vallarta and Montreal and Miami, L.A. Virginia, NJ, NY, Seattle, DC, Philly, Chicago, NC…all over really.
Wrote a book Mosaic Renaissance. I’m negotiating now for it to go into a second publishing
We just spent a month in Paris n October. When I got back, I had decided to slow down and not take anymore jobs for awhile but it looks like I already have classes lined up here in the summer, another in Asheville, NC and Santa Barbara and I agreed to do this 6′ peacock for a client in Ferndale. I guess retirement is not my forte, plus I want t mosaic a border on my decrepit driveway.
That’s way more stuff then anyone would ever want to know! I’m just out at a cafe having my morning double espresso. Well my Airbnb guests will need breakfast before they take off for Texas, so I’d better go make them something.
Like I said…I’ve been known to talk a lot.
Okay, now we are back to my voice. Wow. Just wow. What a glorious life she lived.
My friend read through it. He claims to have known her at Drop City. Could be, who knows. What about her story?