California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 15 – Madam Wong’s West – The Yamamato Sisters

“Frank, this is Jill and Vickie. They’re sisters. They’re going to hang with us.”

Frank and I decide to go check out Madam Wong’s West over on Wilshire Blvd. It’s a famous rock and roll place that originated in Chinatown, (See: Tales of Rock – Esther Wong) But the place we’re going is her other location in Santa Monica. It’s within walking distance from our shitty apartment. The goal is to check out the local rock scene and try to talk to some girls.

We are drinking 102 beer at the apartment getting our pre-game on. (it was called 102 because it took them 102 times to get it right. They didn’t, because it was $2.99 for a 6 pack of 16 oz beers!) We didn’t have a name for it back then we just drank before we went out so we wouldn’t spend so much money when we went out. All this accomplished was getting us thoroughly plowed before we walked out the door and then we would just drink more. So it’s a bad idea that we did over and over again. I’m sure we did it for years after that but, youth… live and learn.

I remember that night very clearly. I was drinking a beer in the shower while I was getting ready. I had my boom box on. We had a red light bulb in our bathroom and it was cool. I was listening to “I don’t need no doctor” by Humble Pie. It was amazing.

We get all dressed up and head out, buzzed and ready to see the night in L.A.

We get to Madam Wong’s and realize that although I’m legal to drink in New Jersey at age 18, the drinking age is 21 in California. So I’m fucked.

I get an underage stamp but Frank gets a 21 stamp. Well this sucks. Fucking state laws. I’m pissed but we’ll make it work. We’re a crafty lot.

We go in and head upstairs. It’s got bands downstairs and upstairs.  I love that it’s two floors of rock. We don’t have anything like this back in Jersey. It’s like a giant house of rock. I loved it instantly and wanted to play there.

We find a cool round booth upstairs and take a seat. Some band is playing onstage and they suck. On the table there is a card that says “Two Drink Minimum” and I tell Frank to drop out jackets and go get some beers and I secure that table.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to go downstairs and procure us a couple of women to join us at our table. So go get four beers. ”

“No fuckin’ way.”

“Way.”

“Okay. Well then have at it Chaz.”

Frank doesn’t know my mad game from picking up babes in Wildwood,NJ for years.

We’ve got our booth and Frank is getting our beers and I head downstairs to hunt. I have no idea what I’m doing and I have very little knowledge of women in L.A are like but at this point I’ve had a few beers and my courage is alive and well in me due to the alcohol.

I’m wandering downstairs and I come across a pair of pretty Asian girls. I’ve never met an Asian girl before. I literally walk up to them and ask them the following:

“My friend and I have a table upstairs. Would you like to join us?”

They say an immediate yes and I take the older girl’s hand and head upstairs. I lead them to the table and Frank’s eyes are like saucers. I can tell my comrade is pleased with my kill. He’s more than pleased. He’s amazed at my prowess.

I was really cute back then and I’ve always been charming.

“Frank, this is Jill and Vickie. They’re sisters. They’re going to hang with us.”

Frank is speechless. I see the joy in his eyes. He can’t believe I pulled this off. He has no idea that this is just the beginning of our California odyssey.

We enjoyed the night with these pretty sisters and got their numbers. We wanted to see them again and go on dates with them. That’s what people did back then. We went on dates with girls. Took them to the movies and record stores and lunch and dinner spots.

Frank and I had no money but if we had a couple of little girlfriends we were going to treat them right. It’s all we knew. I’m from Philly and everybody hates me and I have little history of dating. Frank was in the junior wing of the IRA in Belfast and also has little experience with girls. We just met a really cute pair of Asian sisters. They have our full attention!

We kissed them goodnight and even took some pictures.

We want to see these girls again!

… And we will.

Oh yes… We will.

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 14 – Santa Monica, CA. – Kesslerville

We found a place in Santa Monica that was up at 23rd and Cloverfield.  There was a guy named Kessler that owned every house on this banged up old dead end street. All the houses were pretty run down so I guess you could call Kessler a Slum Lord.

Our rent back then was $40 a week. That’s cheap as hell even by 1982 prices for apartments.

It was perfect. We lived in a small one bedroom apartment on the second floor. (Over the garage) Kessler was a fat slob that had a shitty van with a dashboard clogged with trash and snakc wrappers.

His house was next door to us where he lived with his wife, and his hot blonde daughter who looked and dressed like Ellie May from the Beverly Hillbillies. (Yea…I wanted her)  He also had a son that seemed like a half-wit that lived in a trailer out back. If you looked out our bedroom window you could see the entrance and roof of the trailer. (Did this inbred have to live in the trailer o he wouldn’t diddle his sister?)

Across the hallway from us lived this old guy named Mike Lamia. He was in his forties and smoked tons of weed and delivered pizza’s for a living. He was divorced and had a couple of kids somewhere. We assumed they lived with their mom. He also said he owned a piece of land out in the desert. It sounded like he got ripped off or it didn’t exist because he said he could see his land, but couldn’t get to it. So it was either on the side of a cliff or all in his drug addled mind.

He would get high all day long and watch his little black and white TV and play the bongos. When he found out we were musicians he was always pitching us songs and we were like, yea that’s great but, fuck no.

The best thing we liked about Mike was he would always share his weed with us. The other thing we liked about Mike was the fact that he ALWAYS had pizza in his fridge. He never cared if we came into his house and grabbed some slices, heated them up and ate them. His door was always open and so was ours. It was kind of cool living next door to a burned out old hippie that had endless supplies of pizza and weed.

Frank and I both worked at restaurants so we always got fed there everyday and there was always pizza so we never went grocery shopping. It was a good setup for a couple of young musicians.

Our apartment was over a garage and Kessler let us jam down there as long as we didn’t play too loud or too late.  Liam and John would be joining us in a month and we’d have a whole band and hopefully start getting gigs. Sometimes Kessler’s daughter Patty and her friends would stop by and hang out when we were practicing. She seemed like the sweet normal one in the family. She wasn’t around much so I assumed she went to college somewhere.

The only drawback to the apartment was the roaches.

They weren’t rampant but they were small brown ones and were present. Frank and I slept in the same room on just box springs and mattresses. Frank’s bed was against the wall near the window that looked over the trailer, and mine was on the other wall by the window that was broken. There was a cardboard banner advertising a circus instead of a window pane. I didn’t give a shit because it was always warm in California.

I remember hanging some shirts up in the closet (no door) Frank and I shared. Written on the wall were the words: “Sadder… Budweiser.” I thought that was a clever statement about alcohol and regret, so I never forgot it.

There was this other couple that lived down the hall from us. They seemed nice and normal. Too normal for this neighborhood of misfits. But one night we were all partying and the doors were all open.  Frank and I are drinking these 16 oz beers called 102. Apparently it took 102 tries to get the formula for the beer right. I’m thinking, what a bunch of fuck ups theses brewers are. But… it was $3 for a six pack! We drank oceans of that shit on our limited budget.

The folks who seemed quiet and normal are fucked up out of their minds. They’re laughing and acting crazy. Even Mike thinks they’re gacked to the nines. I ask the dude what he took and he shows me a bag of mushrooms.

“Want some?”

“No thanks. We’re good.”

He points to a light switch on the wall that for some reason someone drew a turnip in marker around it. He goes: “What’s that?”

“It’s a light switch with a turnip drawn around it.”

“No it’s not! That’s my wife.”

“Your wife is right over there.”

(Points to the light switch) “Then it’s my wife’s vagina!”

“Okay….”

(Flicks the light switch to the ON position) “And now she’s turned on! Get it? HA HA HA HA!”

“Yea, dude. Whatever.”

For the first time in my life I realize that all drugs are different. You don’t just get high. Every drug makes you feel a different way and think a different way.

Mushrooms made my neighbor nuts. Weed makes Mike introspective. Booze just makes Frank and I arrogant, giggling idiots.

Mike cruises over and he is high as fuck. “Hey guys, what if the color blue isn’t the same to me as it is to you?”

Frank: (Drunk as usual) “Check the crayon box, asshole.” (Bursts out laughing)

I love him.

So we liked where we were crashing. We’d come home drunk. Get high and go to bed listening to Steve Miller’s, Abracadabra album on my boom box.

When you’re drunk and high you don’t care how many roaches are in the room in the dark.

I remember lying on that bed and thinking about my be d at home and how different my life was now.

I was happy to be away from the prison of Wildwood and my father’s idea of what our family’s life should be. Poverty was actually really nice to be with my best mate, Frank.

We’ll get there and have a great time doing it. This is only week two here in L.A.!

We need to earn some money and go out and check out the music scene in this town!

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 10 – Yuma, Arizona – Rodeo Week

We drove most of the day across Arizona and stopped in Old Tucson. We went there because Frank wanted to walk around an old western town. It had been used in several films in the past and they do daily shows there for the tourists. It was a fun couple of hours, but we wanted to get back on the road after lunch.

Around Casa Grande we exit onto highway 8 west. That’ll eventually take us to San Diego, CA.

We end up in Yuma, Arizona. It’s right on the border of the state of California. We’re nearly there!

Yuma (CocopahYuum) is a city in and the county seat[5] of Yuma CountyArizonaUnited States. It is located in the southwestern corner of the state, and the population of the city was 93,064 at the 2010 census, up from the 2000 census population of 77,515.[3]

Yuma is the principal city of the Yuma, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Yuma County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the 2014 estimated population of the Yuma MSA is 203,247.[6] More than 85,000 retirees make Yuma their winter residence.[7]

The area’s first settlers for thousands of years were Native American cultures and historic tribes. Their descendants now occupy the Cocopah and Quechan reservations.

In 1540, Spanish colonial expeditions under Hernando de Alarcon and Melchior Diaz visited the area and immediately recognized the natural crossing of the Colorado River as an ideal spot for a city. The Colorado River narrows to slightly under 1,000 feet wide in one area. Military expeditions that crossed the Colorado River at the Yuma Crossinginclude Juan Bautista de Anza (1774), the Mormon Battalion (1848) and the California Column (1862).

During and after the California Gold Rush to the late 1870s, the Yuma Crossing was known for its ferry crossings for the Southern Emigrant Trail. This was considered the gateway to California, as it was one of the few natural spots where travelers could cross the otherwise very wide Colorado River.

It’s late afternoon, and we start stopping into motels looking for a place to stay for the night. But every place we go to is booked. After about five fails we finally ask why there are no vacancies in this town. We get our answer from one of the motel clerks.

“Because it’s Rodeo Week in Yuma! It’s one of our biggest events of the whole year!”

“Any suggestions?”

Well, I see you have a van parked in our lot.  You won’t find a room for the night in this town. What we’re suggesting to people is this. Get back on highway 10. Cross over into California. The first exit you’l see is called ‘Sidewinder Exit.’ Take that exit. It puts you out in the desert. There should be a bunch of people out there camping.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

We thank her and get back on the road.

We get to that point and I see the exit. The sun is an orange disc the color of a penny in the western sky. I take Sidewinder and it puts us square in the middle of the desert. There are hundreds of vans, campers and RV’s parked everywhere. Couples and families are all out there camping, cooking and drinking and laughing. Children run about playing on the hills around us.

We find a spot, park the van and decide to do a bit of exploring.

I remember us climbing around on this little mountain. The sun is going down. It amazing how fast the Earth turns. You only really notice it at sunset. Because the sun can vanish on the horizon in a matter of minutes.

I tell Frank I’m going back to the bus but he wants to try to get to the top. I tell him I’ll wait for him back at the van drinking a beer.

I get there and relax in the vehicle sipping my beer and smoking a cig.

But about a half an hour goes by and now it’s getting dark. In the desert at night there is no light.  Maybe a few lights you can see back on the highway, but we’re a ways from the main road.

I get out of the van and start calling out to Frank.

Nothing.

Now I’m getting panicky. What if he’s lost? What if he fell and he’s hurt? What if his leg is caught in something and he’s trapped somewhere. What if he’s attacked by a mountain lion or a pack of coyotes? My anxiety is kicking into high gear and my mind is racing.

Then I get an idea. I grab the flashlight from behind my seat. I go back outside and start calling his name again and flashing the light on and off as a signal. I’m calling, whistling and flashing. Praying he’s okay.

Within a few minutes Frank emerges from the pitch blackness and appears in the flashlight beam. I’m so relieved I just grab him and hug him tightly.

“Man you had me so scared!”

“Ya, me too mate! Good thinking with the lamp!”

“Beer?”

“Fuck sake, please!”

We hung out for a bit drinking and laughing about our day, then slept in the van for the night. I thought it was cool that we spent our last night on the road sleeping in the mini bus under the stars in the California desert.

 

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Sun Stories: Kita – Chapter 4 – Entanglements- Part 2

Hank texted her on Instagram and asked her about her situation

JR had basically blown her off after 4 years and discarded this delicious beauty. Dude, she’s so nice and sweet. How could you discard such an amazing  lady?

So this new guy is seeing her and it’s going well cause he’s nice to her and that’s all she wants. She says she likes white boys and this one isn’t much better looking than the last but if he’s nice to here and that’s all that matters.

Noted…

 

‘”He lies to me. He went out to a club and said he was home.”

“We’ve grown apart.”

“I can’t have a liar in my life”

I juice her with all of my amazing relationship philosophy. She needs this. I’m happy to help this poor heartbroken girl.

“She knows at 21 she’ll leap to a new guy named Hank. He’s nice and treats her well. He Dm’d her on Instagram and that’s how it’s done now. Hopefully he’s nice or at least sends out his best representative for our dear Kita.

He simply Dm’d her on instagram. (Direct Message)

It’s that easy now.

I would have given her and her friends tickets to my show back in the day and close her properly on the bus… but I digress. (she’s a nice girl)

I adore this girl, and I’m thinking about her and I know this is just a phicklephiily surge. I’m in a relationship and I’m just having a moment. Just like I always do.

Nothing will happen.

I love Cherie and I’m just having my usual nonsense.

I would like to figure out a time I can have lunch with her though. I can’t help it. I just want to be around her (and those legs) as a trusted mentor that would love to just hang and help with wisdom.

But I’m old. I should enjoy the limited time I have with anyone at all. I thanked her for giving me the hour out of her amazing delicious life to sit and talk to me.

That’s enough. That’s all I get of this girl.

Maybe I can get more.

I’m delusional.

That could never happen.

Yea… I’m done. She’s 21. I’m insane.

 

I just want to grab dinner with her. That’s all. I’m in a relationship but my love is absent and I just want to have dinner Philly style.

I won’t do anything….

 

Kita has become new #1 at the salon because she is the queen of tanning. She really has become the woman who represents what we do.  She has that certain something that lights me up.

I’m praying as I write these words on many levels. I want my girlfriend of a year to come down here this Friday night and embrace the love that we’ve found. But I want to do much that this Wednesday night I am sitting having dinner with lovely Kita. Munching her beloved salmon and looking to me as a mentor. Would I like to split her like a ripe melon? Of course. But that’s not what Kita needs right now. Her Admiral Navy dad would have me assassinated .

I’m in love with my girlfriend, Cherie. I love our limited time together. We are Motley Crue when it comes to sex, but I miss getting pizza and a movie with my love. I’m not getting any younger and if I can only see my devoted once a month because of school and career I will seek other people for companionship. I won’t cheat baby, but I just want to eat some noodles with you and you’re never around. I know you’re working toward a degree and I am somewhat loyal to you, but occasionally  I would like to tip a glass.

I miss you all the time. You are probably one of the best most loyal women I have ever met and I would consider spending the rest of my life with, but right now we are all in flux and I need to lean into that.

So in the meantime when you’re absent I’m eating gelato.

I love you Cherie, but I am what I am.

Kita says she like white boys…

 

 

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Sun Stories: Kita – Chapter 3 – Entanglements – Part 1

Kita came in just like she said she would on days I was working. I love this. It’s classic phicklephilly without any fulfillment. A beautiful perfect Asian girl who had the right body type I like. Young girl meets a legal adult.

If I wasn’t the shark I was, I would lie and say I am here to guide her. But I’m here to devour this baby seal if she even slips of the dry rock into the sea for a minute.

I’ll give her all of the guidance, conversation and patience that maybe the Admiral should have shown her but I’m not him. I’m nothing like him. I have a conscience and I will respect and defend this baby from a bunch of douche bag boyfriends but if Kita swims anywhere near my maw she will be split in half.

 

Kita comes in and she’s having problems with her boyfriend and I love it. I know this child will leap to another young man who will send out his best representative to penetrate her and cross this Chinese girl off his list. He has no idea of the exquisite wonderland that has been opened to him.

But I see it.

It’s a another quiet day at the salon and Kita wants to chat. I’m fixated on my love. She sits in the chair and crosses her legs and as always they are exquisite and shapely. Kita has no idea that her legs alone are a point of worship for this cool dad that knows stuff about relationships and writes a dating blog. I’ve been reduced to an ape that sees a mate because of natural selection.

She begins to tell me about JR who she’s been with since she was 17. That fucker totally punched my love’s V card. They’ve been in love for years. 17! She’s 21 now and it’s been four years. He was the puppy love best representative in the beginning as this dude would be but he’s failed miserably in the last few years.

He’s become distant and controlling of my lovely girl. She’s been loyal and sweet and devoted and he’s chosen another path. Lying. Cheating. And worst of all putting her on a shelf. He blows off beauty for weeks at a time and has no contact with her. What the fuck is that? That’s immature. But I start to realize he’s known her so long he knows he can manipulate her like that now.

That’s pretty fucked up to do that to woman. I don’t know when he developed that. He may have just have a personality defect that she’s grown out of. He blows her off, breaks up with her and says bad things to her. (Uses profanity. I hate that)

She takes it because she doesn’t know any better. She’s a good girl. A good person and is really trying.

She doesn’t understand this new behavior.

But this is his real shit. He’s an insecure loser that had a girl he was tired of and started to treat her badly. Because he could. But that pup got off the leash when she met another guy.

 

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Tales of Rock – I wouldn’t Want This For My Daughter or Anybody’s Daughter: Will #MeToo Kill Off the Rock’n’Roll Groupie? – Part 1

Male rock stars of the 1970s and 80s were often notorious for sleeping with young female fans. Now women are starting to see those encounters in a very different light.

Jimmy Page Pamela Des Barres in 1973.
 Jimmy Page and Pamela Des Barres, 1973. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 2001, when the Mötley Crüe biography The Dirt was published, barely an eyebrow was raised at the debauchery described within. Even one of the darkest tales, in which Nikki Sixx said he “pretty much” raped an intoxicated woman after he had had sex with her in a cupboard and then sent Tommy Lee in to do the same, did little to damage Sixx’s reputation.

If such an account were published now, or allegations to that effect posted on social media, the artist in question would be vilified by fans and potentially subject to criminal proceedings. Brand New’s UK tour was cancelled after its frontman, Jesse Lacey, was accused last November of “soliciting nudes” from a then-underage girl; he later apologised. Support acts pulled out of touring with the Polish metal band Decapitated after they were accused of gang-raping a woman on their tour bus. (They denied the allegations and the charges were cleared in January.)

Mötley Crüe in 1984 … a reputation for excess.
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Mötley Crüe in 1984 … a reputation for excess. Photograph: Paul Natkin/WireImage

Rapper Nelly is fighting a lawsuit from a woman who accuses him of raping her on his tour bus. The suit cites allegations of sexual assault from two other women, one of which allegedly took place after a gig in Essex last December. He denies all allegations. Other, less high-profile, artists, such as Ben Hopkins of the New York duo PWR BTTM and Jonny Craig of the US band Slaves (not the UK duo), were dropped from their respective record labels when allegations of sexual misconduct, which they both deny, were posted on social media.

Even before the #MeToo movement, fans were using social media to share allegations of inappropriate conduct by musicians, but the current high-profile conversation around consent and male entitlement has not only led fans to document their experiences, but even spurred former groupies to question the power dynamic underpinning their experiences.

There is, of course, a gulf between fans who want to meet their favourite musicians and then end up being exploited (or worse) and self-confessed groupies. The latter are actively seeking sex with musicians, while the former are not. Dr Rosemary Lucy Hill, from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds, says the idea of a groupie is a complex one. She cites the example of Pamela Des Barres, who slept with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Jim Morrison and numerous others, and wrote five books about her experiences – an updated version of the most famous, I’m With the Band, is being published in April.

PWR BTTM … Ben Hopkins (right) denies allegations of misconduct.
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PWR BTTM … Ben Hopkins (right) denies allegations of misconduct. Photograph: Ebru Yildiz

“Her idea is that the groupie is the muse,” Hill says. “The way that she talks about sex with musicians as being about getting close to the music is really powerful. When you start to think about music and sex in those terms, it changes your idea of what it means to be a groupie. I’m talking about consensual sex, but some people think it’s never a free choice because of all the expectations. I think both of these things are true at the same time – and that makes it really complicated.”

Roxana Shirazi, 44, a former self-described groupie who wrote the 2011 book, The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage, about her experiences, says her own desires were her priority when she began pursuing musicians including members of Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses. “I wasn’t a 19-year-old, wide-eyed young girl – I was 28 when I first met a musician,” she says. “I was very in tune with my sexuality. I wanted to be around guys who I liked, and I wanted them to treat me equally. I wasn’t going to be of service to them; I wanted to be happy and turned on.”

Despite her confidence, she saw a dark side to the lifestyle. “It’s never possible to have full agency [as a groupie],” she says. “From the outset, the power structure is not equal. They’re famous, and, unless you’re famous yourself, you’re not on the same plane.” In The Last Living Slut, Shirazi documented what she describes as emotional abuse from the Guns N’ Roses keyboardist, Dizzy Reed(whom she claims pressured her to have an abortion). The reaction was markedly different from the condemnation such allegations tend to receive today – she was, she says, ostracised by people in the music industry. “A lot of the initial reactions were: ‘Good … well done,’” she says. “Women wrote to me and said: ‘I had the same experience with so-and-so. Do you think I should come forward?’ Then it was all shut down. If I went to LA to see my friends, there were places I couldn’t go; it was like I spoke out against this thing that I shouldn’t have.”

 

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 9 – El Paso & Las Cruces

We pulled into El Paso, Texas at dusk. It’s right on the Mexican border. The Rio Grande river is right there. The part of town we were in looked and felt like we weren’t in America anymore. It looked like Mexico. The food was Mexican, and all of the songs on the jukebox were in Spanish.

El Paso (/ɛl ˈpæs/ el PASS-oh; from Spanish, “the pass”) is a city in and the seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States. It is situated in the far western corner of the U.S. state of Texas.

El Paso stands on the Rio Grande river across the Mexico–United States border from Ciudad Juárez, the largest city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The two cities, along with Las Cruces in the neighboring U.S. state of New Mexico, form a combined international metropolitan area sometimes referred to as the Paso del Norte or El Paso–Juárez–Las Cruces. The region of over 2.7 million people constitutes the largest bilingual and binational work force in the Western Hemisphere.[6][7]

The city is the headquarters of Western Refining, a Fortune 500 company, and three publicly traded companies,[8] as well as home to the Medical Center of the Americas,[9] the only medical research and care provider complex in West Texas and southern New Mexico,[10] and the University of Texas at El Paso, the city’s primary university. The city hosts the annual Sun Bowl college football post-season game, the second oldest bowl game in the country.[11]

El Paso has a strong federal and military presence. William Beaumont Army Medical CenterBiggs Army Airfield, and Fort Bliss call the city home. Fort Bliss is one of the largest military complexes of the United States Army and the largest training area in the United States.[12] Also headquartered in El Paso are the DEA domestic field division 7El Paso Intelligence CenterJoint Task Force NorthU.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector, and U.S. Border Patrol Special Operations Group (SOG).

In 2010, El Paso received an All-America City Award. El Paso has been ranked the safest large city in the U.S. for four consecutive years[13] and has ranked in the top three since 1997.[14] As of July 1, 2016, the population estimate for the city from the U.S. Census was 683,080.[3] Its U.S. metropolitan area covers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and has a population of 841,971.[3] The El Paso metropolitan area forms part of the larger El Paso–Las Cruces CSA, with a population of 1,056,178.[3]

It was alien and cool for both of us but we always appreciated cities that looked different than the rest of America.

We had a beer in this border town but pushed on to Las Cruces New Mexico which was so close just on the eastern edge of New Mexico. We stay there without incident.

As I write this memoir I think about what Frank and I did on the trip. When we were in Georgia his Uncle took us to the greatest strip joint on Earth and I saw things I;d never seen before.

Funny thing is, looking back on this journey, Frank and I saw some vice in New Orleans but nothing major. You would think that two boys, 19 and 21 would have terrorized the countryside as we made our way across the country. We did nothing of the kind.

We drove the van all day on the way to our destination and loved the sites we saw along the way. But never did we stop and find the vice and dark fun in any of the towns we visited. We simply crashed, drank beer and watched TV in the hotel rooms we stayed in. We could have strayed and gotten into it with the locals, but maybe with him being an immigrant and me and my anxiety we just wanted to get where we were going.

It was an unspoken goal. Frank wanted to go on an adventure with someone he trusted and eventually his friends would follow. We’d have a band in LA and see what happened. He ultimately wanted to become a barrister in London. I wanted to be a rock star meta god and that was it. So here we were.

We’ll see what happens. He’s a helluva bass player so we’ll make it happen somehow. I’ve been uprooted from my life by my father’s design but I am out from under him.

Who takes their son out of high school before senior year? Oh I don’t know… a selfish self-centered cunt? (Frank’s words not mine, but mine with out a voice.) Once Janice was in Franklin and Marshall my dad was like fuck the rest of the kids in this family I’m moving them to the shore. I’ve exhausted all of my mistresses and some of them are pregnant. We here at the Provident National Bank are buried in bad loans and I need to go. I’ve painted myself into a corner and the love of my life Eileen is gone.

I will cling to Helen and the kids and dump my father’s inheritance into a gigantic over improved shore house a block from the beach in Wildwood NJ.

I think these thoughts as the 1969 Volkswagen mini bus carries my buddy and I from Belfast Northern Ireland across the desert on highway 10 into New Mexico.

I am away from my father. I love him but why? He has taught me everything I know. He taught me how to read, ride a bike, science, life, sex, people, women, everything. Why am I struggling?  Because he was so HARD on me.

Why did he have to say those things to me? Those words. Why was he so insecure? Why did he hit me? I can’t leave you dad or hit you back. I can’t fight a bully because you’re the best at that.

You were bullied as a boy. Why would you bully, hurt and scare me? What’s wrong with you?

You’re so nice. You’re a good father to my sisters but mom has a different story.  She’s your ultimate victim. Why dad? She’s been a victim her whole life. You describe her as this Japanese servant, That is some disrespectful shit Horace.

She suffered at the end of your tongue night after night. I heard you hurting with your words while she was raising your 4 kids while your tongue pleasures your mistress Eileen.

Fuck you.

A man’s word is everything. If you don’t have your word you’re nothing. You fucking liar.

My sweet sisters don’t know you. You told me everything you are when you were old. You told me the truth because you lied about so many things.

You’ve never had an original thought in your life. You love your wife because that poor woman put up with your crazy shit, you love your books because that’s where you stole all of the information you had in your head to get what you want, and you love your kids.

I believe that. You did love us dad. I know you did. As fucked up as you were. I know you loved us all so much. But I’m finally out from under your rule for good.

The 69 VW minibus rolls forward on highway 10. further than she’s ever been from the beaches of North Wildwood.

This family vehicle that was acquired in 1970 could never have imagined she would be making runs back and forth to Frankford high in Philly, and then becoming my vessel in Wildwood for fun and frivolity, But now here she is in New Mexico carrying the misfit son of the family to California to be a musician.

Frank hands me a Harp and I swig that sweet cold baby back. We’re going to California to be rock stars.

Las Cruces was nice and quiet and we’re nearly finished with our journey across America.

Las Cruces, also known as “The City of the Crosses”, is the seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 97,618,[2] and in 2015 the estimated population was 101,643,[4] making it the second largest city in the state, after Albuquerque. Las Cruces is the largest city in both Doña Ana County and southern New Mexico.[5] The Las Cruces metropolitan area had an estimated population of 213,676 in 2014.[6] It is the principal city of a metropolitan statistical area which encompasses all of Doña Ana County and is part of the larger El Paso–Las Cruces combined statistical area.

Las Cruces is the economic and geographic center of the Mesilla Valley, the agricultural region on the floodplain of the Rio Grande which extends from Hatchto the west side of El Paso, Texas. Las Cruces is the home of New Mexico State University (NMSU), New Mexico’s only land-grant university. The city’s major employer is the federal government on nearby White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range. The Organ Mountains, 10 miles (16 km) to the east, are dominant in the city’s landscape, along with the Doña Ana MountainsRobledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak. Las Cruces lies 225 miles (362 km) south of Albuquerque, 48 miles (77 km) northwest of El Paso, Texas and 46 miles (74 km) north of the Mexican border at Santa Teresa.

Spaceport America, which lies 55 miles (89 km) to the north and with corporate offices in Las Cruces, has seen the completion of several successful manned, suborbital flights. The city is also the headquarters for Virgin Galactic, the world’s first company to offer sub-orbital spaceflights.[7]

Next stop… Arizona!

 

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