I headed to back Austin after working another month in the sheet metal shop, this time intent on settling down. My buddy, Derek, was leaving town, so I moved into his place off W. 6th, and then house-sat for my friends, Paul and Cathy. I wrote some articles for the Austin Sun (earned $12!) and got hired on at the Brown Schools. With the promise of a steady paycheck, I looked for a place to stay and settle down.
- Manchester Circle (South Austin)
“There’s just one catch,” Bill, the owner, said when I called asking about a room. “I’m a musician and the band practices here a couple of times a week.”
“Perfect,” I said, and it certainly seemed to be.
I moved in, me & Bill got along great, and the job was working out well, too. We lived about 10 minutes drive from the Ranch (off Suburban Drive — no kidding!). Then, a few months later, Bill sold the house to hit the road in an RV. Fortuntately, the buyer let me stay on as a tenant with no increase in rent. The former Ranch employee who first told me to apply there, Neil, moved in to share rent. And then I met Sandy, my first real love, on her first day at work. She came home with me that evening, and moved in about a month later when Neil moved out. We had some a short series of roommates to share expenses— her brother, then a co-worker who stole from us — before our romance fell apart and I quit the Ranch.
- Couches again: Bay Area and Back
MacNaughton was headed out to the Bay Area to visit our old friend, Miskei, so I caught a ride with him. I should say, me and Brutus caught a ride, as his arrival at Manchester Circle had complicated my life somewhat. Having a dog made it even more impossible to really consider moving to the Bay, so we headed back to Texas after a few days and some memorable adventures. I started sleeping over with Sandy again, where she had moved in with some of my friends. I wanted to rekindle the flame, but it was quite thoroughly out by the time I moved out.
- Texas Renaissance Festival
Fleeing Austin, I sought the illusion of a safe harbor down at the Reni Faire. I knew several people involved with the show, so I got hired as a “barker” for a couple of shops on show days. My old boss, Cooper, was working as the King’s Carpenter, and after the faire ended, I hired on as his helper during the off-season.
Well, that didn’t last — the King banished me, as I have explained before.
After a couple of weeks couching it with friends in Austin (thanks, Cheryl & Natasha… thanks, Hank), I spotted a “Roommate Needed” sign on the bulletin board outside SaferWay (the predecessor of Whole Foods Market). I called and got directions to a house in the country south of Austin and headed out. Walking into the front room, I immediately recognized a Native American print from my friend Charles’ gallery, Ni-Wo-Da-Hi. In the middle room, a store-sized poster of the Grateful Dead Shakedown Street cover art was plastered above a piano surrounded by drums and mic stands — another band’s rehearsal house!
I grinned, saying, “Honey, I’m home.”
It was another of those times when you meet people under such intense circumstances their presence will always stay in your life. So it was with Jeff and his bandmates, Lynn and Bill and Al, as well as Jeff’s cousin, Greg.
We threw some great rock & roll parties out there — you shoulda been there!
But, all things must pass, and so did our Creedmoor heyday.
- Scott & Joanie’s (South Austin)
Having moved to Austin after leaving Houston in an unexplained hurry, Scott & Joanie offered to rent me a room just as I had to move out of Creedmoor. I moved in with them, but it never really felt like home. When I heard my old Creedmoor roomie, Jeff, needed someone to share rent again, I moved out.
- Christopher Street (South Austin)
I had a history with this house. People I had known had lived here, back to my friends, Charles and Travoris (neé Lynn) from Ni-Wo-DI-Ha. In fact, the last time I had seen Mike Eddy alive was at a impromptu evening-into-the night party here in January ’77. When Charles & Travoris moved out, Jeff’s friend & bandmate, Lynn, moved in. Jeff had moved in here as well after we left Creedmoor, and now he needed roommates since Lynn had moved. I was delighted to reunite with Jeff.
At the same time I moved in, a young carpenter working with Jeff, Ray, moved in as well. And so began the succession of roommates that marked the ’80’s at the Christopher Street house. Jeff’s girlfriend, Teri, moved in, then they both moved out. A friend of Ray’s from Arkansas; Elizabeth and her 10-year-old son, Dirk; Dave and little Dave (3 years); Billy the Kid; Albert; and Bob. Is that it? I think so…
And so I lived here through the 80s, working at the Brown Schools from night shift to trainer to Captain Video, all the while throwing the semi-occassional, semi-regular backyard beer bash. In retrospect, I guess I was trying to be like Gatsby in Bubbaland, throwing those South Austin soireés searching for my Daisy, never suspecting where she might actually turn up.
Next: Home at Last