The years passed as all years do…. Each a little quicker than the last,
and you begin to feel like life is that horse that turns homeward, with quickening strides, warm rewards and comfort awaiting the return.
The eighties were fun for me. There was a certain joyous abandon,
more partying, less worry. Money, although not quite like the sixties,
still was more readily available, and options appeared more frequently.
How much was the decade, and how much was me? I’ll never know,
although certainly when you’re in your prime, things seem easier in
I worked hard, six days a week, covered my bills, fed my kids, and
had a good time.
Still this certain person persistently appeared in my thoughts, and
often I was sure he was on his way, or even nearby, looking
for my face.
There were times I meditated on his spirit, like a Santera named
Juana had told me to do. She was sure she had felt him, seen him,
and known his energies and whereabouts.
I would doubt her on many occasions, as I am want to do with any
psychic, but there were those times…. Like one day, as I arrived at
the San Fran store where I was working with my friend D, the one
on Haight that was known as the Weird Store… And as I got out of
the car, there was Juana, and she told me that someone close to me
had died, and had visited her. She said he was confused, but that she
did what she could to help him, and that he would be ok.
Interestingly enough, yes indeed, someone I knew Had just died
that week, a friend named Jimmy, who was the original drummer
for Steely Dan, and it was terribly sad in our little town, and for a
lot of people.
He had left suddenly, unexpectedly, and in an inebriated state, by
drowning. I had heard that when a spirit leaves this way, inebriated
by alcohol, as in this case, or drugs of any kind, it is confused for a
while, trying to understand what has happened.
So yes, she did have abilities, or as my friend Sterling used to say…
”she had her toe in God’s puddle”……
When Alcir showed up in my home with no warning, it was 1986.
I actually had seen him once before, although I really didn’t realize
it til much later.
I had done one day’s work as a Tender on an Urchin Boat… it paid
well, and I thought I’d try it out.
Turned out it was a terrible day, only three boats went out, out of
a fleet of like 30 or more boats that frequented the little harbor at
the time of the great Urchin Rush, and the boat I was on was a
battered little dinosaur.
It was harrowing, scarey at times, and it convinced me that a Mother
and Artist shouldn’t risk life and limb on an Urchin Boat with some
of the craziest men on earth…. Urchin Divers.
But there was a moment before we left the harbor, when I saw this
fellow sitting crosslegged on the bow of a small boat, long dark hair,
and the biggest grin I’d ever seen. He was completely blissed out,
in his element, and that foggy image stayed with me.
Later I recognized that grin, that bliss with the sea, that had kept well
in my mind’s eye.
Early in our time together, he laughed when he heard I had tried tending.
“Oh….! Eeeet waz Yoo!” he exclaimed. “Yes… Yoo were thaat
woooman who went out that day! Oh, I Heerd about yooo!”
Little had I known I was semi famous, but I guess I was the only
woman who ever went out on an Urchin boat at that time.
He left in mid 87, and I never heard from him again….until 2 years
later, with that phone call from Rio, and the promise that he would
return to me, to the States, and to the life he had loved so well.
He absolutely adored the States, and the life he had dreamed of
since he was a boy, watching reruns of old TV programs.
He had told me he wanted to be a diver ever since he used to
watch Sea Hunt, with Lloyd Bridges.
And I had wanted a brave and wild boyfriend with brown skin,
dark hair and snapping eyes, ever since I fell in love with Sabu
the Elephant Boy, at the age of five. He used to dive into the dark
rivers, knife in teeth, and wrestle with alligators. He rode elephants,
and could call the jungle animals when he needed help.
Gotta be careful what you wish for.
By 91, I had had enough of the struggle to meet the demands of
living alone and supporting children, when rents were doubling
and options shrinking by halves.
I decided to venture out, and left the mainland for Kauai, where my
son lived in a large condo.
One of the reasons among many, was to get away from his memory,
and the expectations that had been set up by that call. I looked for
him around every corner, and it was making me mad, as in crazy.
Problem was…. Once I was there, all I saw was guys who looked like
him. He did look like an island boy…brown skin, swimmers’ body,
big grin, white teeth, snapping dark eyes and long brown Indian hair….
…and so that part of the equation didn’t work, but the rest did.
I loved kauai, and the life style, the warmth and the aloha spirit,
which is a real and tangible thing. After Iniki hit… a force 5
Hurricane in 92… it was barely a year later that I returned to the
coast, for Hawaii would not bounce back quickly enough to make
a life happen there.
Where there had been work for me, a gallery for my art and so much abundance, was now in ruins. Not a flower grew for six months!
The hills were brown. Every building damaged, every vehicle
injured, and a year later, unemployment was running out, domestic
violence was up, and the local boys were pissed cause all the
reconstruction jobs went to mainland companies. It was a tough
time, and when they kicked us all out of the condos to make repairs
and jack up the rents, it was time to leave.
The nineties were lovely. Great small town, lots of performance
and art shows, tons of friends, and a happy home. Dinner parties,
ufo discussion group, movie-thons… dandy stuff. I even sang
the Star Spangled Banner at the fourth of July parade.
When in 2002, I decided to move to Oregon to be near my two
older kids and their children, everything changed.
Oregon is not California in so many ways.
But that’s another chapter…or ten.
So one day, and it’s late 2004, I’m on the computer, as I often was.
I had been selling on ebay for a few years, improving my skills,
and thoroughly enjoying this ever expanding universe that had
appeared in my life. So…you know how you Google someone’s
name, and start finding things pop up. Back then it didn’t cost
you to find someone like it does now.
So….. google…. Alcir de Souza, with all the middle names in between.
Yep, remembered it all, every little name that had been laid on that boy.
When he had written it down for me, I had laughed….
“Wow….everybody got in on that one” I snickered.
I tried every version, leave out the T, leave out the other…add
back the y… and then something magic happened… I started
finding things… writing…. poetry….. in Portuguese, but when I
finally got one or two translated…. Oh shit….. There he was!!
He was writing on a site with lots of other writers, and it seemed
a mix of angry political ramblings, and pure heartful love poems.
And I gleaned more…. Women, of course, but also a daughter….!
Lots of pain and drama… confusion…. And so much anger.
I spent the next three days learning what I could from what
writings I could understand. I had purchased a simple Learn
Portuguese thing, and I had listened to a million songs and
translations of songs, so that helped a little. But for me, the main
thing was He Was Alive, and Writing on the internet, and maybe,
just maybe, I could somehow reach him. I honestly just wanted
to touch in, catch up, and Know….
I wrote a brief note to the editor, and waited. And waited.
Maybe a week later, I wrote another one, but this time I said
something to the effect that this was Urgent, Important, and
that ‘he will be Very Happy to receive a message from me’…
and included a personal message to Alcir that went
something like this:
“Hello there! So…you are writing. That is wonderful!
I think you need to email me ASAP, Shithead….
The editor dropped me a note, to tell me he had forwarded the message.
And then I waited.
Eighteen Years later, and there I was, waiting once again.