I remember back in high school a counselor once told me, as a freshman, that I had to know the direction of my life by the beginning of junior year. They expected a fourteen year-old kid to make life decisions that I haven’t made to this day. For me and Momma X (together since high school) it’s always been a matter of adapting to a situation, following our noses along a path of many twists and turns. It’s called life.
I guess we never had the luxury of goals. My first job was selling used cars, followed by delivering paint, a steel mill, the Haight-Ashbury, then three jobs in downtown San Francisco. When you work downtown in a major metropolitan city and hang around in bars, opportunities are to be found, friends to be made. Contacts to cultivate. A hustle here, a hustle there. A better job to be had.
I loved to cook, so had some business cards made up saying that I was “The Visiting Chef” a fly-by-night catering business I started just to make some extra bucks. Fooled somebody into thinking I was a REAL chef and they hired me up on the Mendocino coast. Came back to the city after awhile when the same guy hired me for a Marin County restaurant he was setting up. Sous chef in several places. Went on to have my own kitchen in a North Beach joint, receiving thirteen favorable reviews in four years. The one negative write-up was one comparing my curry to the best Indian restaurant in SF at the time. They forgot to mention Gaylord’s was three times the price.
Collected coins as a kid. Since I seem to gravitate to the most extreme, most esoteric areas in anything I do, the hobby found its way into ancient Greek and Roman gold, silver and bronze. U.S. Morgan dollars and Indian pennies, even early colonial issues, all started to look alike.
That interest led me to people who deal in ancient (legally obtained) art objects as well as coins. Loved the stuff. When you love something deeply it’s easy to learn. Became an art dealer in ancient and tribal art. Went on the antique show circuit. Met more people, important, society people. Invited to antique vetting committees, speaking gigs, consulting for auction houses. A good reputation! Can you imagine that!
I guess the closest I ever came to a goal was the vision of my name on a gallery window, an Egyptian mummiform figure centered below, and the word CURIOSITIES beneath that.
Year 2000—vision accomplished.
Cancer. Liver transplant 2004. Back in biz 2005. Retired. Write smut. Travel. Paris. Writing smut. Italy 7X Thailand 2X. More smut. Meet Susie Bright. She recommends ERWA. Lots o’ smut. ERWA makes me an editor. I get published. Another pinnacle! I’d always wanted to be a writer. Lisabet invites me here to OGG.
Would I like to go back to Thailand? Yes.
But when it comes to bucket lists, I’d just as soon wait and see what turns up. It’s the way I’ve always done it, and for sure I’m too old to change now.
"Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of."
"Use what you got 'cause that's all you get""
Clarence "Pine Top" Smith