James peer incredulously into Robbie's face, beamed at him then at me and then at his father. He sounded amazed as he spoke in a carefully hushed voice, "He's a brother!", "We got a brother!"
We had spent many months preparing James for the arrival of his sibling. Typical of the times we couldn't have known it would be a boy and we didn't want James to be disappointed if the baby was a girl so we just told him that whatever the baby was we would all love it and play with it, (when it was big enough) and help it to grow up big and strong.
He had taken the message to heart and by the time Robbie had arrived James was well prepared to be a big brother to whomever the baby turned out to be. There was however no mistaking his joy at the prospect of being a big brother to a little brother. A joy that persists more than 40 years later.
Old wood frame residence in El Cajon, CA:
"I look at you all, still my guitar gently weeps." The music floated from one dusk-darkened room to the next. Someone had scored a copy of the new White and had brought it along to share with the house.
Nearly everybody loved the Beatles and I was no exception. I sat back on the oversized pillows that littered the living room floor letting my thoughts wander.
Here and there tiny glowing red dots bloomed and dimmed almost twinkling in time with the music. Behind each dot a friend smoking and listening.
I had spent the afternoon learning to smoke. I was 29 and just getting around to learning to smoke. I'd had asthma as a kid and tried to smoke once when I was about 14. I just about choked to death. So I never tried it again. Until that afternoon.
It wasn't because I wanted to smoke cigarettes that I had learned but because I tried to smoke dope with my friends and choked on it like I did on that first cigarette so long before.
Somebody suggested I try a Marlboro or two just to get my lungs used to the assault of smoke. It took me a while to get used it enough so I could really inhale.
Once I could inhale I thought I was high. One of the guys helping me said that I was just feeling a buzz from the tobacco. He told me to just chill for a while and when I felt more normal to try a joint. He was so right. The Marlboro buzz was nothing like the one from the joint.
Since it was my first time smoking dope I spent a lot of time just learning to maintain. A word that until that evening had held little social significance for me.
Fortunately I had already planned to spend the night. My friends were very helpful and after a while I was feeling a lot more myself only better.
In those days dope was usually sold in bags weighed by the ounce not the gram. The bags tended to be a little on the generous side. Often a nickel bag weighed more like an ounce plus ; usually plus enough for an extra joint or two merely for purposes of proving the quality of the weed to the prospective buyer.
The stuff my friends had was from such a bag but since they were acquainted with their source they hadn't felt the need to test its quality so the next morning they gave me a parting gift of a couple extra joints. I took them home hoping to turn Charlie on.
That night Charlie got home late as usual and was tired from a hectic day at work so I suggested we share a joint. He took to it like the proverbial duck to water. We had a lot of fun together for the next few months smoking and munching.
Now here's a funny thing about Charlie, he loved to smoke dope but hated for me to smoke cigarettes. I never could figure that one out.
It may have had something to do with the fact that we could, (and usually did ) smoke dope in the privacy of our own home by ourselves and always after the kids had been put to bed.
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