Freeform thoughts, recollections and remeberances from The Brute on a lifelong love.
Dreaming out-Loud. 10/13/18
(A Brute's first Remembrance)
ON my first full stand-up I notice my soggy-squishy bottom felt better, and there was a chocolate-brown wall about me.
What was most dazzling was that hypnotizing color? I do not recall, but the second had powered my sense of touch.
Holding bars and gliding down I was again floating in a stinging swamp. I wanted to leave that stink and grab a Brown Wall.
It seems all my life I've run into swamps, but with a bit of determination there were canoe’s. ----Gary Carlson "Is the Brute"---
Star Light Star Bright
I was about three years old and I spent much time with grandma Bessie who had a bedroom in our upstairs next to mine. My room had three walls and one with rows and rows of glass pane window's as it was an upstairs sun porch. This was my bedroom but this evening it was the MoMA for me, when a light force jerked my tiny-head agog-ha, my first night that I noticed the sky filled with star's.
3-Month Beach Bum
I had a mind smacking for continuouse excitement. Pedaling my tiny red tricycle, I spotted Bessie had forgotten to close the folding stair-gate, and without prejudice, made the dash for the hole. I spent that summer car-sitting watching the family splashing on the beach of Ottertail Lake unable to walk. The University of Minnesota Medical Center was soon to be a 3-month long stay
(1979) Even that young, staring at Lonnie's home in my orange 1976 mustang I suddenly hit the ignition realizeing obsession was ugly before I even went to AA many years latter. My Beacon Hill neighbor was Seattle's "Dragon Lady" and so I chose China Town for my new extended drug party.
Back to "The Last Person to Leave Seattle Please Turn out the Lights."
OMG, the Fall of 69: renting a home I loved near the airport that sucked my monthly income. The option to buy intrigued but Ed a electrician, on my Pan Am crew, gave me a knowing stare one lunch break. “Don’t spend a lot, get a cheap house in a kept-up neighborhood Gary.”
Ed and his wife had been flipping affordable homes many years, making good money. He said that that last weekend he and his wife had checked a house in South Park near Boeing Field.
“Take a look Gary.” Something in Ed’s stare and the fact he spoke little got my attention.
“Next door said the owner was offered $5000 and was sad she turned it down because pulled insurance for sitting empty five years.
One morning, my wife told me that she would drive me to work in my car.
Late night in front of our hanger no car showed so I hitchhiked. when I walk through our door it was an empty apartment except a picture of a three-masted ship next to my lamp. Just the day before the salesman danced on the coffee table showing us our house-full of great quality. MY head was swimming.
Using her lawyer, I paid 3 years alimony lousing everything I owned.
Now 25 and buying a home I’m again using their attorney.
Ed gives me advice on the $5000 at 5% payment. “Gary walk if you don’t get it.” Ed’s word was law to me.
I went from $300 monthly to $57 payments with a stipulation that if I missed 3 month’s, the house would revert.
One-year latter, being in a broken-arm car crash I moved to a glamorous guesthouse. It was stinking thinking as that move lost Sara my cat and almost my home. I rented it to a party that only paid part of the first month rent. The 4th month I made my move, breaking the law. Removing all the doors and throwing eviction notices around my shack. Now, laid-off for the winter but roasting back home.
As I left my ex-wife attorney's office, I ran into this gentleman that was in his late 50's who asked me questions about why I was there. He was tall, thin, obviously some kind of executive. Over coffee he asked if I'd like to go home with him. I soon moved in saving on rent. I now learned he was the secretary treasurer of the ILWU. He proudly said his brother had been killed founding the Seattle branch of that union.
I replaced the great Mister Davis who retired as PAA janitor. My wife's best friend April’s husband was without driver’s license and we drove to Todd shipyard every day from Bremerton. Day after day, me stopping at the airline’s employment Department. Sure, enough they soon tired of me. My boss said that having deployment in Vietnam cinched my deal. After 3 months the credit union loaned $3000 and our apartment became furnished.
Mister Davis’s airport Hilton retirement party was a flabbergasting sight. Rock stars packed the bar as they were heading home from the Hendrix funeral. Mister Davis deserved glamour; showing me work-pride that kept me a level above Anarchy in that coming bad-ass storm: shining brass no problem. Soon Mrs. Davis drop’s by and then he had died. “I knew why.”
A kid arrived at Pan American handing papers of divorce. Then a ticket agent at the airline rented me a cubicle in his commercial building. “I hope you don't mind sharing space with a few young Alaskan airline mechanics Gary?” These were kids with Harley bikes and mint cars. While I was at work the lamp and picture had Disappeared. The 57 Chev. said. “What could I do she said she was your wife?” The next day he found me a 1949 Ford Ranchero. With two paintbrushes we turned a overhead-cam-flat-head hippie.
The no wife hole, till divorce, I was Marijuana free. Back in 1967 Saigon, waiting my leave back home at the Annapolis hotel on Plantation Road, I found a barber shop selling Marlboro-pack’s packed with marijuana. A hotel of sailors I found three conspirators. Pulling off the balcony nob we would sit puffing, listing to Nancy Wilson on my tap deck. Stoned I looked over Plantation and saw white picket fences. Now in 1969 Seattle I shared life with three mechanics; partying-puffing nightly on go-go girls at Sea-Tac’s "My-Place Tavern."
Separation before divorce ate my paycheck. I bonded with a Pan American commissary employee. Mark would pull food and booze off a jet keeping bottles of Moet Chandon or maybe a bottle of Chateau Margaux. All our loot originated: No. 3 rue Royale Paris. Drizzle or clear, Mr. Hefty and I bombed on fine French in our bay-side park gazebo.
(My First Sight of Robert)
Artist Robert Laughlin was standing with his young friend Larry Foss, who I later discovered carried a Bull Constructor for the Cockettes. My focus was the young friend until Robert dismissed Mr Foss. The bar was closing, so Robert and I closed in on each other. At RL's Hells Kitchen walk up: stopping outside, he sprayed "The Decorators" on the side of a deli across from his apartment. Leaving as the sun was peeping, I said to Robert, "Let's meet in two days at the top of the Empire State Building." One would show: one, using extreme latitude would rook.
(Day After the PROMISE)
At the time I met Robert, I was working much overtime at Pan Am, and that day after our meeting was no different. I wasn't going to take overtime, but I forgot about the promise when my lead man yelled up to my 747 belly. "Do you want overtime?" I hesitated. "If you accept: ”Triple time and a half Gary.” Right after I accepted, I remembered again the promise to RL about the top of the Empire State Building. A sudden longing surged inside me, but how would I ever find him?
(A Plan to Seek Out Robert)
I lived in a Kew Garden Queens airline commuting house with pilots and stewardesses. Reading for bed that evening; I dressed again. There was this incredible loss feeling burning inside my sole. A pilot had giving me access to his new sports car, Snapping the key off the kitchen hook, and stepping into the blue racer: away my heart and I went.
Remembering his apartment was near 10th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen and thinking back before Robert and I went to his apartment; he sprayed graffiti of "The Decorators" on a wall of a deli that was across from his apartment. I decided I would drive up 10th Avenue looking down the side streets for Robert’s tag-graffiti.
(Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Form)
Stopping at White Castle near home for a slider and sitting across a juvenile Italian staring at the borrowed 280ZX; I pretended not to notice. Just finishing licking the ketchup-mustard off my lips the kid approached asking if he could have a short ride. Missing a beat, I said “you have to take all your clothes off.” “Sure” was a surprising answer. Driving to Manhattan I found my new friend easy talking mostly not seeing his face. The thought hit me that leaving him in the muscle car was not an option as I did not want a pilot pissed-off about a missing car.
(Ground 0 with an Around-the-Block Brat)
Driving with Tony on the way to Manhattan he was telling me how his dad and brother were the Mafia. Because he was afraid that I would become stimulated by his naked body, I figured. As we arrived in Manhattan his story seemed very plausible and complicated. Tony resolved the blue-280ZX-racer problem as we pulled in front of the Hells Kitchen apartment by slipping on shorts and tee. “I’m coming with.” “OK but you can’t let my friend see you." Finally, a couple arrived, and, like that, my copilot was no longer beside me but had his foot in the ajar entrance door. Tony D. wanted my Loughlin reunion over and back to Kew Gardens NOW.
(Strength in Moment)
On the second floor landing a door was a jar, and cold conditioning blast-bit my back as I started up towards Roberts third floor with strong feelings that I was about to die as my life was getting too uplifted-pleasant. Turning to the kid behind, I stage-whispered “stay there, have just you head showing through the railing.” I walked to the door knocked, herd whispers but no answer. “It is Gary, and I am sliding my number under, so call me tomorrow.” RL had a trick.
When we arrived back at the House; the little-monster-boy followed me in. looking right I saw two pilots watching TV. No longer worried about ‘the shadow’ I dashed to the basement where Tony would never follow. The trip was pressing my mind but calming me was Robert had his (trick) which neutralized my missing the Empire State Building reunion. Laying back I could not sleep; but then Betsy awoke me calling me to take a call on our hallway payphone. It had to be Robert, no one else had my number. Well, Pan Am scheduling did.
(Wait Versus Weight)
Hanging up the phone, I dressed, garbed the keys off the kitchen hook and was in the z80 headed for Manhattan. Taking longer than I expected with bad traffic I pulled into Hell’s Kitchen hoping RL was still waiting and voilà he was on his stoop.
He climbed in the car never bringing up Empire State Building Build. Instead, he retrieved a vase from a brown bag, handing it to me. “Feel the weight; everything great has a great weight.” It would be over 20 years before telling me he waited three hours on the building top.
(Under Full Sail)
Robert and I started going shopping together in my blue 1967 Plymouth Station Wagon I had used for spending time on my 34ft cabin cruiser parked in the hamlet of Oyster Bay L.I. Built for smuggling whiskey from the Bahamas to Florida in the 1930’s it ended in Oyster Bay where a retired Lt. Cmdr. had kept it ship-shape for many years before his untimely death. We piled up a bunch of 280Z parking tickets dating; wigging-out the pilot, so the Plymouth was again my it-car. (Mid summer 1980)
(The Big Wig-Out)
My marrow was startled shopping a long Island thrift store. Robert browsed store aisles and a bit behind him I was always the puppy following when I decided to stop and start looking at items for myself. Right away Robert turned and started screaming that I was so paranoid that a lady's department was “a-taboo” Then back at the boat his anger exploded till he grabbed his days treasures deep-sixing them over the side. For my part, I was beyond caring about RL’s denigrating. I was no longer that youth that did “great Seattle real estate” then lousing it all. I was alive thank God.
(Swimming in a Cocktail Glass)
Our early days were not demonstrative, so no intertwining of fingers, but Charlie Pride's Crystal Chandeliers was our mantra. One or the other of us would suddenly start singing, "The crystal chandeliers lit up the paintings on our walls, the marble statuettes are standing stately in our halls." Also, Gary was exposed to RL’s popular culture world, as my Pan Am black work shoes, black Levi's pants, and white t-shirt with short hair, had me ready for a “Holiday in Cambodia.”
(Trip to Jerusalem)
That one and only time I snuck Robert inside my PAA commuting pad was to show RL a medal deco table I had been bragging about next to my bed. His veridic was not unkindly made “cheap middle-class deco.” Over the next 31 years it was often redelivered, but harshly so, for what I had brought to our table. That day had a brilliant Loughlin-maneuver that would change both our lives: when not looking, he unlocked my basement window above that table.
(Our '68 Blue Plymouth Wagon had Full Tank.)
I had put in my Miami transfer request and then forgot. Suddenly it was time to hit Interstate 95, so I gave away our Oyster Bay cruiser, telling RL about the transfer. He did not say much., I did not speak to the kid that day as his pad was phoneless. It became late as I fell in deep sleep, waking up early morning. Sitting on the bed edge with no Robert, I realized how a part of me RL was now. Turning around to strip the bed; “There was Robert.” He crawled in the unlocked basement window at dark-thirty.
(Stop and Go Driving)
That morning heading south our radio came alive with John Lennon’s Starting Over. This was us: leaving everything and everyone behind as we crossed the Manhattan bridge onto Canal Street. We had not made the Holland and 95 when RL yelled STOP at Canal Used Office. He came out saying he bought 40 Eames fiberglass armchairs. Robert undid the legs roping them to the wagons top then stacking the shells in the empty back. Now there would be a detour to the Warhol Factory.
Smiling Until my Teeth Hurt.
From the used furniture, we went directly to the Warhol Factory in Union Square. I parked the Plymouth where there was 'no parking', deciding to take a chance with expensive NYC tickets. On the third guarded floor we passed Brigid Berlin after Andy nodded us in. Standing next to Warhol was his off-site silk-screener Rupert Smith who I knew before I met Robert; going to Mr. Smith's Happening Parties in abandoned lower east parking garages. I would always buy Moët for Rupert and myself at these happenings. Mr. Smith refused taking me up to Warhol’s. Now I was in the factory face-to-face with Warhol and Rupert thanks to Robert. Waving to Mr. Smith “HI RUPERT!”
Our head on the target.
I knew Andy liked Robert as he always seemed to perk up when RL walked onto the factory floor. In hindsight I believe the attraction to Robert was that he was transparently honest with a brilliant quirky mind. We received $900 for the forty am armchairs which today would seem like a deal for Warhol, but 1980 was before people cared about modern so actually, Warhol was generous. Vincent Fremont signed Warhol’s check for us; then we went away to Warhol’s ‘Chemical Bank.’ Cash in our fists we headed deep into the south.
For You, for Me, for Modernity. Forever.
We left Manhattan through the Holland tunnel taking I-95. I drove from late morning to 3:00 AM. Traveling ‘dark’ Robert could not use his powerful sonar searching out thrifting locations. When I could drive no more, we found a vacancy, dropping off fast asleep. Waking early and pulling drapes I saw the blue ridge mountains tainted with roses drenching the morning sun. Tired I had not noticed the pool at our door front; “Robert, I wonder if we can swim in our underwear?” A twisted smile formed on my lips, He made life interesting with good old joy and financial peace. Robert spoke "This move is going to be so healthy poopy.” My life was wonderful again too. “Let’s get wet poopy”.
Wheels Spinning Back Atcha
Our Miami bound wagon had stolen Seattle plates: I took a flight to Seattle just for the purpose of lifting them off a parked car with the sideline of injecting drugs with a Japanese American friend. Back then I was doing a lot of overtime but drinking every night, tipping very heavily. Once a bartender asked me his name and when I said I did not know, he said you're the only person I know that can tip $50,00 and not know the bartender’s name. Then I noticed my left arm was windmilling out the Plymouth window. The last Seattle year before RL was pure angst.
Heck-yeah, “A Fortune Beyond Counting.”
Not far from Florida Robert spotted an antique store at an i-95 turn off. There was a gas station a couple of blocks from that shop, stopping at the pump Robert took off tee and shorts with Bambi legs. I went into the station’s pitstop men's room, finding a sticky floor: pulling a long chain on a ceiling cistern and with water rushing, I thought this was my new life! Robert has washed away my past and I was sticking with him.
(1980) American Modern Miami Beach
Once in Miami Beach RL immediately began looking for a place, we might rent, and in a half hour he found the Washinton Street ‘Henry Hotel’ with a for rent on the glass lobby door. It had terrazzo floors with one corer window of rounded glass bricks. We were told the rent for the lobby would be $350.00, so Robert said “we shall park here till we can move in.” No longer thinking for myself, it did not don on me sleeping on a busy street in a station wagon with stolen plates was problematic.
Healthy Miami wasn't healthy in the beginning. My pay records never showed, plus Robert had a SF client who did deco windows at Burdines; but seeing him, he told RL that he no longer worked for the outfit and wasn't interested in expanding his glass collection. So, we slept in the car, then ran across spectacular power-white sand into breaking waves to bath, returning with boils about our body.
Robert was forced to be at the airport with me while I worked. Always spying on me when my crew and I took our break at McDonald's: filled with soaring white ‘Eero Saarinen’ tulip chairs, which RL referred to it as the "Cafe Knoll." At the end of my shift, we met at the fabulous black terrazzo art-floor on the international concourse. Then back to night parking at the Henry Hotel on Washington Ave.
Got the Look
After the ocean bath, we crawled in the back of the station wagon and were soon fast asleep. Sometime during the night, a bright light flashed in my face, and I realized it was the police. I had worried about my stolen WA plates from day one. After one of the officers asked for my identification, I handed him my Pan American ID card which I believe was the smartest thing I did all day. I told him about my job transferring from Manhattan where I loaded cargo. Why don't you park your car at the Pan Am lot where it is safe? My PAA identification saved the day; so away we went to the tropical plush Pan Am lot.
When is a Home Not a House?
Robert and I were three straight weeks without my pay and living in a car; while borrowing from crew members to eat. On the months 4th week Robert circled a calendar showing his faith I would have a payday then. About 4 days before the circle date Robert said I should go to the Henry hotel management saying that we would have, first and last month’s rent on that circle date for our ‘Futurerama’ store front. I did not believe this would fly, but did so, to sidestep a Loughlin verbal Tomahawk. “Voila, everything worked to script.”
Peace on Earth and a New Farrari!
When we moved into the Henry hotel Lobby, Darling Robert started shopping Ocean Boulevard and discovered the New Yorker was renovating, getting rid of their 1930’s ‘Wolfgang Hoffmann’ tubular. Being the price was hauling it away, in less than a week after moving into Futurerama it was wall to wall American modern. By selling Warhol three Ocean Boulevard hotels of Hoffmann, Andy bestowed Robert a nickname “The Chairman.”
(No More Kicking in Bar Doors)
After my evening shift Robert and I would head out finding Miami Beach gay bar’s. Robert was an excellent dancer but all the gay bars in 1980 Miami Beach had a 1950s feel. No one wanted to dance so excellent dancer Robert would get out on the floor and hypnotize everyone. One time he went to the jukebox and put on a “Yoko Ono,” and soon someone kicked the box a good one. When Robert was back at our table, he said “that's why Yoko had so many scratches. Afterword Mr. Loughlin started collecting records and paintbrushes. Never having painted before he canvas executed the first thing he saw, our ‘Nakashima’ coffee table.
(Our First Rodeo)
Robert and I had discovered buying items around Miami Beach and on highway US-One towards Palm Beach. We had a large space in that Henry hotel lobby, but it was filling fast: more importantly it was depleting the Pan Am paydays, so we needed a local client. The ‘Burdines’ department store gentleman was no longer an option, suddenly Robert, “I have the telephone of someone that might work.” After, RL, “we are to meet this lady at the Welcome to Miami Beach sign.” Arriving RL spilled coffee on his crouch, SHIT, then pointing, “She’s got a helicopter: I hope Franky doesn’t think I am ridding on that-thing?”
(Moon the Liftoff)
Parking in the green field we soon were standing in front of Frankie and her handsome pilot. He was about 35 years old and if wearing military fatigues, you would not doubt that he was your leader. Frankie, though, was in olive green, with shoulder epaulettes but the material was silk and only suggested military. When Frankie said we were going to go shopping in Palm Beach Robert was on the peak of rudeness, but Wolfson diffused it explaining that the craft was new and in trouble would go "woosh to the ground". Many times, Robert would treat Frankie less than cordially, but she would always just laugh it off saying “oh Robert”.
(Much More than Fairbanks AK)
The first helicopter ride since Vietnam and I knew Frankie was telling the truth when she said the outfit would go woosh to the ground. Between the pilot and the copilot was a lever used to disengage the blade If the craft was in trouble, then the flowing air would force the blade to reverse causing drag and slowing the descent. The first thing Mrs. Wilson said after liftoff was “you name a city and I'll tell you what we own there.” I said “Fairbanks” she. “Coca-Cola Bottling”. Much laughter on my part. Frankie, “this is a serious game”.
Robert was adamant that we go to the Salvation Army and with fuss Frankie relented. Then RL pointed “Gary that's what a mansard roof looks like.” Frankie smiled and touched lightly on my arm with knowing. We were now allies of this genius-monsters’ fierce opinions; the only thing missing was music. In the distance I spotted Salvation. I wish I could remember the driver, as it is so strange revisiting old thoughts.
(Our daughter of the moon.)
Before the car stopped 'skippy Loughlin' was out the door and Salvation swallowed. By the time Frankie and I entered Robert had already found three Angelo Lelli Triennale floor lamps. Frankie: “I will go pay for them”. RL: No, that is not how it works. I pay, then you pay me Frankie!
(Is it called Gitche Gumee?)
Back at the pad we took off with the Lelli’s sticking out from the copter’s backend. In the air Frankie asked me if I had time for lunch on a little island before work? I said I had to be at PAA by 1:00 PM. Frankie “then its lunch we go.”
(Island in the sun.)
The island that the restaurant was on was glittering and small and when we landed Robert asked Frankie if the pilot was going to eat with us. She replied that there was only room for one helicopter on the pad at a time so the pilot would have to be in the air while we ate. Then added, “don't worry about him he has his nude beaches.”
For the sake of the reader, I will surf to the day she shop-stopped at Futurerama. We had spent time glowing the terrazzo floor and curved glass brick window; suddenly, a Lady in White showed in the door jam. The place looked wonderful until her cream shoes stepped-in, put their shadow on the place, OMG what a damp! Frankie went straight to a vase tipping it over to see its Hallmark, dropping a soaking potato out. Frankie laughed, she never looked down on us: thinking us amusing. She had too much respect for Robert's genius.
(So pent up)
Sometime after our helicopter Shopping, Frankie picked us up one late afternoon and brought us to her penthouse apartment. Entering Robert looked around the large room and said “you collect antiques? Frankie laughed, everything was 1970s chrome, and we were now in amorphic 1980. After our visit we went back down to the garage and looking around I said “Frankie, everyone here has a Rolls Royce, and you only have a BMW. Looking at me and replying with a glitter in her eye. “I have the penthouse.”
I don't remember why, but one day Frankie and I were riding in her BMW and she was explaining how she thought Robert was so wonderful and that she was happy he was in her life. Then she looked down, and I followed her eyes and realized that my balls were hanging out of my cutoff jeans. Frankie smiled and said, “I like you too Gary”. Despite my embarrassment, she and I had a very good laugh.
(The Rum Road)