Apr 1, 2015

How a Typewriter Saved my Life

How a Typewriter Saved my Life
[or at least made it tolerable, for awhile]

It was early in October, 1961, and I had just returned from several weeks on-the-road, hitch-hiking from my home in El Monte, California, up through the San Fernando Valley and over the ‘grapevine’ and further north to Fresno. From Fresno I headed east into the Sierra Nevada Mountains (King’s Canyon), but after a delightful week or so of wandering the canyons and climbing pinnacles above Bubb’s Creek, and the Kearsarge Lakes I descended to Zumwalt meadow and caught a series of rides that took me eventually (that’s another story) to San Francisco. I spent July living above the ’Tivoli’ restaurant under a makeshift discarded carpet tent in the heart of Chinatown, walking North Beach, and ‘hanging out’ at City Lights Bookstore, the Enigma coffeehouse, Coits Tower, or the Embarcadero, (too young for Specs or Vesuvio), writing what I thought was monumental poetry on the backs of discarded envelopes. Eventually I realized my pockets were almost empty and there would be no more soup at F….. (I’ve forgotten the name of the cafe but it was something like Ferraros), and so made a hasty, hungry retreat down highway 101, arriving home, after a series of adventures unthinkable today, early one morning to my familiar, welcoming bed.

The next day, or the next, or the one after that, confused and having no particular plan for my future, college applications having been used to light campfires, I enlisted in the United States Air Force.

But let us skip ahead to the significance of the typewriter.

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