Where Have All the Hippies Gone? Alameda



Dear Family and Friends,

Another wild day in Alameda.

The day dawned early (they always do) and I got up and did my requisite early morning computer stuff. Between this that and the other it was noon and time to go to the ballet class that Sara is taking and I have been coerced into joining. So two eight-year-olds, three teenagers and I went through two hours or so of class. Actually, it was fun. I enjoyed it and somehow have managed to limber back up enough to make it through barre and center, although this class is rather slow yet, so there is no jumping as of yet (and that’s my favorite part).

Sara did her driving around town and we came back to shower and clean up, as I had promised my friend Kami I would accompany her to a party she had been invited to this evening. She promised it would be fun and interesting and the people would be friendly. That, and, by the way, she only knew the birthday girl, no one else. Being the pidgeon that I am, I agreed. After she told me there would be both a snake dancer and a male stripper at the party. Well, after I made the kids dinner and got everything straight, she showed up at my door and we left.

Now, Kami is a very interesting person, and always meets the most unusual types of people, and they are colorful and intelligent and do interesting things, as does she. But she has the most fascinating ways about her. For example, she tells me what street this woman lives on, so I drive over there, and when I turn onto the street, ask a fairly logical question – what number? Well, its Kami, so the answer is “I don’t’ know, I was only here once, and it was late at night, so lets roll down the windows and drive real slow”. I am already laughing, but what can I do? So after two passes she recognizes the place and we park and go to the back – where the signs say the party is.

Entering the garden is like going into another world. This woman has six green thumbs, and they have all been hard at work here. The space is transformed into a glen complete with koi filled pond and islands of color light and shadow. Two enormous angels trumpet trees are festooned with large and fragrant blossoms, and furniture is strewn everywhere. About fifty or so candles are glowing in every nook and cranny, and this world is inhabited with every age and type of person you might imagine. A couple of chubby toddlers are playing, while some older kids chase each other around with water pistols, and everyone sits and eats and talks, it was really nice.

Kami insists I go in to see the house, a Victorian from about 1880. Well, this woman, Juana, is a true eclectic, and her home is filled with a mix of every imaginable item that I am sure reflects its owner. The candle theme is carried through in the house, and the odor of candle wax was heavy in the air. It was rather fitting, being that the house was so old, made it seem real, somehow. The windows were covered with pieces of old lace and antiques and antique dolls were settled here and there around the house, next to sixteen Pee Wee Herman dolls and Chairy, and the potted plants which gathered around a three foot tall little green Yoda. Like that, it went on and on, room to room – antique dolls and china doll tea sets, ancient mirrors and fantasy art and magical crystals. All covered in a fine layer of dust. The table was set up in the dining room with food of all sorts and a bevy of cakes – she was a great hostess. And made sure to make everyone feel welcome and at home.

This woman does a host of different things, and knows quite a few interesting people. Some are real hangers on from the sixties. If you were wondering, for example, what happened to the hippies, I can tell you one thing – some of them go to parties in Alameda. I guess we missed the male stripper, but shortly after our arrival the snake dancer arrived. He was one of her friends, and I knew him by his snake patterned shirt. He was a small man, about 5’6″ or so, slender, with a neatly trimmed beard and was carrying baskets.

After a while we were called into the living room. I went to sit down next to Kami, but she told me I was about to sit on the snakes, so I moved, and QUICKLY, too. Everyone settled in, and the music on the stereo is changed to some Hindi type snake charmer music, also rather Thai dancer sounding, if that makes any sense. Well, here comes the snake charmer. He has covered his head with a long scarf, ala Blackbeard, and removed his clothing in favor of a leather g-string loincloth with a fringe over it, sort of like a golf loafer. It made me laugh. It sure is interesting to live in the Bay Area. Well, he comes into the living room and gets basket number one. After placing it in the middle of the room, he starts to undulate and gyrate all over the place making little Buddha fingers (yoga style) and writhing around like a snaky guy – I had to work to not laugh. Then he bent down over his basket and started removing the smallish pythons – about three feet each, and wrapping them around his head, waist and neck – dancing around with the music. One woman, on the sofa, is really getting off on the whole thing, and I am having fun watching her.

She is busy undulating with him, so he quickly hands her one of his snakes and she starts doing that new dance, the snake groove, or something. I am always best in a corner, where I can laugh without being noticed. This is getting more interesting all the time. So he moved on to basket number two – bigger basket, bigger snakes. Here we have two boas, six feet or more, so he puts these on, does his dance, and then hands them out, although these are better wrappers, as they keep their heads out, with their little tongues flickering as he dances around. And so on to basket Number Three, the prize winning basket. This is an enormous anaconda, maybe twelve feet long, which he has trouble extricating from the basket, holds out over his head (the thing must have weighed a ton, and continues to dance. It was really strange. I think I’ve actually never seen a stranger act. And pointless, too. What was it all about? The only one who really got it was the lady on the sofa, still busy undulating with her assigned snake. I remembered I have my camera in the car, so I ran out and got it to take some pictures, in order to send out a real record ot this ridiculous idea for earning money so I can send it out later. After he puts his snakes away, the woman who has been on the sofa gets up and leaves the room. In a few minutes she returns, in her belly dancing getup – whats next? Someone changes the tape again, and arabic music begins to play. Suffice it to say that I have seen better belly dancers. But everyone had fun, as she spun around the living room and dining room.

One of the guests even took his shirt off and began to dance with her, and we all understood exactly what he was thinking. He must have studied interpretive dance, I think. It was a riot. Finally, she danced with the snake man and they really got slithery. Hmmmmmm…. It was sure different. And then they all began to kiss and hug each other. A really beautiful woman at the party I was told was actually a stripper, but she managed to keep her clothes on, at least while we were there. I suggested we leave after the belly dancing, as it was still early enough to catch a movie. Kami agreed, and we said our thank-yous and left.

We managed to get into the 10:30 showing of Armageddon, a movie I’ve been meaning to see, but keep missing. I highly recommend it! It has everything a blockbuster no-brainer should have – in big helpings. Cool destruction scenes, peril-fraught scientific scenes, great space travel computer generated parts, romance, danger, heroism, action —- and even a few tears. We laughed a lot, enjoyed all the fun stuff, and even shed a few at the appropriate moments. Movies are such a great escape – just right into the screen and you’re all gone. Thank you Hollywood.

What a day! So I had to come home and sit right down to write, before I forget all the gory details. Hope you’re having half as much fun as i. Wednesday I travel to LA for the day to find out what and when will become of my eyes and my vision. I will report when I have more news. Cannot wait, cannot wait. Must wait, though…. I will try to be patient and not fuss. Its almost 4am now, so I guess I better go find some zzzzzz’s.

Love and kisses