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By Betty Eilerman on July 21, 2017 This is a "down to earth", real remembrance of how it was to grow up in a complex family, ...

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Big Bill Chronicles-Carmel Woods

Photo taken in  2011.  House looks neglected.
A simple wooden box with hinged lid sat inconspicuously on Dad's large oak desk.
It could've held paper clips or other office type items. Hidden in plain sight, Dad's box held loose leaf marijuana ready for rolling.

When the cops knocked on the front door, Dad wasn't nervous, he was sweating bullets. A lawyer, he could lose his license to practice law if busted. I don't know how he managed to stay calm and answer their questions about an attempted burglary in the neighborhood. They were just canvassing the area. The three  8-foot-tall plants in the guest room  closet were safe for now.

 Happy Hour started real early that day.

Dad and Gale's new home in Carmel was  different from previous residences.  You could say they went suburbia, Carmel-style, meaning every house and  street was on a hill, shaded with pine trees, flowers and ornate fences. Beautiful but a far cry from the country house in Santa Cruz encircled by a creek, a meadow and a county park.

My first impression of the new pad was the design. Tall fencing covered in ivy provided privacy for the walkway and the small patio. Did I mention hills yet? The garage was tucked under the living room with its high open-beam ceiling and French doors that opened onto a small porch where one could look down through the branches toward the unseen ocean. The guest room had its own entrance next to the garage.

Dad and Gale were happy here and filled the house with sunshine, love and music. Gale's baby grand piano occupied  most of the living room's west corner.

The small, winding street behind the house was up the hill, so when dad  harvested  his marijuana plants, he  shut all the windows in the brightly-painted kitchen. He worried the neighbors would grow suspicious as the windows were otherwise open to let the sun in.


My step-sisters, Julie and Kendra would come over with their friends in tow and the feel of a party was in the air. By nightfall, everyone had a  noisemaker gadget in one hand, a fat joint in the other and Bob Weir's song Mexicali Blues playing on Dad's stereo at top volume.

One of Julie's friend was a young homosexual man. At first he stayed in the background, watching the party, self-conscious, then he felt the love and joined the festivities. I remember being happy he relaxed and knew there was no negativity or even a care as to his orientation. 

 Once he relaxed though, things got a bit wild. He wanted to see the ocean, so we all piled into his van around midnight. He drove the narrow, tree-studded streets to the beach while clapping to the music, no hands on the wheel. Someone spoke quickly to him and he settled down. On the beach, he began singing while running around having a joyous time. Then everyone started singing too.
Carmel beach, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Calif.

Dad and Gale's love also went into  fostering a teenage boy named Blake Ramsey. One summer, I arrive to have a young teenage boy my age taking up residence in my Heaven. Of course, we became friends. He wanted it to go further but I resisted his advances. Then the brother-sister arguing and fighting ensued. It was too much for Gale. She would grab her asthma inhaler. I was sent back to Biloxi early.

 I harbored no animosity toward Blake though, as he had a difficult future. His Dad was on the run from the law for armed robbery and his mom lived in a tent on the Carmel river. She walked the several miles (uphill) with a Hershey candy bar for her son during their once-a-month visits.
To this day, I wonder if Blake survived and got beyond his dire situation. He didn't even know if his dad was alive or dead.

Blake was moved to another foster home some time later and I never saw him again.



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