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Rio del Mar beach
Santa Cruz

Alice had just moved to Iowa City and she didn't want me to drive off into the sunset. But I'd been in Iowa City for seventeen years, and I was chafing at the bit. So as soon as Joel was off to Michigan and I had found someone to live in my place for nine months and take care of Chester, I kissed Alice goodbye and headed west on Interstate Eighty.

Me at the nude beach.

Here I am at the nude beach just south of Davenport. It's (gasp!) the first time I've appeared nude on the internet!

Wayne and Karen were living out in Palo Alto -- or at the edge of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, right across from the Menalto market -- and that made things a lot easier for me. They had an attic I could sleep in, and I stayed with them for three and a half weeks, driving up to Berkeley or San Francisco every day to look for a place to live. It was a thankless task, and I hated the drive up the five-lane Bayshore freeway, or whatever it's called -- Route 101. And there were days when I thought the smartest thing to do would be to drive right back to Iowa City and collapse in Alice's arms.

9 October 1991

Dear Joel,
      . . I've just been for a run for the first time here. What a great place to run. The path curves along the clifftops down to the lighthouse, a mile and a half from here (and then curves in towards the beach and the town), and all along it there are joggers and bikers and people on rollerskates and people walking their dogs. Along the cliffs there are signs warning about the dangers -- dangerous cliffs, dangerous waters -- and every so often there is a red public telephone for emergency use. In several places I looked down and saw groups of swimmers in black neoprene wetsuits. Most of them had little boards, and I thought at first that they were surfers, but I guess that really what they were doing was snorkeling. There seemed to be kelp beds -- sort of reddish blotches on the bluegreen water -- out where they were, and probably all sorts of fish in the kelp beds.
      The coastline here is as lovely and wild as it is in much of California -- the waves beating at the shore and taking great bites out of it, leaving behind statue-like rocks that jut from the water, their tops often covered with seabirds. The place abounds with pelicans. I saw four of them yesterday flying in formation, as tightly choreographed, it seemed, as four precision navy fliers at an airshow. But so much lovelier and more graceful.

As Wayne said, how you feel about California depends on how much time you have to spend on the freeways. When I was feeling too low he dragged me out on hikes. And then I knew I was just where I wanted to be, and wondered how in the world I could ever even consider going back to Iowa.

One day, instead of going up north, I headed down south to Santa Cruz, and the first day I was there I found a room in a house on Sacramento street -- half a mile from Natural Bridges state park and a block from West Cliff drive. What good fortune to find such a place. From the street in front of the house I could see the ocean and the curving blue mass of the Monterey peninsula beyond. Occasionally I could hear a foghorn, which brought back Provincetown to me. And sometimes I could hear a seal barking nearby.

It was a wonderful location for discovering Santa Cruz and rediscovering California. That whole first year, I couldn't believe I was back in California again -- so many years it had been only a dream. Every other day I went running three miles along West Cliff drive -- to the lighthouse and back. On the weekends I went hiking with Green Earth Singles and the Sierra Club. And whenever I could I went contra dancing.
Meadowlark lane, Rio del Mar

Jacky Lewis took this photo of me on the back deck of her house in Aptos in the fall of 1994.

My landlord, Mike, told me about the contra dancing and said it was a great way to meet people. That was how he'd met his lovely girlfriend, Sue Rennels.

The first time I went I was hooked. What a lot of fun it was!

I have met a lot of nice people at the dances, too. It was at a contra dance that I first met Lois. And many others as well.

The last time I saw Mike and Sue at a contra dance they were beaming. They'd finally gotten married half a year before, they told me. I could see that they were very happy.

Walking dogs on Rio del Mar beach

      After christmas, 1994, Joel and Unity flew out to California for four or five days and slept on Jacky's livingroom floor. On the last day of the year I was in one of the black moods I get into sometimes -- not enough exercise or too much sleep -- and Unity had a migraine. But in the afternoon Joel and I went with Jacky down to Rio del Mar beach to walk her dogs. Isn't it a lovely spot? We'd all planned to go downtown to take part in Arthur Hull's drum circle in downtown Santa Cruz that afternoon, but we got back to her place too late for that. But we did all go downtown later that night to hang out.
      Joel never had a dog when he was growing up, and he seemed so much to enjoy Jacky's dogs that I felt guilty about that gap in his childhood.
      You can never have too much to feel guilty about!

[Nota bene: This page, like all the others in this site, is in progress. The text is mostly irrelevant and hastily written stuff designed just to fill the gaps between the photos -- and the photos themselves are not the best, but simply what I happen to have on hand. Please let me know if you find anything false, misleading, or offensive, or if there's anything that's intrusive to your privacy. It's hard to maintain privacy on the internet! Let me know too if there's a photo or something in the text that should be removed or something that should be added. I have not set up this site primarily for my own sake but for my family and friends -- and I welcome all corrections, additions, and suggestions about how to improve it!]

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Copyright 1999 T. N. R. Rogers. All rights reserved. Last revised 24 mar 99.