When Bill got out of Juvy, he showed me the letters our friend Nancy Van Brasch had sent him while he was a prisoner for eighteen months. They were very deep, and tragic. Like myself, Nancy is begging Bill not to allow himself to be destroyed. She stops short of asking Bill to not kill himself, he using his war with his father, as the means.
Bill is now telling me he was not happy to receive these letters.
“Why?” I ask.
“Because she does not know what she is talking about.”
“What should she be talking about, Bill. I sent you a letter and you told me to never write you again. How do you think that made me feel?”
There was complete silence from my beloved friend, whose father kept him in juvenile Hall for a year and half, and only got him out before his eighteenth birthday so he would be eligible for the draft. Teenagers who raped their sisters got out in three months.
Mr. Arnold was trying to break Bill’s will. Before I met Bill, a friend told me about a new kid who played football with no shirt on. There were welts on his back.
In Juvy, a guard came up to Bill while he was in his bunk reading. He told Bill he was going to break him. And when he went to take his book, Bill crushed his hand. This is out of Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ At thirteen Bill was six-foot three and a hundred and eighty pounds.
Nancy loved Bill, since Junior High. They were lovers even though Bill had girlfriends. One of then was Angel, Nancy’s neighbor on Stowe Avenue in Oakland. Angel took ballet lessons in San Francisco, and would hang with the Beats in North Beach when she was thirteen. Bill was living with Angel and her mother in Ogden. Angel gave birth to Bill’s baby six months after his death. Bill wanted his child to be named Shane if it was a boy. One of Bills favorite movies was ‘Shane’.
In 1965 I drove the 1958 Ford Fairlane my aunt Juny gave me to Oakland. A month later I have found Nancy living in a apartment on Pine Street in San Francisco. I move in with my friend Keith, who becomes Nancy’s lover. I became Carole’s lover, Nancys Roommate.
When Keith got busted for pot in Effingham Illinois, Stanly Augustus Owsley became Nancy’slover. When Christine moved into our commune ‘Idol Hands’, she went on a double date with Nick Sands, Nancy, and Owsely. These were very liberated women, who did not have get in a parade.
Nancy became the lover of Gordon whose sister was married to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. They ended up living on Ken Kesey’s ranch. Nancy was now a Merry Prankster, and good friend of Ken and Babbs.
Why in Gods name have I wasted my time with my so-called “family” after Christine died! If they had not come to be the owners of Dark Secrets, I would not have given a rat’s ass! That is how Mark and Vicki got power over others. I think the IRS should open up their devious can of worms – and get a good whiff of the stench!
Bill Cornwell’s father was a cop and drill sergeant. Heather allowed her drunken lover to bust my ass! Bill and his cop-dad did not know they had hit the big time, busted the Greatest Cosmic Show On Earth! If I could, I would call down a comet on their head!
When I read ‘One Flew Over The Coo-Coo’s Nest’ in 1967, I read Bill’s biography. Nancy also saw the similarity, and wondered if she was destined to be a good friend of all members of the Kesey Family. You can say Nancy is a real Caretaker of a important family legacy.
I was watching ‘Of Mice and Men’ the night Bill died. He was a dishwasher. He took off his apron and got into the Volvo Rosemary bought him. Bill said I was George, and he was Lenny. I had been George Serling to his Jack London since we were thirteen. When I came to see Bill when I was fifteen, his room was messed up. Things were bent and broken.
“What happened, Bill?” No answer.
“Did you fight back?” No answer.
“Bill! You are as big as he is. You got to fight back!”