‘For The Love of Art’
The end of my book ‘Capturing Beauty’ was deposited in my Sony computer yesterday morning. My compatriot, my fellow lover of art, sent me a lengthy e-mail in response to my post, where I give him much credit for the success of a world famous artist – he never met! Bob Hamilton described the contents of his home, that is the companion to the last scene in my book that I noticed was coming true. It was a glimpse into the future. I came to believe I would die, alas, the finality of it all, arriving right on time. I received another e-mail, a reprieve, an hour ago.
“I will call you. My mental batteries ran low last evening. I spent my last hour playing a Chopin Nocturne:
This, nocturne is more than I got from the Rosamond executor, and his appointed “Custodian”, I got nothing from any family legacy. Not so much as a serenade, or, a visit from a Merachi band bringing me a cupcake with candle. This was the fate of my friend, Greg King. After lighting the lone candle, his rich parents told him this on his eighteenth birthday;
“Eat up. This is it! Your inheritance. When your’re done – GET OUT! And don’t come back!”
Bill, Greg, and I used to drink Mint liquor at the family bar in the sun-room in Piedmont. Greg went on to be a producer for KQED. He almost overdosed on Thunderbird wine at our home when he was fourteen. He was full of quiet-rage. We had a ten round boxing match in Lakeshore Park, his father was in his corner, then, egging him on;
“Upper-cut, Goddamn it. Haven’t I taught you anything – MORON! Deliver the family Sucker Punch, or go to bed……HUNGRY!!”
Mr. King had been a KILLER over in Nazi Germany, and suffered from PTSD, but didn’t know it. So, he experimented on his only child, looking for some relief.
I lost both parents and my sister. Then, I lost my new-found daughter who was turned against me to further weaken any remaining claim to any flotsam that might be washed upon the shore. The ‘Rosamond Story’ reads like a Dickens’ tale.
After conspiring to get Rosemary Mark and myself out of Vic’s mother’s Will, so Vic and Vicky could invest her legacy in Christine’s art, this art did not sell. They stood to lose everything. When I showed up out of the blue – I hopping off a freight car in Sacramento – as a lark they asked the Family Art Bum what he would do to save their ass. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut, and not let them have it;
“Why don’t you assholes buy me some art supplies! A couple hundred dollars worth, would be a wise investment. How can you go wrong?”
I also highly suggested they don’t treat the family writer and historian like a subhuman. Sydney Morris mishandled the Rosamond estate. He all but accused me of trying to come away with money by concocting a murder mystery. His “custodian” hired a ghost writer and artist who claimed her artwork was done by Christine. This is Art Forgery, a practice that can lead to murder if someone threatens to spill the beans. or, come clean.
If I make any money off my story, I am going to open up a Gallery called ‘The Ol Smudge Pot’. It will be a Museum of Art Horrors & Art Whores. There will be an eternal flame burning out front, it sat on a sawhorse, with these words on it.
“DANGER! CON-ARTISTS AT WORK! ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!”
I’ll stick it down in Fisherman’s Wharf, a rival of the Wax Museum. There will sit Captain Vic, with his namesake, signing their names to the Family partnership. Then, its back to work in my father’s Loan Shark business he ran out of his home in Lafayette.
“Who wants some squid soup?” asks the gravely cheap speaker planted under the table.
There will be an old stove with a big pot of faux soup sitting on it. There will be a red light bulb inside, with vaporizer. Folks on the other side of the velvet rope will be belly-aching about how they didn’t get anything, either, from their bloody kin..
“I didn’t get so much as a stale cracker!”
At the exit there will be a slot machine named ‘One Armed Rosy’. Here is your LAST CHANCE to get something. You put the silver dollar you received with the price of admission, and give a yank on Rosy’s arm. When three smudge pots come up. Rosy starts laughing at you, because……YOU LOSE AGAIN!
Of course there will be some wise guys who try to exit ‘The Ol Smudge Pot’ a winner, with their free silver dollar. They are stopped by two Mafia-style Money Grabbers, who show you the small print on the back of the ticket you purchased, and the real potential for a law suit that will take you – for all you got!
“You’re on video-tape, Ass-bite! There’s no FREE LUNCH in this Gallery of Hard Knocks!”
I changed my mind. I will put my museum down in Jack London Square. I will conduct tours of Captain Vic’s produce market where Christine Rosamond Benton was forced to grade potatoes, pick out “the bakers” if she wanted weenies and sauerkraut for dinner. Otherwise, it’s another heapen bowlful of stale Brussel sprouts the Captain can’t sell.
“I hate to see perfectly good produce go to waste. Thank God I got four kids! No one makes a sucker out of me!
I wrote the ending ‘The Gideon Computer’ back in 1988. It is the only ending of any story I began, until yesterday! Thanks to Bob Hamilton, I got a beautiful ending to ‘Capturing Beauty’. This is all I asked for. I got down on my knees and begged my daughter and old muse for a happy and redeeming ending. Not only did they refuse to be generous, my muse showed my letter to the sheriff of Bozeman, who gave me a jungle and said Rena accused me of stalking her.
“We haven’t laid eyes on each other in forty-four years. I don’t know where she lives. Nor do I have her phone number. I responded to her letter. Now I have hell to pay!
After Berkeley Bill Bolagard and the twelve Artful Dodger, break everyone out of prison, the Gideon Institute – that tried to murder them by cutting off the air-flow – his ex-wife, Monica meets him, and takes him home. Monica was now ‘The Most Beautiful Senior in the World’. She owns the title ‘The Golden Rose’ that go well with her other title ‘The Luckiest Woman in the World’, for at sixty-five no wrinkle can be found – anywhere!
Bill, is jabbering away, he thrilled he can now converse with another human being – face to face. He does not notice Monica’s white Bentley has pulled over. Bill watches her graceful hand turn the key, and pull it out of the ignition. Bill can’t take his eyes off the pure white rabbit’s foot hanging on a pure gold chain. He stares deeply into the eyes of the woman he married so long ago, There is a twinkle in her eyes. Alas, he gets it. Alas someone is going to cut him a break.
Bill turns his head to the right and takes in their old home on Third and Durant. It is still in need of a paint job. When they were married, Monica offered to paint it, herself. Bill wouldn’t let her. He loved their ‘Little Bohemian Love Shack’ – just the way it was.
Bill felt weak in the knees as they walked down the cracked cement path with dandelions breaking through for their day in the sun. Monica twisted the old brass knob on the front door, and threw it open. Bill grabbed hold of Monica’s arm, that was prepared to keep him from falling over backwards. She watched her ex fight back his tears as he beheld stack after stack of his books he believed he had lost, forever. Here were the books that sat on the shelf in Monica’s father’s study in Boston. Here were the books he collected while on the road for all those years, he sending them home, one book at a time. To whom did he send them to? He came to believe she….didn’t care.
Bill found his old red velvet chair in a cubicle of stacked books. He watched Monica make her way through the labyrinth, then heard her running water to fill their old claw-tooth tub. When Bill entered the bathroom, Monica was lighting candles set upon his antique books. Getting into the tub, and interlocking his legs with his life-long mate, Bill knew it was time to open ‘Bill’s Bookshop’ because, he had everything he wanted in life.
My childhood friend, Michael Harkins, died two years ago. He and Bob had become friends. They shared a mutual interest in making custom sound systems. I thought I heard Bob tell me he helped build the first sound system for the Grateful Dead.
Michael was a good friend of all member of the Stackpole family. After the Oakland Fire he took me up to their home that was a charred ruin. He told me many photo-plates are gone, along with Ralph Stackpoles paintings and drawings – that should have been in a museum. Why were they not kept safe? Peter did manage to escape with some of his work he had readied for a show. The statue, Pacifica, was used as target practice by the Navy.
There is a surviving daughter, but, Michael told me she does not care about art. She is not a lover of art. This leaves me all alone – to care! I might be the Caretaker of this creative legacy. I am asking Bob to help establish a museum of Peter Stackpoles photographs. How about in Emeryville, looking towards the two great bridges? Then there are the Weston family photos!
Here is a photograph of my great grandfather in the Oakland Hills. (far left) William Oltman Stuttmeister, graduated from the University of California in San Francisco, in 1886, and became a wealthy dentist. He played violin in the Oakland Symphony. He was a very cultured man. His wife played piano. They lived on Mcallister near Fillmore. Our house on San Sebastian was filled with his beautiful antiques, including his rare books. Bob and William are cut from the same cloth.They are alumni. I welcome any help I can get in preserving my family history – for the sake of art! For the love of Art!