The second step in AA is…
“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves, will restore us to sanity.”
In Tom Snyer’s bio, we read the testimony of my sister’s sponsor in AA. I tried to find her, and did so – after she died. She belongs to a famous California Agriculture Family like the Buck family. Did Marian Sayler know Robert Buck? How about Paul Sayler, who did a lot of flying. Did he use Buck’s airport – Millionair? Who brought Buck’s law firm – onto the whacky artist scene, where Christine is ruled too insane to be heard, her autobiography – disappeared? Marian had to know about Rosamond’s book. Did she encourage her to write one?
I am going to call around for attorney on Monday and try to contact Netlfix to see if they want to do a serial on – all this!
President: Royal Rosamond Press
CORCORAN, Calif. —
The Boswells and the Salyers, two of the richest and most powerful farming families in America, have ended decades of rivalry and rancor over their San Joaquin Valley empires with a huge land deal in which one colossus will swallow the other.
Fred Salyer, 72, has agreed to sell his cotton and grain empire–about 25,000 acres of fertile San Joaquin Valley soil–to J. G. Boswell for tens of millions of dollars, according to business associates and employees.
Scott Salyer could have taken the easy way.
He could have lived off the interest from one of California’s largest farm fortunes, whiling away the days pursuing his passions of dove hunting and Go Kart racing.
But that wasn’t the Salyer way. Never has been.Heir to California tomato empire faces prison in fraud case | McClatchy Washington Bureau (mcclatchydc.com)
Marian Rae Salyer. December 1, 1922 December 6, 2005. A memorial service will be held on Monday, Dec. 12, 2005, at 2 P.M. for Marian Rae Salyer, age 83, at the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula. Marian was the daughter of Mildred and Ray Mahaffey, and was raised in Chicago, Illinois by her loving parents Mildred and H.R. “Bud” Bollman. She was a graduate of Stephen’s College in Columbia, MO, and later became a registered nurse having attended St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing. Marian brought love and joy to every life she touched and will be sadly missed by her family and many friends in Pebble Beach, the San Joaquin Valley and the Palm Desert area. Marian’s survivors, include her husband of 56 years, Fred Salyer of Corcoran; daughters, Christine Salyer and Linda Lee of Fresno; son, Scott Salyer of Pebble Beach; grandchildren: John Lee, Patrick Van Wyk and his wife, Kim, Traci Van Wyk, Noelle Van Wyk and Stefanie and Caroline Salyer, and her constant little companion, “Mac”. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be to: Beacon House, 468 Pine Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 or to your favorite charity. Arrangements are under the direction of The Paul Mortuary in Pacific Grove.Mark AraxLos Angeles Times
AFTER 70 YEARS OF rivalry, the world’s largest cotton grower is buying out another California dynasty.
CORCORAN, Calif. – The Boswells and Salyers, two of the richest and most powerful farming families in America, have ended decades of rivalry and rancor over their California empires with a huge land deal in which one colossus will swallow the other.
Fred Salyer, 72, has agreed to sell his cotton and grain empire – an estimated 25,000 acres of fertile San Joaquin Valley soil – to J.G. Boswell for tens of millions of dollars, according to business associates.
The two men themselves aren’t talking about the deal that would end one of the most protracted family feuds in California history.
Salyer confirmed the sale, effective March 1, in a terse letter to city and county officials. Boswells and Salyers have been fighting over control of this part of the state since their forebears – “The Colonel” and “The Cockeye” – first squared off in the early 1920s.
In this two-company cotton town, where most everyone’s bread is buttered by Boswell or by Salyer but rarely by both, it was always thought that too much venom and pride stood between the two clans for any such deal. But over the past decade, as his fortunes waned, Salyer grew more open to overtures.
Last week, on the heels of another disappointing crop for Salyer, James Boswell II, the largest cotton grower in the world, traveled from Los Angeles to meet with Salyer.
Salyer wanted to sell only part of his empire, sources said, but soon everything was on the table. Boswell sealed the deal with a sum that, by some accounts, exceeded $26 million. “It’s the end of a long chapter,” said Corcoran Mayor Jon Rachford.
Few small towns in the country boast so many millions with so little flaunting of wealth. Perhaps that shyness has something to do with the federally subsidized water that for decades has flowed the cotton giants’ way, and the paper games that both land barons have played to get around the law that limits acreage of farmers who get that water.
The town itself has nothing but pride, proclaiming to visitors in bold letters: “Welcome to the Farming Capital of California.”
It is no idle boast. Boswell is not only the world’s largest cotton grower but America’s largest grower of wheat and seed alfalfa.
Such abundance is a testament to the vision and guile of two pioneers of California agriculture: Col. James Boswell, a military and cotton man driven out of Georgia by the boll weevil; and a Virginia hillbilly named Clarence Salyer who skinned mules and bore the cruel epithet “Cockeye” for a fake eye.
Vision was needed because this land, in wet years, was at the bottom of the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi – the Tulare Lake. In dry years, the land could sustain any and all row crops.
Guile was needed because the trick was to control the water.
The fight over water and politics often required one to subvert the other. A half-century later, both patriarchs dead, the battle raged on.Louis Warren, W. Turrentine Jackson professor of Western U.S. history at the University of California at DavisCHICAGO TRIBUNE
The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire
By Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman
PublicAffairs, 558 pages, $30
California. The word brings to mind beaches, Hollywood, Disneyland, even colossal redwoods–but seldom cotton. In fact, in a state where farms are so big and modern that their owners call themselves growers rather than farmers, cotton growers are the biggest of all. And one of them, Jim Boswell, was the biggest grower in the world until his recent retirement. “The King of California” is his biography. It is also the story of the San Joaquin Valley, just over the low coastal mountains north of Los Angeles, where Boswell cotton spreads over 300 square miles.
Journalistic exposes of grower greed are a staple in California. For decades, the spectacle of dirt-poor migrants toiling for San Joaquin Valley land barons has inspired numerous social critics, most famously John Steinbeck in his classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” But Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman, reporter and business editor, respectively, at the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Co. paper, have no truck with Steinbeck or his ilk, an “angry pack of agrarians” who have portrayed big agriculture as “a single-dimension bad guy” without ever interviewing “a single big farmer.” If their mission is to trace the career of California’s most successful farmer and his international “secret empire” of real estate and agriculture, they claim their interests are less reformist than investigative. How, they ask, has the valley become so dominated by such a powerful few? And if its farms are so rich, why are the towns so poor?
For all the authors’ protests, these questions certainly sound like the same ones that “angry pack of agrarians” asked all those years ago. Much of their search for answers is devoted to lively corporate and family history. Boswell Co. was founded by Lt. Col. James G. Boswell, who learned the cotton business in his native Georgia before relocating to California in the 1920s. With venture capital from Cecil B. DeMille and other southern California investors, Boswell and several other growers crafted a new landscape that resembled the South in some ways (huge plantations and plenty of racism) but was more modern in its dependence on vast sums of capital and technology (in recent years, Boswell technicians used laser-guided scrapers networked to global-positioning satellites to level their cotton fields prior to planting for ease of harvesting). Boswell’s farm long kept pace with California agriculture, which has advanced through accumulation of vast acreages, relentless pursuit of intensive mechanization, devotion to applied chemistry (fertilizers and pesticides) and a preference for near-powerless migrant workers.
Indeed, Boswell’s early dominance came as much through political mastery as business savvy. Family members spent less time on the farm than in the exclusive neighborhoods of Pasadena, where they built lasting alliances. Boswell eventually married Ruth Chandler, daughter of the Los Angeles Times-owning Chandlers, the most powerful family in southern California. The Boswell political reach grew long indeed.
In 1850, the land that was fated to become California’s cotton kingdom had been under water. Each spring, snowmelt rushed from the Sierra Nevada into the San Joaquin. There it recharged the abundant breeding grounds and habitat of birds, fish and clams in Tulare Lake, the biggest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River. Early efforts to drain the lake and turn the land to agriculture culminated in the 1930s, when the Boswells and neighboring growers persuaded federal authorities that the lake was a flood, which officials then checked with a taxpayer-funded dam.
The effort has never been wholly successful. Even now, in wet years, parts of the lake briefly return. Jim Boswell, nephew of Boswell Co.’s founder, took advantage of the situation after he assumed control in 1952. He bought out competitors who could not sustain the fight against the resurgent lake, and as he expanded his valley holdings to monster size, he diversified into numerous other businesses. He sold unprofitable Arizona cotton fields to developer Del Webb, then partnered with him to build Sun City, the nation’s first retirement community. He bent Australian laws against foreign ownership to consolidate a 60,000-acre cotton spread. Back in California, the company finally prevailed in a 50-year congressional fight to gut federal laws that would have broken up the farm and reduced the Boswell latifundia to a yeomanly 160 acres.
This is a great story, but the authors’ devotion to the growers’ perspective is a tricky proposition. The book’s most persistent witness to the valley’s history is Jim Boswell himself, a charismatic figure whose capacity for distortion is suggested in his claim, early in the book, that there has never been any significant black presence in the town of Corcoran, where Boswell Co. is based. In fact, there were once four black churches in the town, and Arax and Wartzman provide a remarkable history of the area’s black and Mexican labor camps and communities, much of it drawn from their own interviews. Similar discrepancies between Boswell’s version of the past and the authors’ interpretation energize the book with a constant sense of revelation and intrigue, the uncovering of the secret American empire promised in the book’s subtitle.
But, played out over more than 400 pages of text, the continual scramble to correct or fill in Boswell’s distortions and half-truths seems to exhaust the authors. Nowhere is their simultaneous effort to cajole and critique the growers more troubling than in their account of Boswell’s neighbor, Clarence Salyer, a transplanted Virginian who careers through the book trailing mistresses, fist fights, drunken car wrecks and family feuds. For all Salyer’s failings, his “savage temper and rascal ways” met locally with a “willingness to forgive” that was “almost universal.”
The folksy synopsis of Salyer’s career sits uneasily near the end of a book whose early chapters include an astounding revelation. On Oct. 10, 1933, Clarence Salyer was in a crowd of growers confronting a peaceful picket line, when somebody opened fire on the strikers. Two workers were shot down in cold blood. While there were indictments, nobody was convicted of the crime. But, as Arax and Wartzman discover, Salyer was convinced he had killed somebody. He returned home that day with his gun, which he melted down in the coal forge in back of his house.
Salyer’s escape from possible punishment might be ascribed less to the goodwill of his neighbors than to his wealth and power. His fortune was second only to Jim Boswell’s. He kept a local constable on his payroll. It is to the authors’ credit that they uncover Salyer’s involvement in a long-unsolved murder. But the resort to local color veers toward whitewash when they dismiss Salyer as a “rascal” and his untouchability as “forgiveness.”
By book’s end, though, even the most powerful of California’s growers seems to be on the verge of becoming an anachronism. Competition from Chinese cotton makes Boswell’s fields ever-less economical. Just over the hill, thirsty Los Angeles promises top dollar for Boswell water, which may be their next commodity. A neighboring grower has already foregone cotton to compost sewage for the City of Angels, a service that brings in millions of dollars a year and obviates the need (or ability) to grow any kind of crop at all.
This may not be such a bad thing. Arax and Wartzman may want no part of that “angry pack of agrarians,” but by the book’s end they sound a lot like them. Cotton farming has all but destroyed the valley’s great wetlands. The spray of pesticide makes the whole basin smell “like rotten flesh,” and dire residues and runoff cause horrendous mutations in the remnant flocks of egrets, ducks and other waterfowl.
The region’s people have not done well either. Jim Boswell is a philanthropic man who has funded college scholarships, a park and a YMCA in Corcoran. He paid his workers well. And yet, precious little of Boswell Co.’s immense wealth flows downstream. The highly mechanized company produces fewer jobs than ever, and town residents are desperate. In the 1990s they agreed to host a new high-security prison. Nonetheless, their community remains a slough of despond. Unemployment hovers above 15 percent, gangs murder to control the drug trade, and the teen pregnancy rate is higher than Haiti’s. It is a sad contrast to neighboring towns like Kerman and Kingsburg, where a preponderance of smaller farmers have produced a persistent middle class and viable downtowns.
In the end, then, Arax and Wartzman’s careful research and sharp analysis of the local scene correct Boswell’s many distortions. For readers seeking a weave of corporate history, family biography and insight into the devil’s bargain Americans have made with big agriculture, there is no more colorful a tale than “The King of California.”.Jim Boswell built the state’s first giant agribusiness, swaying water and land policy.(Matt Black / Public Affairs Books)By Jerry HirschApril 7, 200912 AM
James G. Boswell II, the intensely private businessman who transformed his family’s cotton holdings into California’s first giant agribusiness and one of the nation’s great farming empires, has died. He was 86.
Boswell died of natural causes Friday at his home in Indian Wells, Calif., according to a statement from the family.
As head of the family-owned J.G. Boswell Co., Boswell ran a company that has dominated California cotton growing for generations and has used its clout to influence land- and water-resource policy throughout much of the state.
He was just 29 when he inherited the company following the death of his uncle J.G. Boswell, the family patriarch. Over the next half-century, he transformed the business and more than tripled the size of the family farm, which peaked about 200,000 acres and now spans 150,000 in the San Joaquin Valley town of Corcoran. Boswell’s labs created new, more productive seeds. Technological improvements to his gins boosted their capacity to 400 bales of cotton a day — enough to produce 840,000 pairs of boxer shorts, according to a 2003 Times article.
Historians and agriculture economists credit Boswell with creating the template for large agribusiness concerns.
The Boswell business remains one of the world’s top sellers of “the extra-long staple cotton that goes into fabric blends and both soft and high-end apparel,” said Don Villarejo, director emeritus of the California Institute for Rural Studies in Davis.
“His legacy is quite impressive,” said Villarejo. “He was a brilliant business leader beloved by many of his employees. At the same time, his company was able to be ahead of and often acquire his chief farming competitors.”
Boswell also was legendary for using a combination of political clout and legal strategy “to outwit many of the environmental groups that have tried to restrict water deliveries to California agriculture,” Villarejo said.
He was an innovative water user, one of the first to employ lasers to level fields so that water flowed evenly and efficiently, said Richard Howitt, an agriculture economist at UC Davis.
Careful water management, including employing agronomists to determine when and how to water, allowed Boswell’s farms to produce more cotton with less water than competitors, Howitt said. Many of his techniques were later adopted by other farms.
But even during this period of growth and success for the enterprise, which included diversification into tomatoes and other crops, real estate development and farming in distant Australia, Boswell remained an intensely private man at the head of an intensely private family business.
A rare 1999 interview with two now-former Los Angeles Times writers gave outsiders a sense of Boswell’s character.
For years staff writer Mark Arax and business editor Rick Wartzman had attempted to meet the cotton patriarch. But each letter and call was rejected. The two were writing “The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire,” a book about the family’s cotton business, and they needed to talk to him. Finally he agreed.
J.G., as Boswell liked to be called, wanted to meet them on his land rather than in some sterile office. His intent was to show them that the business was only as good as its earth.
Boswell, the pair wrote, “wore a Cal Poly Ag hat tucked low, frayed khaki pants, a flannel shirt and Rockport shoes.”
“It was all part of an image that Boswell loved to play up. He had earned an economics degree at Stanford and sat on the board of General Electric and other big corporations, but he fancied himself a cowboy,” they wrote in a 2003 Times article.
Boswell attended the Thacher School, an exclusive private boarding school in Ojai, graduating in 1941.
He served in the Army during World War II in the South Pacific before graduating from Stanford in 1946. That’s where he met his first wife, Rosalind Murray. They raised their three children in Pasadena, far from the farm. She died in 2000.
The company remains headquartered in Pasadena.
Fancying himself a cowboy and living like a city boy, J.G. proved to be a complex figure. When he reached out to shake the writers’ hands, they noticed the missing fingers on his right hand, the result of a cattle-roping accident.
They jumped into an aged Chevy truck for a tour of his holdings. The writers said they traveled half a day and 150 miles but never left the farm. When they asked Boswell how much land he really owned, he responded, “What are you, a tax collector?”
“I’m the bad guy in agriculture because I’m big,” he said later. “I’m not going to try to fight it. I can’t change an image and say, ‘Well, I’m righteous and good and all that.’ But I’m telling you . . . I’m not going to apologize for our size.”
Wartzman, now director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, said he was sad to learn of Boswell’s death.
“He was an immensely complicated guy, someone who knew every inch of his land but whose company did some pretty awful things to the land,” Wartzman said. “It is just hard to farm in an environmentally sound manner at that scale.”
The company used its political clout to encourage the building of the Pine Flat Dam to shut the flow of water to Tulare Lake, which at one point was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. The drained lake bed is now farmland, located at the heart of Boswell’s sprawling enterprise.
Boswell was born March 10, 1923, in Greensboro, Ga., the son of William Whittier Boswell Sr. and Kate Hall Boswell, and moved west with his parents and his uncles.
He was named after his uncle J.G. Boswell, who married Ruth Chandler, the daughter of Los Angeles Times Publisher and real estate baron Harry Chandler.
With no children of his own, J.G. Boswell picked his nephew to take control of the company he had founded in 1921 with the help of his brothers.
In the early 1980s, Boswell and the company would spend $1 million to defeat the Peripheral Canal, a system proposed to move water to Southern California. He thought it would hurt farming interests.
During the same period, Boswell helped farmers outflank state and game regulators and pump water from excessive snowmelt into the north fork of the Kings River. The move prevented farmland from flooding but also introduced the nonnative predatory white bass into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
At times profane, Boswell liked to be in control. For many years his company extended its influence throughout the San Joaquin Valley by lending money to other growers.
He served as chairman, president and chief executive of the company from 1952 until his retirement in 1984. He remained on the company’s board of directors until his death. His son James W. Boswell now runs the business.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, Barbara Wallace Boswell; daughters Jody Hall and Lorraine Wilcox; and five grandchildren.
A memorial service is planned for April 22 at 1 p.m. at the Corcoran High School Memorial Stadium.
I went looking for my father’s truck on the internet yesterday. I believe it was a 1940 Ford stake truck like the one above. I kept staring at the seat, and made a picture of my brother and I sitting here for as long as sixteen hours. I was eleven, and Mark was twelve. Vic had a pro paint ‘Acme Produce’ on the side. We worked most of the summer for Acme, from eight to twelve years of age. I froze everytime father shifted gears. He would touch me most of the time when he did. I pleaded with Mark to let me have the window. It is the only time he did me a favor.
Sometimes there was a lull in the action, and Vic taught me and Mark how to box. There we would be, trying to keep our left shoulder up so our father’s right cross would glance off us, and not do any damage. Vic boxed on the deck of his ship. He served in the Merchant Marines. He taught us how to circle on the wood floor of an old Victorian warehouse on Webster Street, in Jack London Square. Yesterday, I allowed my father to be a Full Bohemian. He must have had Gypsy blood.
“Now jab! Keep you chin tucked in!”
I’ve known for sometime I get to author the next Steinbeck and London novel. Why in the hell did I spend so much time writing for my newspaper, Royal Rosamond Press? I should get a Pulitzer Prize, because I was on the front lines, dodging blows, taking it on the chin. I covered the Homeless problem, and OCCUPY. I took on the Christian-right. I declared myself a prophet so I can get to the core of the religious action. I even posed as the Antichrist! I defended the Republican Party of John Fremont. I championed the Bohemians.
In 1964 I worked for Yale Trucking located on the East River in New York. I walked thru Hell’s Kitchen to start my shift at midnight. I was seventeen. The stevedores called me…
‘The California Kid’
I should take a month off to finish my autobiography ‘Capturing Beauty’. I have done as much WARNING as I can. All the trouble you could pray for, is here. It will get worse – much worse! I never let down my guard.
The toy boat sails across the pond
The work now has just begun
Look what you have done.
Children have a sixth sense that warns them when an adult is mentally ill and dangerous. But, when this adult is a parent (or two) what the hell is one going to do? For sure I could not sit next to my father anymore as we drove all over the Bay Area delivering produce for Acme, the name he had painted on the side of his red Ford truck. It means, “without equal”. When it came to being a loser, I knew my father was without equal! So did my brother, Mark, who did me one big favor in life.
“I can’t sit next to him anymore. Please! Let me have the window?”
My brother looked at me with me with sympathy. He knew Vic was sucking the gentile light out of the core of my being. By the window, I could look out and let my soul sour out the window, one little dove at a time. I owe a debt of gratitude to Mark for allowing me a chance to become a poet and an artist, for this is how I made the long hours in the cabin next to a sweating box of dynamite, pass. I beheld a hundred paintings a day, in my mind, and compose kinder words to describe another form of love that was not present when I awoke in the morning to meet my fate, go to my station in life – that he had made for me!
Mark and I were Lumpers at eight and nine. You will never see this title on our resumes. Lumpers are young guys with hand carts, loading produce on to trucks. Every morning we tagged after Captain Victim as he carefully inspected boxes of fruit and vegetables, with a scowl on his face, that told the wholesalers, “I know you are going to try and cheat me. But beware of my sucker punch!”
As Victor Maximus Maximus forced young Italian sons to step aside, I noticed the looks of their fathers, they telling me;
“If your sons were not with you, I’d punch your fucking lights out!”
It was because of Vic’s sons that they hated him, these real fathers who had grown family members working for them, and not children. They knew this was Child Abuse.
In my father’s eyes, I was Artist Maximus Anonymous, his slave who is not to be seen or heard. At ten I and my brother could lift a hundred pound sack of potatoes, and load it on and off Vic’s truck. My brother and I worked as a team. We helped our brother with his load. Of course, we never did our task correctly, or fast enough. We would get the occasional curse as he showed us how it is done, while real men looked on. And I think I read their minds;
“Why don’t you come up here and lift your own shitload of spuds, you fucking lazy sin of a bitch!’
It was at Oakland’s Produce Market that Vic’s sons learned a thing or two about the birds and bees. In almost every warehouse we walked into, there were naked Pinups on the wall. Where they got these calendars, God only knows, because I can’t find but one or two on the web. Of course Marilyn Monroe’s calendar is the most famous, she offering up the two lumps on her chest for the whole world to see. There was a contest, to see who could hang the most calendars. One wholesaler had at least a hundred nudes up there. And, there my brother and I stood for as long as we could, picking out our Winner.
My choice was a rubbery looking blonde milk maid that had just got out of bed, and was cupping her two large breasts in her hands. She was wearing fluffy pinks slippers. I assume she is married, because, my mother is married, and perhaps she is offering some kind of nourishment to her husband, somethng fresh to go with his melons and bananas, she the kind of Horn of Plenty I wanted to marry one day. Not owning a stiffy at eight, was confusing, because the young men had something I did not. And as I studied their muscular hard working forms, and then looked at the soft pink rubbery girls, I sensed I was out of my league.
“Why are you two dorks standing around playing grab-ass? Get these crates of firm ripe tomatoes on the truck – pronto – before I kick your behinds”
I didn’t understand right then, that it was my duty as a writer, poet and artist, that I should love my father, for the Great Editor in the sky had provided me with a fantastic antagonist, who would be a real Horn of Plenty to my protagonists, for, a great book always contains a great villain. My late and dear friend Bill taught me this, as he assigned me the role of George Sterling to his Jack London when we were thirteen. The three Artists that God put in the world, for me, are dead.
Above is a letter from the substitute Principle of University High. He is raving about my painting I did when I was sixteen of the Oakland’s Produce Market. It went around the world in a Red Cross show, I one of a hundred students from all over America to be picked and honored. Vic’s red Ford was seen – in Paris! I honored my father – and our family business!
I’ve never been to Paris!
“Febuary 28, 1963
I want to thank you for the picture of yours we have hanging in Dr. Olsen’s office. (as you probably know, I am substituting for him)
We also have a picture of Wendy Rachel’s hanging in the office, and her’s reminds me of West Side Story. Your’s remind me of East Side Story – the east side of Los Angeles that is.
Considering that the best I have ever been able to do is draw a stick figure, I can certainly admire your ability, particularly since you have one year left in High School. How did you get so talented so fast?
This letter is liken to a Ink Blotch test. Today, trained psychologist would recongnize I was in deep doo-doo! Why am I rendering images of the east side, while every sane student is dutifully making a image of the west side? Not only is this a back-handed compliment, it is Directional Abuse, I put on the wrong side of the tracks – where I belong – for the safety of the Sane Children who did not work in the old Victorian warehouse west of the railroad tracks on fourth street; where one day an old hobo Vic knew by name came by for a chit chat, then, holding one nostril……. blew a huge wad of snot on the old wooden floor that my Father & Sons had spent the morning oiling with linseed oil.
When I became an artist at twelve years of age, Van Gough’s ‘The Patato Eaters’ was my Acme, I till this very day, grateful for the heavily textured experiences my father gave unto me! That’s me in the photo above, the Young Lumper at nine who saw real Hobos all the itme while my schoolmates were at summer camp wearing fake coon-skin caps!
As for all these rubbery nudes hanging on the wall, they were the first Rosamond Women, for Vic brought his daughters down here, down to the East Side located East of San Francisco, in the East Bay………just this side of Eden.
I wonder if my painting is hanging in Dr. Olsens’s old office?
I think the name of the old Hobo was Joe Hambone Kelly, ex-heavy weight champion of the world.