Belying my initial impression, Chuck fit into our bunch of young, uninitiated intelligentsia just fine. In fact, he crashed at our one-bedroom apartment that first Tuesday night of bottomless spaghetti and never again went to his dorm room back on the campus, except to empty it out and set up house in a small studio in our building. This move giving rise to much consternation on the part of his suburban parents, some 50 miles away.
Chuck rounded out our little group quite well. Steve and I were from Almaden Valley, me being the unfocused, naive firebrand, Steve was the dispassionate, almost autistic, rationalist, believing nearly everything could be determined reasonably through research and logic, even if the research wasn't always the most credible and when the logic wasn't all that sound. Butch was the almost child-like innocent whose father was the battering ram retired Air Force colonel that had moved his teen-aged son and daughter from a military base out in the desert to the high-society correctness of the Almaden Country Club.
Chuck, on the other hand was, in way, a San Francisco sophisticate, while, still, having a well-earned set of street smarts, the one thing that none of us others had in any way, shape or form. Though continuously aware of his poverty driven childhood, the result of a young, frail family being abandoned by its biological father very early on, he was strictly disciplined and incredibly well informed regarding modern and avant-garde art, all sorts of art.
Growing up, and even with us, Chuck spent an enormous amount of time in the library and had a great many subscriptions to esoteric art magazines from all over the world.
When Chuck spoke, we listened. The one area of modern life where we were all experts and where Chuck was an absolute neophyte was in realm of the automobile. At the age of 20, Chuck had yet to own a car and was terrified of driving. Up in the City, all he needed was a pocket full of change and the “Muni” took him wherever he wanted to go. At that time, the only form of public transit I knew was my elementary school bus, and even while using it, I was already out driving tractors all over the place.
Over the nearly 10 years that this Motley Crew maintained some level of cohesion, other guys and girls came and went, but this bunch endured and explored, tested and stumbled our way through the complex and totally new task of reaching maturity in the psychedelic '60s and '70s in the cultural eruption of the San Francisco Bay Area.
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