Acid Heroes

September 7, 2016

Blasts from the past

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 7:30 pm
Tags: , , ,
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The other day I was walking down Shattuck and I ran into this guy I used to know way back when.

“How are you doing, Peter,” he said. (You know its a blast from my distant past when they refer to me by my given name “Peter.” To almost everyone else in the world I’m “Ace.”)

“I’m still alive,” I said with a smile. Gave him the thumb’s up and kept walking.

When I first moved to Berkeley from New Jersey in 1976 as a 19 year old boy, he was one of the first person I had looked up. We had went to high school together in Jersey. He had moved to Berkeley to be a hippie. And I guess I had too.

Back in 1976 he lived in a little stucco studio apartment on 10th and Dwight. It was night-time when I pulled up to his place in the bomb of a ’69 Chevy that I had somehow managed to drive cross-country before it finally fell apart. He welcomed me to Berkeley with a big smile. Lit a bowl of weed and passed it to me. Poured me a glass of burgendy. Put on some records from his excellent record collection (Beatles, Bowie, Dead, Stones, etc). Lit a fire in his fireplace.

I remember feeling like I was in a warm cocoon. For I didn’t know anything about the town of Berkeley — what was waiting for me in the darkness outside the cocoon of his apartment. And nobody in Berkeley knew who I was. Or that I was even there. So his little studio apartment was my entire world at that point. It was a cozy feeling.

I was full of dreams of glory, my youthful hopes and dreams. Wanting to make some kind of life for myself. Find my place in the world. Looking for love and adventures and everything else. You know how it is when you’re 19 and starting out, like a blank slate waiting to be filled. And having no idea what was waiting for me out there in this big ole world. But I was ready to give it my best shot. “Itching like a finger on the trigger of a gun,” as Paul Simon once sang in a song.

And now its suddenly 40 years later. My friend is now 61. He retired a couple years ago. Has a fat pension. Still a hippie after all these years. Still looks pretty much the same as he did in 1976, aside from his blonde ponytail being gray now.

But its so weird. Its like it was all starting. And you blink your eyes. And its almost over.

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