I grew up in Hollywood California in the fifties.
It was still glamourous then.
My family was not in the movie industry, so before you ask, as people always do, NO. I didn’t
know any movie stars. Later,
I would seek out and get to know some writers like Henry Miller and Tennessee Williams. But that’s another story.
My mother was an artist, so whether I wanted to or not
I met a lot of artists. And a lot of wannabes.
I understand about wannabes because I was a wannabe, too.
I wanted to be a writer for as far back as I can remember. We used to play a card game called
“Authors.” I was good at learning and remembering the names and stories about authors. They were my “Stars.” The first writer I ever met were Henry Miller and Anais Nin. They were friends of my mother’s who I met around 1950 when they visited my mom at our house.
At that time I was obsessed with collecting autographs. When I asked Henry for his, naturally he asked me for a book. I thought of running to my room to get my autograph book, but he indicated that he meant a real book, so I handed him Tarzan, the book I was reading at the time. He looked at it, shook his head, then changed his mind, smiled broadly and signed it. I didn’t realize the uniqueness of my treasure at that time, but who else has a copy of Tarzan signed by Henry Miller?
My parents felt I was a difficult kid; so after I flunked the second grade in public school they packed me off to Saint Johns Military Academy. All I remember from that experience was learning to fear an angry and vengeful Father in Heaven Who is worse than my father on earth.
My mother had a friend named JANE Calendar. who lived near us, and who made small sculptures of dogs which she sold quite successfully. I loved her; she was like a second mother to me. She had a son my age named Craig. We were close friends and often played together.
.￼Jane was deeply involved with esoteric hermetic studies and embraced Zen and Vedanta and took me with her to visit some of her favorite places like the Vedanta Temple in Hollywood and when I was older to a lecture at Manly P Hall’s Philosophical Research Society which was located near my home in Hollywood. I didn’t understand everything I heard, but never forgot these unusual experiences and largely through Jane’s influence developed a lifelong interest in exploring esoteric subjects.