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Gunther Troutman: hippie

March 4, 2016


Chapter 1:  The 18-year-old in SF

March 4, 1966

The house shook as if from an earthquake.  Gunther looked out at the window.  Sure enough, it was a full dump truck rumbling past on the street down below.  Living in San Francisco made him think about quakes.  His dog looked up at him, so Gunther sat in his big armchair and said, “up, up!” The dog obliged him, climbing onto the back of the overstuffed chair.  Kept his neck warm.  The dog sighed.  Soon he slept.  Gunther thought about smoking some of his dwindling supply of weed.

Gunther didn’t know why the hell he had moved to San Francisco.  Sure, he wanted to get stoned, listen to music, be a free-loving hippie.  He didn’t know where to buy drugs, didn’t even own a record player, hadn’t the slightest idea how to start to be a hippie.  He felt lost.  The weather was cold.  Seemed like the weather was always cold in San Francisco.  Then, he was afraid of earthquakes.

Snapping the red leather leash onto his dog Dan’s collar, Gunther walked out the back of his narrow Victorian house.  He lived on the second floor and could take the stairs inside or the fire-escape out the back.  Because the house was built on a hillside, the back exit had fewer steps. Of course, there were more steps between the two tall narrow houses.

He lived on the edge of the commercial zone with the warehouses and the businesses that made and sold beauty products, like hair curlers, bobby pins, permanent wave kits.  Also feminine irrigation syringe fountains.  Gunther wondered about the fate of such factories that had now became derelict, empty.


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