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Confessions of an Itinerant Batik Artist

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In July of that year, Michael, Gene and I decided to show our artwork at the 57th Street Fair. This Fair is an annual event in New York City and is very well known. For one Saturday a year, 57th Street is closed to traffic and artists, crafts people, cooks, clothes makers and everyone in between who wants to show and sell their wares, set up stands along the street. It's an incredible sight, a solid mass of people stretching from one side of Manhattan to the other with anything you can imagine on show and for sale. I still had some Ibiza batiks which I wanted to get rid of, Gene had made a bunch of collages and Michael had brought along his junk art montages as well as some brooches made from white dried seahorses that he had found in Chinatown. He had glued the poor little skeletons to pins and had stuck rhinestones in their eyes. They looked quite gruesome and most people's reaction was of complete revulsion. We got there at six in the morning and were allocated a spot at the far end of the street near the East River. We erected our makeshift stall, a "found" table, hung Gene's collages on a screen and pinned my batiks to strung out washing lines. We enjoyed the whole affair but it was a long day and we didn't sell a thing. But we saw and were seen by literally thousands of New Yorkers, one of whom was Kristin who spotted my batik and wrote down the studio phone number.

She called me up six weeks later and said that she had a batik wall hanging that had been damaged by fire and asked me if I'd be interested in trying to repair it. It didn't sound like a very interesting job but I was in a good mood that particular day and said that I'd look at it and gave her my address. When Kristin showed up at the Studio, she turned out to be about ten years older than I, a rather serious looking woman with gray hair, wearing loose-fitting clothes which I mentally classified as looking a bit butch. She brought me a small cotton batik, a picture of stylized fish swimming in a patch of green sea. It had been slightly burnt by a candle flame and I agreed to make a little batik patch with a fish on it to cover up the damage.


The piece took no time at all to do. I managed to match the dye colours fairly well, never an easy thing to do, and called Kristin up a few days later to tell her that she could come by and pick up her batik. Once again she struck me as being a rather pleasant woman, perhaps an academic. She had a rather serious expression and wore the same loose, rather masculine pants and anorak. She was happy with her batik and we concluded the transaction quickly. I noticed that she was carrying a bunch of paperback books under her arm and saw one that was about varieties of psychedelic experience or mysticism or something and commented that it looked interesting. She flashed the most beautiful smile and I realized that with her high, pronounced cheekbones, her dark skin and her gray hair that she was an extremely attractive woman. We went upstairs to Lanny's loft for a coffee and got talking together about her books and her interests. It transpired that she worked as a surrogate for a well-known sex therapist. Kristin couldn't stay long but gave me her phone number. She invited me to call her up and come to dinner at her apartment some time soon.


In mid-September, I finally called her and invited myself to dinner at her apartment on 92nd Street and West End Avenue, two blocks from the Hudson River. She lived on the 12th floor in a small two-bedroomed flat that she shared with a girlfriend and had a spectacular view across to New Jersey from her window. I can't remember anything about the food but a young Dutch guy was there too and I idly wondered if Kristin and he were lovers. After our meal, the Dutchman somehow faded away and I found myself lying on huge cushions on the floor. A little later I found myself making myself even more comfortable next to Kristin and pretty soon we were kissing. I found that her loose clothing hid a voluptuous body and we ended up spending the night together. And basically I didn't move out of her apartment until July of the following year when her lease ran out and we were forced to move.


I remember that we spent the next day together, me in a euphoric daze, she mellow and expansive as we drove down to New Jersey in a borrowed car together to visit Edmund's Scientific, an incredible store full of fantastic gadgets and high tech. software. Kristin was a great talker and her story emerged as we drove down the highway together. She was a forty-four year old divorcee who came from upstate New York and had two teenage sons. Her father, who died very young, had been a doctor and had left a wife and five daughters and a son. Kristin had trained as an occupational therapist and had then married a psychiatrist and moved to live in Florida. I found that she could apparently talk about the most intimate experiences with complete candour and that her work in sex therapy had taught her considerable communication skills. Much later I was to realize that her ease with these very intimate matters masked the fact that her feelings about them were completely blocked off. Her uncle had molested her as a very young child and she had learned at an early age how to use sex in return for favours. In fact, she admitted with a laugh that there was a pretty thin line between being a surrogate and a prostitute. The only difference was that, as a surrogate, her goal was to help someone change their behaviour rather than just satisfy them. She went on to tell me how her infidelities had ultimately brought about the dissolution of her marriage and how she'd lived alone in Coconut Grove, Miami for ten years. She had then spent a couple of years traveling around Europe before settling down again here in New York. She'd had a lot of lovers and currently had one in New Jersey, another in Long Island and yet another who was currently out of town. She smiled a lot, flashing beautiful teeth, always relaxed and at ease, driving the automatic car with her shoes off and her left foot up on the seat. Right then, I loved to hear all about her life, I liked her very much and she made me feel comfortable. She was a Leo while I'm an Aquarian. Perhaps I was attracted to her because she seemed to be the dark side of my moon.


Kristin worked with Pauline A, an English sex therapist, who had come to New Jersey in the Sixties as a cook, had been a great beauty in her day but was now struggling with multiple sclerosis. Of course I didn't know much about sex therapy at that time. In England, very few people would pay for any kind of therapy, let alone sex therapy, but I did understand the role a surrogate played in the process. Kristin provided the body in the therapy. She was an attractive non-threatening woman with great bodily ease and good communication skills who could come over as the sexy, fun mother that we probably all wished we'd had, but mostly never did. She liked men and sex and really enjoyed her work, which was incidentally, very well paid. Kristin and I would joke about the number of "tricks" that she'd turned each day and there's no doubt that she would come home in an excellent mood after a good session. So at the moment, she worked several afternoons a week at Pauline's apartment which was fifteen blocks south of where she lived. Pauline turned out to be an unhealthy, over-weight woman who must have looked stunning twenty years before. Her skin was white and puffy and she didn't always smell so good. Actually, she never left the apartment but lived there in semi-darkness with all the blinds drawn so as to minimalise all external stimulation in her life. There was no doubt that her illness caused her a lot of pain and confusion. She was constantly on different diets but loved rich foods, which was her undoing. When I first met Pauline, her illness was apparently in remission. She was working constantly, obsessed with the subject of sex that she loved so much and had the avowed intent of "fucking her way through multiple sclerosis". I could never really understand her or identify with her plight or mission in life but grew to like and respect her for her directness and her obvious interest in anyone she came into contact with. Eventually I went through a course of sex therapy under her guidance, which I can recommend to anyone. Through her, Kristin and I would meet the Zanies, a commune in West Virginia, who were later to play an important role in both our lives. Pauline later killed herself when her situation became untenable but right now that was all in the future. For now, I was spending every night up on 91st Street and leaving early each morning to commute by subway to the Studio in Time Square.

By the time my show at Maker's Gallery in Soho opened in November, Kristin and I were a steady couple. However, lest life should run a little too smoothly, Marie Luz showed up unexpectedly at the Studio one morning to make one last effort at a reconciliation with me. Unfortunately, it was much too late for that. I was living on another planet with another woman and already my glorious past was firmly in the past. Her timing was terrible for, not only was I in love with another woman and in the middle of hanging my first New York show, I had decided to give up cigarette smoking that week. I'd smoked cigarettes since I was fifteen, was a steady one pack a day man and had started to live with a woman who hated the smell of tobacco. Besides it was a totally unhealthy habit and one which could potentially kill me. So one day I stopped dead, exercised my considerable will power and have never smoked since. It wasn't easy at all to quit nicotine. I went through miserable withdrawal for weeks and looked pretty funny walking around with a plastic straw in my mouth to which I had transferred my addiction. Gradually I felt better though and quitting cigarettes is one of my accomplishments that I'm most proud of. I could probably have chosen a better time to go cold turkey though and I went through a very tense week when Marie Luz appeared and my batik show opened. There was a very strained meeting between Kristin and Marie Luz at the gallery one afternoon. Perhaps, I thought, Marie Luz was putting herself through all this unhappiness and humiliation to make me feel guilty. I was very sorry for Marie Luz but at the same time, perfectly clear about my feelings. Eventually she left and went down to a Meditation Conference or something in Florida. And eventually I managed to wean myself of my straw and found that, without cigarettes, I was calmer than I had been before, which was a good thing.

I feel worse about the end of my relationship with Marie Luz than I do about the conclusion of any other of my relationships. We had had a very close, happy and meaningful love affair for almost eight years and without her presence and support, I might not have taken the step of becoming a serious professional artist. Certainly without her help, I wouldn't have been able to sell my work in Spain and I'm eternally grateful for her for that. I'm sure too that I was very instrumental in her eventually being able to live with her children so we're pretty even in the end in that respect. But I had made a commitment to her that I was unable to honour and that left a bad taste in my mouth. In the end, love wasn't enough and I had to move on and leave her behind. Over the ensuing years, we've stayed in fairly good contact by mail for I hate to let anyone drop out of my life but our lives have drifted further and further apart.


Meanwhile, just before Christmas of 1978, Kristin and I bought the Heutchy's trusty old Ford Gran Torino car and drove off South to meet some of her family. I got my first real look at America. We spent Christmas in Richmond with her brother and his wife and then drove to Florida to attend her sister Lenor's wedding. The ceremony was held outside under a big ficus tree in Homestead, south of Miami, on the last day of the year. We were then all invited down to a family bungalow in the Keys to celebrate with the young marrieds and I found all that very exotic. It was hot and tropical down there, Radio Cuba came in loud and clear and one had the sensation of being down at the very tip of the American Continent with the land curving away below us. Only the Caribbean stood between us and South America. Kristin and I hung out awhile down there to play and then went on up to a conference in Boca Raton where the theme was "Being Male" and where Kristin, famous sex expert, was one of the speakers. It was a peculiar sensation, I remember, being there as the companion and paramour of an attractive woman who's main claim to fame and reason for being there was a much vaunted experience with men and her expertise in sexual matters. I think it was probably at that point that I recognized some of the insecurity that all men at some time or another feel concerning their sexuality. Besides I didn't much like the way so many men kept hitting on her. Kristin stayed firmly by my side but enjoyed all the attention and notoriety immensely. After a month in the South, I didn't mind at all when it became time to head back North to New York and work, though I shall always be grateful to Kristin for giving me my first look at America.


Back in the city, Kristin's old roommate and ex-lover, Anita, moved out and Cathy came to live with us. She was a student at Columbia University, supported herself as a waitress and lived in cloud of cigarette smoke and happy, careless chaos. We all got on very well and she remains a very close friend. It was Cathy who took us up to Columbia one day to have our palms read by the famous palm reader Mr. Singh who told me that I was very, very old and that I would eventually become a great healer. I'm still waiting for that to happen. And I met Kevin, Kristin's eldest son, for the first time, down in New York on vacation from school in New England and we made a really good connection together.

Pauline invited us both to come down to visit the Zanies' commune, the Rocks, in West Virginia with her in February when she was invited to conduct a Sexual Awareness Workshop there one weekend. The Zanies were primarily a group of hippie doctors and their families who had bought a big stone house on a large piece of land by the Shenandoah river way out in the country. They practiced alternative medicine and nose to nose alternative living. Kristin and I went for long walks together and I remember that there was snow on the ground and that it was very cold. We took Pauline and another surrogate, Susan, with us and the whole weekend was very interesting with a series of "touchy-feely" exercises designed to help us feel comfortable with one another and one another's bodies, both male and female. The weekend dealt directly with communication skills, with both the sexuality and asexuality of human touch and such issues as homophobia. It was the first time that I met Dr Patch Adams and his wife Lynda who were later to become great friends. The only sour note to the weekend emerged later when it transpired that Susan had had a quick fling with one of the community members and had left him with a dose of some venereal disease as a souvenir.


Kristin and I were beginning to notice a few cracks in our relationship too by this time. At times I felt that she was too domineering and my instinctive reaction to that was to push back. Power struggles developed and had spread to all levels of our relationship. It was then that Pauline Abrams suggested that we go through a course of sex therapy together, something that I've never regretted doing. It helped us both a lot and I learned two of the basic components of happy sex and happy relationships: good clear communication and taking one's time.


Meanwhile, back at the Studio, we were all struggling to make some money. Shrewdly we recognized that the space we had there was one of our best assets. What need did we have to go out to look for galleries to show our work when we could turn the Studio into a gallery and have people come to us? Our first Studio 45 show opened with a great party on April 1st which we called April Fools. It featured my first New York batiks together with a couple I had done following my trip to Florida, Michael's latest montages, Gene's collages and photographs by a friend. The Studio was pretty full, we had a very unusual recital of music played on an electrified zither and a strange instrument called a vitar and we made a lot of friends without making any sales.


Six weeks later, we tried it again and I sold two batiks this time. The party ran all day and I estimated that nearly four hundred people came by the Studio to celebrate Mother's Day with us. I baked four great cakes for the occasion and invited Patch Adams and members of his commune to come up for a "Zany Movie Festival" which drew a huge crowd. Patch showed an afternoon of his 16-millimeter home movies including a film of the birth of his son Atomic Zagnut that he had made, which I found very moving. Although I had witnessed a real birth in Ibiza, there was a moment in that film, when his wife Lynda held the newly born boy in her arms, covered in blood and mucus and still attached to her by the umbilical cord, that brought home the miracle of birth and procreation and the continuity of the human species so strongly that it shocked me. There was also a little gem called "Sugar Madness" and another film about Mounties which was hilarious. But I thought that they were all topped by one called "Alternative Food Sources #1: Cockroaches" which had several of New York's most hardened moviegoers making white-faced for the door. Patch had called up the Smithsonian Institute and had asked for the largest cockroaches that they had, telling them that he needed them for research experiments. They had given him some real monsters and he had then persuaded a group of real doctors to sit down as a panel and to finally eat the cockroaches in a variety of different ways in front of the camera. We ended our Movie Festival with the first New York showing of "Captain Lust ", a relatively big budget pirate porno movie that an ex-boyfriend of Kristin's had made. The movie had actually bombed completely with the porno public when it had first come out. Beau, the director, a Zen Buddhist with a heart and soul of great purity, had so gotten into the pirate side of the film, into shots of the galleon he had borrowed, shots of the sails unfurling, endless waves crashing, pirates waving cutlasses and swinging on ropes that he had quite neglected the sex scenes which were at best, perfunctory. Sex seemed somehow only incidental to the jolly roger flag going up and down and the shouts of hey ho, me hearties ! But all in all it was a memorable party and only our rather anarchic form of organization stopped us from putting parties on every month.

Then we handed the center passage of the loft over to a friend who put together and edited an avant- publication called "Just Another Asshole" there, which we all helped with and learned from. And an off-Broadway Feminist Theater group used the front section of the Studio to rehearse a play called "The Ladder" and their screams so upset street passersby that someone called the police in, thinking that we were torturing somebody or making "snuff" movies up there, pretty ironic considering what was regularly taking place on the street below us.


I remember that Michael got the job of dressing the entire cast for the Circle Repertory Theater's production of "Childe Byron" starring the, then less, famous actor, William Hurt, who came up to the Studio several times. For a month, complete madness descended upon Studio 45 as Michael and his team of elves worked night and day to complete the period costumes. I was roped in to dye some of the clothes and was given the title of colourist in the theater program.

One full moon night, a friend of ours had a very uptown art show opening. We stopped work on the costumes for few hours, dressed ourselves in the clothes we were making and managed to persuade the driver of a limo we spotted outside a bar below us, to drive us up to the gallery. We made a magnificent entrance, Mayor Ed Koch was there and so was Andy Warhol, who was videotaping the whole proceedings. I ended up spending the evening staggering around behind Andy and his horrible wig, carrying his video power pack for him. We had our fifteen minutes of fame and then slipped out of the spotlight and went back to the Studio, where we took the costumes off and got back to work and the real world.


I got an interesting and challenging commission from a friend of a friend about this time. Stan, a New Yorker transplanted to Los Angeles, came to the studio one morning asking me to do a batik for him. He had just moved into a new house and had a huge empty wall in his bedroom which needed a painting at least eighteen feet by twelve feet in size to cover it. That was his fantasy at any rate. I'd done some big bedspreads in the past but nothing as big as that. Most fabrics are between three and six feet in width so I would have to sew several widths together to make a batik that size. Dyeing a piece as large as that would be a problem. Stan wanted a particular view of Central Park, the little bridge that ran across the lake up in the Eighties where he'd met his wife years before. I agreed to do the batik, Stan went off back to L.A. and I went to work. I did a sketch of the little bridge which I knew well from my walks around the Park and set it against a background of the buildings around the Park with a night sky and a rising moon. I decided to do the batik in sections and join it all together for the final black dye so that I could get a uniform colour.

It all went pretty well. I did have some problems matching up parts of the drawing and the dyes but generally succeeded pretty well and got Michael to sew all the pieces together for the final dyeing. We had to hang the dripping batik, now a huge piece of wet cloth, out of the front windows of the Studio to dry and passersby must have looked up and cursed the powers that be for the black rain that literally stained their clothes as they passed.

My wonderful Drycleaner over on Ninth Avenue cleaned it without any problem and I sent it off to Stan in California. He called up to say that he loved it and sent me the agreed money in payment. Stan said that if I was ever in LA, I had to come by and see the batik up on his bedroom wall. He said that it looked fabulous and would remind him forever of he and his beloved wife's first date.

As I shall presently relate, I was in LA a year later, staying not far from Stan's house. One day, I called him up, told him I was in town and asked him if it would be O.K. if I came by and took some photos of the batik in situ for my portfolio. He seemed a little evasive but suggested a date the following week. When I finally showed up at his house, a very young woman, perhaps sixteen or seventeen years old, came to the door. She introduced herself as Laurie, said that she was Stan's girlfriend and that unfortunately he was in Police custody at the moment due to his failure to pay child support to his wife from whom he was currently separated. He had left strict instructions that Laurie was to let absolutely nobody into the house while he was gone and she said that she was sorry but I couldn't come in to see my batik. But she added that it looked groovy (is that what they said back then?) and that I should come back next week when Stan would be home for sure. Hmm, well, I wasn't doing that much else then, just hanging out trying to make sense of life in California and trying to decide where to go next. So I called back a few days later and got Laurie again. She looked even younger this time when I turned up. Dressed in Bermuda shorts and a halter-top, she could have been thirteen or fourteen. Yes, Stan was at home and would be down any time. He had only been released from gaol the night before, the poor man, and was upstairs trying to catch up on his sleep. So I hung out in the living room with Laurie, watching cartoons on the TV. and waited for Stan to appear. I actually spent an entire afternoon in front of the TV waiting for Stan the Man but he didn't wake up. He never came down and I never saw him or my giant batik again.


Kristin and I continued our somewhat bitter-sweet relationship. At my request, she had stopped going off to "swings" with her very sexually oriented friends and we had settled into a monogamous relationship for the time being. In theory, I’d always been in favour of "open" relationships but in practice they'd never worked out for me nor for anyone else I knew. And though I'd gone along with Kristin's need to see other men from time to time and her desire to get her strokes wherever she could, this element of our relationship coupled with the sexual nature of her work proved too much for me in the end. It had begun to make me feel too insecure. So we were trying hard to accommodate one another although conflict and power struggles were still often central to our affair. In the final analysis, I felt that Kristin was still too controlling and dominating for me, but I was very much in love with her and tried every which way to hang in there and to make the relationship work. On paper we seemed so perfect for one another and seemed to compliment each other so well. So we both hung in there although the affair was often very stressful. I went into psychotherapy at Kristin's suggestion to work on my self-image and sense of self-esteem and spent my life walking around muttering positive affirmations to myself. "I am a wonderful human being and deserve to be rich, famous and loved", would be my early morning litany as I eyed my reflection uneasily in the dirty graffiti-painted window of my subway car while I rode downtown to the Studio every morning. All I'm sure of having success with was my stopping a lifetime's habit of nail biting around that time.


Kristin and I got out of town every chance we had and went down to the piece of land called Hallelujah Hollow that she had bought in the south of West Virginia. We spent a week putting a new roof on the little clapboard house there. She planned to start a family community eventually but it never worked out for all the sisters were into their own family building. And we all went off that piece of land later when Kristin's brother's stepson was struck dead out in the field by a bolt of lightning during a storm. We had some good visits with Kristin's two boys too when they came to New York and we took them to rock concerts which we all enjoyed a lot.


At the end of June that year, Kristin's lease on her apartment ran out. It wasn't renewable but we were able to take a summer lease on an identical place on the next floor down. Kevin graduated from his private school in New Hampshire about then and Kristin and I drove up there to go to the graduation ceremony where I took lots of photos of the eighteen year old boy. Then we took him up to Buffalo with us to visit another of Kristin's sisters and where Kevin helped me hang some batiks in a gallery up there. We brought him down to New York and spent a great week together running around town. Kevin was an avid and expert rock climber and had a summer job teaching rock climbing at a summer camp in Telluride, Colorado. He left to go there for the summer at the start of July. A week later, we were awoken at two in the morning by a call from Walter, Kristin's ex-husband, who broke the news that Kevin had been killed in an accident. He and another boy had been roped together as they made an easy climb one afternoon and a falling boulder had knocked them off the rock, killing them both immediately. I shall never ever forget the little animal cry that Kristin made as she heard the news. She left for Florida the next morning to pick up Adam, her other son, and then flew to Colorado to scatter Kevin's ashes in the mountains. But it was almost harder to be left behind. That terrible accident changed Kristin forever and she will carry the grief with her all the rest of her life. Kevin's death pretty much finished off our relationship in the end and at the same time has bonded us together for the rest of our lives. Nothing I could say or do could really help Kristin and we drifted further and further apart as she turned to close women friends for consolation and comfort. But in our last week together, I had taken lots of photos of Kevin, almost as if I'd known that he wouldn't be around for very long and these photos and my presence throughout the tragedy have ensured, I think, that Kristin and I will be inextricably linked for life. She remains one of my very closest friends to this day and I love her deeply.


We shall never know what Kevin would have done or might have become in his life and our memories of him were frozen at the age of eighteen. But he left no loose ends when he died; he had completed one stage of his life and hadn't yet started another. Kevin had no close attachments to anyone outside of his family and died quickly. Above all, he was doing something that he loved doing and was good at. In retrospect it wasn't such a bad way to go.


So Kristin's and my life together in New York was starting to seriously unravel. I tried to stay close to her through her sorrow in this period but I couldn't be very much help. She seemed to feel closer to some of her women friends, in particular one called Vickie from Florida whom I sensed was coming right between Kristin and I. But there was nothing I could do about that and more or less had to stand back and let our affair slowly collapse. Kristin was still working for Pauline but her heart wasn't really in it any more and she gave in her notice soon after that. She had heard that Pauline's only reaction to Kevin's death was to ask if she, Kristin, had cried much. Perhaps Pauline saw or sensed that Kristin kept a block up against really feeling her emotions in most situations. In any case Pauline's illness became much worse and she committed suicide in her dark apartment the following year.

We didn't have an apartment where we could be together and I turned back to the Studio where in any case, I had to get ready for my next batik show which was set for November. But we still made time for some last trips together and spent a weekend together at a friend's house in the Catskills where deep sadness permeated all our time together. Actually the only thing I can remember about that particular trip was going for a walk down a little deserted country road, coming round a corner and suddenly finding a dead fish which had been spray-painted bright yellow, lying in the middle of the road. It was a bizarre touch of sheer surrealism without any logical explanation. I've often thought about it since then and wondered who the perpetrators were and whether the fish had been left there specifically for us. Ah! The Mystery of Life!


About that time too, Kristin and I met Patch Adams and his friend J.J. Johnson again, this time out on Long Island where they were the doctors in charge of the Medical Facility at the "Woodstock Revisited " Rock Festival at a race track there. It was surely a Nadir for rock and roll music and probably one of the lowest points of the entire Seventies decade. I can't remember who all the musicians were playing there, an over-weight Steve Stills and a light-weight Jon Sebastian, I think, but I do remember that the audience were far too young to have been at the original Woodstock way back in '69. Being based around the Medical tent did give us an interesting view of the whole show though. Nearly all the kids there were stoned on downers and alcohol and Patch and J.J. had to deal with a string of barbiturate overdoses and lots of cut feet for many of the kids were barefoot and cut their feet on broken beer bottles. Mind you, the kids at the original Woodstock weren't exactly straight either, there was plenty of pot and the warnings about the "bad acid" are infamous but that generation were definitely out to celebrate something at Yasgur's Farm and this generation looked like they were just lurching towards oblivion.


That September my old Ibiza friends Simma and Jeffrey showed up with their baby son Harun. They had come back to the States and were looking for a new place to settle down. We made a trip to see the Zanies at the Rocks in West Virginia and then took them down to Hallelujah Hollow to show them the land. They ended up staying in that cold little shack for November and December of that year. By October, Kristin had moved in with her friend Vickie and I was hard at work at the Studio putting my next show together.


My show at the SouthWest Gallery on the edge of Soho in November was a turning point for me. I had met Steve the owner of the gallery through - surprise- an old boyfriend of Kristin's and it was a very nice new space. A woman called Micheline was in charge of hanging my show and she and I really hit it off together when we realized that both of us were going through relationship breakups. She was French Canadian and an artist herself and it was very nice to have a female friend to talk to through this period. The show itself was mostly of New York batiks but included a couple of portraits too and we got a good turnout at the opening. To my surprise and joy, nearly every piece sold that very night, fifteen large pieces in all I believe. I was financially solvent once more. Exhausted after the opening, Kristin and I had a quiet meal together in some restaurant and I told her that it was time for me to get a break from New York and the rat race and that I was taking off for Florida when the show ended. She was going there for Christmas too and we promised each other we'd see each other down there. A month later, we spent a last, sad and painful night together at a friend's house in Coconut Grove, Florida. We held each other all night but the affair was over and we both knew it. She would head back North after Christmas and decide what to do next with her life. Perhaps she would throw in her lot with Patch Adams who by then was planning to build a model hospital in West Virginia and who could use her special skills. I was looking to the West and planned to check out California. After our last night together, Kristin let drop a final word to me as she said good-bye to me. She had a touch of some sexually transmitted disease and thought that she'd better mention it to me in case she'd passed it on to me last night. Luckily, as it happened, she hadn't but I was very glad to be moving on.


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