Me & Sally, Manuel, Mickey & Doc..And How We Survived Economically During the 1960s In Princeton By Fayden

fayden2.jpg(Photo: Fayden)

…How We Survived Economically During the 1960s in Princeton….Story By Fayden

There is a little bit of road that runs from the corner of Broadway
in Princeton towards the water. One little cottage surrounded by trees stands on the corner; there is a house on the water with a garage next to it and a large vacant lot.

The house on the water stands across the way from the Harbor House. Before the Harbor House, there was a large hull of a wrecked boat on the spot, maybe one piece forty feet in length that faced the water.

The cabin was water tight, and this is where we used to go to inhale those forbidden herbs and drink our brews that made our words slur while we watched storms blow right on over us and away.

The creek that runs behind all these little houses cuts it off from the store fronts of Princeton, so in some ways it was an island unto itself within the otherwise barbaric mentality of late sixties/early seventies “Princeton- by- the- Sea” (we never called it that though).

This little street was an “intellectual” hub of high living within the otherwise physically and mentally crazed overt nature of fishermen,boat builders, and abalone divers. Now, I have built boats, assisted fishermen fishing, and ran the compressors to the long lines of abalone divers, however I still claim to be one of the terminally unique intellectuals that dwelled on this tiny strip of land off Broadway.

Doc (we called him “Doc” because he used three syllable words a lot) lived in the corner house surrounded by old cypress trees, and worked for United Airlines as a mechanic of some sort. We considered him to be the most stable of all of us because he earned a straight wage every week from a large industry. He was also the only person to have a car without dents and half rusted. Doc was always inviting people in and we appreciated this because except for Doc, Manuel and Sally, we all lived in campers. Small little boxes with even smaller little windows that created large flaring tempers when one got cabin fever.

There was an old black man named Isaac who claimed to be a hundred years old, and he would come over and drink, and tell stories at Docs. Isaac was a local born and lived his life in Half Moon Bay. On hindsight I don’t know if Isaac was a hundred years old but he told really great stories, and it allowed us to sit still and honor him in this way.

He probably just enjoyed watching us get pie eyed and slowly list fifteen degrees as we listened.

Manuel and Sally lived at the other end of the street (across from the old boat, remember) Manuel made beautiful abalone jewelry. He was an older man than us, maybe in his fifties and he rarely wore much more than a pair of shorts. He kinda reminded me of Jacques Cousteau with a pony tail. Manuel would cut the abalone on a water wheel, wearing a scuba tank to breathe with, while doing it. I guess the dust almost killed him doing it without the tank once.

Sally just kind of ran around in the background keeping the house together or chasing her two- year- old daughter who was eternally naked. They were the first San Francisco street vendors I ever met; they’d make the jewelry, then go up to the city around Ghiradelli Square to sell it.

Mickey lived in the two-car garage next to the house that Manuel and
Sally lived in. About a year earlier he had left his wife and kids in Moss Beach. Perhaps Mickey was the most creative man I ever knew;
it seemed he would take on just about any challenge mechanically and
could make it work.

Or he’d already know how to build just about anything wood,or metal, and well, too! He taught me taught me the zen of building, that every project was simply a puzzle, and my job was to make the favorable parts that put it together. It was also mandatory in this “Mickey- zen” to be happy while I/we did anything, or else it wasn’t worth doing.

Mick also was an advocate for beginning the “Royal American Marijuana
Air Force.” The RAMAF plan was to collect all the seeds we could and then
drop them everywhere from a small airplane we would use from the HMB
airport. It never became a reality but we sure loved to muse over
the concept!!

During storms, before the inner break water was built, some of the
boats would lose their moorings and blow up on the shore. The
unlucky ones hit the rocks, shattered and broke up to the point where they couldn’t be repaired, right in front of their unhappy owner’s eyes!

One of these unfortunate crafts came up on a little beach between
Hazel’s restaurant (now Barbaras Fishtrap) and the rocks to the north
of Hazel’s. The wrecked boat had been abandoned for a few months when Mickey discovered it had a solid stainless steel gas tank about
three- feet- tall, nine- feet- wide, and about a foot thick, running the
full amid ship of it. We decided to cut the tank free using some
handsaws and then we’d float it out at high tide. Of course to add
to the intrigue, this all had to be done in the dark as we were never
sure of the legality of anything we did.

And so we commenced, the saws sawed, the water rose, we pushed it out of the now really wrecked boat and it fell on its side into the water. We grabbed two paddles and rowed it over to the end of Johnson pier, hauled it up onto the back of my truck and were now the “new” proud owners of a big, shiny stainless steel gas tank!

And so we commenced, the saws sawed, the water rose, we pushed it out of the now really wrecked boat and it fell on its side into the water. We grabbed two paddles and rowed it over to the end of Johnson pier, hauled it up onto the back of my truck and were now the “new” proud owners of a big, shiny stainless steel gas tank!

We decided to chain it up to a telephone pole in front of Mickey’s
garage facing Broadway and painted on it “STAINLESS STEEL TANK
$150.00.”

A couple of months passed and we didn’t have any takers so we crossed out the $150.00 and painted in a new higher price: $250.00.

Another month went by and still nobody bought it so we crossed out the $250.00 written just below the $150.00 and put an even higher new price of $350.00. About two days later a man came by, looked it over, checked the tank carefully for problems and was successful in talking us down to $300.00. He never asked about the other two prices and we never explained them!

The same day we cut loose the stainless steel tank, we liberated another gas tank in another wrecked boat but this one was only 60 gallons and it wasn’t stainless steel. We couldn’t lift it up the cliff so we emptied the gas into the sand. Mickey didn’t want to pollute the water so once we got to the top of the cliff he dropped a lit match on the newly poured gas. Powwoummmm! The biggest little atomic bomb replica I ever have seen before or since came to life right before my eyes. This flame was followed by a mushroom cloud the height of the twelve- foot cliff and the Eucalyptus trees on top of it.

Needless to say we ran like hell and commenced to watch every Sheriff’s car on the Coastside rolling up and down the streets in Princeton looking for whatever the heck had just occurred.

Needless to say “just another day in paradise”!