casselberry studio tower. top…. portrait of healther gale douglas welden with stage chair.it’s all about sex.
you might think that s. having dropped out of school to paint would be starved for female companionship. just the opposite.
the sidewalk art festival connected s. with college age students. rollins was right in the little town of winter park and stetson university was a short drive away in deland.
late march and the world was blooming with spring flowers. every yard was aglow with azaleas all reds and yellow. the white flowering bushes and the pinks made you think of weddings. spring was in the air and the sap was rising. you could smell it. that fresh delightful clarity of cool air had a particular effect on s. . to be alive and happy, young, strong and handsome was an aphrodisiac miracle.
down to his last cigarette s. bummed butts from the passersby at his display of paintings. they all were sold by the end of the day, and his wallet was bulging. the carnival atmosphere with strolling minstrels, jugglers, little food stands everywhere. the ‘soup tureen’, a quaint outdoor bistro next to s.’s gallery was a perfect setting for a day full of new impressions and new people.
s. was excited by all the people and the compliments he was getting on his work.
that’s s.’s brother’s portrait on top.
terry lung, a young photographer who did smashing full portraits larger than life invited s. to his studio for a free sitting. gamble rogers, a folksinger extended an invitation to dinner with his wife. “bring your girl.” he had said. s. didn’t have a girl right then. he didn’t spend much time sitting by his paintings. anita (stepmother) was there and held court with her friends and welcomed prospective buyers. s. felt like a débutante and whirled around alighting here and there making friends with everyone.
my grandfather bought this one. the boy in the woods.
the theater group from stetson adopted him and mike the ‘director’ a graduate student and assistant professor at the film school introduced him to heather gale douglas welden and through them he met many others. all in all it was a wonderful day.
after that s. spent most of his time hanging out day and night. sometimes they would stay up all night. he loved it when they would turn on all the red spots on the stetson theatre stage with all the house lights off. everything was surreal. heather with her black hair and black eyes and slim body made him delirious with desire. they became lovers. they were seen together on the campus, in the cafeteria always making out. he with his ‘shades’, black clothes and hopped up exuberance she with her intellectual early ‘libber’ superior attitude.
unfortunately, the conservative ‘ivy leaguers’ and football studs didn’t appreciate s. and his constant presence with his big sketchpad and satchel stuffed with revolutionary pocketbooks like marx’s “the communist manifesto” and ayn rand’s “atlas shrugged”. colin wilson’s second book, “the outsider” which explained everything. rimbaud’s “season in hell” and the “drunken boat”; and the “flowers of evil” by baudelaire. he always had at least one dogeared copy of “the evergreen review”. he even went so far as to spout his own poems uninvited at the student union cafeteria. the young studs didn’t appreciate the adoring gazes of their bored girlfriends.
to top it all off, he had been known to take a girl into a cozy bush now and then. marijuana was still hard to get, but there was plenty of Dexedrine. sometimes they’d stay up for three nights in a row, stop eating. then they would visit this eccentric artist’s house, full of paintings dogs and cats. she would talk for hours with them. they argued about free love, government and god over and over again. then they would come down on wine; kaking out on couches.
the school year came to an end. but a week before the end of the semester, the jocks and squares got together one saturday night. they dressed a dummy in black with long black hair and sunglasses and burned him in effigy in the square. mike, the theatre group, and the rest of the cast were doing a dress rehearsal of ibsen’s “hedda gabbler” with heather in the leading role. s. was very proud to have her for a girlfriend. someone came running in shouting “s. you’re being hanged in the square. when we got there the dummy was burning bright. everyone laughed and passed the beer.
one sunday during church services the campus was somewhat deserted. s. was alone outside reading on a bench. sharon had left the service and dragged s. into the bushes. she did it like a rabbit, fast and furious. that was a total surprise for s., but he didn’t resist for an instant. sharon had the pinkest skin and the golden hair. heather never found out and sharon became an occasional freebie for months afterwards. that is until she introduced s. to robin.
robin was nineteen and a precious beauty. she was studying to be a medical secretary. her gregg shorthand was amazing. she could write faster than you could talk. she had a room in an all women’s dormitory she called “the young women’s concentration camp”, strictly off limits to men.
s. pursued robin avidly and from their first date they were both hopelessly in love, and wonderfully dependent on each others company for happiness. they saw each other whenever they could. they lay naked sunbathing in the tall grass by the lake. they would sit on a bench at lake eola in the late afternoon. the weather was balmy. one night late but before curfew at 11:00 p.m.., robin sensed s’s sexuality so strongly after that hour of hugging and kissing she unzipped his pants and pulled him to the most rewarding orgasm he had ever experienced. he was all balled up… blue balls they call it; when you don’t masturbate for weeks.
the next day s. received his draft card in the mail and couldn’t wait to show it off to robin.
they met for lunch at a little coffee house near her school. in those days the draft was by lottery. chris had had a high number but had to sign up after the tampa fiasco.
s. was so happy that day with robin that he could only express it by running along the backs and hoods of parked cars. he didn’t know what had gotten into him, he was just ecstatic in a bubble of love for robin with her blue-green eyes and loving smile. as if that was not enough he burned his draft card on the top of a car for all to see in downtown orlando. he had sworn he would do that as soon as it came.
busted again. a little later at the police station robin came in quietly demure in her pretty shirt with a red rosebud to her nose. he was so happy she came. the cops didn’t really know what to do with him so they let him go with a strong warning. no court. they celebrated his freedom on the same bench by lake eola.
eventually, robin buckled down to her studies, s. spent most of his time drawing at the royal school of ballet and with no social life biked out and spent weeks in the casselberry studio.
robin cooked up a plan for the weekend of halloween. she forged a note from her father that she was overnighting with her cousin in winter park. she surprised s. with a bag of groceries and a couple bottles of wine. she placed candles all around. s. lit the fire. robin lay on her back and took her pants off. s. helped her with her pink flowered cotton underwear and shirt. robin wasn’t wearing a bra.
s. threw himself on top of her literally crying and whimpered, “i love you.”
there was blood and it hurt her but she took it bravely and even enjoyed it the second time. now they were real lovers… sleeping entwined together and making love again in the morning light. they were ’til death do us part lovers.
escape to new york….