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Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Mainland Marinduque from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on Photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 4, 5 and 6

Here's Episode Four of Dodie's book.____________________________
This is a typical governmemt subsidized housing while I was a student at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1962.
“I was nineteen when you were born,” my father said, "barely an adult, myself. But we made the best of it. We got by. I worked nights. I went on to earn my master’s degree and by then your sister was born. I was a graduate teaching assistant. Most times, we didn’t have enough money to pay the rent and feed four mouths.

“At one point, we moved to the projects and received food stamps. I didn’t like living on public assistance, but we had no choice. But you do. Don’t make the wrong choice now. Don’t make a choice you’ll regret for the rest of your life.”
( It is not true that we received food stamps, but we did reside in a student housing, subsidized by the government.)“Don’t misunderstand us,” said my mother. “You were a godsend. We love you dearly. We can’t envision our lives without you.”

“But the timing was off,” my father said. “I gave up a lot back then.”

But that was eighteen years ago. I looked around at the twenty-four-hundred square foot tract house we lived in. It wasn’t the projects. We weren’t on public welfare. It wasn’t about them now. It was about me.

“I promise you I won’t make the same mistake, Dad,” I said. And I wanted a chance to prove it. “If you’re worried I’ll end up like you, I won’t. I’m not like you."

“You’re more like your father than you will ever know,” my mother said.

“Wait until the school year is over. Take the time to think it over,” my father said.

But a year was a glacial ice age.

“I can’t wait. I’d rather drop out of school than live like this."

“Living like this?” My father looked around. He pounded his fist on the granite kitchen countertop. “There’s nothing wrong with this home!”

He raised his voice. “If you drop out of school, you might as well pack your bags and … “ But his sentence trailed off into silence. And what? Leave? Isn’t that what I wanted? To live somewhere else?

“This conversation is over,” he said. “Why don’t you go to your room and … study?” He stormed off into the other room. It was the same ending for every argument.

I went to my room, lay on the bed, and stared at the cottage cheese ceiling and memento covered walls.

The walls were framed vignettes of my teenage life. There were photos from the senior prom next to the posters of Farah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs. I had tacked up the ticket stubs from every event I attended: nightclubs, rock concerts, movies and sporting events. Besides them were my debating medals prominently displayed alongside pictures of me in a leisure suit, below the second-place ribbons in impromptu speaking and humorous interpretation.

In addition, there was a guitar chord chart, which showed every chord variation--including barre chords--which I had not yet mastered. It hung next to my favorite photos of John Denver, Jim Croce and the Eagles.

More revealing, I had hundreds of black-and-white photographs pinned to a cork board wall that ran from ceiling to floor and took up one side of the room. They were of my high school friends- Eddie, Robbie & Jeanette, in stupid poses, jocular grins, bleary-eyed stoned expressions and moments of faux triumph. There were pictures of us washing cars to raise money; singing in the school choir; cheering at the Friday night football games and horseplaying at a summer pool party. Because I was the photographer who took these pictures, I was not in them. Yet, I could look at each picture and remember exactly where I was and what had happened. I was proud of them.

But I was prouder of the special photographs I kept hidden from my parents. They were my artistic collection of nude and seminude women. Actually, there was only one woman, my best friend--Jeanette.

Cloyne Court, Episode Five
By Dodie Katague
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

I had known Jeanette since third grade at St. Joseph’s school. Her family was Irish Catholic, which accounted for her red hair and large family of eight siblings. Not only did I see her in school every day but also on Sundays at church, where her family sat in the entire third pew on the right side. My family took the back pew in the left front section, near the entrance because we frequently arrived late.

I hadn’t noticed that she had blossomed into a fine young lass (as her father would say) until I saw her at a party, sitting on some guy’s lap kissing him. I was full of envy and revulsion. Here was a girl whose birthday parties I had attended and whose mother taught both of us to bake cookies in her avocado green kitchen. To think of her as a sexual being caused me to have a hard-on that gave me guilt that only a thorough Catholic upbringing could instill.

So, how does a clueless high school student get a stunning, buxom, natural redhead to pose nude in front of a camera? It was easier than I thought it would be. I asked her. She said yes.

One a warm spring day, I was taking pictures for my photo school admissions portfolio of her posing in a decaying wooden farm shed window. I joked that my application would certainly be accepted if I had some nudes in my artwork. She looked at me for a minute, and I could see her mind concluding I had no ulterior motive for her to bare herself in front of me. And I didn’t. I needed the pictures, and I wasn’t about to lose a willing photography model by having sex with a longtime friend. Off came her blouse and out popped her beautiful breasts.

And those breasts were featured prominently in my artistic collection.[1] I had pictures of her standing topless in the farm-shed window. Both breasts exposed. One breast covered. Both breasts covered by her crossed hands. Topless photo poses of her on a half-sunken wooden boat on the mud flats of San Pablo Bay.

I had her standing unabashed naked in the middle of an orange poppy field or leaning against a stately oak tree contrasting her smooth white skin with the dark textured bark. We did water studies, where I would photograph the natural pattern where the waterline met her exposed buttocks or breasts. And my favorite series, where I photographed her as she stood on top of the largest grassy hill in Briones Valley at dusk. Her buttocks were featured prominently in the upper side of the photo overlooking the town. I called the artwork “Moon over Briones Valley, California” as a farcical tribute to Ansel Adams’s “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.”

I tried to create the same Adams effect in the photos by increasing the black parts in the sky around her white buttocks to give it a contrasting intensity between light and dark that was characteristic of Adams’s operatic style.

I was awakened from my thoughts by the sound of my father and mother arguing upstairs in their bedroom. I couldn’t hear what was said. I hoped my mother was winning. If anyone could understand me, it had to be her.

A few minutes later, my parents knocked on my bedroom door. My mother entered carrying my birthday present I had left on the kitchen counter. She handed it to me. Behind her was my father. They had decided and despite the disagreement, the yelling, the raised voices, and feigned crying that accompanied their intense arguments, they were united in the outcome.

“Your father and I met at college,” she said in a wistful tone.

“And it’s your life,” my father added. “Don’t screw it up.” I’m sure he meant it literally. “You’ll have to get a part-time job to pay for your housing. But we agree you should live on campus.”

“Go ahead, open your present,” mother said. “It’ll also be a going-away gift.”

I untied the ribbon and ripped open the package. It was a new camera. A Minolta SRT-102 single lenses reflex 35mm camera with a 35-105 millimeter-macro zoom lens, the latest model that had replaced the SRT-101.

"We know you wanted to be a photographer and attend that trade school, but attending Berkeley and graduating from there will be better for you in the long run,” my father said. “But we didn’t want you to think we didn’t care. I’m sure you’ll find a good use for the camera in Berkeley.”

I hugged them both for the longest time. I loved my family. My life was beginning. I was leaving the nest. But it didn’t hurt to leave open the possibility of returning home in case my initial flight from infancy crashed and burned.

Cloyne Court, Episode Six
By Dodie Katague
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.


A week later, I was in the UC housing office seeking a place to live for the Winter Quarter. I wanted to move into the dormitories on the south side of campus, but there were a dozen students on the waiting list. The fraternities had already had Rush week, but if the frat boys were like the pompous and self-centered jerks I met in my classes, I wanted nothing to do with them.
On the ROOMMATES WANTED board were two listings: One was for a black nonsmoking vegetarian female into EST willing to share a room with a white lesbian Jewish female graduate student working on her master’s degree in Political Economics of Natural Resources; the other advertised for a male who was willing to live in a pool cabana that had been illegally converted into an in-law unit, and work as a pool-boy for the landlord in exchange for a lower rent. The landlord wanted prospective tenants to submit a picture with their application and be willing to discuss their top ten sexual turn-ons.

OK, I admit, the latter listing was from the Berkeley Barb, the local adult free weekly, in the personal classified section. I would have considered the listing, but I didn’t understand what the abbreviations GWM, S/M, N/S, B/D, m4mm meant.

My prospects looked bleak until I reached into my sweatshirt pocket and found a crumpled flyer taken from a hawker at Sather Gate. The flyer was for housing at the University Student Cooperative Association, or the Co-op. The handout advertised housing that was cheaper than the dormitories because it was student-run and operated. Each student had to contribute five hours work a week at the house and the flyer said there were openings for Winter Quarter starting in January.

Here was my chance to move and be near campus. I applied for the first available spot at any of the eleven houses.

My inauspicious residency at Cloyne Court, 2600 Ridge Road, Berkeley, California, north of the UC campus, was about to begin.

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