Monday, January 21, 2019

The Lightning Tower

The Lightning Tower

<previous: New Year's With Yoshio

Some weeks ago, Pete’s brother Richard sent me a handful of old photos of Pete, including this picture,  taken up in La Habra Heights. Who took the picture, I wondered?

The answer would soon come to me.
When Rick and Geri came out to take care of Pete’s business we tried to get in touch with as many of Pete’s friends as we could find. We couldn’t find very many. In particular, we had hoped to make contact with Dee Gayer. Dee was a friend of both Pete and Richard, but like all of us who knew Pete, he had moved on with life and career, and hadn’t seen either of the Hamptons in a long time.

Richard got the call from Dee, whom he hadn’t seen since forever.  Shortly afterwards I got a call from Dee.
He had been driving in the desert, and saw the full moon forming a halo in the clouds. Out of nowhere he recalled Pete telling him that the ring around the moon was a portent of rain to come. That night, Dee said, he awakened suddenly, with the notion that he absolutely had to get in touch with Richard. That was the night that Pete died.

 Notice the dish microphone on a pole. Pete would spend hours hidden in the brush to get recordings of birds, faraway trains, or planes overhead.

In our conversation Dee told me of a time he had been up in the hills above La Habra with Pete. They had been at the base of one of the power line towers. They were drinking beer while Pete worked on sketches, and took photos for later paintings.
Suddenly Pete said that they needed to move. The tower was going be struck by lightning. Dee said that it did not look like rain, but they hiked on anyway. Within the hour the tower was  struck by lightning.
I asked Dee if he had perhaps taken a photo of Pete that day. He had, indeed. The photo was the one that Richard had sent me.

This week we’ll get a look at a few more paintings from the miscellaneous stack in the third archive. Next week we’ll get a look at the paintings in the Lost Canyon file.

And finally, this small gem from Pete's earlier work

Monkeyflower , Paper, 1965

It seems as if  the web of coincidence has hit a snag. I just heard from Dee. He has been trying to send me his recollections, including, I'm sure, the details of the incident with the lightning. Let us hope the material can be recovered from limbo.