My father and I are standing in what we used to call Percy’s Field, a brushy, undeveloped couple of acres that ran from Canyon Road down to the Santa Fe River.Scan 40 The day was bright and hopeful. It was about 1960.

It’s hard for me to realize, looking at the photo, that I would be a problem drinker only six or seven years later, barely graduating from high school. Thirty-four years later, I would nod to a hospital nurse to unplug my hard-drinking father from life support. I think I was 10 when the photo was taken. Dad was 32 then, 66 when he died.

The photo above was taken by Mike James, brother of Claude James, owner of Claude’s Bar, a few doors east of Percy’s Field, on the other side of Canyon Road.  I think my father took up me up to the painter Hal West’s studio at the corner of Canyon Road and Escondido that same morning. I had a bowl of pinto beans from the pot on Hal’s wood-burning stove. I think it was a Sunday.

One thought on “Canyon Road, 1960

  1. Bob Heberle says:

    John, thank you for sharing about your dad and about your growing up; I found it unbelievably interesting. At our Bishop gathering you spoke of some of this but not nearly in so much detail. The love and admiration that pours out of you about your dad reminds me of my feelings for my dad now eight years gone. The bond between a father and son can be so powerful. What also comes to mind is how similar your growing up and your relationship with your father is to Houghton’s. I don’t know if you ever spoke to Patrick about that, but it would have been a remarkable dialogue! I’ll leave you with this thought, John : You’re a special person and the more I learn, the more I’m impressed. See you in August and/or September.

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