John Fante (1909 Denver, Colorado, USA - 1983 Los Angeles, California, USA)

Written by John Fante

Dreams from Bunker Hill, 1982

Frank Edgington and I became buddies. He loved the flip side of Hollywood, the bars, the mean streets angling off Hollywood Boulevard to the south. I was glad to tag along as he took in the saloons along El Centro, McCadden Place, Wilcox, and Las Palmas. We drank beer and played the pinball games. Edgington was a pinball addict, a tireless devotee, drinking beer and popping the pin-balls. Sometimes we went to the movies. He knew all the fine restaurants, and we ate and drank well. On weekends we toured the Los Angeles basin, the deserts, the foothills, the outlying towns, the harbor. One Saturday we drove to Terminal Island, a strip of white sand in the harbor. The canneries were there and we saw the weatherbeaten beach houses where Filipinos and Japanese lived. It was an enchanting place, lonely, decrepit, picturesque. I saw myself in one of the shacks with my typewriter. I longed for the chance to work there, to write in that lonely, forsaken place, where the sand half covered the streets, and the porches and fences hung limp in the wind. I told Frank I wanted to live there and write there.

"You’re crazy," he said. "This is a slum."

"It’s beautiful," I said. "It gives me a warm feeling."


© 1982 John Fante: Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press

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