About the Book
Guys in Their 20s in the ’60s is twelve interconnected stories told through the experiences of three former high-school buddies—Adrian, a musician; Mitchell, a theater student; and Dave, a carpenter.
Starting in Sacramento, then swept up in the great migration to San Francisco, they encounter real world challenges while pursuing their Plans: a music career that’s inconsistent; a college degree that might be out of reach; a simple lifestyle away from the chaos. Improvising as they go—learning, loving, evolving, road-tripping—they persevere in spite of seismic events all around: political assassinations, civil rights struggles, antiwar protests, and campus disturbances.
Helping to shape their stories and negotiate a cultural revolution is a diverse cast of characters: girlfriends, jazz cats, student activists, drama geeks, nightclub musicians, stoners and dreamers.
“I lifted the heavy drum cases, one at a time, into the bed of my new silver-blue El Camino, moved the cases forward behind my luggage, then snapped the vinyl bedcover in place. I reached for my wallet and thumbed through a stack of twenties and two hundred-dollar bills, thankful the band had been paid in cash the night before… It was an escape of sorts, mostly from the constant boozing that was ubiquitous throughout the supper-club circuit. Teetering on the edge myself, I’d needed to get the hell out before I found myself slipping further into that alcoholic cesspool and becoming another casualty in the alliance of inebriates.”
”Haight-Ashbury was host to an international fair, a human carnival, a happening dense with dreamers. Dave drank in the energy. He and Patty walked among an unending flow of individuals smelling of pot and patchouli, carrying guitars or hand drums or backpacks, moving and mixing in a social stew, eager to connect with everyone in a universal dance of peace and love, brotherhood and sisterhood, conviction and possibility… That summer Haight Street had become an international promenade for a new generation, a gathering place for every young person who’d ever wished to find the Promised Land of like-minded souls searching for America, for themselves… It was the destination they sought while looking for a new direction, for experience, meaning, peace, love, sex, drugs, music, fun, hot food, warm friends, and a place to crash.”
“Red was their wine of choice. Doyle was always on the hunt for a good red. He’d haunt liquor stores to read the back labels of expensive reds and laugh at the pretentiousness of the descriptions. He’d end up buying something cheap, such as the Gamay Beaujolais he got for $1.99 at Cala Foods on 17th and Market. He’d often read aloud the label of his latest purchase and add descriptors of his own. ‘The bottle you are holding is a virtual hand grenade of pleasure. This wine demonstrates the perfect union of flavor, aroma, and shock value. With its big, unapologetic nose, it drips with quality. It showcases intense flavors of dark cherry, plum, spicy vanilla, and battery acid. This luscious swill is easy on the palate, layered with notes of black pepper, toasted oak and sewer sludge. It offers a distinctive, full-bodied experience: a stunning opening, an explosive midsection, and a blasted finish that lingers with a narcotic aftertaste.’ He’d reach for a corkscrew. ‘Mitch, want a glass?”