20 November 2011

2117B Young Street

Mrs Bell ran 2117B Young Street.  At some point there had been a Mr Bell, but he was no longer around - not, I think, gone to his eternal reward, but booted by Mrs Bell.  Mrs Bell was a late-middle-aged Japanese lady - she was my landlady, and she lived with Cindy - her small dog - Cindy Bell, I suppose she must be called.

I don't remember moving into 2117B Young Street, but I must have done so around late October or early November in 1968.  It became my home for the next three and a half years - until Susan and I were married, the 20th of May, 1972.

It was cheap.  I don't recall how much - the figure of $110/month comes to mind, but that could be wrong.  It was, indeed, pretty heavily bug-ridden - cockroaches, to be specific.  The flat was upstairs in the rear of the building facing a kind of atrium, with other apartments facing the same little yard.  There was a bedroom on the Young Street side, a sitting room in the middle, and the kitchen opening off the sitting room.

And the bathroom and toilet were down the hall.  The shower was actually enclosed up to a little above head height - and open to the outside above that.  Well, luckily, Honolulu is warm :-)

Poor Mrs Bell!  Things were better for her after I became a Christian, in 1970 - but for the first year and a bit I think she was pretty unhappy with me.  I played loud rock music late at night, until she told me I had to use earphones.  I came and went at all hours.  I was ... pretty hard to put up with.  She was, herself, a Christian - she attended the Door of Faith Church - half an hour's walk in town on Young Street!

Because I now relied on marijuana to keep from fretting, I was attending University classes, and doing my paid work there, as well.  I attended them - but my work was a ruin.  I think I was enrolled in five classes.  By the end of the semester, I had managed to do the work for, and sit (successfully) the exam in, one of them.  The remaining four were given compassionate 'incomplete' marks - grades that I had one semester to make up (by the end of the year I had made up two of them; the remaining two became 'F' grades - Fail grades).  Still, I was officially a student.  I had some money.  I even enrolled for the spring semester of 1969.

But - marijuana or no - I was filled with emotion - emotion which I may have identified as grief, or possibly even love.  What it was, in fact, was anger.

There was some sort of free City-and-County (the whole island of O'ahu is under one government - the City and County of Honolulu) psychology clinic.  I registered there and began attending both private sessions with a man named Vic (I forget his last name), and also group sessions, for people involved in recent marriage break-ups.

Vic was a very nice guy.  I can't say I got much psychological help from him - he was, in fact, divorced himself, which mightn't be the best recommendation - but I was able both to buy marijuana from him and, on occasion, to sell to him - so it wasn't a total loss.

But I did learn something very definite from the group sessions.  I learned to recognise my emotion for what it was.  I labelled it, accurately, as anger.  And I was encouraged, as all of us in the group were, to express that anger.  We explained to one another how we felt.  We sometimes did a little play-acting at it - and there were some tears.  Perhaps the idea was that emotions are a kind of psychic energy that is dangerous if bottled up, but safe if allowed to blow off harmlessly by loud words in a group of persons with the same feelings.  Maybe they thought that doing so would make us less angry.

If this is what was expected, that was not how it worked with me.

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