My sister Jessica’s husband Don passed away last Saturday. This makes me feel nostalgic for the past, to when we were young, with strong ties to our family, yet aware that one day, hopefully, we would each start our own separate family, our own club, away from these people who said they loved us, yet caused us such pain, with someone that would have our back - our one true love. I see Jessica in these pictures at a time when she was unaware of who that one would be. Don was Jessica’s one true love. I feel sadness he is gone, and joy that he was.
Nico in the 1980’s. Photograph by P.L. Noble. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s Nico stayed with my family whenever she was in the United States. Occasionally she would take off — she said to visit John Cale in Upstate New York — though she spent the rest of the time with us. Nico had a very deep, velvety speaking voice, that would rise up in lilts when she spoke to me - very nurturing and loving. She would welcome me into her bedroom to sit on her bed, talking as she started her daily ritual of applying Chinese white rice powder to her face — in a square box still available today — patchouli oil, and black kohl eyeliner. She wore cowboy boots from Spain, and long Moroccan tunics that hit just above her ankles. She would tell me stories and give me warnings about the dangers in life - mostly betrayal, sometimes love. She would come downstairs, speak with my mother - whom she adored, perhaps smoke a joint, and then set out on her daily walk from Highland Park, to the New Brunswick bus stop for New York City. Once in the city, she would go straight to the methadone clinic for her daily dose, then maybe stop at El Quijote in the Chelsea Hotel for a frosty, sugary drink - like a Pina Colada, before heading back to the Port Authority for the ride back to New Brunswick. I know, because sometimes she would take me along. I think my parents, being of the cocktail generation, were naive about drugs, and they saw Nico as a beautiful soul - which she was. I was never in danger.