Territory of Men A Memoir

ISBN-10: 0812968182

ISBN-13: 9780812968187

Edition: N/A

Authors: Joelle Fraser

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Born into the turmoil of mid-60s San Francisco, the daughter of a flower child and a surfer, Joelle Fraser grew up with no bedtime, no boundaries, and no father. Fraser captures this centerless childhood in vivid, frank writing, then goes on to show how a legacy like this affects a girl as she grows up.
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Book details

List price: $12.95
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 7/8/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.418

Joelle Fraser has a MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Summertime Mother's Day, 1966 Watch us as we barrel across that bright bridge toward San Francisco, the gray waves of the ocean seething and crashing below. It's a warm May day, the windows are wide open, and my mother's black hair flies wildly around her sweating face.
We're late for the hospital, but traffic is light?and this is a party, after all, one that began in the morning and lasted all night and hasn't stopped for years. In the backseat, my father sits between two friends, smoking a cigarette, lips stained dark from gin and grape juice. He grins at my mother in front, tells her to hold on. He says wouldn't it be a great story if they had a baby on the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin' " comes on the radio, and everyone sings, the words swept up by scarves of fog and spread over the sea. They're drunk, all of them, all but my mother, who leans back to ease the pain, belly swollen, legs braced because it's almost time and I'm pushing to get out.
That summer my mother's twenty-four and broke, living in a small flat in Sausalito with an infant, and my father's away somewhere trying to earn money. He's lost jobs, as a shoe salesman, as a ranger in Muir Woods?he was let go for not keeping the latrines clean enough. This last job, at a landscaping company, they fired him for pulling out the jasmine instead of the weeds. He's been away from home for weeks.
She reads my father's letter, which says he's lost his fourth job, and it's his fourth job in half a year. Life is much harder now with a baby, and she suspects that it will not ease up soon, or ever. She remembers those wonderful evenings after they were first married, living here in Sausalito, drinking Red Mountain wine at three dollars a gallon, feet dangling over the water as the fog lifted and the small boats floated by on the bay, with San Francisco's lights beyond. She thinks of the late nights at Contact, the art magazine they worked at in the city, and the concerts at the Fillmore. She has all the memories of the year before, in New York, when he worked at Look and she at Mademoiselle. In New York, the party began Wednesday and ended late Monday night: their home was an open invitation to visit anytime but Tuesday. They made jokes about their lifestyle, how it was like the title from Hemingway's book A Moveable Feast. Almost every night they drank, and in the morning woke to friends passed out on their floor.
They were both dreamers, but my mother had a practical side, and it was mostly this concern for the future and for a sense of security that came between them. When they argued, it was about money, which fell through the cracks of their lives, emptied on booze and parties and books. But they had loved each other while it was just the two of them, and that was all that really mattered.
Then she got pregnant with me and they headed back west. My mother tries not to think about the way her life has turned, how somewhere along the way the wheel jerked and took a hard left onto a road she didn't want to go down or wasn't ready for.
From the Hardcover edition.
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