Now I had a plan, going to Rockport, and a little money with which to do it. The Pinto wagon was in the vacant lot next door with an empty gas tank. I scrounged around my friends apartment and found a red can marked gasoline. I went down to the Pinto opened the tank and poured in the gas. When I started her up, she would run, but not get enough compression to move. My friend, whose can it was, showed up at about this time and explained to me that it wasn't gas in the can, but kerosene for a space heater he had once owned. I sat in that Pinto smaoking unfiltered cigarettes and muttering, while I gunned the engine until it burned all the kerosene. Then I walked up to the gas station and got the can filled with gasoline. I put that in the Pinto, then drove back to the gas station and filled the tank.
I thanked my musician friend for allowing me to stay in his apartment and I split the lottery winnings with him, so he could pay his rent.Then I jumped in the Pinto wagon and drove the 40 miles north to Rockport, which I had never seen before. It was late fall now and the tourist season was over, as I drove down into the little town of Rockport there was an inn with a sign out that said winter rentals. I went into this inn, the Lantana house, and the inn keeper who had just purchased it was willing to rent me a room by the week. I remember her asking a fee that was equal to all that I had. I told her I would give her ten dollars less, that I needed the rest for food. There was a convenience store across the street and I bought a can of ravioli, a loaf of bread and a pack of Pall Mall straights, but no lottery ticket. I didn't want to push my luck on that one.
My new landlord mentioned in passing that the Rockport Art Association, around the corner, was looking for a part time janitor. The next morning I went there, and up the almost 200 year old steps to the directors office. The week before, the new president John Manship, son of the renowned sculptor Paul Manship had fired the entire staff.
The director was just moving into her new office. I asked for the job, but I must have looked pretty rough, I had been on the road for a month and only had the clothes on my back. She said something like, we will call you if..... I went back downstairs and there was Reynolds Beale, the grandson of the American impressionist Reynolds Beale, and he was working there already. I noticed that there was something on the front walk flagstones. I think it must have been snow, but it might have been dry leaves, its been a long time. Ren Beale handed me a broom with a conspiratorial grin and I went to work, unhired. About an hour later the new director realized that I was working there, and that she might as well add me to the payroll.
The little money I had was spent and the food I had bought at the convenience store was gone. For the rest of that week I had nothing to eat. I think I went about five days without food. I knew no one there to ask for help and besides it was actually pretty easy, after a day or two the hunger went away.I was afraid I would hurt myself, but I think we are made to be able to take a lot of abuse, our hunter gatherer ancestors must have done this routinely. At the end of that week I approached the director and asked if she would advance me the money I had earned for the first weeks work, and I went to the grocery store.
That week I had a chance meeting with a fellow who, strangely, had also just arrived in town from Minnesota. Her had an old girlfriend who had a tiny shop in town selling little animals and trinkets that they made out of glass, over a welders torch. They called it lampworking, but most people thought of them as glass blowers. He saw my painting, I had only one with me at that point, although I did have my paint box, an aluminum stan-rite easel and a few colors, and he invited me to join the business, He said I could pay my share of the rent when summer came and we started to make some money. I now had a part time job and a share in a little shop in Rockport. It was along hard winter,but I was starting to get somewhere now. This was the late fall of 1983, I was to have along history with Rockport that began then.