Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson

By Juan F. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson, “smart hillbilly,” boy of the South, born and bred in Louisville, Kentucky, son of an assurance salesman and a stay-at-home mother, public school-educated, jailed at seventeen on a bogus petty theft cost, member of the U.S. Air strength (Airmen moment Class), replica boy for Time, author for The nationwide Observer, et cetera. From the outset he was once the Wild guy of yank journalism with a journalistic urge for food that touched on topics that drove his feel of justice and intrigue, from biker gangs and Nineteen Sixties counterculture to presidential campaigns and psychedelic medicines. He lived higher than existence and pulled it up round him in a mad attempt to make it as electrical, anger-ridden, and drug-fueled as possible. 

Now Juan Thompson tells the tale of his father and in their learning one another in the course of their 41 fraught years jointly. He writes of the various darkish occasions, of the way some distance they ricocheted clear of one another, and of the way they discovered their long ago earlier than it was once too past due.

He writes of turning out to be up in an previous farmhouse in a slender mountain valley open air of Aspen—Woody Creek, Colorado, a ranching group with Hereford farm animals and clover fields . . . of the presence of weapons in the home, the packing containers of ammo at the kitchen cabinets at the back of the glass doorways of the rustic cupboards, the place others may need positioned china and knickknacks . . . of mountaineering at the again of Hunter’s Bultaco Matador path bike as a tender boy, and father and son roaring up the airborne dirt and dust street, trailing a cloud of dirt . . . of being taken to bars on the town as a small boy, Hunter preserving court docket whereas Juan crawled round less than the bar stools, deciding upon up switch and taking his stumbled on loot to Carl’s Pharmacy to shop for Archie comedian books . . . of going together with his mom and dad as a toddler to a Ken Kesey/Hells Angels celebration with dozens of individuals wandering round the woodland in quite a few levels of undress, stoned on pot, tripping on LSD . . .

He writes of his transforming into worry of his father; of the arguments among his mom and dad achieving scary degrees; and of his eventually struggling with again, attempting to guard his mom because the country soldiers are referred to as in to split father and son. And of the inevitable—of mom and son using west of their Datsun to make a brand new domestic, a brand new lifestyles, clear of Hunter; of Juan’s first style of what “normal” may consider like . . .

We see Juan going to harmony Academy, a stranger in a wierd land, coming from a college that was once a log cabin in the midst of hay fields, Juan with out manners or socialization . . . occurring to school at Tufts; spending a vital week along with his father; Hunter requesting Juan’s opinion of his writing; and he writes in their dust cycling on a hilltop overlooking Woody Creek Valley, appearing as though all of the terrible issues that had occurred among them had by no means taken position, and of being there, jointly, aspect via part . . .

and at last, movingly, he writes in their lengthy, sluggish pull towards reconciliation . . . of Juan’s marriage and the delivery of his personal son; of observing Hunter love his grandson and Juan’s coming to appreciate how Hunter enjoyed him; of Hunter’s becoming disease, and Juan’s changing into either son and father to his father . . .

From the Hardcover edition.

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A chinese language trade pupil requested if i wished to visit the dance. i may see he was once feeling lonely and awkward too, and so we went. i finished up dancing, a lot to my shock, and after the dance a handful folks who had met went again to someone’s room, drank tea, and talked for one more hour or . That evening all of it replaced. I turned myself, notwithstanding I not often knew it on the time. I labored hard—the periods at Lancaster have been even more tough than sessions at CU—and I explored. After periods i might stroll into the geographical region at the little lanes, and on weekends i'd trap a educate, a bus, or just hitchhike someplace. I spent loads of time on my own, simply as I had in the course of my 12 months at Tufts. besides the fact that, I by no means felt lonely that yr, and that i had neighbors. there has been Rosie, and Matt, and my ally for the following few years, a fellow CU pupil named Elizabeth. I joined a membership that provided counseling to distressed scholars referred to as Nightline. volunteers staffed an workplace each evening of the week from ten p. m. till seven a. m. in order that a distraught pupil can have somebody to speak to. we'd sleep at the couches, and while there has been a knock at the door, we’d unsleeping from a deep sleep, open it, wear the teapot, and hear, anticipating the caffeine to take carry. I acquired my hair minimize brief in order that it stood up instantly. lots of the yr I wore my purple Woolrich coat with a keffiyeh and aviator glasses that darkened within the solar and grew to become transparent interior. i used to be a vegetarian and went to Gaysoc conferences with Elizabeth, who used to be sounding out her sexuality. I wrote letters to Susannah in my magazine after which photocopied it and despatched the copies to her, so much every thing, besides. there have been a few adventures in relationship that I didn’t percentage, although we had no longer made any type of contract once we parted. I didn’t consult Hunter a lot that yr. He was once nonetheless with Maria and attempting to write The Silk street, spending a good period of time within the Florida Keys. notwithstanding, he did ship me a letter as soon as, besides a few postcards from a fan. He didn’t learn a lot fan mail—most of it went right into a field unopened—but this used to be a postcard, speedy to learn and interesting to Hunter. the writer, Lois, used to be from Liverpool, an hour or south of Lancaster, and he instructed i glance her up. She used to be a good admirer of Hunter’s and an aspiring author herself. We exchanged letters and made plans to satisfy in Liverpool. Lois learn prolifically, and wrote an never-ending variety of lengthy, humorous, considerate letters to her pals. I do not forget that she wore black more often than not, and he or she enjoyed cemeteries, Samuel Beckett, The Smiths, and naturally Hunter’s writing, between many different issues. She have been to college, yet then instead of subscribe to the ranks of the salary slaves, she lived at the dole with different like-minded acquaintances, utilizing it as a subsistence-level artists’ subsidy. 3 or 4 humans lived in a single small, ratty, third-floor walk-up. They ate out of cans and purchased not anything new. not anyone had a automobile. She stored her cash so she may perhaps trip to Wales, which she enjoyed deeply.

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