Mike, an unlikely ticket to ride

Nancy, readers may have surmised, was not a terribly good match for Mike.  Notwithstanding her traumatic fatherless coming of age, and her cruel arrogant mother with a man for every season, Nancy emerged into adulthood surprisingly lucid and mentally sharp, and she remained innocent, gentle, and good during her lifetime, even after Jimi and Mike were long gone.

It’s all relative of course.  Indeed several who knew Nancy reported that she had a distinct “edge.”  But she no doubt had a big soft spot too.  She loved animals, cared for several of them in her apartment, and even is believed to have died from an asthma attack connected to the boarding of a furry critter in her residence. 

A neighbor of Nancy’s on the upper West Side of Manhattan, A.J. Jacobs, wrote The Year of Living Biblically, in which he described (among other things) how helpful and gracious Nancy was as a neighbor.  I didn’t read the book, but this information came to me as a bizarre coincidence, almost an omen that pointed to this writing which at the time was nothing but a good intention….and you know what they say about good intentions!

Still, I don’t think Mike was too jaded to realize the value Nancy’s pure soul added to his life.  That her love was a gift in an arguably sordid and sleazy business environment is hinted at by Nancy.  For example, when he invited her to go with him to England, and allowed her to bring her dog.

You’re a package deal, Mike told me, and said I could bring him (my dog) along. 

I thought I was an adventuress with my trench coat and my over the shoulder bag.  I got my passport and picked up my tickets, and took my dog for his shots.  I got this lovely plaid carrier that looked so much like a suitcase.  If I hadn’t opened up my mouth, I would have gotten him into England.

When I’m with you, life is in stereo, Mike said.

When someone thinks your delicious, they relieve you of your burden by devouring you.

I used to think alone, and then, I thank, with you.  It was like swimming together, in a Think Tank.

We were like two knitting needles, knitting the same garment together.  The longer you stay together, the longer the scarf gets. 

I felt like an artist and I felt like a child.  The only time I felt like a woman was when I was making love with Mike. 

Window shopping, sight seeing, pillaging, and looting.  We went everywhere inside of each other.

A good deal of Nancy’s innocence was no doubt attributable to age, and certainly also to internalized sexism that, while she was forward-looking enough to see it, wasn’t prepared to do anything about it.

Mike suggested I wear more make-up, change my art studio to a frilly bedroom and keep my ‘ideas’ to a minimum.

No response, no response, no response.

He said all the musicians and employees liked me because I didn’t strut around like an aloof queen, as they expected his counterpart to do.

It was the first time I realized how he thought of himself, in terms of them.

He never complained that I wasn’t domestic, because he wasn’t either.

I don’t know where he shopped, got his hair cut, who trimmed his nails, etc..

It bothered me to no end that he used my toothbrush.  He always replied, ‘Our mouths have been all over each other.  What difference does it make?’  But it did.

Nancy saw and didn’t see, worshipped and didn’t, loved and sometimes hated…..Mike Jeffery.  Most days she saw right through him.  She also saw right through herself.

I threw the cloak of what I needed over him and he wore it so well.

I knew he stashed it in an alley when he wasn’t with me.

Sometimes he said things, and I could hear the fabric ripping.

“He’s just a fucking guitarist!”  [is presumably what Mike said about Jimi Hendrix, Mike’s main client, and Nancy’s dear friend]

Mike was, at the same time, Nancy’s ticket to world class art and world class musicians.  She brought her creativity along for the ride and she fit right in.  And in no small way, Mike also gave her what she needed to open her heart to the possibility of happy feelings and good times, a possibility that her upbringing had never allowed.

There’s something to be said for being in a group of people who don’t frown on other people’s happiness [as Nancy observed her mother, Arlene do], that support and encourage pleasure, that laugh and have a good time.

And here, in this little motel room in Big Sur, California, when Eric Burdon saw Mike and me closeted together in the dark, he shouted to the group in the room, ‘Let’s get outa here and leave them alone!  They wanna fuck each other.’

And everyone laughed and joked and jostled and drank up and cleared out and left Mike and me alone to make love.



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