Update: See Joyce Walder’s piece on Anado in the New York Times (Home & Garden), October 23, 2008: “His Theory: Color Chaos” Click here
I had a brief yet torrid friendship with Bryant years ago when he lived in Tunitas…we would run into one another over the years and had healed a rift that had taken place. I last saw him in a coffee house in San Francisco before we moved to Mexico…it’s an odd feeling that I had…thinking this will probably be the last time I would see him…every so often I would google his name on the computer…last night I saw this heading: Bryant Wollman 1947-2008….it was so hard to believe….I knew that Funky man very well….from the depths of his lonesome sadness to the heights of his joyous abandon…he is resting…Viva Bryant!
Please visit Anado’s very cool website, click here
***Image: Return to the Source, Mixed Media Assemblage, courtesy of Made by Anado
i was sorry to her about bryant [wollman]. he and i had reconnected a few months ago, and i was looking forward to him meeting my family during his trip down to san diego. we were good friends during the old hmb post office days… [Peter Adams and his family.]
Peter also says:
bryant sent me this.
“regarding my health, i’ve got a few years before the tumors make themselves known. am blessed and living every day ‘carpe diem’ style! thanks for asking.”
Bryant Wollman said he didn’t much like reading about himself, especially on the Internet, but he forgave my mentioning him in a story about Farmers Feed, our old 1970s food club, because he said it was sweet.
The last time I saw Bryant was at Davies Hall in San Francisco, maybe a year ago. He was impossible to miss, decked out in full Scottish plaids, kilt, sporran, the works.
He looked wonderful. He said that he had had trouble with his heart, but that he was in a hospital group focused on recovery from cardiac incidents, and that they told him he was a model patient.
There were lots of things about Bryant that not many people knew. They saw him in his mail truck, delivering letters along Half Moon Bay’s Route One, but they probably didn’t know that he had once belonged to Mensa, the genius society, or that he briefly attended medical school.
They may have known that he played the lead in “Fiddler on the Roof” in Santa Cruz, but they may not have known he played Wicked Willie Whoppergotter in a Farmers Feed production at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society some years earlier, in 1972.
I’m sure they didn’t know that Bryant tried a few piano lessons with me, hoping to learn to read music in a hurry so he could join a Russian men’s choir. “They said my voice was all right,” he said, “but I have to learn to read music.”
Some people may remember when Bryant dressed up like Saint Nicholas (“Not Santa Claus,” he said. “This is how the real Saint Nicholas dressed.”) He would distribute toys and gifts on his way to midnight Christmas mass at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. We were on his route one year, and he gave us a little candlestick which angels would fly around when you lit the candle.
Bryant’s friends made sand candles at the 40th birthday party he gave himself, alas, only 21 years ago. He and Gene Fleet made a paradise garden on the Tunitas bluffs, planting right over the tracks of the old Ocean Shore railroad. When my daughter disappeared, they brought food to the house, even if I couldn’t eat.
They had Joe and the kids build a bridge over a gulf their goats would not cross, and I wrote a poem about it.
He blew the conch to summon the herdsmen. From the next valley came an answering call. And lo! The Golden Goatway Bridge built of huge stringers and consummate daring crossed over the sheer drop to the ocean.
Bridges are something else, he said.
The children cut the ribbon. He drove the gold stake. The goats refused to walk across to honor the occasion; in fact, Bryant chased them up the cliff, looking like a goat himself, but gathering ceremonial flowers.
When he changed his tactic and ran away from the goats, they chased him. “The goats have taught me all I know,” he said, panting, distributing the flowers.
Bryant Wollman Nov. 15, 1947-July 9, 2008
(Picture is Bryant at my piano Feb. 2, 1984)
Michaele Benedict is the author of “Searching for Anna,” for more information please click here
The Story of “Farmers’ Feed: by Michaele Benedict***
In 1972 and 1973 dwellers âin the boonies near and about Half Moon Bay, Californiaâ? formed a food club which they called Farmersâ Feed. Members published a slender volume, the Farmersâ Feed Book, whose contents included recipes and articles on beekeeping, homemade animal feeds, companionate planting, goat-keeping, sprouts, chicken raising, and even a chicken vocabulary.
The introduction to the book said âFarmersâ Feed is a cooperative food purchasing and distributing group whose members live in the country south of Half Moon Bay, California. Almost our only common denominator is our countryness. Some of us are strict organic vegetarians and some secretly indulge in supermarket prepared foods in darkened attics. What unifies us is that we are all ex-urbanites come to roost in the same peaceful rookery. We make our living writing, breeding horses, teaching, drawing, building, filming, planning. This cookbook reflects our diversity. We hope you and your beasts enjoy our country table.â?
(Image: Land tithe, courtesy Mikie Benedict.)
The book urged a land tithe: Put back a tenth of what you take from the earth.
Contributors to the book were Suzanne White, Gene Fleet, Bryant Wollman, Valerie Hawes, Toni De Bari, Patrick Kitchen, Laurel Jernigan, Stanley Scholl, Barbara Freeman and Michaele Benedict.
(Image: Bryant Wollman was a member of the Farmers’ Co-op. For many years he lived at rural Tunitas Creek and worked at the post office in Half Moon Bay. He is posing in front of the world-famous magician Channing Pollock’s home in Moss Beach, circa 1979. )
Advertisers and well-wishers were The Abalone Shop, Palace Ranch, Tunitas Glen Gardens, the Great White Whale Company, Hawes Place, Garret Gallery,
Hansel-Freeman Apple Works, the Water Works, Take 313, Ford Sunshine Company, and Ed Johnson, the Agricultural Extension Agent.
Farmersâ Feed members took turns shopping for bulk food items, mostly in Santa Cruz. In fall of 1972, they put on a theatrical production, âThe Ballad of Spanishtown Sueâ?, first at the Hawes Ranch and later at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society.
***Author Michaele Benedict lives in Montara. To read Mikie’s “Searching for Anna” website click here