November 15, 1998 on fakeradio.com
Frank called this interview, “a deep conversation with a wise woman, a cultural pioneer, a midwife, an international bag lady …”
Frank always said that Louise was “to blame” for his life … he also wrote that “thanks to the gentle guidance by Louise Scott, I started to see my body as a tool.” This interview reveals the depth of that friendship of 45 years, starting from the very first time they saw each other at an all-night party of folk singers in 1968 San Bernardino. But it also dives deep into Louise’s down-to-earth wisdom from her profoundly rich and full life, with glimpses into just a sampling of the many chapters of this life. With joy and compassion, weaving through the beatniks of 1950s San Francisco, hanging out with satirist/author Mort Sahl when he first performed in L.A., starting communes and cultural centers through the 1960s and 1970s, traveling the world, being a midwife and working in hospice, and living outside of the borders and limits of society as a way of life … Louise is a model of this freedom, and has always been a mother and a friend, not just to Frank, but to people in general.
Below is an excerpt from the book, Deep Conversations in the Shaman’s Den, Volume 1.
Frank: I know there are a lot of people, all over, in all lines of work, who wish I was not in the world.
Louise: They wish you weren’t in the world?!? Good God, Frank.
Frank: Well, we have someone here who they can blame for that. (all laughing) If it was not for her, I might not be here.
Louise: Well, you know Frank, if it wasn’t for you I might not be here either. (Frank sounds)
Frank: And there are a lot of people who … (Frank screeching, Louise laughing)
Louise: Watch out, watch out, watch out.
Frank: Who would blame me for that too. (all laughing) This is Louise Scott.
Linda: What? You want me to sum up? Oh!
Louise: Careful, careful there!
Linda: I’ll say what I know and you can correct me. I am going to attempt to tell a brief story of how Frank and Louise hooked up.
Frank: And you can stop me …
Linda: Yeah, you can fill in …
Louise: I can correct you or I can … OK …
Linda: Yeah, and fill stuff in …
Lousie: And I’m sure Frank will have a few little …
Linda: Frank was living at home with his mother and brother. (Frank sounds) I guess, in San Bernardino County.
Linda: He had made an attempt to leave home at one point, by getting an attendant who turned out to be drunk (Frank sounds) who pulled a gun on him, so now he’s back living with his mom, aware of the fact that if he doesn’t get out of the house soon, he could turn into the crip son who stays with his mom his whole life, so he was feeling like something had to give. He was toward the end of his college years. Louise was the cool, hippy lady that lived in town with … on kind of a little farm or something? Or some piece of land or something?
Louise: I had an acre there with a lot of out-buildings and whatnot … and my previous husband and I made a swimming pool and we made a sweat and we were really into it. We were supporting ourselves doing landscaping.
Frank: What is a sweat?
Louise: A hot steam bath, so we could get in there and get real hot then jump into the cold water, then get back out and whatnot. And, the first time I remember seeing Frank was at Sally … what was her name, a folk singer … we were all at this house, and here’s Frank, my God, here’s Frank. And, I, I, I … I watched him watching people. And I felt like he saw so much more than other people saw. And I felt a little uncomfortable about it, of course. (Frank low sounds) And that was initially … and then I was off, after that, off with the hippies. When I came back I got in it with Frank.
Frank: We did not talk at that time …
Louise: No, no, no. But I watched. And he was watching. And then, that was before I went off with all the hippies, right? (Frank sounds) And then I was up here at Haight Ashbury and Nevada City. And I left that and went back to San Bernardino and that’s when we really connected.
Frank: While you were gone, some of my friends from college moved in …
Linda: To her house?
Louise: Oh, those guys! (Frank screeches) (everyone laughs) Oh, OK. Well anyway then, when I go back, is when I really got involved with Frank. (Frank sounds) He would be by, and, with friends of his and whatnot. And in the meantime then, shortly after that, I moved to Santa Fe, when the big exodus to the country was happening. And I was back trying to sell that piece of property. Want the story about I was crying? (Frank sounds) I had been very sick and I was in the bedroom crying one day because I was losing my hair. And I heard someone was there and I walk in the kitchen and here is Frank. (makes sounds mimicking Frank’s sounds) You know, full of joy and all that! And I just … that was when I really felt a real breakthrough with Frank. And like, at that time I said, oh my God man, I’m out there crying about my vanity, you know, and I felt really bad about it. How could I be so vain, you know? And a day or two later, he brought me this beautiful painting that he had done of this head. (Frank sounds) And he said this is vanity. All golden curls and earrings and lipstick and this and that. He said, vanity is very beautiful. And then in talking about Santa Fe, he said, oh I wish I could go there. I said, you want to come live with us? (all laughing) (Louise mimics Frank’s sounds) Yeah. And so, we moved all to Santa Fe with me and my kids. (Frank screeching)
Frank: But I went before you got there.
Louise: Oh yeah! A friend, Steve, took him in the car. And then I came with all this furniture and stuff. Maybe I get it wrong, Frank! (Frank sounds) You know!
Frank: You said (Linda giggling) it would be two weeks. (Frank screeches)
Louise: How long was it?
Frank: Two months. (laughing)
Louise: Was it that long? In the meantime, he was at a place called The Center. That was set up at that time, the late 1960s right? Very late ’60s, early ’70s …
Frank: Early ’70s.
Louise: Every dissident in the United States was on the road. (Frank sounds) Going right through Santa Fe. The word was out there was free land. And this friend of ours who had become a Catholic priest at the time, Father George …
Frank: I first saw him when he was MC’ing for Lee Michaels.
Linda: Was this in San Bernardino? (Frank sounds) That’s the first time you ever saw Father George.
Louise: I don’t remember Lee Michaels. I mean, I don’t remember that. But that was away from me. I mean, it wasn’t connected with me particularly.
Linda: Yes. (Frank sounds)
Louise: So Frank is here, right in the middle of all these people, going all over the world, (Frank sounds) doing just dandy!
Frank: My first real time on my own. (Frank laughing)
Louise: On his own, right.
Linda: So you should describe where, what, like, what it was. I don’t think we’ve told anybody.
Louise: We called it The Center. And it was an old nursing home that we rented. It was huge. It had a commercial kitchen and all of that.
Linda: And it was you and George that started it?
Louise: That got this started … plus some other people. I mean, you know there were … it was really a joint effort, communal effort.
Louise: But, there was one guy in Santa Fe who volunteered to come and help everybody fix their broken down cars. (Frank sounds) And we had the Chicano Center that were a lot of the Chicano people. It was kind of the first integration there actually, between gringos and Chicanos … happened through there. Oh, everything happened through there (Frank sounds) really …
Linda: It was like a crash pad, where people could stay …
Louise: It was like a crash pad … people could stay. And we got people to donate produce … everybody kind of cooked and contributed and whatnot. And this got going there. And then I arrived, and then Frank lived with me and my kids because they threw Father George in jail for running a disorderly house or something. (Frank laughs) I don’t remember what they got him on. But I’m real grateful this happened. Because the amount of pressure that took off of Santa Fe that summer, God knows what would have happened. (Frank sounds) You know, I mean, kids were making love in the plaza, right? And they’re getting thrown in jail. (Frank sounds) It was … it was heavy. There was too much, all of a sudden, happened to Santa Fe. You know, we liberated hippies go there (Frank sounds) without our brassieres and that was totally outside of that culture at that time, and there was a huge clash that this prevented. (Frank sounds)
Frank: In fact, they bombed The Center.
Louise: Yeah, I wasn’t there when that happened. I was still going back and forth trying to sell this house in San Bernardino. See Frank was there. Steve got him there. Then I got there and we got a house rented and we got the other situation together. But most of the … initial work at The Center, I was involved in. But that was before Frank.
Louise: So when Frank got there … I don’t know why I was that long getting there, Frank. I was on my way. (laughing)
Linda: He said you had to settle things with the selling of the house?
Louise: Yeah, I never got the house sold. (Frank screeches) I probably rented it out again. There were problems. Government FHA loans and stuff. So I didn’t sell it at that time. But Frank was … you know, he was in his glory after being pretty much isolated. Although he’d been going to college. But, I mean, I’m sure he was just having a ball there. (Frank sounds) You know, it was good for him.
Louise: And then he lived with me and my children. And we were still very much a part of this alternate society. And fully a part of … remember the night in the tepee? The peyote meeting. (Frank sounds) We dug a hole in the ground so Frank could be propped up. (Linda laughs) You know, because there’s no … everybody’s on the floor, on the ground in the tepee. And you know, Frank was always ready for anything. Whatever it is, he wants to try it! He wants to do it!
Louise: So, there was a lot of that type of (Frank sounds) … whatever everybody else was doing. Which, it started in San Bernardino. You better believe he wants to get in the sweat and get in the pool. (Frank sounds) You know, tough buzzard. (Frank laughing)