It was very tough, and you were taught how to survive. After 5 months, I was told by Roy, of whose place I was staying, that he was moving so I had to find somewhere quick!
This wasn’t going to be easy. In the end, I went to someone I knew to ask for help but he did not give me a lot of hope. The day before I had to leave, the phone rang – it was for me. This guy told me that he could not find me a room, but I could sleep in someone’s Garage if need be. So that is where I stayed for free.
It took me 3 months to find an affordable room. There were 3 girls renting a fair size house, in which one of them was leaving and the other 2 girls had to quickly find someone to replace her, Lucky for me, being English, they loved the idea, but pointed out a lot of things to me. I immediately accepted and they let me in. Sigh, phew, no more sleeping rough for a while. I was on the east side of Hollywood, a rough area, but I had no choice whatsoever. The Landlord was Armenian. He was a fair guy though – and helpful!
Because of the area, he had two guard dogs: an Alsatian and a crossbreed of what I can only describe as half pig, half dinosaur – I have never seen anything like it! The Alsatian was humongous too, as big as a wolf. Ain’t nobody gonna mess with them, I thought. Also, if you were in lullaby-land and a police siren was wailing outside (often in the night), the two dogs would kick off howling, like wolves, bloody eerie!
But I got used to it. In fact, because of my love of animals, it did not take me long to be accepted. Finally the landlord opened the gate that linked his house to our house and the dogs and I became buddies.
Let me tell you a little story here that forever comes into mind from time to time. If you live in America, you have got to buy a car. Just down the road to an American can be anything up to a 5 hour drive or crossing the line into another State. So, I had to buy the cheapest little box with wheels I could find. On the side of the road, for sale, was this little Fiat, no bigger than a sewing machine – 60 miles to the gallon, I thought, that’ll do me. It cost $250.00. It was ice-blue in colour and purred like a kitten. I said, “I’ll take it”, thinking wow, that’s cheap enough. He said “Ok – sold as seen though”. I wasn’t sure about that, but beggars can’t be choosers, so I bought it. Off I went and I soon found out why it was so cheap, it was a 4-speed car, but only 3 gears worked. Gear 3, was knackered. So I had to persevere. Got good at it too.
Anyway, one morning after an evenings rehearsal, I woke up with the TV still on and all this commotion – people shouting somewhere outside, helicopters whirling around above us. Something caught my eye on TV, it was MY CAR. How!? I got out of bed and slid to the window to find the road outside cordoned off by police. Police dogs were all over the place, there were camera-crews including ABC and a Helicopter going round in circles with my car parked up in the middle of this Circus. There had been a hit listed shooting…
Story continued in next blog post…