from a friend....
For years, in the States, I knew Richard -- 1964 to 1970. We both attended MJC in Modesto, CA, and then were friends and roomates at San Francisco State University in San Francisco from 1966 to 1970. Never saw him after 1970, was going to head down to Belize this summer and wanted to look him up when I came across the notice of his passing. Looking at the picture, I could tell it was him. The man man was a diamond, a unique human being. People in the Humanities Dept. at SFSU loved him, and wanted him to go on to finish an advanced degree. However, he loved marine biology and you could find him in his office or teaching as a TA in the new biology building, often his corn cob pipe in his mouth. One of the most unique human beings I have had the privilege to know, it is hard to believe that he is gone. It said Dr., so I am assuming that he went on to complete his doctorate which I know he wanted to do. I am assuming that this must be the same Richard Woods that I knew, if you could confirm this and just give me a few details of his later life and death, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so kindly.
My God it is so hard to believe that he is gone.... Richard was from British Hondurus (I myself missed being born in Hondurus by 6 hours, my Dad and Mom lived in Tegucagalpia; he worked for Pan Am and flew my Mom back to the states so I could be born in Miami in August, 1946). Richard was quite, and reserved, but intelligent and creative. He became a member of "The Colony" at Modesto Jr. College (Modesto, Calif.)and was well received. The colonly consisted of a bunch (about 25-25) of "intellectual creative misfits" who did not quite fit into the "normal" student scene. Most of us were musicans (music majors) or drama majors (theatre). There was a small group of apartments (one story), some connected, where all of us lived, Richard lived nearby, in an apartment about block away. He went from 1964-66 with a demure, good looking, local girl known as Cathy Robalard.
When he transferred to SFSU )San Francisco State University, they split up, as her parents had money and sent her to a good east coast private school. My earliest memories of him was his love of music and the guitar. He bought himself an inexpensive guitar, a Peter, Paul, and Mary Song book, and without instruction, from a guitar book, started to teach himself how to play the guitar. I can remember going to Santa Cruz to surf, and the whole time he stayed in the car, practicing his guitar for hours, playing simple cords, a little picking. By the time 1969 rolled around (he brought back his RED Spitfire that we blasted around the Bay Area in) we lived in an upstairs apartment in Berkeley. Some nights I would leave at 4 PM, and you could hear him playing Flamenco out the open upstairs window. Coming home, often at midnight, there he was, still playing, perfecting his self-taught craft. I would often tell him (since we shared a small studio apartment) that he needed to put the thing away, as I needed to get some sleep. He was often non-complient, I would have to argue with him to do so and he would most often would then comply. The man had tenacity and was a creative perfectionist. I will send you some other memories of times we shared, things that were quite remarkable, when we were at SF State University. Experiences we shared in the red Spitfire.
Adventures in Richard's Red Spitfire:
Richard and I lived together in S.F. near the school in 1969-70. Women were captivated by him, attracted to him viscerally by his "dark" skin, white tooth smile, and his gorgeous blue black hair. Cerebrally, they liked his obvious intelligence and his cool, somewhat reserved demeanor. Nothing ostentaious here. On one Sunday afternoon, we were out motoring in Pacifica (outside SF) and there was this cute blonde girl walking along side the road. Richard stopped the car, pulling over and honked. When she walked up to the car, he asked her, in that smooth non-threatening voice, "Can we give you a lift somewhere?" THe girl, obviously interested in him (he always liked the blondes, and they him), jumped in the Spitfire. Being a two seater, I had to get out, and we squeezed her in between the two of us. That afternoon we toured Pacifica. She showed us a number of places we had never gone before. It was all great fun. When it started to get dark, we put the top up (this was the end of Sept. 1969 and the days were long and hot), and Richard drove her to her home. She lived in a house/apartment. You walked in the front door. One set of stairs went upstairs to the main house, two bedrooms, livingroom, and kitchen. Going downstairs was this gal's bedroom and private bathroom. Her roomate was home, a blackhaired, bespeckled, gal who was so-so looking. She was a Russian major and was studying her Russian for a test on Monday at the school. Richard's blonde friend made all of us some dinner. Afterwards, the two of them left, she invited him downstairs to her room. I stayed upstairs with the room-mate. I went into her room, rubbed her back, and whispered sweet nothings into her ear. She soon put her Russian away, and we were in bed together that night. In the morning, we all ate breakfast together, both of the women cooking for us; Richard and his blonde, coming up from their basement love nest, were radiant with big smiles of their faces. Having seen this "look" on many a blondes face the morning after, I knew the man must be a good and thoughtful lover (could Richard be anything less). We said goodbye to the ladies. Richard got her number, and never saw her again, as far as I know. Me: different. I had slept with my ex-wife in Modesto a few weeks before. After that night, green "gunk" started coming out of my penis. I went and got checked: my ex had given me the clap. At this point I was very much chagrined. I knew this gal's first name, but not her last, and neither Richard or I had written their address down and we could not, believe it or not, remember how to get to their house. However, I went to the Russian Dept. in the HLL building at SDSU. I tracked her down from her first name, talking to folks in the dept., and met her after a class. She was surprised, "How did you find me?" We went outside to the central square between the BSS and HLL building, a garden of greenery and foliage, and told her that I had the clap, that I had been given it by my ex, and that when we slept together had no idea that I had it. I told her to get checked at the free clinic where I had gone. I gave her my phone number, I got hers, and told her to let me know if she was OK. Not hearing from her in a week, I called; all I can remember is that she told me that I was a bastard and that I had given her the clap. She hung up on me. AND, so, life went on. (more stories to come about the Adventures of Richard and Terry in the Red Spitfire).