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GERTRUDE & BILLY
It may be one of the banalities of passing time that moments that are remembered vividly seem more recent than they actually are. I suspect that these three Pike Place snaps of artists Gertrude Pacific, on the left, and Billy King may be a twenty years past or more, although, again, they seem more recent. If it were not for the familiarity of the market and the pick-up truck we might imagine this as somewhere in Rome. I have seen Billy as recently as last summer, for a mutual friend’s memorial, increasingly the kind of event that will put old friends in contact however briefly. It used to be parties or trips to the ocean or openings. Thankfully, it still is for many. By now Billy King is more than a tile in market history. For more than forty years he has sometimes lived there, had studios there, worked there (in a fruit stand, I remember), and recently painted a mural with market subjects near the top of the Pike Street Hill Climb. It is a painting made by command, or popular subscriptions. I confess that I have not yet visited it, although I have seen it on a poster. I have not been to the market for many months. The last time may have been more than a year ago when Jean and I took Steve Sampson to lunch there for his goodbye to join Cynthia Rose in their new home in Paris. Gertrude I last saw a quarter-century ago – or perhaps this is a record of the last time. It is time to go to market again – and Paris. And may I have the good fortune to come upon Gertrude with big hair barely restrained by her knit cap.