Death in Berkeley’s People’s Park–Update

by Steed Dropout
May 2, 2014

I met the dead woman two weeks before she died, but only discovered my photos of her yesterday. You will be the first to see them.

She had just scored impressive street-score near my apartment, a hop-skip-and a jump from People’s Park. Along with cool clothes and accessories, she had retrieved a labor-intensive souvenir doll from Del Toro, Panama. The doll would be expensive here.

Berkeley’s South Side is awash in cast-off souvenirs. I’ve scored many of these vacation buys, which owners shed after the glow of vacation has dimmed.

As I hoisted my camera, she held up the doll. Then I did something crazy. “I don’t usually pose my shots,” I bragged, “but would you lift that [doll’s] skirt?” Call it manipulated aleatory technique, call it sick; call it illegal.

the Score. Photo by Ted Friedman.

“But your honor, I had the doll’s consent and she was of age,” I answer the charges of doll abuse.

There was something about her collusion that made me want to get her story…but the next story about her was her death only a few feet from People’s Park.

What in her background made her a great gal in a Berkeley of ball-busters?

Lady of Del Toros. Photo by Ted Friedman.

She was a former bartender and devoted to the memory of her love for her husband who had died young. Although stone-sober when I shot her, she was known as an alcoholic tweaker.

My memory of meeting her does not include such details.

Catherine Magee--1950-2014. Photo by Ted Friedman.

“How do you always meet these people at their best?” a friend, who always sees the worst, asked me.

How is that?

Perhaps I have a Damon Runyon take on my neighborhood, which I see as a fool’s paradise while cynics heap scorn. Maybe I’m some mid-western cornpone.

Doll Backstory. Photo by Ted Friedman.

There was something charismatic about her…now she’s gone.

These views do not represent those of publications in which my work appears.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.