We recently mentioned the beat garage sale held on May 7 in Lawrence, KS by Patricia Elliot Marvin, a friend of William S. Burroughs. Patricia wrote to tell us how things went and shared her impressions of the day:
“At 7:30 Saturday morning there were a couple of people waiting. The sale started at 9:00, no early callers. I had a table and 4 chairs for sale which I put in the front yard with additional plastic chairs. The iris beds were blooming their heads off, the roses were great. At 8:20, about 20 people, and by 9:00 a line of maybe 80 people had formed.
I opened the door and decided that 15 people could come in, then yelled “anybody here for the cookbooks?” 5 people raised their hands and I told them to go to the back door, through the laundry room and boy did they smile. I followed the 15 in, and then suddenly 30 people came in behind me. The next two hours were a blur.
Throughout the day, I heard 40 William stories, some Allen stories, Charlie Plymell and some S. Clay Wilson stories. The afternoon was wonderful. Both old people and lots of young people scoured the little journals and poetry books, odd flyers and scraps of papers.
I really liked the local response to the sale. Both book lovers and historians came. The rarest things I sold were little books Edie K. Parker wrote for the River City Reunion, some personal notes William wrote me and the Retreat Diaries signed by all four guys, William, Allen, James G. and David Ohle. For myself I kept back about 10 things, the book “Ruski” which is just one of my favorites, a copy of the Western Lands, a couple of letters (including one explaining how to care for the cats and other house sitting details), some art and an Anne Waldman signed poster.”
Patricia noted that many visitors also were friends of Burroughs and they had the chance to share their memories of him:
“Went out to the farm afterwards and sat around with Fred, hearing great stories, remembering how much fun it was with the old shooter and his friends banging away at various targets and the easy afterwards with vod and sublime conversation.
I found him the least sexist guy. When it came to intellectual discussion or just emotional openess he was inclusive to me. It was a relief to be incouraged to stay in the debates or conversation rather than having to jockey not to be excluded. I was lucky to know him. I admired his constant intellectual and artistic activity. I loved the guy. I miss the fun.”
— Patricia Elliott Marvin
Many thanks to Patricia for sharing her story and if you’d like to check out some great pictures of Burroughs, visit her homepage.