Interview with Fremont Older

Editor, San Francisco Bulletin, Call, Call-Bulletin

I was born in Wisconsin. It was fucking poor. I was sold as labor for seven dollars. Good thing I wasn’t a girl.

They sold you?

Yes. For awhile. It was brutally hard.

How did you get here?

My mother sent for me eventually. But that’s not the point. The point is how poor I was. How hard and hungry life was.

Be specific.

We had to hunt squirrels and other small game for food. Treachery. I want to talk about treachery. There was this young squirrel we were supposed to watch and take care of. I loved my mother. The boy watched it run away and then pulled a bow and killed it. I sobbed and cried and my heart broke at this. I think it was the violation of trust.

You trusted me.

No, I certainly didn’t.

I know you’re a lying son of a bitch. I never trusted anyone.

Anyone I’m supposed to be taking care of is unsafe. Because, you see, I’m never content with what I have. Or should I say, I don’t believe in what I have. I always remember what that felt like.

My father was a rich man. I went to Stanford.

Yes. The pain of hunger when you’re a kid is unbearable, it takes your guts and squeezes and cries out to you. If you miss lunch, you probably cry. I’m used to hunger. When I came to SF, I was hungry too, starving, and cold, and wet. No shelters in those days, so you had to stay in the most disgusting fleabags.

Why didn’t you sleep on the park benches?

Absolutely not. I saw those men on the benches. The men who gave up, who accepted joblessness, hopelessness.

Like MacDonald.

God, yes, like him.

How did you feel about him?

You can be entranced with events.

What does that mean?

MacDonald doesn’t mean anything to me.

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