Grove Avenue Blues: Scenes from Richmond’s Fan

Scenes from Life in The Fan District of Richmond, Virginia, 1985-1986

All Fotos by the Author unless otherwise stated.

*This is an unfinished work in progress. Enjoy anyway!*

Me in December 1986. A rare throwback foto rescued from the 2010 Fire & cleaned up, a still ongoing project. I’m 27 yrs along then & soon to graduate the same month with my MFA from grad school @ VCU in Richmond, VA. Foto by friends David Wilson & Tina Ennulat, who lived across the hall from me in an old row house in The Fan, the Bohemian area back then. Funny thing you wouldn’t catch me dead in that shirt today, but back then it was among my favorites, lol… Hair’s a lot longer now, way pass my shoulders, but no where near as thick. Ahhh, train wrecks on Memory Lane!

The Fan was the Bohemian part of Richmond, Virginia. Those of us who lived there back in the 1980s and earlier fancied ourselves to be living in the Southern, post-Confederate equivalent of New York’s Greenwich Village or San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. New Orlean’s French Quarter probably had a better claim, but The Fan was unique and bizarre back when I lived there for two years in the mid-to-late 1980s.

That’s me on the far left in the white shirt with right hand in pocket. We’re at a grad school social function hosted by our creative writing professors down in The Fan at VCU. The guy holding his nose as if somebody farted is Michael Mullen, fellow student from undergrad days at Hampden-Sydney. This foto may’ve been taken by our friend Laura Paul Smith. She posted it up on Facefoot & tagged me in it. This was most likely taken in 1985. Good Lord ‘n’ Lady, we were so TINY back then!

Me & the Cat. Got the shirt at Tampa-St. Pete in Florida during a Wiccan Celebration for the Neo-Celtic Sabbat of Samhain back in October-November 1986. Foto by Dave & Tina for me.

“Up on the Roof.” Old foto salvaged from the 2010 Fire taken on the back decks atop the row houses facing Grove Avenue down in the Fan, Richmond, Autumn of 1986.

Wet, rainy, gloomy Autumn day in The Fan. Richmond, Fall of 1986. 

On the roof-deck at the back of my Apartment on Grove Avenue. Stored my whitewater kayak up there. I had to crawl in & out of the central window as there wasn’t any door. Also our, ahem, emergency fire escape! Fall of 1986.

Spooky Stairs down thru the back roof deck & on out into the Alley of Mud. Autumn falling into Winter 1986. Can’t wait for Spring & Summer! But those seasons of 1987 will find me back out in Washington State & British Columbia climbing mountains, kayaking rivers, hiking forest trails, and chasing Gwen. It was hell getting my red Perception Dancer whitewater kayak up & down those damn, rickety-ass stairs, tho.

Cars parked out back of our Grove Avenue row house in the Alley of Mud. The blue car in the middle is mine with the kayak racks removed. It was my 1st ex-wife’s Margaret’s Dodge Aspen before she ran off with old Grizzly Gary, but that’s a wild story full of drama for yet another time. Fall 1986.

Tina Ennulat & Cat. She & her boyfriend-later-husband David Wilson were two of my closest friends during this time. They lived across the hall from me while I subleased Dave’s mini-apartment as he shacked up with Tina. They didn’t want their parents to know about this back then, of course, and so I was to pretend to be his roommate if they ever came over while I was there. Didn’t happen with me! We had great times, tho. Wonderful memories. Crazy ass shit. Talked lots of literature, fiction, poetry, family origins, kitty cats, outdoor adventure, romance, spirituality, music, & religion while wolfing down box after box after box of pizza washed down with beer. Those were the days!


*This is an unfinished work in progress. Enjoy anyway!*

William Dudley Bass
Tuesday 13 February 2018
SeaTac/Seattle, Washington


Copyright © 2018 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we humans establish our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.


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