Sorry I’m late with this, but I finally have some photos of my trip.
I never found any cliffs exactly like the ones I remember being shipwrecked off of, but enough of Marin and Sonoma county had similar cliffs that I’m fairly sure it was somewhere in that stretch of ocean.
The wildlife was abundant and not terribly shy either.
I have yet to confirm if Phil attended services here, but there was something incredibly familiar about the place. It resembled a place I thought I had seen in my present life’s childhood but could never place.
I had absolutely no trouble finding this house without glancing at a map, tucked away though it was. The road to it wasn’t even visible from the bend in the road but I knew exactly where to turn! Everything is so overgrown now, I barely recognized it, though from this angle it looked the most familiar. That door nearest the camera is where I remember that Easter photo with one of the girls being taken though sadly I’ve yet to confirm that memory.
I was reluctant to even take this photo, let alone post it, since the place was so tucked away and because my fiance’s inclusion of the car mirror makes it look WAY too voyeuristic. Once again, I was able to navigate my way to this house with very little difficulty and without using a map.
This building was the source of one of my few confirmed memories, though to this day I’m on the fence as to whether or not someone besides myself or Phil would see a Roman building in these space-age shapes.
This was the music store Phil worked at. In a loft that now contains Latin and classical music, I confirmed with a store employee that there were (until very recently) listening booths like the ones I remember! With that confirmation, I bought a couple of Phil’s old favorites that I still enjoy (Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony) for old time’s sake.
This view down Sir Francis Drake Blvd. headed back toward Point Reyes Station from Inverness was one of the few views that struck me as being intensely familiar.
In all, the trip brought few confirmations but it did give me some good circumstantial evidence that I might have been Phil. Despite having only glanced briefly at maps a few weeks before the trip, I had no trouble navigating Marin County as if I had lived there and that has to count for something.
As for settling the question definitively, I can’t. I could easily keep trying to contact people I knew to try to mine for confirmations but I don’t want to intrude. I went through their lives like a tornado once and they buried the man I was a long time ago… it’s not like me to be a revenant and disturb their peace once again. Still, I can’t help but hope that someone I knew- a friend or even better, one of my children- will see this blog one day and get back to me.
By the way, a friend who knows about my memories sent me a link to this review of the Wachowski’s “Sense 8” and I was really tickled by this passage (emphasis mine):
Such frank, brave representations of fluid states of sexuality and monogamy are hard to discuss in fiction, as they often are in society, without overtones of exploitation or tokenism. Sense8’s central premise of empathy-based shared consciousness normalises these ways of being, and in the process it legitimises them.
This is why Sense8 feels like the kind of thing Philip K. Dick might have written, had he lived to see this bold new era, with its growing acceptance of the fluid nature of identity, gender, sexuality and self. His books are sometimes criticised for their misogyny, both intentional and unintended. But at heart, Dick believed in empathy as the highest of the human virtues. A show exploring the notion that we share more than divides us, no matter what barriers or labels we choose or are born with, would have appealed to him.
If they only knew! My writing does indeed have a queer sensibility these days!