An excerpt from “Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door”
At six o’clock in the morning on Christmas Eve, during the Gold Rush in 1849, San Franciscans experienced their first major fire. The town was nothing more than an unorganized mess of a few brick buildings that formed the core, surrounded by hastily built wooden houses, tents, and even old hulls of ships that could no longer float. The thousands of people arriving to search for gold, and those who supplied them, lived in anything they could find for protection from the elements. During the first three years, six major fires, one after the other, leveled the city despite the best efforts of people to protect it. Even today, in defiance of all our modern technology, if you hang around San Francisco for any length of time you are bound to become familiar with fire. Rows of tinder dry, multistory redwood buildings, many sharing common walls, still allow city residents to occasionally experience, and become victims of, a perfect storm.
“… and I’m so glad you are enjoying the book. It was a labor of love from the first paragraph and a tiny little something I can leave behind for my gay brothers and sisters that will enable future generations to touch base with their past and maybe, in the process, shed a smile or tear for those who came before them. My friends were just too wonderful to let disappear into nothingness just because they didn’t live long enough to leave their own legacies.
Jose’ Sarria is just one of the people I wrote about. Like Bill and I, Jose’ managed to outlive most of our friends. Now in his 90’s he lives in New Mexico and is being taken care of by a faithful friend, Tony as he experiences the hospice phase of his life. Jose’ is a San Francisco treasure and a huge part of LGBT history in that city. In another post I’ll tell his story, but today I’m thinking of him, sending love and proud that he helped make “Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door” accurate by keeping me on track and allowing me to tell a little bit about his life and efforts on behalf of all of us.
2 minute book trailer for author Lou Kief’s latest book.
A Delicious …. Slice of LGBT Social History
“Have you ever wondered what it was really like to fandango your way through the delicious days of San Francisco before AIDS burst the bubble and gate-crashed the party? For a succulent slice of warts and wonders social history, look no further than “Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door,” Lou Kief’s erudite, funny, touching, and beautifully crafted memoir. Lou lived the dream and, unlike many of his contemporaries, lived to tell the tale. And he tells it well. Those extra-ordinary times of leather and lashes, bears and ballerinas, sex, drugs and steamy saunas leap from the page. But there is more to this book than a diet of Devil-may-care decadence. This is an intensely personal journal, of trans-continental proportions, from Lou’s early days of furtive fumblings as a young paramedic in Detroit to the fast lane of the Misty City, baring it all among the redwoods and choppy adventures on the high seas. Informative and expansive, the narrative is laced with glorious anecdotes, inclusive political comment, a respect for history and a real love of humanity.”
Author Jack Scott from Great Britain surprised me with a very generous review for my latest book “Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door”. I’m thrilled with the comments coming back from readers and writers.