Did I ever tell you that my step-mother used to be the road manager for the Grateful Dead? It’s true! She had known my Dad and his four children for about 10 years before us kids even knew about it.
In the early 90s, my youngest brother Ben was part of the new generation of “Dead Heads”. While attending a concert in California, Ben bought a program which featured a photo history of the Dead’s excursions. Included in the picture montage was a photo of former road manager Tess and her son, Paul. At that moment, Ben flipped out!! When he got home from the concert that evening he immediately called Dad with this new found knowledge. Of course, Dad was fully aware of Tess’ past. He explained to Ben that she has never wanted to relive that part of her life since it was her first husband who convinced them to (ahem) live amongst “the Dead”.
Combine that with the fact that Paul was around 9 or 10 when Tess decided to leave that life behind. To this day, I applaud her for her foresight in getting her son away from that decadent atmosphere. Truth be told, Tess had always been abhorred by the band’s lifestyle. In fact, part of her duties required her to write out $10,000 checks for cocaine. Where you had to write out the dollar amount, she would say “Ten thousand and NO SENSE” dollars.
Today, Tess is retired and enjoys spending time with her husband (my Dad), son Paul, daughter in-law Shannon and two grandsons. Distance wise, Tess and Dad live less than an hour from Haight and Ashbury. Thankfully for her, it seems like a million miles away.