One week with Denia Lewis (today Denia Hester)
by Jacob Holdt

Original diary about my one week stay with my first black girlfriend, Denia Lewis, in Chicago in the winter of 1971. I am still very naïve about America and especially blacks having just arrived from Canada. Denia is mentioned in the preface of my book for helping to change my life and we have been friends to this day. In my memoirs there is a much longer chapter about our later life together.

Here are photos from that week and later in life

Sunday January 17th, 1971.

"…….I could still stay with Christian Vistesen (636 W. Fullerton Pkwy), but I would rather change as often as possible to meet new people. I said so goodbye and walked up to Lincoln St. to finally end up in Allices Revisted again, which was a luck. It was full of people and The Women Liberation Band played. The air was thick of revolutionary slogans like "Right on sisters", "Power to the people" and "Off the pigs" etc. Most of the negroes in there had Mao emblems, while they otherwise had the clenched Panther fist and all the Vietcong brands. Revolutionary texts were shared around with a statement from the Weather men. I walked around and looked at people to find out where to sit. I was interested in finding some interesting people I could get to live with. Then it was that two cute negro girls came in and sat down at a table. I was annoyed that the other side of the table was occupied by a young revolutionary father and his baby and girl but then took a chair from another table and sat down at the end of the table when I was interested in getting in contact with these girls at all costs. They both smiled and were very cheerful and soon I talked with them. After the usual round of presentation, I asked Dina if I could go with her to university and follow the lectures one day after she had told about her education and she got a big smile on her face and answered with enthusiasm yes. Then came the question of where she could contact me and I said I had no place to live. They thought about that a little bit and found out that I could live with Charles, a friend, and they phoned him and that was alright. We had been sitting there about 6 hours and the rest of the evening we just small talked and were silly between the music so loud that we could not talk under it. At one point Dorothy said, "Listen, I don’t think you've ever been with black people before" and I had to confirm. When they heard I was Taurus they laughed and said smiling that they always sleep and eat and although I was hungry I ate something far into the evening. I offered them something to drink but they declined. I then bought a cocoa but they would not taste. Later, they bought chocolate and shared with me. We were photographed several times by people who apparently were interested in showing the world how integrated the place was, but certainly also because Dina was so beautiful with his Indian fries. Or maybe it was an FBI agent. A man was thrown into the street under heavy turmoil when it was found out he was an agent. Later in the evening I bought a bowl of chili and at one point Corliss came and sat down at the table. They enjoyed making drawings of each other and of me. I noticed that also the Oregon girl was in there. When it got late, I called Christian to put my backpack outside, so I could pick it up, but he said it did not matter that I woke him up.

But after 10 pm we finally left, and I brought them down to Christian and did not know what he would say that I had three black girls with me. I was expecting coffee, but he just brought out his backpack. He looked after us in the window. We then went down to the station on Fullerton St. and took the train from there to the highest rates I have yet experienced, 55 ₵. As we waited for the train, Dorothy told me about how all men were infatuated with Dina and asked if I had a brother, so she might have a chance - all in a joking tone. On the train, Dorothy sat on Corliss seat as if they took it for granted that I was sitting with Dina. A "nice" white office worker sent us dirty eyes, but I pretended not to notice anything and tried to behave like when I'm with whites. Although I was still race conscious and saw people in color at that time. In Alices had a newspaper seller had walked around and sold The Chicago Sun with the front-page story about seven negroes had just been released from jail after being there since August when a policeman was killed in Dorothy's street and Dina and the others cheered at the news since they knew some of the prisoners. Now the newspaper was split up into the train and read from one end to the other. When we arrived at a station on the south side we switched to the bus and soon we arrived at Charles Gilmore’s apartment in a very nice complex in an integrated area (5419 S. Woodlawn). He slept when we arrived but quickly came out in his long underpants. He was a little light-skinned negro with a funny voice. I threw my backpack there and we all went down to a restaurant and got pizza except for Dorothy who got fried onion rings. I threw in a dollar for the food. Then we went back to the apartment and opened the television and saw a horrible film about the Christian persecutions in Rome. Dina cried over its sentimental content, while I thought it was too ridiculous for tears. We looked at Charles’ photos from a previous party and I was staring especially at the pictures of Dina with her hair in Afro-stile. I simply could not recognize her. Dorothy and Dina were in a great laughing mood and laughed endlessly. I sat on the floor most of the time. I could not understand why they did not go home when the clock turned to 4 but they continued. Corliss, however, took a taxi home. They said they could not go home as there was a curfew for teenagers until 7 in Chicago and they did not have a legitimacy on the one that could show that they were older why they would be exposed to all the stuff from the police if they went out. It was a long process before we finally got to bed. Dina said she would sleep on the couch in the living room and I thought for a long time that it was because she wanted to go to bed with me, but Charles had already got there and said they both had to go into the bedroom in his double bed and sleep. Alternately, they also tried my sleeping bag and Charles finally put in it and said that I was going to sleep on the couch. I protested and said I would sleep on the floor and raise a pair of sofa seats downstairs to show that I meant it. Before we went to bed we were in the kitchen and I said I was hungry and asked for a piece of bread and Dina made a whole sandwich for me with cheese. She herself went and sipped Charles’ wine bottles. Even after they had gone to bed in the second room, they continued to laugh until around 6 am. Charles grunted and said they should stop."

Monday January 18th 1971 – at the house of Charles Gilmore, 5419 S. Woodlawn Chicago

They already woke up at 8-9 am and Charles put the stereo system on, but they protested in the other room and he put his headphones on instead. Dina then made bacon and eggs for Charles and me, and Charles washed the dishes in the bath tub and I dried off. I sat down on the kitchen floor and ate bacon while we talked. I now told them about Denmark and how nice it is, and they decided that they would move to Denmark when they finished college. I said they could easily get a job in a discotheque. We talked all morning and they did not want to go to school. In the couch, we predicted the future for each other in a card game. The strange thing all times was that it said the same about each of us until I gave the cards and got something completely different from it. Dina also got various crazy ideas about other games. Such as one where they should lift me through concentration thinking.

In the afternoon I went with Dina to the university. It was the first time I was alone with her, so I did not really know what to say to her. On the way in the train I thus talked more formally about Chicago, about walking together black and white on the street. I said I would like to travel with her in the South and she said that we would not come out of that alive and I added that it could be very romantic to die in such a way. When we arrived at Colombia College, we immediately went to the 7th floor where she worked in the library. There was a cozy atmosphere in the library and I sat at one of the tables. There was a discussion about female liberation between two white girls and a student from Africa, who was arch reactionary at that point. There was a nice integrated atmosphere in the university, which everywhere was plastered with Angela Davis posters. I got into talk with another black student named Pamela and later we went downstairs and ate a dinner together in a restaurant. She was extremely open hearted and talked and talked about a Swedish hippie she would go to visit this summer. He had been over here on exchange and they had become good friends. Pamela wore a brown hair wig and had glasses and rather light skin. It still was a bit unusual for me to be with negroes, but her open-mindedness and naturalness made me almost forget that she was black. She was tired and after half an hour she went home.

I went back to the university and sat down to write diary. I noticed how popular Dina was in the university. One white student stood directly and rubbed himself up against her and stroked her while she was sending a worrying look at me. Then she took me on a tour of the university and presented me to all kinds of professors and people. To one of them I happened to burst out that
"Dina picked me up in the street" which she could not forgive me for. At 6 o'clock she closed the university and we went out to meet Dorothy. It was cold, and she took me under the arm. It was now dark, and the skyscrapers stood lightened and looked fantastic beautiful. On the way, we talked about afro hair and she said that I did not know anything about it, for even for all white Americans the negroes’ hair was as a mystery and they were amazingly naïve about it.

We went down to a department store at State Av. where Dorothy and Corliss worked in the ice cream parlor in a part-time job. We walked up and waved at them through the glass window and they said they would not finish before 7 o'clock. So, we killed time walking around in the furniture department discussing furniture. Of course, I was most enthusiastic about the Scandinavian things. We then went back to the ice cream parlor and Dorothy had promised me free ice cream. Dina and I sat down at a table and Dorothy asked what we wanted. We said she could decide and afterwards she came back with a glass of white ice cream for Dina and a glass of brown ice cream for me. Still race conscious, as I was, I could not help thinking that it was symbolic, but I did not dare to ask. I was laughing inside about the way Corliss served and made a remark about it to Dina who said I should not talk about it because she would just break into laughter. There were several nice-looking ladies in there eating ice cream, but Dina said that they were just working women who had dressed up, but wearing simple clothes. We then went out and waited in the travel agency for them to finish up. I told Dina about Ricardo (my Argentinian friend in Canada) and said that if she were to come to Argentina she could live in the house he had me to.

When we got back to the ice cream parlor, we saw Corliss sitting there crying and I found out that it was the two big negro boys who had bothered her. When she got herself together, we all took the train home. Near Charles’ House we went to a cinema. Dina paid $ 2,50 for me. They had seen the first movie before, "
They shot horses, don’t they?",  but insisted that I should see it. Out in the foyer we bought popcorn and sweets. Inside the cinema Dina sat down in a way that I had to sit next to Dorothy which made me very sad. The film was about one of the marathon dance contests held during the depression where the unemployed signed up in the hope of winning the big cash prize and under the most terrible distress danced continuously for one month to find out that none of them really won anything while the capitalists swept the entire profit. It was a film about how men literally trample upon fellow human beings to elbow their way up in capitalist society – an allegory of capitalism, depression, predators and everything.

The film completely knocked Dina out and she sat and cried for a long time until she finally fell asleep and slept during the whole next movie. Dorothy, whom I talked a lot with during the film, said that she was always like that, and just like the other girls in the university, she said that Dina is weird. The next one was an English movie and I coughed so much that I had to leave during the rest of the movie. Dorothy and Corliss were also outside during a large part of the movie, so Dina was sleeping almost alone in the half-empty cinema. Afterward, Dina was in a depressed mood. It was freezing outside. We went somewhere to buy barbecue. On the way, I asked Dina if she was also crying when facing real life tragedies and she said that she, for example, had cried for days when King was murdered. She had also perceived the film as a picture of American society. We then went to Charles and ate the barbecue. They told Corliss about the last night's laughter and fun, but the atmosphere this evening was very gloomy. Dina said that it was all like Virginia Wolf and gave each of us roles, but said she could not find any for me since I was the catalyst that had put it all in motion. We tried some of the same games as earlier in the day, but they didn’t work properly now.

Then, when Dina suggested
seance, Dorothy broke into heavy crying as if she had had a previous terrible experience with it. It took Charles a long time to get her comforted. Meanwhile, we all sat in embarrassing silence. At 3 o'clock, Corliss went home, and Dina said that now she wanted to get drunk. She picked up some sweet, juicy wine and shared it around. That made me in a little bit better mood. Dina pulled herself over and sat leaning up against the chair I was sitting in. But Dorothy got really drunk after just two glasses and began to talk and talk. I first thought she played comedy, but Dina let me understand that she was really drunk. She was extremely open hearted and wanted constantly to have it confirmed that she really was Dina’s best friend. She said that the reason they had laughed so much last night in bed was when Dina said that "she'd like to fuck Jacob." She laughed again while Dina embarrassed closed her eyes and pressed her finger into my arm. I pretended like I didn’t understand or hear it. Neither Charles nor Dina said anything, so I constantly had to respond to her stupid questions. Finally, Dina went to bed in the bedroom again while Charles took the couch and I laid down on the floor.

Dorothy kept sitting on the floor and talked endlessly until Charles got tired of it and joined Dina. Dorothy then laid down in the couch and kept talking to me. She told her about a former friend she had dated and said she had quit when he insisted to go to bed with her "since I was a virgin and very puritanical" which amazed me. She also said she would never have black children. She did not want them to go through the same suffering as her. I told her about my previous girlfriends and closed the door to the other room so Dina could not hear it. Dorothy was seemingly very shocked by all the girls I had lived with and especially when I told her about the relationship with Lisbeth. She said that I "was a simple person" which I first misunderstood. As she was laying there with her sexy pout, I had the greatest desire to kiss her, but I controlled myself. She kept talking while I became increasingly horse and tired. Several times she bent down to see if I still listened. At about 6 or 5 am I fell asleep during her talk.

Tuesday January 19th, 1971 – at the house of Charles Gilmore, 5419 S. Woodlawn Chicago

Arose already at 8-9 when Dina had to go to university and work. Before she left Corliss and Dorothy took me with them in a taxi. I was absolutely not aware of what they had planned so I was quite surprised, but Dina waved goodbye to me. It turned out that I had to spend all day in Dorothy's apartment and then go to Dina’s house in the evening. We went off in the taxi and Dorothy showed me the place where a police man was shot. It was nice sunshine. We dropped Charles off at a supermarket and proceeded to Dorothy's apartment nearby. There was a terrible mess up there and all the curtains were pulled for the windows, so it was completely dark as was the case in all the black homes I came into. I helped her clean up and sweep the floor. During it all, the color tv was turned on. Inside the door was a small thing. I asked if it was an ashtray, but she said it was a vessel for holy water and I remembered she was Catholic. When Charles came, he made some sandwiches for me with salami and mayonnaise, which they use instead of butter and I drank a big cola. Charles then went to bed on a divan in the kitchen and said we should wake him up at 2pm when he was going to work. We were all tired and Dorothy was sick after the wine she had drunk. She lay on the couch in the living room and watched television and said I could sleep in the bedroom. I slept a few hours there until Corliss came home and woke us up. Charles of course was too late for work. I went out and ate something more in the kitchen, did not really feel like talking to Corliss whom I found too hysterical. She had purchased coffee drops for me. Dorothy was lying on the couch all day long. We ate a couple of donuts and talked a lot while watching television. Later Corliss left and said she would come by in her car in the evening and drive us out to Dina. I continued to chatter with Dorothy, though she did not feel very well, while I was writing a short post card for dad and mom.

For a while I stepped out on the stairs in the back yard to get fresh air. They were of the typical Chicago style wooden back house stairwells. Later I got her to help wash my socks. I would have taken a bath, but there was no shower and shampoo. She promised to bring the socks to the university the next day. Several times Corliss called home and Dina called from the university one time. Finally, at 8 o'clock, Corliss came in his father's big car. When she knocked, Dorothy asked who it was from the inside of the door and she said that this is what they simply did around here. Her mother had once given her a hard slap in her face when as a child she had opened the door without asking who the stranger was.

We then departed and arrived at Dina’s home in the suburbs. It seemed rather large from the outside. There were many people in there, I thought, but except for Lauretta, it was only Dina’s siblings. Dina cooked chicken in the kitchen and we ate it with a lot of noise and laughter. Her brothers, though, were relatively quiet. Especially Lauretta was outrageous. Dina swept all the comments aside in her own sneering manner. After dinner, everyone spread out. Debbie came up from the basement and said I should come down there. It was quite dark down there except for a colored lamp. She was down there with a friend and they asked who I was, and we talked a little. Debbie walked around in loose shorts with her afro hair.

We then went in Corliss’ car on a drive first up to a grill bar north of Old Town where we bought a little and took with us to the car. I said I did not want anything, but in the car I got all of Lauretta's chocolate drink. Along the way, the music was turned full volume and Lauretta was completely crazy with it. Dina told me that Lauretta was crazy, but Lauretta said the same about Dina. On our way back, I asked if they wanted to show me the great Picasso sculpture and they me drove past it. Later we came down to the beach somewhere and they ran around and wrote names in the snow. On a footbridge over one of Chicago's express roads, we made wishes by throwing a coin over our shoulders down to the road at the same time. I wished that Dina would travel with me to Latin America, but we said nothing loud. We then ran up to a playground and romped around there. I was on a tilt with Dina and gave her a couple of so hard jumps that she fell on the ground and said she would take revenge later. In the swings, I was knocked over when I wanted to push both Corliss and Dina. I gave Dina a ride on my back to the car, so she had to ask me to let her off.

When it was close to 2 am, Dina and I were driven home. I asked her if I could take a bath and she allowed me to although it was late. When I was finished, I went down to the kitchen. In the meantime, she had washed dishes and loosened her hair in the wig, so she almost resembled a witch. I ate an apple and she said that I could go down and sleep in the basement if I was tired, but she would not sleep.
She said she had so many nightmares when she was sleeping. We sat at the kitchen table all morning and played an amazing game. She tried to scare me by telling different things, but I did not let me seem to get affected. Her face had now changed completely, and it was evident that she was interested in getting close to me. She told me how strange she was, and I told her about all the stir up I had made with Lisbeth at one time. We tried to lay arms and she read my hands and when the time was about 6 am I kissed her and we kissed each other. She enjoyed my wondering admiration which I couldn’t hide when I touched her curly hair.
Shortly after, her mother came down and sat with a big smile. Dina looked clearly like she was in love. When her mother walked into the basement, she allowed me to sleep on the floor in her room and she did not go to university as planned that morning.

Wednesday January 20th 1971

Dina laid down on the bed and slept in her clothes. We slept till 12 noon. I coughed a lot. She should have left at 7AM, but stayed home. We sat down and listened to records. The music made her ecstatic. She played the group Chicago and a lot of black music and explained in between. She also played Nina Simone and talked. I laid in bed most of the time and just listened. She said that she would dedicate one of the songs from Doors "Waiting for the Sun" to me, but I said that that particular album would remind me of Lisbeth and she found another. At 3 PM she finally went to the university, but before she left she called up Debbie, and commanded:
"Fix that boy breakfast".
"Boy? He is a man,
isn’t he? " said Debbie.
"Fix that man, something to eat!" replied Dina.
A little later, Dina commanded,
"Come here and kiss me goodbye"!

While Debbie with a trembling submissive voice answered, "No, you will hit me".
"No," said Dina, and when she finally came Dina pinched her cheeks. Later Dina told me that this master-slave-relationship was just for show, because I was there, and that Debbie was normally not submissive.

When Dina left, Debbie made me eggs, bacon and toast with coffee and milk. While I was eating, the mom came and sat down and later also the very sweet light skinned girl from the evening before. Then came Debbie's fiancé, who was a taxi driver, and they sat down at the kitchen table. The way Debbie moved around showed that she was unusually lazy, and I asked if she could not get a job, but she said it was impossible. She had previously served in a Burger Inn. I then went up to Dina’s room and went to sleep on her bed. Shortly after, Debbie came in to pick up the typewriter with the girl from the neighboring house. She was exceptionally beautiful. When they had left again, I went back to sleep till 7PM. I got up and went down to the kitchen where Debbie was sitting at the table writing French verbs, on the typewriter, while the girl from the neighboring house and a male student, were writing drafts. They were in high spirits. I sat at the end of the table and did not say much since I was writing my diary. After Debbi’s friends left, she served me some rice and pork chops. Earlier, Dina had called from the library and said she would be home late due to overtime. She also wanted to talk with me, but I did not say much since the others were in the kitchen listening. Debbie went to her mother’s bedroom and I was alone in the kitchen, eating and drinking coca cola. Debbie called me in the bedroom, lazy as she was, just to ask if I wanted more to eat.

Dina came back at 10PM, but she did not want to eat anything when she saw what it was. We walked into her room, where Debbie and the youngest brother were laying on the bed watching TV. Dina chased them out and we took over their seats and watched the Dick Cavett and Bill Cosby shows. Since I had not been out all day, I was pressing Dina to take a walk, though she was tired. It was cold outside, and she was not excited about it. She had never taken strolls around there before. It was windy and when a dark branch suddenly rolled over the sidewalk, we both got scared when we perceived it to be an animal. I asked if we should not drop in to visit some people. She looked at me with surprise, "Are you completely crazy? You simply don’t do that in America, " she said. As we passed a playground we went in there and played. I got her pushed down in one of the cold horses and she claimed she could feel the cold in her behind the entire next day. When we passed the railway tracks, she told me how she from her home could hear the trains switching and the men shouting at night, when she was sleeping. When we reached the expressway to Indiana, we turned around and went home. Her hands were freezing, and I had to warm them, but she pointed out that winter would be much colder in February and she hated it. When we got home we went upstairs to her room and watched television. I sat on her bed and caressed her. She asked, "What would you do if you had a baby with me?" I said I would take it as a memory of her. As she lay on the bed, I kept caressing her until fatigue overwhelmed her and she slept like a rock. I did not wake her again, so she slept all night with her clothes on. I switched off the TV and sat thinking for a long time since I was not very sleepy. At last I rolled out the sleeping bag and went to sleep on the floor, but I coughed a lot all night. She had given me some sweet red cough syrup that I drank a part of.


Thursday January 21st, 1971

(It's the second night I spent in Waltdenias room in southern Chicago.)
When I woke up on the floor in her room at 9 o'clock she asked me to hold her hand. She scolded me for not waking her up again the night before, so she could set her hair in afro-style the way she had promised me. I was caressing her and laid beside her on the bed. I told her that I had never before been subject to sleeping on the floor, while a woman was sleeping by herself in a big double bed. She said it was because of her mother, and that I simply did not understand how Americans were. It was a great privilege in any case, that she had brought me home. She had never brought any man home before, and it was also her intention that I should have slept in the basement. We chatted all morning and played records. She should have been at the university but did not go. Later she made breakfast. She showed me photographs from the photo albums. I could not recognize her at all and burst out laughing when I asked who that man in the photos was, and it turned out to be her mother. Debbie came in several times and laughed with us. Dina put on a beautiful dress with a big yellow star, and I said I wanted a picture of her in it. But she changed before I could take one. I found the huge teddy bear in the bedroom and Debbie said that her fiancé had given it to her. I was amazed when I found out that Debbie was sharing a bed with her mother. The mother was at work that day in contrast to Wednesday. When I saw a big knife lay around in the bathroom in the morning and we had talked about knives earlier, I asked why it had been placed there. But none of them had seen it so they thought I had been hallucinating. Before we left Debbie braided my beard in two rat tails and said I should keep wearing it like that.

On the way to the bus we got a hamburger and exchanged money. I reproached Dina for eating such unhealthy food, like all other Americans, and getting just as from it. She also bought a newspaper, The Chicago Sun. I skimmed through it quickly to show her that there was nothing in it. She ate the hamburger while we waited for the bus and did not say a word. Earlier I had taken a couple of pictures of her outside the house with a wig and a leather jacket. On the bus, she checked out the newspaper and when she came to a page with a doctor's article about how people would have a happier marriage if they went to bed with each other before marriage, she demonstratively showed it to me. I said that I agreed. She did not answer. On the train, she did not say a word. When I remarked that she was exceptionally quiet, she said "Don’t mind me. I am crazy." I replied sarcastically that there probably was not much to talk about in such a small town as Chicago where nothing was happening.

When we reached the university, I took another picture of her in the parking lot. In the library, I greeted the usual nice library woman and after reading The New York Times and Christian Science Monitor I said I would go down and visit some friends.
Dina said I should be back 5:30 PM and she wrote down the university address as she was afraid I could not find it again. Right before that Dina had received a piece of paper with a message from her cousin and when she came out with it from an office, she said to me: "I am afraid that this will be your last night in my house, Jacob. Tomorrow my cousin will come, and you cannot stay there any more" in a strange tone of voice, it seemed to me. I said that I had to leave anyway, to go back to Canada to renew my visa, and if she wanted to throw me out, all she had to do was just say so. She was surprised and said that it certainly was not her intention, but since her cousin needed to stay in her room, I could not possibly stay there too. Her cousin was a jewel, she said. I said that I would like to see her.
I then walked out into the streets of Chicago. It was my intention to visit Rosemary, whom I had promised to come back to see, as well as Joe, but when I came close to Old Town, it suddenly occurred to me that she would be at work that time of the day, and then decided not to go to Joe. I then walked back toward downtown on State Avenue, and thought for a moment that I would see Marina City, but changed my mind and continued. I looked at some camera stores, walked by Ohio Street, which led down to Columbia, walking under the El train. In a tobacco store I bought a stamp, and mailed my postcard to my parents.

When I reached the lakeside, I saw the art museum and remembered from my trip to St. Louis that there was a Dubuffet exhibition. I went up to see that in addition to the permanent exhibition with the Indian house. I paid most of my attention to Paul Klee and Albrecht Dürer. I then went back to Columbia where two students were discussing a painting. I joined the discussion, and said that it reminded me of European Sunday school paintings, which they knew nothing about. In the library, I told Dina about the Dubuffet exhibition. I sat down for a moment to write, but shortly afterwards she broke up saying that we should go down to the department store and pick up Dorothy. It was dark. On the way, we talked about art and I got the impression that she was not particularly interested in art. We agreed that negroes are music-oriented. In the ice cream store in the department store they were not yet finished. We walked out and later we stood talking to them over the barrier to the department. Dorothy came with a piece of wrapped pastry and put it in my pocket and said I could eat it later when the servant was not present. We chatted there for a long time Eventually they came out and we went home. I had a headache and did not say much on the way, which annoyed me. Dina said that I should show them pictures of "your Communist girlfriend" referring to the photos of me and Lisbeth. I had shown her them the night before, just to show her how I looked without a full beard and they liked me better that way. Before we separated, we agreed to meet later in the evening, and Dina and I took the bus home. I had earlier in the evening asked Dina when we were waiting in the city, why they were all so restless and constantly wanted to go out in the evening, and she said that they had done that every weekend since they turned 18 and that it was nice to go out and listen to music. At one point, I misunderstood her. When she said that they often stayed out all night and "got laid", I understood it as "having sex", which to some degree made me a bit jealous since I had not myself had sex with her, and I completely changed my perception of her. Previously I had thought she was a virgin. I therefore now asked her, on the way home on the bus, trying to find out if also Dorothy was a virgin, because, as I said, I thought she behaved like one, especially when she was drunk. Dina stared at me with wide open eyes, with her special surprised look and said, "Yeah, and so am I".
"You are?" I asked with a tiny raspy voice and explained that then I might have misunderstood her and she said she had not said "get laid" but "get lazy", which had quite another meaning. I said that I was amazed that a 20-year-old girl could be a virgin and said that it would not be possible in Denmark. And then we didn’t speak much more. When we got off the bus, she bought another hamburger and I asked if she did not expect her mother to have made dinner at home. Yes, but she figured that she would not like it. It turned out to be spaghetti which she actually did like, and she came into her room with two portions of it and we drank coke.
I was hoping that Corliss would not come in her car, so I could have a good long evening alone with Dina in her room. She brought ice-cold coke and we watched a bit of television. At one point, Debbie came up and said I should come down and meet two of her friends and I went down to the living room and greeted them - two men - but I did not know what to say to them. Debbie asked if I wanted gin and I said yes and after a while she brought me a glass upstairs in the room. Dina said "Phew! Now you will smell of it." I said I was sorry that I did not take more pictures of her and she remembered that she had some flash bulbs in the drawer. When they did not work on my camera, she found her own box camera. We changed the film and I took several pictures of her in bed, while she was talking on the phone, when Lauretta called a little later. The gin was working well and my headache disappeared. While she was talking on the phone, I recorded her on the tape recorder - also when Debbie came in and interrupted her, which she did several times. Dina got angry and scolded her, but Debbie said, "I
don’t know why, but I still like you."
Dina spoke like that to all her closest friends and I assumed that it was because she liked them. I mentioned that she now also had started speaking to me in that tone, and she said "Yes, I am beginning to like you Jacob".
When I asked her what she was planning to do for the summer, we decided, in less than one minute, that she would travel with me in Mexico, and then not another word was mentioned about that. We sat down to listen to some records. I was sitting in the chair listening. During one of the songs, she said she always listened to it in darkness, so I immediately switched off the light. After sitting like that for a while, Dina on the floor and I in the chair without being able to see each other, she came over and embraced me and we started to kiss each other. At one point in the evening Dina´s little brother came in and showed her a couple of new tapes he had bought. When he left again, I said I thought it was sweet of him to come and show her, and she smiled.

Around 11 o'clock Corliss came with her father's car. We all went down into the basement for a while. Corliss was hysterical. The youngest brother had put his hair up in knots and was so embarrassed about it, that he hid his head under a blanket. Dina danced around the floor and was in a good mood over the music from the older brother's tape recorder. A small TV was also on between the beds. There was a poster on the wall with black-white love. Later when we got back to Dina’s room to get the clothes, Corliss threw herself hysterically on the bed and demanded a glass of water before she left. Dina brought her a glass, but put a cigarette bud and ashes in the water. Corliss drank it without noticing it, but later she scolded her about it, while we laughed. Four of us then took off in her car. The fourth was Dina's brother, who was in a long black coat and with a wide-shaded colored hat - typical for negro men. We first went to a store and bought some drinks and chips and candy for me. It was the brother and I who went in and bought it. Dina and I sat in each corner of the backseat to be able to tease each other. She pinched my hand, but I pretended not to feel it. We went to the same playground as the night before, and the four of us walked arm in arm. I was going to take a picture with flash, but could not really get it to work. Dina and Corliss tried to see who could swing the highest and I took a picture of Dina in the swing and on the horses. Then we decided to play hide and seek, and it was I who should stand. There was not much light in the park, but apparently enough for me to be able to quickly find Dina. I saw her at a distance behind a tree and took her in one great leap, so she got frightened and ran away and a little later I found Corliss behind another tree. But the brother – I think his name was John - I could not find. We were looking for a long time and eventually Dina’s eyes caught him in top of a tree and she said, "Just because you come from Africa you do not have to behave like that."
On the way back, I got them to sit down on a bench, so I could take pictures. But the bulb kept not working and we had to try over and over. Each time, I had to take the film out of the camera to turn it back to the same picture. Finally, we gave up and went down to the car. As we walked under some monastery-like arches, I threw a branch on the roof which scared them, and I ran away with them pretending also to be frightened, and they both slipped and fell. Dina hurt herself so badly that she was annoyed all the way home. I was caressing her in the car, and finally she gave up and leaned herself over to me. When we got home we said goodbye to Corliss. I was still supposed to sleep in the basement, but I went up to Dina’s room with an attitude as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I rolled out the sleeping bag on the floor, but I had decided that I would sleep in her bed this last night and soon after the light was off I jumped up and said I was going to stay there and that I would not "rape" her.
"But you can’t do that to my mother," Dina said, but I stayed there!!!


Friday January 22nd, 1971

I did not sleep very well that night because I kept thinking why Dina had her back turned to me, but she fell asleep immediately. It was close to morning before I fell asleep. When I woke up, Dina said she had been awake for a while and had laid and studied me and said I was sleeping in sets. It was the first night she slept in the nightgown. She soon got up and went in and talked in the bedroom for a long time - I thought she was talking to her mother, but it turned out to be with Debbie. I was lying in bed hoping she would come back. After a long time, she came back and sat down in bed. We talked and chatted, and she put some records on, we sat down on the floor to listen to them, while cuddling each other. After a while, I got up and dressed. She had promised me to sing on my tape recorder, and I pressed her to do it, but she said that she would instead make a tape and send it to me. She gave me the book in which her short story was printed, and I asked her if she wouldn’t write a little something in it for me and she wrote "Here is a dream in a dream". She also gave me the book "The Spook who sat by the door" and I learned the slang word "spook" for negroes. We exchanged addresses. We had a little friendly fight and she was scared of the ease with which I could throw her up in bed. At one point when I was caressing her - especially her ears - I was on the verge of making love to her. She would probably have liked to, but since she was a virgin, I decided to respect that which I probably would not have done with other virgins. While we were laying there Lauretta called and interrupted us. She asked where I was, and Dina replied, "He's right here under me." Then she went to the bathroom and put her hair up after I had removed her wig. I was very surprised, but at first, I did not think she was as beautiful or at least that she lost some of her distinctiveness. I got her out in the basement and took some pictures of her. I've forgotten how we else spent the afternoon, but it was in any case the first day we ate breakfast together with Debbie and her mother.

In the afternoon, I packed all my things and I tried to say goodbye to the mom, though I told Dina afterwards how ridiculous this automatic reflex seemed to me now. Since I was still hungry, we went to a store in order to buy a roll or something and I bought some Danish pastry and a bag of cookies which we sat eating on the bus with great amusement. There were almost only negroes on the bus and at one point a whole class of negro school children boarded and there was a wonderful noise and chatting between everyone. Some refused to pay. On the train, someone came to sell us "The Black Panther". I first didn’t know if I wanted it, but Dina bought it and started reading it. There was a long good article by Huey Newton, which I said she should read. People on the train stared at us as we were reading it, and as we left the train I walked openly and provocatively with the magazine. On the other hand, we forgot the cookies on the floor of the train.

When we arrived at the university around 6 PM, the librarian complained that we even bothered to come. Dina took her work into another smaller room, and was sitting there. I walked around and looked. In a storage space, I found the book "Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America" ​​from Monthly Review and asked if I could get it cheaper here, but I could not. I went into the big studio and tried to find the light to take more pictures of Dina. It was absolutely empty everywhere. Later Dorothy came in a great mood and sat on the floor and talked so Dina did not get anything written. We sat and waited for Corliss to call, since she had promised me a ride to Toledo. I had brought my backpack with me for the same reason. Since I was hungry, I got Dorothy to go with me to the same restaurant where Pam and I had eaten. I got chili and water and bread, and she gave me a bowl of chili and I let me eat most of her apple pie. We bought a coke for Dina and went back. Corliss had still not called. Dorothy wrote an invitation to me for when I came back to Chicago that they would "throw a party" for me and Dorothy said I should take my brother with me next time. As I was very tired I laid down on the floor. A little later, Lauretta came and the talk continued. Finally, Dina closed the place and we went out.

Down the street we hitchhiked with an older black worker who had to go to work on the southside, but they got him to drive us up to the Hamburger place north of Old Town, where we sat down at a round table. They had coke and hamburger. I did not want anything, partly because we had eaten and partly because I knew I would get their leftovers. Americans never finish up their plates. We had a chat with a tall strange man at the next table. I asked Dina if these types of places were the only places young people could meet in Chicago, but I already knew the answer. I told her about all the dancing places in Copenhagen, but since she had never known about teenagers who could go out dancing, she could not really comprehend my question. As we left, I put my backpack on her shoulders and she completely collapsed under the weight and threw herself on the restaurant floor, to the great amusement of the other guests.

Outside we tried to hitch a ride for a long time, before we got a ride with a wealthy young negro with a fantastic stereo system in his car. He could only drive us down to Wells and North Street. From there we walked a long way to the movie theater Playboy. On the way there, I happened to say that I wished Dina would travel with me to Latin America and she said, "Jacob I thought we already decided that" and I replied that I was surprised she was able to do it that quickly, and nothing more was said about it, but I was pleased to hear that.

In Playboy I suddenly found the piece of paper from Rosemary, in my pocket, and I decided to call her to tell her why I had not arrived. I called from the cinema and she said O.K. I ran back to the phone and said I would come. I gave Dina my backpack and said I would come back later around 2PM, when the movie had finished. On my way, I realized that my leg was hurting so I was not there before 12.30. Rosemary opened the door with her own lazy and dry calm and I sat in the living room and talked to Tom, who was rolling one joint after another, while he immediately asked how I could tell if a girl got an orgasm or not, and I remembered that I had told Rosemary about it. I do not remember what I said, but Rosemary came in and the pot cigarette went from mouth to mouth. Later she made tea and we sat in the kitchen and ate a few pieces of bread with a fat tuna salad. It was in the days right after the hysteria about mercury poisoning, so I mentioned that fleetingly. Otherwise, I could not really find anything to say to them and the conversation stopped quickly. I had exactly an hour to be there, but in the last fifteen minutes, I had nothing to say and I was just sitting staring at the clock. At one thirty I left and promised to come back next time I came to Chicago, and I kissed her good bye. I limped back to the cinema as well as my sick legs could carry me and looked forward to seeing Dina again. I waited in the foyer for about fifteen minutes before they came out and I had planned a whole lot that I was going to say to her, but when she finally came out they talked so much about the movie that I did not have a chance. On the train home, a couple of drunk Black Panthers came in and asked us to contribute to the Free Breakfast program. I whispered to one of them, that if he would admit that the money would not be used for that cause, I would give him 25 cents, and I gave him that. I sat down next to one of them, a big fat teddy bear, and he explained Dina everything about the revolutionary struggle, as well as a drunk now can explain. When we got off, Dina criticized me for it and I said that I always gave money to drunk people.

We took a taxi home to Lauretta, but Dorothy continued in the taxi. It was a big apartment, but we only walked into Lauretta's little room. We looked into the mother's bedroom and broke out laughing seeing the mess in there. We listened to records and Lauretta sat on the floor and was ecstatic about the music. She took out the photo album and we looked at photos of them and every single one made us break out laughing, Dina in her own special way, with wide open eyes and mouth. They then started writing things they had learned in Spanish, Dina wrote "Tengo hambre de hombre", I finished it by writing "Venceremos en la cama" and laid down on the bed, but they did not know what "venceremos" meant.

Around six AM we heard the mother get up and Lauretta said we could go to sleep in the living room instead. We waited for a long time for her mother to get ready and then went into the living room and pulled out the corner bed. Before we went to bed, we ate some pie and some Chrunch in the kitchen and drank some milk and juice. Dina laid down on the bed, but Lauretta laid on the couch. At first, I laid down on the floor and asked if that was ok, but later I laid down next to Dina.


Saturday January 23rd, 1971

We were woken up around 10 AM by Lauretta watching color television sitting on the floor approx. half a meter from it. Little by little we all got up, but I had completely lost my voice, due to my cold. Lauretta made pancakes, eggs and bacon and we sat down at the kitchen table and ate it. She ate like a lion despite her thin figure. Then we said goodbye to her and left. Dina was not in a cheerful mood. When I had peeked out from the drawn shades in the apartment, I had seen the extremely beautiful sun on Chicago’s typical backyard stair cases and I hoped I could get a picture of Dina there. Instead, I took a couple of pictures under the highway. We took the bus somewhere and a large negro on the back seat asked Dina if it really felt it was ok for her to sit with such a sad face, when she was with her boyfriend, and Dina apologized to me for probably having a horrible face after last night’s partying. We drove to a place where she thought the road to Indiana started. We first walked a long distance to get some cold medicine for me. Dina said that I should buy some pills for one dollar in a supermarket, and reluctantly I did. We then walked up along the expressway until we got to the place where we had to pay the toll. Dina said that it was only a few blocks from her house. I took my backpack and we should now though the whole process of saying good bye. I kissed her many times and she looked totally in love and said she would immediately go home and make the tape. I took my cloth with "Detroit from Denmark" and we tried to separate, but kept staying for a long time holding around each other. Eventually I said that now I would run and I ran all the way up the ramp, but she kept standing on the street corner. At the toll booth, I was waving while she was waving when leaving. A toll man told me to get scarce, when I attempted to hitch hike, but I just moved a bit further away. I had no luck, but after a while a police car drove up the driveway. I stayed put. He stopped and asked," Did you call a cap?"
"No, I haven’t called anything," I replied.
"Well, you better jump in."
I jumped into the backseat and he drove to a toll booth man and asked,
"Did you want that man in jail?"
"Yeah," shouted the toll man and I figured out that it was him who had called the police.
"OK" said the policeman and hurried up out the toll road. I then started a flood of chatting, thinking that would be my only hope of salvation. I do not know if it was his intention to throw me in prison, but at least he completely changed his tone of voice when I said I was from Denmark. It turned out that he had spent the last summer holiday in Copenhagen, and really had liked it. He said that if I had been an American he had put me in jail. He asked if I was hippie and I said no.
He then drove me to a place which he said it was better to hitch hike from, and said that I should be careful with the Indiana police, they were really tough. I then placed myself at the new exit and had just found my "rag", when I got a ride from three negroes and the driver said that the only reason he picked me up was because I was from Denmark where he had been. They were eating chicken and drinking beer, and gave me two pieces of chicken and a beer. They were going to move a household from Battle Creek to Chicago. Along the way, we were in another city to get a U-haul truck, but failed to get one. We were in Battle Creek at about 7-PM and had changed 1 hour from Standard time. I was let off and walked around in the dark and desolate town for a long time, without any hope of a ride. But when I came out to the entrance to the Expressway (Interstate 94), I didn’t wait for long before a hippie-couple picked me up and asked me where I wanted to go. I told them Detroit and they said they would drive me there although it was 120 miles away. First, they drove around the city to collect money for the gas and they picked up a lot of other hippies and drove them around. In one place, I had to go in and buy wine for them since they were not 21 years old and not allowed to drink. We drank a little Ripple. When we stopped in one place I asked the little, not very smart, but sweet hippie girl, if they always drove around like this in the evening. "Yes" she said, "it is the only thing to do in this town. Nothing ever happens here." And she also said that none of them could get any work. She earned $ 5 a week by taking care of her grandfather. I realized that life had to be terribly boring for young people in smaller American cities if they chose not to watch television. They also said that 18 youngsters under 20 years old had been arrested for buying dope that day, and now awaited long sentences. In the end, however, after we had purchased gasoline, which I paid 25 cents towards, we drove to Detroit. For a couple of hours, we did not say one word to each other. The girl just sat hanging to the guy at the steering wheel. In Detroit, we drove straight to Ambassador’s Bridge to Windsor (Canada) and I had to pay 80 cents in bridge toll. I said goodbye to them and that I really appreciated it when people kept giving of themselves as they did, or something like that. I quickly made it through the border and was picked up by some Americans. Then stood for a long time at highway 401 at 1 o’clock in the morning, in freezing cold, but was then picked up by a long-haired reactionary farmer at the next service station, where, after some waiting, I got a ride up to Kitchener. Here I got a ride with a beat-ban, which in a van took me all the way to Spadina Street in Toronto.




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