Buffalo Bill, 1977

Buffalo Bill, 1977

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A Korean War infantry soldier from Chicago, Buffalo Bill was a talented jazz sax player and a welcome addition to the THC (Taylor Hippie Camp) band.  But he was bedeviled by drink and spent much of his time at Taylor Camp drunk or hungover. Bad-tempered and anti-social, Bill was not a happy camper.

 

 
“Bill helped me build my house in Kalalau,” explained Scott Mitchell, Bill’s good friend and a Vietnam infantry vet. “Everybody from camp told me he was a mean drunk, but in Kalalau there wasn’t any booze so I never saw that Bill. I thought he was a sweet guy.  One day we hiked into Hanalei to get supplies and I bought a six-pack. We hadn’t had much to eat for days.  After two beers, Bill told me, ‘Fuck you, Scotty! Fuck you!.’  Bill grabbed another beer and staggered off toward the beach. I went to buy food. When I got back I found him sitting in a beach park garbage can passed out.”

 

After camp closed, Bill moved to Honolulu, met Setsuko, a wonderful woman from Japan, got sober and had a successful career as a club musician. As he explained at a Taylor Camp reunion he attended with his beautiful wife, “You know, women like you better when you’re not drunk and sloppy.”