The Fairfax Street Choir
Doris, David, and The Mona Lisa
by Marla

31 Cedar Street

     Doris Chapman was one of the first members of the Choir and sang in the middle section. Doris and I needed a place to live. We decided to pool our resources and found a really neat place to live on Cedar Street in San Anselmo. We asked David Simmons to move in with us as he was a Choir member and was also looking for a place. He said yes. We all got along quite well except I'm sure that David went through some challenging moments while trying to think up ways to control the horrendous waves of love that Sybil (Doris's daughter) and Scarlet (my daughter) continuously attacked him with. David was a classical type. I don't mean he played classical music even though he sometimes did. I mean he was a classic all by himself like Wuthering Heights, Elvis Presley or Moby Dick. The clue to David was his long gray coat that he wore when it was cold outside. If you ever watched him walk away in it you already know what I am talking about.
     During those days Doris and I were unique friends. There was never any troubled water between us. She was a good person but not to good--her mind is to clean for that kind of stuff. She valued her space like I did, what little we had to call our own. Sybil loved to sing "Oh magnify the Lord with me". She never got any further than that but I loved to listen. We laughed a lot. Doris and I both did Transcendental Meditation. It kept us from going any crazier than we already were. There were hardly ever any tears shed on Cedar Street. We welcomed our friends and survived the less friendly. We all had our own rooms and in the evening we would play with the kids, read books or play music. It was quiet when we needed quiet. Doris had her own car. It rattled a lot. I used to think she was a witch underneath it all. Sometimes we talked about flying on crisp moonlit nights when the stars were sharp and clear and wisps of cloud trailed across the sky. We would share our thoughts and become one in the same pattern striving after the total enlightenment of self, the supposed essence of a realized being. I always thought Doris knew more than she told. If anyone ever came close to knowing the mystery behind the Mona Lisa smile it  had to be Doris.

By Doris Chapman
  I had always been a person who hums, I still   hum. I have gotten into so much trouble with this  humming habit of mine. Once in the third grade, the teacher looked up and said “Who is humming?’ I turned around and looked at the rest of the class to see who was humming. And then kept doing my work. She was walking around the room, putting her head down, listening to each one of us, when all of a sudden she pounced on me, screaming “It’s you!!” I didn’t know what she was talking about. “Who, me?”. What was she talking about? She yelled at me for humming and not knowing about it. I don’t know how I got through the rest of the year in her class. So one day, I was in this car, I don’t remember why, but Marla was driving and I had just been introduced to her.  I was humming under my breath, along with the radio and Marla looked over at me and said “You’ve got a good voice, you should join the Choir”. That had been my tryout.  I had seen the Fairfax Street Choir at the Sleeping Lady Cafe- their first gig. That had been a magical moment. They had some kind of spark and it was different from anything else – in the world. And the music was so original and catching. I went to the next Choir practice  and figured I’d be singing alto, but Marla said I was a middle soprano, so I sang middle soprano and that was it.