Remembering Elizabeth Gips

Even though I left Santa Cruz in 1991, I still considered Elizabeth one of my closest friends. We met in either 1983 or 84. I had arrived in Santa Cruz with almost no money, having been doing work exchanges in various parts of the country. I came to Santa Cruz searching for a teacher namedJohn Panama. The second day I was in Santa Cruz, I noticed a flyer for a Iasos concert and went. I had no idea where I was going to sleep that night. I asked the person in the bathroom stall next to me if she knew of any place I could sleep. Well, that person was Elizabeth. She let me sleep on her sofa that night. Then she let me stay in her apartment for two weeks while she was away traveling. That was the start of our friendship.

I left Santa Cruz after just four months, went to Joshua Tree and then Hawaii. I came back to go to the 1984 Rainbow Gathering in the Modoc Mountains. That's where I met Paddy. After the Rainbow Gathering, I ended up staying at Elizabeth's again with four others while she was gone. When she came back, I ended up sharing the extra room with Will Stiles for several months. That was at La Bahia, across from the ocean. It was a hard time and an ecstatic time. Small groups of us would do ecstasy. It was such a loving experience. Elizabeth and I and maybe one or two others would lie on the bed and tell each other how wonderful each one was.

Elizabeth is a role model for me. She was loved even if she got angry with someone or was too honest. Sometimes I've been jealous of Elizabeth for her ability to attract so many interesting people into her life. One of my goals in life is to be like her.

I came to visit Elizabeth a week before she passed. The first day she was just like she always was: working on her computer, puttering around the apartment, digging in her garden, mad at me when she thought I hadn't helped clean up the kitchen, asking me about myself and giving me love. The next day was not so good, but Elizabeth was still fighting. When I left to come back to Ashland, she was walking up and down the path outside the door.

For years, I told Elizabeth she couldn't die until she performed my marriage ceremony. Since no one was on the horizon to marry, she would have to live forever. If I ever do get married, her picture will be on an altar for my wedding.

In loving remembrance,

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