Sunday, July 7, 2019

Goodbye, My Muse

Peter Watson died two days ago.  Peter was the inspiration for my "Desmond" comics. Peter passed away in his sleep, as is happening more and more with family and friends these days. We're at that age.

Peter's sister Leda (Janet) was my best friend, growing up. We were close enough that I always felt that the Watsons were family.  

Janet Watson - Peter's mom - volunteered with our grade school, Westview, and was often in the newspapers about her involvement in civic activities. 
Janet also had the "Glee Club" in her home, and I was a member. She played guitar and piano, and taught us many  songs.  Once, Janet, my mom, Leda, my brothers and I went skating at a rink in S.F.  I think it was special because it was something both moms - hard-working mothers - could participate in, with us. Leda's sister Gigi is also a friend.  

Peter was the youngest.  I never got to really know him until I visited him the '90s. Prior to that, he was one of the "little kids".  

When I visited the Watsons in West Hollywood in the mid-1990s, Peter gave me a tour. He humored me when I asked him to pose for a few photos, insisting that he take my picture instead, for my memories there. It was the first time I walked the Sunset Strip, what a treat!  He was quite patient with me as I checked out all the footprints in front of Graumann's Chinese Theater.  

Peter was a great tour guide, showing me around West Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, and other places, like the Chateau Marmont,  the Viper Room, and the Klasky Csupo studios, where Leda was a color designer for the Simpsons t.v. show. 

All the while Peter showed me around, he also related about his life as a black man living in America. Although I knew that racism was alive and well in our country, I never heard it described on such a personal level.   It was interesting also to note how often we were noticed by law enforcement, as we walked down the streets.  I wasn't used to that kind of attention, but then, I wasn't often in the company of a 6'1" man of color. 

After I got home, I couldn't forget the stories that Peter told me, and I created Desmond comics, based upon Peter's experiences.  One about "white man's music" happened, as well as one of him being hassled when he was walking home from a health food store.  

Leda reminded me of another incident that I created a comic about: "The police tried their damnedest to arrest him, but the neighbors intervened. They were furious with the police and explained he'd saved the building from catching fire by rolling the flaming dumpster out of the parking structure and onto the pavement. The cops just assumed he was the villain. Some people find it hard to believe racial profiling even exists."

Peter worked for a gas station, when young. This customer interaction is pretty much as he described it. 

Peter loved to run - he had a habit of running every day - and I included that in the strips.  

As often happens when doing an ongoing series, things morph a bit, and I did strips on some of my own experiences or ideas, so it was more about me than anyone.   I guess all art is truly about the one who is creating it, but Peter Watson was definitely the inspiration for my Desmond Comics.

Though Peter is gone from this life, I believe that we are all here for a reason, and Peter's memory lives on. Goodbye my muse, my friend.  Until the next chapter....


  1. What a beautiful tribute; thank you for sharing Peter with us. My condolences to you and the Watson family.

  2. You really touched my heart with the lovely memorium to Peter. He lives on forever through your words and thoughts.
    Janet P. Watson

    1. Thank you, Janet! He always will.

  3. Thank you Deb. Your tribute to my brother Peter brought tears to my eyes but in a good way. This is how I will always remember him, kind, sweet and smart! <3