This twelve-page excerpt of Kathy Delacour’s diary spans from January to June 1979, and tracks her daily activities and state of mind as she struggled to pull her life together.
The names in the document refer to people Kathy knew from the street. Rachel is Rachel Krech, the child of Richard and Martha Krech, whom Kathy cared for in the early 1970s. They became vary close and kept in touch even after the Krechs moved away from the Avenue. Other recurring characters, Michael and Leslie, are Kathy’s parents. The fact that she addresses them by their first names may speak to their more informal style of parenting, as well as their relatively small age difference to their children. Michael and Leslie were only eighteen and sixteen years old, respectively, when they had their children, so in some ways their parent-child relationships resembled peer relationships.
Kathy makes repeated references to her father Michael Delacour’s activism, as he was instrumental in the Free Speech Movement and the “Bloody Thursday” protests that established People’s Park. She also references her mother Leslie’s drug use, as Leslie struggled with addiction even before moving to Berkeley. Like many who lived around Telegraph Avenue in the 1970s, Kathy developed a drug addiction while living on the street as well.
Kathy eventually died in 1988 from a one-time heroin relapse after a few years of sobriety. Just before her death, Kathy expressed fear to her loved ones that her drug addiction would make her despondent and hopeless like her mother.
We see echoes of this hopelessness in her diaries, particularly in the following passage:
“Here I sit doing nothing but confused and going so much faster on the way down hill… Very fast. When am I going to figure out which path to wander on? So many fuck ups that continuously constantly coming up. If only I could get that job at CAL. Dreams hardly, in fact never, come true for me. When I think about how I could do something constructive—and then I constantly turn around and screw up my chances. So many fucking chances. So many fuck ups.”
Kathy was driven by a desire to get clean and live a normal, middle-class life. Rachel Krech speculates that this is why Kathy was so taken with her family, as the Kreches were the best example of a well-off nuclear family on the Avenue. Unlike many who hung out on the Avenue, Martha and Richard both had high-school educations and respectable jobs, as well as a regular place to sleep at their apartment on Russell Street. Kathy’s repeated attempts to get professional, administrative jobs at the university reflect her desire to live a cleaned-up life like the Kreches, but like many street women she lacked the education, knowledge, and means to present herself professionally and therefore she was never hired.
Shut out from conventional, middle-class ways to make a living, Kathy, like many women on the Avenue, relied on her sexuality as a means to survive. In this diary, she repeatedly discusses her difficulties with money, and in one passage she writes about being approached to act as a supporting player in a pornographic film in order to make ends meet. For a woman unable to capitalize on her education, as she only completed elementary school, her body became a main avenue for survival.
This is a transcription of the original diary, prepared by Kathy’s cousin Dusk Delacour. There are numerous grammatical and spelling errors, and it is difficult to know whether these exist in the original document or whether they are a byproduct of transcription.