February 14, 2022
Birch Bay, Washington
Kiyo with Neil Young Time Magazine 1969
(Left) Author’s ex-wife, Kiyo circa 1942
the photo was taken by my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel
Below is an email I received from “Anonymous” back in September 2021.
In rereading it, I thought it would be appropriate to publish it today, Valentines Day 2022, as in many ways it reads like a Valentine Card to my ex-wife, KIYO.
Judge for yourself. (SKH Note- “Anonymous'” email is offered as received without edits or changes of any kind.)
Anonymousemail [email protected]
Powered by Anonymousemail → Join Us!
It appears I entered Kiyo’s life just after you left it. I met her in either 1965 or 1966 and we soon became engaged. I also was a young man of 20 or 21 at the time and of course knew she was older, although until reading an excerpt from your book did not know how much older.
Kiyo and I took several major automobile trips up through Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Western Canada. On one trip her mother traveled with us along the Canadian Rockies up to Jasper and walked out on the Athabasca Glacier. We also took two Caribbean cruises on one of which her mother also joined us – one a seven-day cruise and the other a ten-day cruise, in each case stopping on many beautiful islands. One of the most special days was in Victoria, BC at the Butchart Gardens where Kiyo said it was like heaven, a place where she could spend eternity.
I was transferred to our NY headquarters and lived for two years in mid-Manhattan. Kiyo flew back and we took an extended automobile trip up through northeastern US and Canada, sending several amazing days at Expo 67 – one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Kiyo loved the Kaleidoscope exhibit and accordingly, we visited it several times before continuing our long journey. Although we eventually broke up we remained close friends for several years taking other long trips together.
I remember one time we went to Las Vegas where she wore a beautiful black fur coat and black Russian fur hat, with long black hair flowing behind. As we walked through the casino to the floor show all the men were gazing at her. What a presence, what a talent, what a beautiful woman, what a brilliant woman, and what a wounded child in an adult body.
For our long western automobile trips, we traveled in my big Cadillac car with an amazing suspension that made it almost like flying over the ground. In Los Angeles, we went to amazing stage plays, unique movies, fantastic museums, musical events, and the like. Her mother and mine bonded and remained friends for many years. She later introduced me to Rolf Aurness, son of Jim Aurness and a world surfing champion, whom she finally married about the time I met and married my own wife.
She and Rolf visited two of the places we had planned to visit but never did: Easter Island and Macchu Picchu. You may know that Jess Stearns, a bestselling author of the day, included two chapters about Kiyo the astrologer in one of his books. She was also featured in a Time magazine article that was published while I was residing in Manhattan.
We both congratulated each other when we married. In fact, it was shortly after I got married that she tragically died. I met Neal Young when he occupied one of her cottages and took him out for dinner one night when he was breaking up with his singing group. They remained close friends until she died. Through a friend of hers, she introduced me to a group of black women singers known as The Mirettes that had already recorded a few records. I would say they were as good as The Supremes but unfortunately never made it to the top. However, a friend of mine, an Artists & Manager in Beverly Hils, signed them up and arranged many performance dates for
them including an extended period in Las Vegas at the Desert Inn.
We used to go over there every weekend to visit and support them. It was on one of those visits that I saw a fantastic go-go dancer perform in an affiliated act and arranged to meet her in the DI lounge for coffee. Her name was Goldie Hawn and I told her she was an amazing talent, she stood out from everyone else on the stage. She became very emotional, thanked me for my sincere regard for her talent, and told me she had an audition the following week that could launch her career. The audition was with Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In which indeed launched an amazing career.
There are so many stories I could tell that either directly or indirectly involved Kiyo.
During two of our trips, her mother told amazing stories of how she met her Japanese husband, lived as a white woman in Japan, and worked with the MacArthur administration in the field of education after the war ended. As a child Kiyo was severely bullied by her brothers and by many others because she was half-caste, undoubtedly accounting for some of the strange behavior she exhibited during your relationship.
She had a profound impact on my life, I’ll never regret the years we spent both engaged and as the closest of friends, and I’ll never forget her – certainly the most unforgettable person I’ve ever met.
Here’s my email response to “anonymous” on September 7, 2021
That’s one hell of a “backgrounding” on most of which I never knew.
Thanks for sending it to me. Much appreciated.
Don’t know if you’ve seen my “Squad Room Blogs” which date back some fifteen years? I assume you gleaned my Kiyo relationship from reading the “KIYO” chapter in Black Dahlia Avenger.
Here are links to the KIYO-related blogs through the years. You can also “search” any subject by using “keywords” in the Search Box at www.stevehodel.com/blog
Don’t know if you have read my series of books or not? We are currently adapting them to a miniseries documentary with T Bone Burnett and author, Nic Pizzolatto (think the creator of True Detective I, II, and III) and documentarian Robb Bindler will be directing. Right now looks like 5 episodes, but that may change.
I am also just completing “The Early Years” which deals with my father’s crimes pre-Dahlia going back to the 20s and 30s. So, lot more to come.
If you ever are in town (or you may be now?) and want to meet for lunch just drop me an email at [email protected] See links below.
All Best, and thanks again for the picture of Kiyo’s life both before and after our marriage.
Los Angeles, California
Earlier posts on Kiyo:
10/21/is-kiyo-hodel-ex- mistress-of-george-hodel-and- future-wife-of-steve-hodel- ready-for-her-closeup/
07/17/the-sixties-remembering- laurel-canyon-kiyo-neil-young- john-densmore-and-a-twilight- zone-zodiac-synchronicity/
03/05/actor-richard-herd-one- six-ex-husbands-kiyo-hodel- still-going-strong-86-latest- role-patriarch-roman-armitage- get-film-nominated-four- oscars-wins-best-original- screenp/
04/19/kiyo-hodel-laurel- canyon-astrologer-stars-black- dahlia-investigation/