May 5, 2022
Birch Bay, Washington
Cinco De Mayo
Former Steve and Kiyo Hodel Residence 8451 Utica Dr. Laurel Canyon
I married Amilda Kiyoko Tachibana (“Kiyo”) in the summer of 1962 and for a short time we lived at her home on Kirkwood Drive just a block up from the “Country Store.” It was a secret marriage. I was just 20 and Kiyo informed me she was “28” and looked it. (I would later discover that she was in fact, 41.)
Ours was a whirlwind romance. She was fire and I was water. It lasted just three years. Shortly after getting married we bought the large estate on Utica Drive with the rental properties. We moved into the large main house and rented out a small cabin on the property as well as the small apartment above the garage at street level. (Both the main residence and garage apt can be seen in the above photograph. The small cabin which was about 100′ east of the steps is not visible.)
For a complete description of that time period of my life see Chapter 10 “Kiyo” in Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder (Skyhorse Pub.2015)
In the winter of ’65 after coming home unexpectedly early from my studies at Los Angeles City College (I had decided to drink instead of think that night) and finding Kiyo in flagrante delicto with a young actor I quickly ended my marriage and moved on.
I wanted nothing more than my freedom and in the divorce proceedings gave Kiyo the four separate properties that we had purchased during our marriage.
Fast forward a few years to the late 1960s. Kiyo continued teaching her astrology classes and was known in Hollywood as the “Astrologer to the Stars” with the likes of Jane Russell (a very cool and friendly woman) continuing to attend them at our Utica Drive residence.
Kiyo after my leaving rented out the separate cabins to young musicians just starting their careers. But, let’s let one of them, Neil Young, tell the story.
Here is a recent interview Young did with Rick Rubin. The original interview is an hour, but this four-minute clip focuses on Neil’s description of his Laurel Canyon reflections.
Laurel Canyonites circa 1968
John Densmore rented our garage apt and Neil Young the small cabin
John Densmore Neil Young Michelle Phillips Danny Hutton
Kiyo circa 1944 Kiyo with Neil Young “Astrologer to the Stars” ’69 Time article
Link to full-hour interview with Rick Rubin and Neil Young HERE.
As presented in BDA Chapter 15 my half-sister Tamar Hodel and Michelle Phillips were very close and remained friends throughout Tamar’s life. Here’s a scanned excerpt in Michelle’s own words as written in Michelle’s book, California Dreaming: The True Story of the Mamas and the Papas, describing their friendship:
And here’s a related blog I did some time ago on the Utica Drive property.