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HUMANS OF SAN DIEGO: What happens when we get older? For some couples, they get to watch each other grow and maybe expand their families. But for Peter, he lost his partner, and now he’s going to lose his house, too.

Peter lives in the famous “Cactus House” on Vermont between University and Robinson in Hillcrest. It is behind Rich’s and Mayer Reprographics. When his partner died, his in-laws requested that Peter move out.

I asked him what happened. He was tight-lipped about his in-laws who asked him to leave the property once their son died. “When [Peter’s partner] and I decided to live together, we just went with it and made a deal and that was that. No contracts.” He didn’t expect to lose both his longtime lover and the place where he lived. “It’s all just a mess now.”

Peter is a Veteran who worked in Nuclear Power for the Navy. He then went to the University of Hawaii to earn his Fine Arts degree. Then he sailed on a 120 foot boat all the way to San Diego. That’s when he met his partner and settled down. “I’ve lived in this house for 10 years.”

In that decade he’s made many friends and admirers such as myself. Every time I walked down Vermont on my way to University Boulevard I gawked at his yellow house adorned with succulents. But I never saw Peter. I figured he doesn’t come out much. Now I know that he was tending to his dying lover.

His best friend Annie, another Veteran with the Navy SeaBees (construction battalion), bartered off large plants for $5 and small plants for $1 cash which Peter stored in his apron. “I’m sorry for my bloody hands. I’ve been handling thorns all day.” Peter tried to keep a smile on his face. He kept his sunglasses on even though the time was 6pm.

I stopped by today to tell him that my friend, Kris Altenau, a nurse coworker of mine at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in La Jolla, graciously offered to put him up at her house until he gets his feet back on the ground. “I…really appreciate that. Wow, I don’t know what to say.”

“It’s no problem,” I said. “We take care of each other. Right?”


Then I pointed to a Spider Aloe plant hanging on the door frame. “How much is that?”

[Happy Memorial Day Weekend. May your memories of loved ones always be happy.]

*Thanks to all those who stopped by including Epifanio Figueroa Jr., Christina Hom and Andrew Rosenberg. And all those who shared yesterday’s post about Peter. And, of course, Kris Altenau for her charity. You guys are the best!

**The yard sale continues until the end of Monday, May 29, 2017. Peter is also looking to re-house his pet Siamese Cat. “I’d love to know that she was taken care of.”


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