Dan Rosset, long time resident of Menlo Park and habitue of Pete's
Coffee, died of a heart attach in August 1999. Christine (Botelho) Emerson
wrote this appreciation of Dan. -dra
There is no way in hell that one individual can create a scene the likes of
Peet's Coffee in Menlo Park in the 70s and 80s, with it's daily "regulars"
standing 3 and four deep at the bar, overflowing onto the sidewalk and into
the park and it's weekend music jams. It was, as they say, a "happening".
But, if there were such a one, they would embody the benevolence, the
equanimity, the joie de vivre that was Dan Rosset of those years.
May 23, 1943 - November 9, 1999
Dan was an avid cactus grower and collector, a garage sale maven, master
carpenter, lover of all things slightly off-center. He had a way of
accepting, including, and reveling in the company of almost everyone, even
those most of us found difficult to endure. He saw in each of us what was
sweet, or fun, or interesting, or somehow valuable. He laughed a lot,
brought magazines, cartoons and toys to Peet's for "show and tell", and
generally was something of a "Mr. Congeniality".
Dan and Teresa Lee were the first two people who befriended me at PCC and
they became my best friends for many, many years. Peet's coffee was just
the first thing that Dan introduced me to. Over the years he turned me on
to roller skating, dumpster diving, the Whole Earth Truck Store, conga
drumming, hot tub parties, Uncle Bill's Sliver-Grippers, Bed Specs (prism
glasses for reading in bed while keeping the neck in a neutral position),
Mickey's Big Mouth, and MDA.
I believe Dan was the instigator of "inspiration breaks" at PCC: a trip to
the parking lot for a quick couple of tokes and a stiff cup of Peet's. He
was known to bum a ride up to Skyline so he could roller skate all the way
down Kings Mountain Road. He and I used to walk down Santa Cruz Avenue
with our shoulders pressed together, our feet getting further and further
apart, forming a walking A-frame. One time we even got ticketed for
"frivolous frolicking", a little-known Menlo Park statute that prohibits a
person driving a scooter (me) from pulling a person on roller skates (him)
behind them. Dan called Menlo Park "the center of the universe". He was a
great bud and a damn fine human being.
His last years were not so carefree. He was troubled by depression and a
great sadness, and in his last year, was devastated with heartbreak when
his mom died. He kept to himself a lot, drank too much, neglected his
cacti, and lived amid the overgrown, overwhelming collections of the garage
sale maven (and pack rat) that he was.
He died suddenly at a construction job. The date was November 9, 1999; he
was 56. At his memorial, held in "Peet's Park", we learned that he knew he
had high blood pressure and chose not to take meds for it; it is possible
that he was ready to go home.
It was evident from things people said at his memorial that Dan's memory
will live in the hearts of many, many people, even those he touched just
briefly. He was the supreme mirth-maker, with a Ph.D. in Silliness, an
ambassador of unity.
"GIVE IN TO THE GRIN"