Ann Watters and Mark Mulleian's car accident
Ann Watters
During the middle of the twentieth-century, America witnessed the unleashing of a new dawn, driven by, among other things, public anger and passionate optimism for change. The cultural transformation generated by America’s Great Turbulent 60s was fueled by a number of salient energies, among them the collective dissatisfaction over America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam, the creative surge and de facto referendum on America’s social norms that proliferated out of the counter culture of the Height Ashbury in San Francisco, and the deeply resonant voice of dissent out of the Free Speech movement in Berkeley. Add to all that the shock and disgrace of Nixon’s Watergate, the strong objections to J Edger Hoover’s obsessive, paranoid, and later, proven hypocritical prosecution of social and political dissent, and the anger and violence that was released at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and you have a highly volatile mixture of psychological and emotional forces, matched only by the transformative self-realizing energies that propelled the explosion of gay, African American and women’s rights movements. All were extremely powerful social forces, evolving by the 1970s into movements for social change whose influences are still with us today.
It was at the end of this turbulent decade, in 1969, shortly after Mulleian’s first meeting with Leonard Roy Frank (who, providentially, arranged Mulleian’s first feature exhibit with Sculptor Beniamino Bufano), that Mulleian first met Ann Watters. Ann was one of several friends who met for stimulating discussions, songs, and the mulling of energized ideas over coffee during the early burgeoning of the Hippy movement of the 1960’s. Mulleian recalls spending time with Ann, debating in the company of friends in what he describes as a spirited, even joyful camaraderie, the enlivened remains of an earlier bohemian era, the beatnik generation, in San Francisco's North Beach, with San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury counter culture visionaries joining in.
In 1970 Mulleian was once again featured with Bufano at the Frank Gallery on Sutter Street’s gallery row, also at Union Square. Eventually at this time, Ann Watters, in one of her frequent visits to the gallery, was introduced to Leonard Frank and soon became a familiar face to gallery patrons, occasionally acting as stand-in docent, covering for Leonard while he was away from the gallery.
Later on, one spring evening in 1977, on his way to his San Francisco south of Market studio, an event Mulleian describes as both dark and terrifying occurred, one that nearly cost the artist his life. Mulleian was struck by a car on Fifth and Mission Streets leaving him with two broken legs, (one with splintered bones that tore through his flesh, nearly causing amputation of his right leg), and a broken left arm, all of which eventually landed him at the emergency department of San Francisco General Hospital. Here, Mulleian spent six weeks in traction under intensive care after undergoing three major surgeries. The doctor’s initial prognosis anticipated that the artist would never walk again.
Fortunately, that prognosis proved wrong. After two months in hospital, it was Ann Watters who drove Mulleian home to his studio, weakened as he was from a weight loss of nearly forty pounds. Ann Waters was there for Mulleian all through this ordeal. Throughout Mulleian’s recovery, he remained under her care, with her checking in on him regularly, providing massage as therapy to restore sensation to his feet and great comfort to his whole being in his recovery. Two weeks after his release, once again with Ann beside him, Mulleian walked into San Francisco General Hospital with both of his full-leg and single arm casts draped over his shoulder, horrifying his nurses and doctors at his being on his feet (and free of his casts!) so soon after release from hospital.
Today, Ann, who has always had a great interest in holistic powers of healing, is currently living in Salem, Oregon working as a Holistic Life Coach and Minister, with her own private practice as a Massage Therapist, Polarity Practitioner and teacher, using Mind-Body Self-Realization techniques in dealing with diseases of body and mind for all ages.