On these pages, I often write about my experiences in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These were turbulent times for me. I had discovered that I like to write and I had a real feel for it. I also discovered, as they say, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. It was during these years that I met Erica and married her. I had my experiences with LSD, mescaline, hash and pot. I fell in love with blues, especially blues harmonica. I went to several colleges and was expelled from a couple. My life seems to have turned on a fine point in late December of 1968. It was then that I wrote the Albums – 4 collections of poems, stories and essays. These are still the high point of my writing life. I think that this is when I really considered myself a writer.
The years before these times were prelude and the years afterward were mostly dull days in labor at jobs that I didn’t like.
The Beatles record, Abbey Road, was released late in 1968. I went with my friend, Randy Carnefix, to a house in Nyack where he thought that we might be able to hear it. The house was the notorious Russell house on Sixth Avenue. The Russell’s were beatniks and were well known in intellectual circles in the Hudson Valley. Their son, Stuart, was also infamous, but as a heavy drug user.
Randy and I went into the house and up to the attic. There was a room there that had been occupied by an artist. The walls and ceilings were painted with a Hieronymus Bosch-like mural on the walls. The background was black paint and it seemed to show tiny souls in hell or heaven as flames with human shapes. There were holes in the walls where the owner had attacked his creations during a bad LSD trip. The artist was in Canada to avoid the draft, so Randy and I used his hi-fi equipment.
WNEW-FM in New York City was playing Abbey Road from beginning to end without commercial break. This was the first time that I heard the album and I was blown away by the cliff hanger ending at the end of I Want You (She’s so Heavy).
When Abbey Road ended, the DJ just started it over again. I think I listened to it three or four times that night.
Randy and I went downstairs later that night and discovered that there was a wedding going on in the dining room. A Nyack High School football hero from the class a year ahead of me was getting married to a young woman dressed in an antique wedding gown. They were getting married at the Russell’s because she was white and he was black. Interracial marriages were much less common then than they are now. Nyack has always been a liberal town, but I doubt if any of the churches would have allowed the marriage, back then.
Here is the synchronicity part. The young woman, who got married that night, is now the roommate of my mother’s best friend. She heard that I knew about computers and eBay and wanted me to sell her son’s sports memorabilia. Her son (she was pregnant with him that night in 1968) was a drug dealer who died recently as a result of his dangerous profession. She did not know me and I did not know her, but after a few minutes discussion, it was discovered that our worlds overlapped briefly back then,
I don’t have time or the inclination to sell her stuff on eBay. I have a feeling that this is a very bad idea and I cannot profit from it in any way. People think that their stuff is gold and most often is just dross. Selling her son’s treasures can only be a disappointment for her. I feel that a drug user would have parted with anything of value long before his death. I don’t want to be the one to disappoint her.
Randy Carnefix moved to California and had a child named Oak. I haven’t seen him in thirty years, although Larry claims to have seen him from across the street in Nyack about ten years ago.
Stuart Russell died of a drug overdose and the house is now yuppy-fied with new owners. I am guessing that the elder Russells are long dead because they were old (to my young eyes) in 1968.
My friends from this time are scattered far and wide and I don’t hear from them much – except for Jimmy Callan, who still lives in the same house in Upper Nyack. I’ll be playing poker with him this Friday night. Anyone want to play? It’s only a $6 buy in! The other night we listened to Abbey Road on vinyl.