Steve Sherry's The Vagabonds of '74

Leaving For BOSTON

Early '74 Montclair, New Jersey, Alf a most unusual friend
Cedar Grove, New Jersey my little town....Miss Munches House, Newberry's, Cedar Grove Pool
Hitchhiking To Albuquerque 1972, The Commune and Krishnamurti, University of New Mexico
Seeing Badfinger At Carnegie Hall, The Dugout, McSorely's Ale House
Seeing Bob Dylan, "The Poet Lad" At Madison Square Garden
South End Pizzeria, Van Gogh and Plans for California
Jersey Shore Recollections, Summer of '71. St. Louis, The Gateway of the West, The Road to Colorado
Rocky Mountain Panorama, Problems with the Pinto, Ritchfield Utah???
California! Lennon's Lost Weekend, Venice Beach, Malibu
Pacific Coast Highway, Panoramic Visions and the Magic Carpet Ride To Santa Barbara
San Francisco, The Shelter, The Warf and the Hole in the Wall Hotel
Sacramento, Jumping A Train? Wierd But True, The Shock of My Life
Oblivion, Reno, Good Samaritans and The Ghosts of Woody Guthrie, James Dean and Tom Joad
A Night In The Can in Kansas
University of Kansas at Lawrence and The Doobie Brothers
True Meditation Foundation of Human Understanding, "How Your Mind Can Keep You Well"
Vagabonds of '74 Part 2: Old Friend Ollie, Meeting Veronica, The Suburban in Montclair
BOSTON, The Leap of Faith and A Night in a Shelter
Sleeping in a Newspaper Truck, Cambridge Hippies and No Turning Back
Squatter's Rights: 269 BROADWAY, Furnishing Our Hippie Pad
269 BROADWAY becomes Miss Dale's Farm
California Hippies Arrive. Free Food from The Docks, Strange Encounters
Kenmore Square Blood Bank
Leonard Cohen, Patron Saint, Ali Defeats Foreman and the Great Squash Fight of '74
Vivid Visitors from New Jersey,
The Invasion of Boston University, Taking Over The Dorm
Jonathan Swifts, Harvard Square and The Sugar Shortage
Beacon Hill Gulf Gas Station and Reflections Atop The Longfellow Bridge
Christmas 1974 in Montclair, Returning to Cambridge, "13th Floor Panarama"
Bandages, Canes, Barroom Brawls and Spontaneous Conversation
Meeting Leonard Cohen
The Beginning Of The End and Saying Goodbye
Vagabonds of 74 Epilogue
Essex Catholic Memories: Crosby, Stills & Nash, Marty Liquori, Mark Murro, City Stadium, St. Benedicts, Dylan, Positively 4th St.
The Essex Catholic Wrestling Team 1971: 8 District Champs, Ting A Lings, Hitting the Town....
Essex Catholic Teachers and Students, Br. Harrington, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Taglieri, Mr. Zarro, Simon and Garfunkel
Random Events at Essex Catholic 1967-1971: Stuff Happens! Bomb Scare, JUG!, Abbey Road
Essex Catholic Senior Year 1971: World Trade Center Rising, The Staircase from "A Hard Days Night?" Meditation, MySpace: "Jersey Shore," Crosby, Stills and Nash Epilogue
The Jersey Shore: May, 2011 Brielle....Sea Girt....Introspection On The Sand.....
Essex Catholic Memories 2012

An Alternative To Stagnation

All summer, we'd been hearing rumors that Boston was a happening place.
It seemed like everybody knew someone who went to school there and the stories were embellished with Parties, a Music Scene and most appealing, the fact that so and so had gotten their own apartment there.
Most of the people in my crowd had never been away from home and were reaching the age where a little exploration was in order.

As we sat in the Suburban we began conjuring Visions of a Boston adventure. 
We  were floundering anyway.
During the summer Ollie had been working for a landscaper and had gotten laid off.

I was no longer working for my father and was up for anything that would keep me from falling back into stagnation.

At first it was just talk but soon it took on more serious tones.
I'd hitchhiked to Boston twice before. My brother Eddie and his friend Toad had been there too but only for a few days. 

One thing I knew was that my solo hitchhiking days were numbered.
It was good to get out and explore new places but I didn't have what it took to carve out a life anywhere, not without backup.

Working within a group though, was a different story and I was excited about the prospects....

In early September Ollie and I decided to check it out and hopped a Continental Trailways Bus to Beantown.

Once we were rolling I was able to mellow out, looking forward to the New Adventure
but when we passed through Bridgeport, where Veronica was attending College, I felt like I'd fallen down an elevator shaft. 

I was juggling the few answers I could come up with in the way that young men do,
with great passion and naivete.
It seemed to me that a real chance at happiness had been lost and I felt the sting but we greased the wheels by taking long pulls on the Blackbery Brandy I had stashed in my coat pocket......

A few hours later we were wandering through Boston Common where we came upon the Old Burial Ground.
Its ancient headstones were tilted and leaning from the shifting of the earth and thoughts of Pilgrims and Thanksgiving ran through my mind.....

There were Construction Projects rising to the sky and sounds of jackhammers and riveting, but my reaction to it was one of irony.
Steeped in End Times scenarios, the state of the world, the War in Vietnam, Watergate and my personal situation, I saw no point in building more office towers. 

"Why are they building new buildings when it's the end of world?" I thought.
"Does the world need more office space? Don't they know it's futile?" 

That was just how I saw things at that particular time and I knew I wasn't the only one.
The upheavals of our Generation left many of us devoid of optimism.
Those were the times we were living in........

                  A Night In A Shelter in Brookline

Picking up a copy of The Boston Pheonix, we scanned it for information on where to find shelter and settled on a place run by "Jesus Freaks."
We called the number and were told they could put us up and we hopped the nearest
Street Car for Brookline.

The shelter was a suburban home with about ten guests and since Ollie and me were the last to arrive we had to sleep in the basement with four or five other guys.
During the night, cold, damp air filled the room and we tossed and turned trying to keep warm.
At sunrise we discovered why it was so cold.
The window directly above us was missing a pane.

While awaiting breakfast our hosts sat down to discuss Religious issues but the discussion was met by a very cool reception and even sarcastic remarks.

"I don't wanna know about being humble!" one guest blurted out.
"That's not what Jesus said," our hosts patiently explained.
"That's what I say!" came the reply as laughter jangled around the room.....
it was going to be difficult to reach these wayward sheep.......

     In a chair to my right was a young black dude who seemed open to the sermon but while it was going on he suddenly began having an epileptic fit.
Convulsions set in, guttural noises emerged from his throat and he began to drool.......

Everyone was horrified until his friend piped up, explaining that this happened from time to time and not to worry, it would work itself out.
He was right.
After a minute or two it was over and when we came to, he saw us all staring at him.

"What happened?"
"You had a seizure, man!"

Everyone was relieved but the episode put the kabosh on any more Bible study.

We returned to Boston on the street car and spent the day taking in the sights.
That night we called another shelter within the city limits.
Directed to a place near the Harvard Bridge, we arrived on the steps of the wrong building and banged on the door.
When no one answered we were puzzled then happened to read the lettering above the door. We'd been banging on the door of a casket company.

"What the hell is that Ollie? Look!"
Ollie read the sign...."Man let's get out of here!"

It turned out that the shelter we where looking for was in a Church basement where dozens of beds were laid out in rows.
While unpacking, we scanned the room.
There were some shady looking characters there and we watched for any signs of adversarial intent.
Just as we were getting comfortable something caught Ollie's eye and I looked to see what it was.

A few rows over a wild haired guy was sitting on the edge of a bed staring directly at us. No matter what we did the guy kept staring. Whether he was just a burned out Hippie or a homicidal maniac, we didn't know.

Me and Ollie weren't fooling around.
We were both easy to get along with but in a fight we could both call on Wrestling Skills, against which , the average guy had little chance.
We were both warriors at heart and wouldn't hesitate to mix it up if our safety depended on it.

That was one advantage I had hanging out with Ollie.
His willingness to take my back in a fight was unquestioned, allowing me to relax a bit when facing the treachery of the world.

In the morning we began packing our bags and there he was again, the same guy staring like he'd just seen a ghost, his eyes burning a hole right through us. 

This time Ollie confronted him, asking if there was a problem and the guy countered by asking if we could spare a cigarette.
To keep him happy Ollie gave him two and we grabbed our stuff and hit the street.

Thinking we'd never see him again, we laughed and brushed it off.
Little did we know we would have numerous and random run-ins with him during our stay in Boston.

A few days later we headed home knowing that Boston had real possibilities.
With a little money and a good second effort we could probably make something work.

Back at the Suburban over pitchers of beer we related our experiences to Toad and Eddie and tossed around logistics.

The plan was open ended but basically called for me and Ollie to go back and get a foothold then meet up with them at a predetermined place.
For the next several days we went about tying up loose ends then Ollie and I set out for Boston again, this time hitchhiking......

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