Steve Sherry's The Vagabonds of '74

269 Broadway becomes "Miss Dale's Farm"

Home
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
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The living room at 269 Broadway..... me with my twenty dollar guitar..... 

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                        Squatter's Rights, 269 Broadway, Cambridge, Mass. 
                                          November 1974

I rarely arrived home to an empty house but if it was empty, within minutes I'd hear voices on the stairs, arguing or laughing.
The sense of Community gave me a good feeling.
 
The door would open and in would walk Toad with a Six Pack or Eddie with some groceries or Ollie with a couple smokes he'd bummed from a a passerby. 
 
Even in our poverty there was creativity........

As time passed we began to explore Cambridge and Boston, getting to know short cuts, street car routes and Subway Lines.
 
The local bars were becoming familiar too, The Speakeasy, 34 Dunster Street,
Father's Three in Boston, Casablanca.......
 
We really made the rounds.......and at night stumble home secure in the knowledge
that we had our own abode.

With Winter closing in and still without heat we needed to do something to remedy the situation.
One morning we called the Oil Company requesting they come to 269 and turn on the heat.
 
By law, they had to and the next day they came and did just that.

When those vents began flooding the rooms with warm air it made all the difference
in the world.
We could now sit in comfort and talk and when we awakened in the morning it wasn't to a freezing cold house.

We had every intention of pitching in to pay the monthly bill but in the upheavals and  uncertainty of day to day life that plan quickly went by the wayside.
The money just wasn't there.

When my brother returned to Boston the second time he brought my Yamaha Guitar, an FG-180.
 
It was a funky looking thing which I'd Customized with pictures I'd cut from Magazines and slapped a coat of varnish over.
 
There were pictures of Dylan, a picture of Casteneda (the Time Magazine cover) and pictures of the Beatles all carefully selected and tastefully applied.
 
The guitar was a welcomed diversion and whenever things got slow we'd sit strumming chords and singing songs in the living room........

One of my favorite tunes was "Maggies Farm" which I played often as the others joined in.
 
Ollie, well aware of my enthusiasm for Dylan, somehow transmogrified the title into "Miss Dales Farm," and as a joke we began calling 269 Broadway "Miss Dales Farm"
even going so far as to plaster the title on our mailbox in the vestibule.

Once, when I'd written home requesting Emergency Money from my short tempered Grandmother, I gave her the address c/o "Miss Dales Farm."
 
From then on, in her mind, we were all living the rural life in Cambridge on somebody's farm......
"What the hell are they doing living up there on a farm!
Hitting me up for money when they're all living on a farm!"

She sent the 20 bucks anyway.....


One afternoon while wandering through Harvard Yard, Ollie and I stopped to light a cigarette and felt the presence of someone staring at us about 15 yards away.
 
It was the guy from the shelter with the dead stare who'd bummed the cigarettes from us back in September.

"How ya doing man, remember us?"
"Yeah.".
"What's up, anything new?"
"No."
"Need a cigarette man?" I asked.
"Yeah."
We gave him a few to tide him over.
"Thanks," he said with a grimace.
"Well, take care man."
He took a drag and nodded his head.

We walked away smiling mischievously but it really wasn't funny. Like so many of us in that Generation, this poor guy was burned out and in need of help......
 
Even so, we had to laugh.
Two times now we'd crossed paths with him and it wouldn't be the last........



                        A Typical Day

"Oh God, that men should put an enemy
in their mouths to steal away their brains!
That we should, with joy, pleasance, revel and applause,
transform ourselves into beasts!"

                                                               Shakespear....... Othello



There were times when I was a Character in a Movie tagging along on the groups energy, panoramic thoughts wafting through my head, not caring where we were going.........
 
Vagabonds disguised as Students......disguised as "Street People"......
thrown into an Unfolding Drama with no clue as to where life would lead us next........

                               
 
                  A typical day went something like this:

I would be awakened from the depths of a serious hangover by the piercing sounds
of Fire Engines across the street.....

Toad's hand would have just fallen into his Ashtray which was kept at the side of his bed, fumbling for the first butt of the day.....

Jolly Roger would be sitting on his mattress pulling spent butts from his ashtray, harvesting the tobacco and rolling new cigarettes from the "dead soldiers..."

Toad and Roger scared me.
 
I'd never seen two guys who pursued their vices with such elan.
 
I had to at least have a cup of tea before I could even think about a cigarette 
while both of them began smoking as soon as their eyes opened.....

Some of us might head to Kenmore Square to give blood. (A source of needed cash)
 
No one ever sat home.

In the evening we'd shoot the breeze drinking beer or taking swigs off bottles of Vodka.
 
Dressed in our funky sweaters, overcoats and hats we'd roll down the stairs like Musketeers and parade over to Mass. Ave.

The first stop would be the Liquor Store to take on supplies.
 
There'd be debates and arguments about what to buy and more often than not we'd leave with more than we'd actually paid for and as we made our way toward Harvard Square, various bottles would be passed around.....

We'd hit the bars, schmoozing, chatting up the co-eds, bumming beers......
 
Sometimes our Shenanigans got out of hand, the bouncers would converge and we'd find ourselves out in the cold....but we didn't care, we were well oiled by then.......

If it was late we'd meander in the direction of the Apartment or stop to talk to the older, homeless men who sat on steps passing around bottles of wine......
they always had interesting stories......

They were decked out in knee length winter coats, their best bet if they had to sleep outside in the Autumn Weather.....
They were always willing to engage us in Conversation and we grew to like them......

We'd roll down Mass Ave. past the Coffee Shops, Movie Theater
and the Baby Watson Cheescake Shop
then make a left on Columbia and walk several blocks until we reached Broadway
where our Beautiful, Ramshackle, Tumble Down Abode would be standing like a shrine
in the moonlight.......

There were nights when we really pushed the limits, staggering home upside down drunk, bumping into every Parking Meter along the way......
there were nights when the only thing that kept me from falling onto the pavement
were those Parking Meters......

I began wondering just how drunk a human being could get and still find his way home.....
 
In the morning I'd again be awakened by Fire Engines,
the most efficient Alarm Clocks I've ever known...........

Balls of fire in my head, the primordial stirring and seeing Toad's hand dropping into his ashtray on my way to the kitchen to make tea.........

A new day would soon be in full swing at Miss Dale's Farm......
 
and the REAL ADVENTURE hadn't even yet even begun.......!!!

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