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.
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
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.
was a funky looking thing which I'd Customized with pictures I'd cut from Magazines and slapped a coat of varnish
pictures of Dylan, a picture of Casteneda (the Time Magazine cover) and pictures of the Beatles all carefully selected
and tastefully applied.
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.
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.
was the guy from the shelter with the dead stare who'd bummed the cigarettes from us back in September.
ya doing man, remember us?"
"What's up, anything new?"
"Need a cigarette man?" I asked.
We gave him a few to tide him over.
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!"
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
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.
never seen two guys who pursued their vices with such elan.
had to at least have a cup of tea before I could even think about a cigarette
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
In the evening we'd shoot the breeze drinking beer or taking swigs off bottles
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
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......
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.....
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
then make a left on Columbia and walk several blocks until we reached
where our Beautiful, Ramshackle, Tumble Down Abode would be standing like
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......
were nights when the only thing that kept me from falling onto the pavement
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......
the REAL ADVENTURE hadn't even yet even begun.......!!!