The heady New England autumn was the backdrop for the unfolding
something about New England that I've always liked.
The people, their Accents, Figures of Speech.....
Massachusetts is so steeped in History that
it's absolutely mesmerizing.
has its own identity and is secure in that identity.
Paul Revere, Longfellow and Ben Franklin all have roots there.
The streets of Beacon Hill with its brick work and cobble stones are a throw back to
the 1700's and the College Scene is an adrenalin rush in and of itself.
For us Vagabonds, Boston
was a life raft back in '74.
other place was quite like it. No other place would do.
At Miss Dale's Farm (269 Broadway) we had an
inexpensive combination radio/tape player.
On it, we listened to tapes of the Beatles, Laura Nyro and Arlo Guthrie.
These were the only three tapes we had.
It was the Laura Nyro album featuring "The Bells"
that threw Haunting Echoes through the Apartment along with Guthrie's humorous "Lightning Bar Blues" Album.
We played a lot of Dylan songs on my Guitar, strumming and singing together as a group as we lounged in our Living
Room in the dead of winter......
If Dylan was the Muse of Miss Dales Farm, then Leonard Cohen
was the Patron Saint.
a copy of "Energy of Slaves," a collection of Prose and Poems done in the sparse, poignant
narrative that characterized his work.
It helped fill a void that Music couldn't reach.......
Its stoic irony and fatalism combined with
romance and humor helped me define
Of Slaves" went beyond the Garden Gate, corroborating parts of me that had gone to sleep.
Cohen's Poems were actually Prayers in disguise and I felt a kinship with him
as his Poetry flashed in my mind during my stay in Cambridge and Boston.
far as a Patron Saint was concerned......it was Leonard Cohen and no other........
Ali Defeats Foreman
On the morning of October 31st, 1974 I switched on the radio to hear the voice
Howard Cosell saying that Ali had defeated
George Foreman the night before to capture the Heavyweight Boxing Crown.
This was amazing!
Foreman seemed invincible after what he'd done to Joe Frazier. On top of that, Ali
was approaching the twilight of his career which made the feat all the more remarkable.
The stunning news seemed to brighten the room.
"See? Anything is possible," I thought, "Anything."
Toad's New Job
When Toad scored a new job in Harvard Square our situation improved.
Not only because he was bringing in Money but because he was also bringing home food.
Living solely on fruits and vegetables we'd gotten from the Docks had
gotten old and we needed to suppliment our diet with more protein.
For our part, Ollie, myself and Roger continued
to give blood but there was a waiting period required between visits so the income was sporadic.
Squash Fight of 1974
One of the more transcendent episodes at Miss Dale's Farm was the Squash
Fight of November '74.
It happened on a blustery afternoon as I was tending to the stockpile of Fruits and Vegetables stacked in crates
on the back porch.
attempting to keep it fresh by storing it on the porch but even with the cool weather, some had already began to turn.
I was outside moving the crates around when something hit the railing......
A moment later something splattered on the wall next to my head.......
I looked below and saw Eddie with apples in his hands and a pile of them at his feet,
Eddie was a master at ambush.
He'd been doing this kind of thing
ever since we were kids, lying in wait with water pistols or snowballs, whatever was his weapon of choice.
only a split second to duck as a second barrage careened off the pillars.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ollie dart across the alley and a moment later
another volley was launched.
I grabbed some apples and pears, stepped to the railing and returned fire.
"Fool around with me will ya? I'm gonna get you sons o' bitches!"
After ducking another
volley I reached for Heavier Artillery and launched two good sized melons.
For a second they faltered and I could see their eyes widen.
laughing but still, no one wanted to get hit, we were throwing hard and it would have hurt
A few minutes later they were running low on ammo and I could see the wind going out of their
Then came the Coup-de-Grace.
I'd been holding some Watermellon Squash in reserve for just the right moment.
These things were gnarly looking and Massive.
In a final volley I leaned over and launched the Watermellon Squash laughing so hard
I could hardly throw the damn things.
With looks of horror on their faces
they scattered and when the Squash hit the ground from a height of three stories they exploded with a hollow thud.......
Eddie and Ollie
high-tailed it out of there, running around to the front of the building and up the stairs.
I ran inside and down the hall to find them in the living room barely able to catch
We were doubled over in laughter and rolled around the room for 15 minutes before
being able to speak.
"You....son.....of a........bitch....." Ollie dribbled out, "you.....could've....
It was absolutely Cathartic. I hadn't laughed that
hard in a long, long time........
The Squash Fight left the backyard littered with fruit, rinds, pulp and seeds
but none of the neighbors ever said a word. It was just the guys from Jersey acting up again.
In an unexpected way
the Squash Fight helped purge us of our cares.
We couldn't have gotten away with that sort of behavior anywhere else,
but at Miss Dale's Farm we were the masters of that Bohemian Domain.