Steve Sherry's The Vagabonds of '74

Leonard Cohen, The Patron Saint of 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

"I was lost when I met you on the road to Larissa....." 
                          
                                                  Leonard Cohen, "Energy of Slaves"
 

                                                       

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The heady New England autumn was the backdrop for the unfolding drama.
 
There's 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.
It 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.
No 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.

I had 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
my inner voice.
 
"Energy Of Slaves" went beyond the Garden Gate, corroborating parts of me that had gone to sleep.
Leonard 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.

As 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 of
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. 


 
                   The Great 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.

We  were 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, taking aim.
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.

I had 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.

We were laughing but still, no one wanted to get hit, we were throwing hard and it would have hurt like hell. 
A few minutes later they were running low on ammo and I could see the wind going out of their sails.

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 their breath.
 
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.... f-ing......killed us.......!"

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.

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