By November, word had gotten back to New Jersey that we had our
own pad and friends began dropping by Miss Dale's Farm.
An old friend of mine, Jerry, arrived with three of his friends who were in
Boston visiting other people but carved out some time to see me.
They expected a conventional living
situation but when they saw the Apartment
were taken aback........
And when I related how we got most of our food from the Rail Road Docks they looked
They played the role of
Counter Culture Bohemians but never really ventured out on their own.
I took a spin around Boston with them and ended up at a McDonald's where they gorged
themselves and talked about meaningless things as I stared into space.
I couldn't relate at all and the fact that I was never a part of their crowd
really hit home. In those days I was unsure of myself so I sacrificed my own self interest in order to get along.......
I was relieved when they dropped me off at home that evening.
Home, where I had social standing and could call my own shots.
Home, where I could eat a good hot meal even if it was only Vegetable Stew.
Arrival of Slim Paluca
A few days later, a friend of Eddie's arrived.
It was Slim, from Cedar Grove, a real character,
famous for his ability to collect Unemployment and milk it to the end
while supplementing his income on the side.
Slim was a no nonsense guy who looked at the world in the cold light
To his way of thinking, nobody was really honest, everyone was on the take and nobody was going to pull the wool
over his eyes. No one......
His arrival in Cambridge was for Recreational Purposes, not born of any
type of need.
lived in his mother's house free from hassle and came and went as he pleased.
He was tall and thin and had
a cutting sense of humor
which he used to put people in their place and spoke in deep sardonic tones.
Like Leo, he was more of a "Greaser" than a Hippie.
He arrived at 269 Broadway clearly amused with the surroundings
but true to form,
it all in stride.
"So, yooz guys did pretty good for yourselves, huh?" he said, looking over the place.
know if he was praising us or putting us down).
"I didn't expect this! Yooz guys pulled something together!"
Slim always had an angle, always had Money, knew how to play cards and Gamble.
He wasn't a rip off or anything but he expected others to carry
their own weight and not mooch off him....
Slim got a kick out of Eddie whom he called "Speedo" or "Lucky"
but never by his real name.
They were friends from the days when Eddie used to bomb around town in his Firebird, doing wheelies and burning hole
shots.........all over Cedar Grove and Montclair.......
They complimented one another's "devil may care"
Slim once had a job making deliveries in a Step Van and Eddie would tag along.
To freak people out, Slim would open the sliding door, step out on the
wave to people driving by while Eddie steered from the passenger seat........
"Hey, ma'am who's
driving this vehicle?"
Slim had a very edgy personality......
Rocks Through The Window
The day after Slim arrived we got a knock on the door from the guys downstairs.
They'd come to discuss an ongoing problem.
Neighborhood kids had been throwing rocks at the building and one had
smashed their window, a major inconvenience for people with little money.
"We're going to hold a meeting
on Tuesday night to discuss what we should do."
"A meeting? Screw the meeting! Just let us know if it
We got back to the conversation which included Ollie, Toad, Eddie, Slim and myself.
Sure enough, as we're talking there's a group of kids passing
by on the street and suddenly a staccato of stones hits the building.
With Eddie leading the charge, we grabbed
broomsticks, belts and frying pans, poured down the stairs and caught up with the little buggers a block away.
Instead of mellow Hippies, they were confronted by Rag Tag Heathens.
"Hey, you guys know who's been throwing rocks around here?"
Of course they had no idea.
"Well, you'd better tell whoever it is to knock it off or there's going to be trouble."
They got the message but for Good Measure we made a loop around the block and stopped every group of kids we saw, reading
them the riot act.
We returned home and explained to our neighbors what had happened.....
The stone throwing was never repeated.
Slim's Pep Talk
Slim stayed for about a week, all the while formulating opinions about
Living on the edge didn't sit well with him.
Trying to be a good guest, he sprung for a few bucks, treating us to
beer but that was as far as he was going.
He was also getting tired of everyone bumming smokes.....
"Why don't yooz guys
go out and find some work?
(This from a guy whose specialty was Unemployment).
"Ya know, yooz guys don't pay rent! Ya get some work and ya can put
some food on the table."
(Toad agreed totally, even as he was hitting up Slim for another smoke).
"Instead of bumming
smokes from me, yooz can buy your own pack," he said, as he tossed Toad another Marlboro.
d'ya think about that Davy?"
I agreed. So did Ollie.
It wasn't that we weren't looking for work, we just weren't
Slim's pep talk got us motivated and soon we were pacing the floor,
preparing to hit the street.
Around this time I'd
grown a beard and had recently found a woolen coat and a
Black Sheep's Wool Hat in one of the abandoned
I'd also latched onto a double breasted vest with silver buttons, all of which made me look like a mad Russion
and this wasn't lost on Slim.
"Hey Davy, you're looking like "Sargent Peppers"
with all that stuff !!!"
He made it sound like praise but I knew he was ribbing me.
"Yeah? Ya like it?"
"I like it a lot!" he said facetiously. "It makes ya look like 'Sargent Peppers'!"
A few minutes later as Ollie and I were heading out the door,
Slim couldn't resist one last zinger.
Ollie, if ya have any trouble finding work, just tell'em ya know 'Sargent Peppers'!"
mind. I thought it was funny too........
Ollie and I pounded the pavement for hours that day but
came up with nothing.