Steve Sherry's The Vagabonds of '74

Bandages, Canes and Barroom Brawls
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

Things get a little out of Control.....
Also A Spontaneous Recording of Roger, Ollie and myself......

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The chair near the living room window

In January, things were getting a little out of hand.
Everybody started getting into fights.
 
Maybe Toad or Eddie were flirting with someone's girlfriend or maybe some drunken stranger would start it but someone in our group would end up in a fight on a weekly basis.

I'd arrive home from work to see them parading around with bandaged hands or bloody lips.
One night Eddie injured his ankle and was now walking with a cane.
Another time Toad came home with a black eye.
 
Jolly Roger, though, seemed to attract the most trouble.
He had a naturally prickly personality and after a few drinks he could get a bit Confrontational.

One night he got into a brawl and somebody clobbered him over the head, requiring him to go to the hospital for stitches.

I must say here though that Roger was an interesting person and his presence contributed a lot to our living Situation.
Things that might worry or cow the average person did not phase him at all which was a strength....... 

Also, his reminiscences of life back home were interesting and filled with vivid accounts.
When times got tough, and they often did, all I had to do was look around at Roger, Toad and Ollie and I knew we would be okay.....



       Spontaneous Conversation Caught On Tape
             
Things could be mellow too.
 
One night after work I arrived home at 4 A.M. to find Roger and Ollie in the living room talking.
Ollie was strumming the cheap guitar I was using in place of the Yamaha I'd sold. 

I sat down on the floor and joined in the conversation about old Television Shows like Abbot and Costello, The Honeymooners and W.C Fields movies.

I'd turned the tape recorder on thinking we might record a few Guitar tunes but what I got was much more:

Ollie: (strumming the guitar and sounding dejected) "I wish I could play this thing."
Me: Jackie Gleason was really funny, man..."
Roger: "He died, didn't he?"
Me: "He's still alive, Jackie Gleason...!"

Roger changes the subject to make and important Public Service Announcement:
"Well, we have a substantial number of butts here."
(It was time to scavenge the ashtrays for tobacco to roll  two or three of our own."

Ollie, while strumming the guitar chuckles.
Me: "Okay, I can even help you out here a little bit."

Ollie: That's what the 60's did to us."
Roger: "What?"
Me: "What d'ya mean 'What?' Look where we are, we're sitting in Cambridge Massachusetts with the Wolves at the door."

Ollie laughs. "Hey, I'll show 'em around here!"
Roger begs to differ: "There ain't no Wolves at the door!"

Ollie picks up the Harmonica and starts to play and I launch into Maggie's Farm."
Ollie sings in the background: "I ain't gonna work on Miss Dales Farm no more."
 
 
 
                                         ****************************
 
 
 A few evenings later, after returning from work, I again sat down with Roger and Ollie.

 Me, strumming the guitar. "Now this is a good song, now this is being taped."

Roger: "Why can't I do one man? "

Me: "I'll do it and when you feel like coming in you can."
 
Launching into "Hey Jude" in the Mellowest voices we could muster, we sang our hearts out. Sounded pretty good too.........

The next song up, "I Threw it All Away"  by Dylan.
 Me: "Now this song is from my own personal experience man, so I can feel this one."

Roger, emphatically: "Me too man, same exact thing." 
A poor rendition of the song limps along.......then conversation takes over........


Roger, referring to Cynthia, the Hippie from across the hall, attempts to imitate her voice:
 
"She goes, 'Oh, by the way, I found out where ya can sell your body' and I went
"Oh, wow, man!"
"She goes, 'Two hundred fifty dollars, you can go tomorrow." (laughs) 
 
 
 
Ollie chimes in: "For two hundred fifty dollars!
Then the other girl goes 'I know a place for four hundred fifty dollars, you might buy it back!"

 Me, amused: "Except, ya can't auction yourself off!" (Everyone laughs)

Roger, with an air of disbelief:
"At Penn State they buy your body for four hundred but you can buy your body back."

Me: That's like a thousand, ya know?"
Roger: "I don't care, man." (in a tone of being repulsed, then chuckles)

 Me: "When you're rich...."

Roger: "Hell man, I don't wanna sell my soul and not be able to buy it back, man!
That's what I was like thinkin' about ya know....."

 Me: "Yeah, ya don't have to worry about your body but your soul, man.
Ya sell your soul to anybody it's gonna be some dude with pointy ears!"

Roger laughs: "I know! That's what I was thinkin' before man.....
I don't want any pointed ears or pointed tail or three spiked trident bullshit!"
 
 
 
Guitar playing fills in the lull in the conversation. Then discussion resumes about our jaunts to Boston University.
 
Roger, blows smoke  from a drag off his cigarette:

"And we went in there man, he (Ollie) was like, he was looking at the floor and I was staring at the three people that were in there, they're all going like......
all three of them had notebooks and they're all leaning against different angles at different walls and they'd all look up at each other and ask each other questions back and forth about all this weird shit.
 
Finally, man, ya know, we said 'We'll see ya later.'
Then we went and sat in Jane's room, man, we rapped and fell asleep....."

Ollie: "Tim told us that, uh...."
Roger: "Yeah, he said that he had a rap with Sarah and she had a rap with the D.A.,
like the dorm director or something, in charge of the whole dorm.

Me, concerned: "They don't like us over there, huh?"
Roger: "No, no it wasn't just us, it was like a whole lot of shit went down there this weekend and like last weekend."

Me: "Ya know, cause like she didn't respond to two fire alarms the other night."
(fire alarms set off as a prank were becoming a problem) 

Roger: "That could be it cause me and Tim were in a fight (at a nearby bar) and I got my head stoved in that night. There was a fire alarm that night, two firemen came up there and took us out of the room."

Dave: "Why? For what?"

Roger: "For what? Cause there was a fire alarm."

Dave: "There was an actual fire in the place?"

Roger: "No, there wasn't. It was a fire alarm but two firemen came upstairs."

Dave: "What did they come to your room for?"

Roger, laughing: "I don't now man!"
(Imitating firemen 'Get Outta Bed!')

I just got out of the Hospital and I had stitches in my head and I went 'Oh, fuck, man,'..... ran downstairs and I had this bandage around my head, man.
 
Everybody's lookin' at me like 'What's the matter with you?'

And I'm standin'....I'm ssshhh, I'm fuckin' cold, man and I've got this bump on my head and I'm goin' 'Oh, shit, I wanna go back in.'
So I'm standin' outside, I went 'shit' and ran back in and I just went back upstairs."

(To see Roger behaving that way during a fire drill must have made a real impression on the students. He dressed like a Vagabond under the best of conditions but with a bandage around his head in the middle of the night and having just been rousted out of bed, he must have been a sight.
Then being ticked off and yanking the bandage from his stitched up head and throwing it on the ground before storming back inside must have been fodder for the rumor mill)
 
 
 
The conversation meandered on, covering other topics into the Wee Hours of Morning....

Ollie, very subdued : "I felt a little, uh paranoid in that place."

Roger, sympathetic: "Where, at B.U.?"

Ollie: "Yeah, just a little bit."

Having been at work I didn't realize that Ollie and Roger had been at B.U. that very night.

Dave: "B.U.? You were at B.U. tonight?"

Roger chuckling: "Yeah"

Ollie: "That's where we found all this shit out, man."
(All the while Roger is laughing in the background.)

Dave: "What the hell ya going over there for? How'd ya get over there?"

Roger, still chuckling: "We went to the Speakeasy, walked out of there, stuck a thumb, man, a Cabbie gave us a ride!" 

Ollie: This is why we went over there, for one stinkin' 20 cent card for a drink."
(a promotional card for the Speakeasy bar)

Then, general patter about the food situation......

Roger: "I haven't had enough to eat. I haven't had any nutrition......"

Dave: "When you're hungry, man...."

Roger: "You can come up with it any time ya want.................
We were rappin' about death again, man. We were walking over the River going
'the water looks cold,' (laughs). We stopped...."

Dave: "I'm waitin' for one of these days for someone to stick me up on that Bridge and throw me off." (Ollie and Roger laugh.) "I don't know what I'd do, man."

Ollie: "I was trying to find out if the ice is thick enough to go in. Would ya go through or...."
Dave: "You'd go through. You'd go through."
 
Roger: "Uh uh, no not me...."

Tape ends here.


 






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