Steve Sherry's The Vagabonds of '74

The Beginning Of The End and Saying Goodbye

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

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In February we began to hear rumblings about the city of Cambridge preparing to evict the Squatters from all the buildings on the block.

Some of the Hippies had gone to City Hall to oppose the move.
Those of us at Miss Dale's Farm were more phlegmatic.
We were looking at the end of Winter anyway so the general feeling was to just ride it out and enjoy the free apartment as long as we could.

We were still hitting the parties at Harvard and B.U. and mingling in social circles normally out of our reach.
This was largely due to Tim's connections and largesse.
He always had an inside track and was able to get us invited to any beer bash that he had knowledge of.

If nothing else was going on we provided our own entertainment, like the night we met up with Tim and his friends in Harvard Square.
With money being an issue, we decided to blow into every bar we happened upon and down any and all unfinished drinks.
Whether it was a half glass of beer at the bar or an entire table that hadn't yet been bussed, we didn't care.........

There might be a table of  7 or 8 Co-eds who had just gotten up to leave.
We'd rush over, down the unfinished drinks then run out the door to continue foraging before any bartender or bouncer knew what had happened. 

At a house party one night in Brookline, we were doing our usual song and dance, adding color to an unremarkable scene.
Everyone was buzzed and getting mellow but later in the evening Roger saw that his girlfriend was talking with a group of students, some who happened to be male.

This didn't sit well with Roger who was already plastered. 
It was apparent he might go off the deep end so a few of us stood around him to calm him down, assuring him that Jane was just talking, not flirting.

Even so, Roger worked himself into such a lather that he lost it and began punching the wall, weakening the plaster until it fell in chunks to the floor.
The hostess freaked out and threw us all out on the street.

With great effort we got Roger home where we breathed a sigh of relief. 

He disappeared into the kitchen and moments later we heard a thunderous crash.
He'd pulled a stack of cabinets down on top of himself and lay there with a huge mess of broken glass all around him.......

We picked him up and tossed him into bed and when he awakened in the morning, like so many times before, he remembered nothing of what had happened the previous night.

I remember thinking that this kind of thing wasn't funny anymore.
The whole scene was beginning to get old......

       Rhode Island Interlude and The Last Hurrah

With the end of the semester approaching,  Tim Lawrence invited us to his families summer cottage in Rhode Island and everyone jumped at the chance.
We broke up into teams, hitchhiking down Rt. 93 and meeting at a predetermined place.
From there we proceeded down a rural road where we came upon a spacious cottage.
Altogether, it was myself and Sarah, Tim and his girlfriend, Roger and Jane, Ollie, Toad and Eddie.

We set to work getting as comfortable as possible, starting a fire and walking to the Grocery Store for food and beer.
That afternoon we cooked up a meal and settled in around the fire, eating, talking and drinking.

Tim regaled us with stories about a giant Snapping Turtle named Gandolf  who inhabited one of the nearby creaks and whom the locals believed was nearly one hundred years old.
Our accommodations were more than adequate, there were bedrooms upstairs and sofas downstairs so we all had a comfortable place to sleep.

Beneath the surface was a restless energy.
The Energy that brought us together the previous Autumn was disintegrating and very soon our paths would diverge and our little group would be no more......our weekend at Tim's Cottage was our last hurrah........

                   One Last Walk Through

Back in Cambridge, we were met by more news about the city was taking steps to evict us........
By then we'd lost interest anyway.

Eddie was the first to bail and went back home to Jersey.
Daisy was next. This left Ollie, Roger and me.

Sarah had wanted me to accompany her to Europe that summer but there was no way
I could pull it off, financially or otherwise. 
It would have been too much of an effort.  My thoughts were elsewhere anyway, I was still hung up on Veronica and wanted to get back home to see my family and friends and enjoy the Spring......

I'd given notice at the Gas Station and was completing my last few days work when the news came that the city had shut off the utilities at 269 Broadway.
Roger and I could use the facilities at B.U. but Toad and Ollie weren't so fortunate.
A couple days later Ollie showed up at B.U. looking bedraggled and in need of a shower and a shave.

The following day he and I returned to "Miss Dale's Farm" for one last look and to see if any personal items were left behind.......

 It had been a Sanctuary for us in a hostile world,
the stage where an Epic Adventure had played itself out.

The Rap Sessions on Winter Nights, the episodes of laughter lingered in the air.........
The baring of souls, the Camaraderie, determination to Survive,
the way we met the world head on and won,
the trips to the blood bank, our friendship with Daisy........
philosophies shared in a place where we felt safe and in control......
where we could let our hair down and just be ourselves.........

All of this resonated as we went from room to room......

"We did it Ollie, we made it man."

"Yeah," he said thoughtfully,"we survived."

We walked down the hall to the kitchen where I'd first heard the news that
Ali defeated Foreman.
The toaster was gone and the yogurt maker too.
I looked out the window to the alley below where I'd cornered Eddie and Ollie during the Great Squash Rebellion the previous Autumn......
It was getting late in the day.
We stepped into the hallway and turned for one last look.........

Down the familiar staircase we went, through the vestibule past the row of mailboxes,
our "Miss Dales Farm" logo still taped to the wall, and out onto the street.
We turned every 20 feet or so for a few last glimpses of our Bohemian Palace until it was out of sight........

Back at B.U. things were astir with preparations for returning home.
I was spending my last few minutes with Sarah.
She'd been very good to me but there was no alternative. It was just time to go.
We said goodbye and made plans to see each other again, maybe in Autumn......

One last hug and I walked down the corridor to the elevator where Ollie was waiting.

We made our way to the Mass Pike and began hitchhiking back to New Jersey.........

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