Steve Sherry's The Vagabonds of '74

Essex Catholic Memories
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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

Memories from September 1967 to June 1971


Spring of 1970........

I'm standing at the top of the driveway on Summer Avenue.
School just ended and I'm waiting for a friend to pick me up for the drive home.....
16 years old and wondering about the world....

A flock of students arrives at the top of the driveway to begin their trek to Bloomfield Ave....
My friend pulls up and a few of us pile into to his Convertible. 

On his 8 track the new Crosby, Stills and Nash album is playing....I'm amazed at the purity of the sound.....

"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" was unlike anything I'd ever heard...the rise and fall of pure harmonies, the sophistication......

Everyone is now on board and we begin to pull away toward 2nd Avenue, waving to friends passing by.....
.....the song melts into the uplifting "Marrakesh Express" as we make the left to go up over the hill toward Branch Brook Park....
"don't ya know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express...
they're taking me to Marrakesh...all aboard the train......."

Another week of school was over and as we drove through the winding streets of Branch Brook Park taking in the scenery, we fell into a dream.......

(I was, years later, to have vivid encounters with all three, Crosby, Stills and Nash in different places. More on that later....)




My earliest memory of  Essex Catholic is the first day of school meeting Bill Duthy (RIP) as we were  standing on the ground floor near the Chapel. I knew Billy from Cedar Grove but a few years later he moved to Montclair and seeing him again was a treat. Some students were playing a practical joke on him (Go ask Joe how his sister dances) remember that one?

Billy knew something was up and grabbed me by the shoulder lifting me off the floor. He'd become very strong since I'd last seen him. Not very tall but built like a fire plug....he was on the Field Team and threw Shot Put as some of you remember......

Brother ???, big guy, really tall, saw me standing around in my High Roll shirt trying to look cool...."Are you a tough guy?" he said to me.

Self consciously, I smiled and said "Sometimes."

There were a lot of tough looking kids around that day. After all, this was Newark not Cedar Grove......I felt a little out of place.


My Home Room was 508 and my first friends were Doug Zemanek, Curt Shumate and Bob Zimmerman.  Doug had tried to break the ice by tapping me on the shoulder with a notebook. I took it wrong and we almost had a confrontation. It turned out that Doug was one of my best friends at Essex Catholic.


In freshman year I went out for the Cross Country team but didn't enjoy it so I stopped going to practice.  When tryouts came around there must have been 50 kids running through the park. Along the trail I began to realize that running track was not for me. No matter how much effort I made I couldn't keep up with the leaders. At the finish line Brother ???? was handing out cards denoting how you finished. I managed to come in at number 8 but my track days were over. I never went back.....

That year Room 508 won the softball intramural championship with the help of guys like Tom Carrino who could hit the ball very far and could run really fast. He always beat me by a step or two.
I bet a lot of those trophies still exist.....   


Vivid memories of the walk to Bloomfield Ave. to catch the bus after school. Sometimes there were confrontations with the locals. One day an older kid arrived pissed off because he'd heard some kids were giving a hard time to the local barber. He went to each of us asking if we were responsible. He confronted Steve Hacker  who was as cool as could be....shaking his head "no" while puffing on a cigarette....

I remember Bill Duthie and Chris Lonto (both passed away) squaring off in a friendly shoving match many times. They were both strong so it was always a stalemate.....it was all in fun...
 
Bill Duthie got me a job one summer at the Pancake House in Verona....I was very sad when he passed away....it really clobbered me.......I'd known Billy from way back in forth grade.......
He was reading from a Joke book one day in 4th grade:
"Why did the boy want to become a bus driver? Because he wanted to tell people where to get off !!!"
 
 
I remember Chris Lonto and I cutting school to go to New York for the first Earth Day Celebration.....I think in 1971....) Just me and Chris  spending the day at a rally in lower Manhattan...... 
 
 
 
The local stores were always packed with kids coming and going carrying their Essex Catholic book bags... In fact Essex Catholic, single-handedly, kept many local people in business....



In Freshman year everybody was proud of the fact that we had two Essex Catholic students on the Olympic Team, Marty Liqurie who ran track and Mark Murro who threw the Shot Put.

Our Football team was quite impressive and I remember a raucous Pep Rally in the Auditorium that almost brought the house down.....

The football games at City Stadium were great and I remember vividly the St. Joseph's Montvale game and when we played St. Benedict's. I recall an article in the Star Ledger entitled "Gray Bees throw scare into Eagles" but we won anyway.....

Speaking of St. Benedict's, remember the dances held there with that Over The Top Lighting? 
Between the really loud music and flashing, pulsating lights and being already wrecked I remember bumping into people and walking into walls.....scary.....


The Immensity of Essex Catholic was  something to ponder. The back stare case, all the hidden passage ways not to mention being in Newark. For suburban kids this was big step....


In sophomore year my family moved to Glen Ridge where I knew nobody so I lost contact with childhood friends and then dealing with the ride into Newark everyday took some getting used to.

Essex Catholic was so big I felt overwhelmed. One way I dealt with the world was through music.
 
It was in Glen Ridge when I first heard "Positively 4th St." and was blown away by Bob Dylan. A few weeks later I heard "Hard Rain" and it was a religious experience. He seemed to sum up my own life experiences.
 
When his  "New Morning" album came out I walked around the halls of school humming the tunes....
 
 
 
 
 
 

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