Chapter 12 A Bed of Roses

“As I finished the books, Nixon resigned as president. There were plenty of conspiracies to go around without my additions. The cafe had done a brisk business. All spring and summer the five-top table was more like a six or seven top in the mornings after NPR began to broadcast the congressional Watergate hearings. Discussions about the testimony ran late into the afternoon and evening as I steered my mop around the feet at the table and poured pot after pot of coffee followed by salads, sandwiches and burgers.

Nixon’s resignation following on the heels of the gas shortage set the group around the table to thinking how to provide for themselves more than they already did. They nearly all burned firewood for heat and one of the hippies came up with the slogan “Better now than November.” Cutting firewood now would assure us of dry firewood come winter. We combined our trucks, saws, mauls and splitting wedges and organized to cut as much firewood as we could as long as the weather held. Like Tom Sawyer’s whitewashed fence, this activity attracted more people and by the end of September there was a huge stack of perhaps a hundred cords of wood at the woodlot in Big Blue’s yard.

Hippie No.1 had lived in the city for a time under an assumed name, I assume. Anyhow he had been the super of an apartment building in the University district. This building was a couple of doors down from a huge old rooming house that was now shared housing for somewhere between a half-dozen and a dozen students who had graduated, were in graduate school, were artists or activists. Our apartment super, Hippie No. 1, had gotten to know them well. One weekend while he was living in the milk house he invited the whole troupe to the farm for a weekend in the country. One of the troupe was a big blonde woman named Susan. She was fascinated by the bus. She liked me and she liked that I had hand-built it to live in. We hit it off. She invited me to come visit her in the city. Like my days in New York, in a few weeks I had a steady date in the city.

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