Almost everyone who knows me, knows that I spent 21 years of my life living in a big, old Victorian mansion in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. A lot of people including everyone who lived in that house with me have heard me tell stories about living at Big Gray, as we called her.Many of the people who hear my stories say I ought to write a book about living there. This is a task that has always seemed too daunting. Recently however, one of my daughters published a blog . Reading it, I became inspired to publish my own blog and thus, tell the story of Life at Big Gray Community, with sincere apologies to all who lived there, including my three daughters.
Big Gray was, as many who read this blog will attest, a soap opera in four parts.
Tonight as I begin this project, I find myself conveniently out of work, as the restaurant that employed me has gasped it's last breath ( another soap opera to be sure) Synchronisticly, I just learned of the whereabouts of a key performer in the early years of the opera, one Jaime C.. And so, I plunge ahead with the narrative.
OK, I admit it, I wanted to start a cult. I'll set the picture.
It was 1974. I was in my 5th or 6th year of Jungian psychotherapy, trying to find out why God has deserted me. My marriage was broken, I had three kids, my job as a market research project director was becoming a drudgery. Then I had my "religious experience" I discovered the teachings of Richard Alpert or as his fans knew him, Baba Ram Dass. Again, with apologies to my family,the Holy Catholic Church , the Communion of Saints, etc., this guy knocked me out with his understanding of the experience of what Jung would call "knowledge of the Self". I'm getting too esoteric here... To make a long transformative process short, I became a student of his. I grew my hair long, and I began to experiment with mind altering substances. They were part of a self imposed and often self possessed process of change I was undergoing. I was 32 years old, a father and a bread winner. Most of my friends were well along the process of settling down and becoming republicans. I, instead wished to be a hippie. At this juncture, my wife moved to California with the kids seeking her own transformation. So I was left in New York , a partner in a bookstore (another soap opera, to be sure), with a new identity as a hippie.
Next step, I decided to start a commune.