Monday, May 28, 2007

The road gets rocky.

As heady as the first two years were for us, they were not all sunbeams and roses. Richie and Jaime were two very dynamic people. They also were very competitive with one another. They vied for the headman position constantly. As the self -proclaimed "peace chief" of the clan, I tried to steer a middle road, but as their differences wore on, I favored Jaime. They were both such control types that it was very hard for them to coexist. Jaime and I became extremely close. I was clearly in awe of his accomplishments, his sense of self-esteem and his "take no prisoners" philosophy about life. He helped me set up the first lecture series we did in the bookstore. He went with me to interview two Tibetan lamas and encouraged me to make the "Medicine Wheel", the name I gave it, my own. I know a lot of his secrets, including his participation in an organization that would surprise many to learn about. I considered him a spiritual brother. We spent many good times together, including a memorable psychedellic experience in upstate New York . It happened during a two day camping trip. I had a panic attack during the trip when I convinced myself that I alone was responsible for keeping the fabric of reality together. Jaime calmed me down and talked me out of my delusion. He got me back to enjoying the experience by feeding me a handfull of dolomite he brought along for emergencies.(Whether this had a placebo effect or was actually useful in "bringing me down",I don't know. I no longer recommend anyone experiment with drugs like LSD in any case). Jaime also had a huge ego and was capable of cruelty which he showed to many people who displeased him.

It was during this period that a big change occurred in my personal life. My wife, after living out her own trip in Berkeley came home from California with my three kids and moved to Connecticut with one of her connections from Naropa Institute, a Buddhist university in Colorado. She had spent a summer there in '74 and had met a bunch of new age hippies. She moved with one of them to California and now was returning with another to Connecticut. They lived there for a year together but were not getting along. She wanted me to take the kids for the summer while she got her head together. I went to the house and explained my plight. People were pretty supportive considering a few of them were not really into kids. I was determined to make the experience good for them which meant getting someone to watch the kids on the three days I was at the store. My weekend was Thursday and Friday then, so I could bring them to my mother-in-law's house on the weekend to be with their mom. Does this sound complicated? Believe me, it was worse than that. I was also dealing with big changes at the house as half of the originals moved out over that time. The Village Voice became the organ through which we found new members when there wasn't a friend available. When my girls moved in for the summer, the house consisted of Jaime, Susan (who Jaime was now warring with), Kim, Alan, Laura who replaced Sylvia, Donna who replaced S-----, Kate who was one of the local flower children, and me.

No comments: