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Date Posted: 01:28:01 01/28/17 Sat
Author: Jim Cordes ( alias Yevgeny )
Author Host/IP:
Subject: Hello All

Consciousness has a way of recycling memories, some from childhood, others of friends and experiences. Thus it is tonight, for some inexplicable reason while reading Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe, resting my eyes because the dam type on the pages is smaller each year, I thought of Franconia College and those who I met there.

Some years ago, I took my wife and daughter to the top of the hill to see the grand building, but it was gone. It had burnt to the ground and nothing remained but charred timbers, some steel and brick. The view was intact, how can one remove a view? I walked among the ashes and found a pane of glass that had actually been melted by the heat of the fire. It must have been a blaze that could be seen the length of the valley! Then the most odd thing happened.

I looked down and saw a piece of paper with some browning at the edges from heat but otherwise in good shape. It was a page from the Franconia College curriculum. How it survived is anyone's guess. I smiled. So much like those days.

I can't make up my mind if Franconia College was like the very top of a wave where it crests and throws up a spray, or if it was the bottom of a wave crashing into the coastline of society. They were tumultuous times. It was a crucible being there. In my case being sent there, as if to an alien outpost, because I'd left the New College three year bachelor program, and the draft was hunting bodies. I took a bus to Boston, then another up 93 where it pulled over and dropped me off in pitch blackness with stars overhead. I walked up the hill dragging a trunk of clothes, followed music through the woods to Xanadu and woke up in a new world.

Many kids were totally unprepared for the depths of a New Hampshire winter, unprepared for the pharmacology that rolled through our brains; but it was grand, it was tribal, sometimes lonely, loud as All Along the Watch Tower, my head was like the ping pong ball in the lounge... some names drift through my mind now, Batir, Fury, Donovan, Allen Strell. Doc Waterman my roommate who died of cancer of all things. He loved theater and novels. I wrote poetry under the name of Yevgeny and managed by hook and crook to hang a large driftwooded tree's root system from the ceiling of the New Dorm. We drove to a Muddy Waters concert at Goddard, or a full moon drive to Bard. Pretty girls, bridging the distance between Gloria Steinem, Joni Mitchell and Grace Slick.

The summer of '68 was spent at the Chicago Convention, Lincoln Park, trying to figure out how to play guitar which never worked out. Lenny Greene could play. I met a young lady and we drove West in her blue Mustang, clear across country and down the coast, stopping at Esalen Institute for a week learning about dolphin communications and body language. And on down the coast. By the time school began I found myself in the Orange County jail because the young lady had a film can of grass, remember those Agfa tin cans with the screw tops? I wrote the school asking if they would send the study materials so I could keep up. In a week I was on a plane trip home. Good thing, her father was on his way to California to meet me. Two letters later that relationship was over.

That's Franconia from my memories, sometimes disjointed, sometimes wonderous. Swimming in cold mountain streams, sitting on the floor in class, finding a spot to read, staying up much too late. Nick Howe's philosophy corner complete with a chair pulled from a Porche, climbing... no running up Mt. Lafayette. Wasn't there an all night debate between Engleman and Taub that resolved itself by a drive to Mt Agassiz for sunrise? If there wasn't its a good story.

Back to the present, its getting late and I'm sure I recall a few names looking over some of the posts here. I wish all who visit here the best.


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