Thirteen


The thrill of it all, 1968…
the music, art, poetry, fashion…all swirling around the idea of counter-culture, trippiness and doing one’s thing. And there I was, thirteen years old, loving it.
Up until then, my strangeness was just that, strange. With the advent of all things Hippie and the Beatles “All You Need Is Love,” I felt home at last.

Most days I could be found walking around with a guitar slung across my back or over my shoulder, not popular but not friendless either. I fit in with the nonspecific group of kids; too odd for the jocks and nerds not goofy enough for the avant guards. We made our own way.

I was still in Catholic School then, so were most of the kids I knew, but not all of them. There were a few kids in our neighborhood that went to Public school and even one, the hardware store owner’s kid, who went to Jewish school. That was big news to me! I even snuck into a synagog with her a couple of times to see what it was all about and was amazed that, aside from the language and such it was a lot like going ot any other church service. And contrary to popular belief, the roof did not fall in on me, a non-believer, infultrating the ranks.

For the most part, my thirteenth year was not so bad…aside from the continued math problem. I had a sense that the world was my oyster and that someday, some way I was going to do something that mattered. At the time it was all about rock n roll, I was gonna be rich and famous. I played guitar, wrote, sang, did art work, learned anything I could about writing, singing, artwork and music. I did it every day.

I started going to a local “coffee house,” held in the basement of a non-Catholic church. The place was great! Lots of rugs on the floor, tables made from electrical wire spools, metal foldng chairs and a few weary worn couches. Friday nights were my opportunity to mix with the older crowd.

I got involved more with the peace movement there. We went on marches, wrote letters, did what we could. We held parties for the guys who were drafted we’d either hold a party for them the night before they left for Vietnam, or Canada.
It was a strange kind of experience, participating in these activities usually reserved for people older than me and being treated as a peer, then going back out into my thirteen year old world-dumbing down as it were-to fit in.

For that entire year I don’t recall any major depression episodes, no major breaks in time, nothing…just creativity. Artistically it was a good year

So for today, for steeping onesself in the muses, Fifty-five will be the new Thirteen. Now, back to the drawing board!

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