September, 1970. The country was still shocked by the students having been shot at Kent State University in early May by the Ohio National Guard.
For days there had been riots on the Kent State campus with the ROTC building being burned to the ground. The riots then moved into town with the burning of businesses and even more violent threats!
The mayor called the governor desperately requesting help and the governor requisitioned the National Guard! The Guard arrived and ordered the students to disperse from an ongoing preplanned demonstration. They had been protesting the expansion of the Vietnam War by the bombing of Cambodia. A few years earlier the first draft since WW II had been instituted and there were immediate strikes and walkouts on many campuses!
The National Guard first used tear gas but as the students resisted and threw rocks and bottles the Guard members suddenly and unexpectedly opened fire, killing four and wounding nine — one of whom was permanently paralyzed!
There was speculation that one of the students was an FBI informant carrying a gun and wearing a gas mask!
In September students were still being indicted and the country’s opinions were split! Some students who’d been involved were even disowned by their parents since a few days earlier President Nixon had called campus protestors “bums”! Life continued.
One warm day, having a snack on Lexington Avenue in between appointments I saw this young man wearing a Delta Sigma Phi fraternity shirt which had become a bit of an anomaly with all of the anti-establishment sentiments being expressed by draft age students — which he appeared to be!
In college I had considered joining that fraternity and he resembled so many familiar types that I was fascinated and thrown into a sort of nostalgic daydream. I speculated internally about what was going on inside his brain: disappointed? Pained? Angry/mean? Lost in thought himself? Dreaming?
God knows there was enough going on around him to make any or all of those thoughts and emotions possible!
A few days later I met friends for dinner at a new soul-food restaurant.
And Annie Rieger invited me to go with her to a birthday party!
Another day, while riding on the subway I noticed a man reading an article about Sharon Tate’s murder! I couldn’t get away from it!
Charles Manson was on trial with members of “The Family.” It would continue until 1971 until they were all found guilty!
I stopped by Annie Rieger’s apartment and had drinks with her and Johanna Roosevelt who was always able to lighten a mood with her off kilter wit and very original unique point of view!
On October 1st, I met Harold “Howdy” Hoeffding at Willie’s.
We had a beer and decided to have something to eat at Yellowfingers.
There was always an attractive crowd at Yellowfingers!
And then, thank god, it was the weekend again and I packed up Tybalt and we were off on the bus to Easton, Pennsylvania …
… and then across the Delaware River to Alpha, New Jersey and the farm!