The Vietnam War wasn’t going away — in fact, encouraged by US troop withdrawals and anti-war protests, North Vietnam troops attempted an invasion of South Vietnam! The South Vietnamese army, the Vietnamization of the war had not been as effective as the US government had hoped but the invasion nevertheless had been defeated.
A lot of New Yorkers were talking about spiritualism and meditation. Ever since the Beatles had travelled to India and renouncing drugs for meditation, had met with the Maharishi, Transcendental Meditation became a primary theme in many conversations.
However, there still seemed to be a lot of drug use around!
I met with my friend, Harald “Howdy” Hoeffding and with him had an April Fools’ Day lunch! We were wishing that a lot of the current news was an April Fools’ joke — but everything was much too real!
And for whatever was the cause I was becoming aware of graffiti — mainly in the subway cars! Was it inspired by anger against authority or just plain unpolitical vandalism!
A few days later I met David (DPC) Columbia at Dorrian’s Red Hand on Second Avenue just around the corner from my apartment.
In 1970 I had done some work for John Lahr’s book, Up Against the Fourth Wall. John had been very grateful about it and signed and gave me a copy of his book about his father, Bert Lahr.
Stopping by my apartment, John told me to tell him if I ever planned to move. He said that he and his wife Anthea were always looking for a different apartment and the fact that I had the two across from each other would have suited them.
Now, he and Anthea were moving to London and in the ’90s he became the senior drama critic for The New Yorker.
I noted it in my sketchbook.
David “Army David” Roggensack and I were at Bobbie and Dick Waddell’s apartment and the topic of meditation came up. Army was the PR representative who’d introduced me to the Dames at Sea producers giving me the commission to design the logo.
“Army” was telling us about a new group, The Divine Light Mission, another meditation-centered group headed by a young man from India who was called Maharaj Ji!
With fashions around St. Mark’s Place being imports from India, the East Village was beginning to resemble Calcutta!
And there was the tinkling of small temple bells and the scent of patchouli incense everywhere below 14th Street!
“Army” knew about these things!
The weekend at the farm was uneventful but that was really what I looked forward to.
And almost too soon it was Sunday night and time for me and Tybalt to pack up and go back into Manhattan.
Arriving back in the city, I went, with Tybalt in his wicker carrier to the Carnegie Deli, hoping the management wouldn’t notice or care that I was there with a Persian cat!
The waiter noticed, took my order, gave a wink and after a bit returned with my order.
And an a la carte order of turkey for Tybalt!
So Tybalt joined me while we dined at The Carnegie Deli!
I wonder if Tybalt was the only cat customer The Carnegie Deli ever had!