Thought Catalog

A 19-Year-Old’s Diary Entries From January, 1971

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A 19-Year-Old's Diary Entries From January, 1971

Friday, January 1, 1971

There are really no beginnings. We set up some date as a watershed, but things don’t end and start because of a calendar date. As I’ve written before, life is soap opera, and our lives go on and on until death. If I were in charge, I wouldn’t have a New Year’s Day, or at least I’d keep it a secret until it passed.

Despite the fact that I felt like not going to Coney Island for Mark’s party, this New Year’s Eve was definitely the best one I have ever had.

Gary picked me up and introduced me to his friend Joel, who’s a very nice guy. Then we drove to Shelli’s on Church and Kings Highway to pick her up.

She was dressed in a maxi-skirt, and being a bit heavy, she looked good in it. We found a space in the Trump Village parking lot and were the first to arrive at Mark’s apartment.

His parents were there, if unseen, so “no grass” was the rule, and I’m kind of glad about that. Mark’s 13-year-old brother Teddy was having a little party for his young friends in Mark’s bedroom.

Soon the other guests started to arrive: Carl, a former Mugwumps campaign manager, who played the piano (badly) all evening; Mason came with Barry, a frizzy-haired freshman; Jerry, Leon, Elihu and Elayne arrived together; Elspeth brought her upstate friend Jessie; Allan arrived alone.

Casey and his girlfriend came over later from a restaurant; Chuck, a former student government president from a few years back, came with a girl; Lou arrived late with his girl, Doreen; and Ray came with his girlfriend, known to Jerry me as “The Bitch.”

It was a wonderful party, with good food, good drinks (although I don’t touch the stuff), and good people.

Shelli and I talked a lot and went into Mark’s brother’s bedroom and talked with the lights out as we looked out over Coney Island just as snow started falling. Shelli’s a mixed-up kid, scared like most of us.

I found her attractive, and while talking, we did some caressing, which I started really getting into. I was surprised how easily I could get an erection with a girl. Just before midnight, Elspeth started knocking on the door that we had to come back out or we’d miss the countdown.

When Shelli and I walked into the living room holding hands, everybody probably came to the same conclusion. We watched that funny old Ben Grauer at Times Square and heard the sounds of “Auld Lang Syne” from Guy Lombardo.

No one at the party got drunk, although Mason polished off a bottle of port and kissed me when I left. Elihu played the piano much better than Charles, and Mark and Gary took turns playing the accordion.

I talked to Leon about the movie he’s making and about movies in general. Gary and Shelli found some of Mark’s old issues of Kingsman and the Spigot. Elspeth and Joel were dancing (I cut in).

Some people, including Shelli, decided they were going to sleep over at Elspeth’s; others went to Jerry’s apartment for the rest of the night; and Gary, Joel and I came back to our house for some tea and quiet conversation.

When Gary and Joel left at 4 AM, the bad weather was just beginning. A bit after they left, Mom and Dad arrived home from upstate. By then, the snow was really coming down furiously.

After a short sleep, I awoke to find a deep snow and it continued snowing fiercely throughout the day, getting deeper and reaching an eight-inch accumulation. Dad, Marc, Jonny and I each went out to shovel several times during the day.

The football games were on, but naturally I don’t watch them, so there was little to do, and I was feeling bored and blah and stuck in the house.

Grandpa Herb called from the country, saying the snow was very heavy there, and Gary called and said he and his parents were just moping around the house, like me and millions of other people.

At 5:30 PM, I called Shelli, waking out her out of a sound sleep. She said she got home around noon today after sleeping over at Elspeth’s, so we didn’t talk long.

But later she called me back. Shelli asked if I want to go to some James Taylor concert at the Fillmore East with her, that she had to know now because Elspeth was going to buy the tickets tomorrow. I said yes but wonder if I’m not getting involved too deeply with Shelli.

She said that she, Elspeth, Mason, Allan, Jessie and Mike spent the rest of the morning talking — and also that Mike and Jessie made it together while they were all sleeping on the floor last night.

I wonder if Shelli expects us to make it together, too. It’s really weird: here I was a well-adjusted fag, when suddenly I almost have a girlfriend. And I do feel something towards her.

She’s a peculiar girl: irresponsible, immature, yet somehow very lovable. I was pretty excited with her when we were alone in Mark’s brother’s bedroom, with an erection that really ached. And I couldn’t stop thinking about her all night.

I wonder if I’m not getting emotionally involved with Shelli. Of course, it’s impossible. Still, I do feel something for her. Maybe I’m just confusing her with the girl in my story.

The last cigarette commercial hit the TV airwaves last night. It’s going to take a while to adjust to it being 1971. Who knows what will fill the rest of these diary pages?

Monday, January 4, 1971

Today it rained hard all day, which made things sloppy. On campus early, I rehearsed with Phil and Barry even if Harold didn’t show up.

Then I went to LaGuardia, where I saw everyone’s familiar face: Charles, studying statistics; Jill, trying to quit smoking; Anna, who kissed me and said she went skiing in Austria with Teresa.

Stanley and Jerry helped me rehearse more, but then Anna, a theater major, took over.

I asked someone to go to lunch with me, and Kang said he would, but then as we were leaving Shelli said she’d join us. She’s really beginning to bug me; I’ve got to get out of this thing with her.

Elspeth went to get tickets for the James Taylor concert, and Shelli says we’re going with Elspeth and Jessie, Elihu, Timmy and whoever else is coming.

Harold did come to Acting, and damned if that scene didn’t go off well. Barry was superb as Captain Queeg. In Soc, Katayama gave back the midterms; amazingly, I got 30 out of 30. After class, Cheryl and I went to SUBO for drinks and were joined by Leonard.

As I was on my way out, I ran into Shira and Elihu on their way to a meeting, and Elihu says that Sindy is telling everyone that her sister is going out with me. When I got back to LaGuardia, I saw Sindy, but I didn’t register my annoyance.

Copy day at the Spigot is now more crowded than ever, with Larry, Anna, Shelli and Billy there along with Bill, Allan, Stu, Mendy and me. I copy-read some stories for Mark and interviewed Mikey about the department curriculum committee elections and the new student government book exchange.

Everyone thought they looked awful in the Christmas party photos I took. In the last Anthro recitation, Mrs. Kardas reviewed and answered questions.

Alice came over tonight and attempted to teach Marc some Spanish. She broke up with Howie – for the umpteenth time – on New Year’s Eve, but she’s already interested in another guy this time.

Alice, Marc and I played Monopoly and watched a conversation with Tricky Dick.

A 19-Year-Old's Diary Entries From January, 1971

Tuesday, January 5, 1971

My life is taking some interesting turns, and on the whole, I’m rather pleased.

I got a letter from Brad today, written on yellow legal paper. He thanked me for my Christmas card, then said he started to write me several times but had second thoughts because he “thought it would get sloppy.” He told me his name (“always an interesting variable in my life”) is actually Brad Newman, not Brad Cornell.

He writes, “I seem to have a talent for frightening you, and this dismayed me because the only thing I wanted was to be your friend.” He apologizes for frightening me, tries to define friendship and decides he can’t, and asked me what led me to refuse his friendship.

Food for thought.

Again today I served as secretary to the student government Assembly. All the new members were sworn in, and they held elections of officers; I guess by unanimous consent, I am recording secretary and will be taking minutes all term.

Pamela squeaked by Scott to be reelected Chairwoman, Elspeth beat Steve for Government Operations committee head, and Sindy beat Ralph for Academic Affairs. The candidates’ speeches for these and the other offices took too damn long, and I was angry, but generally I enjoy these meetings.

In Art, Mr. Sawin said we’re tentatively not going to have a final; he’ll use the grades of our papers. Then he canceled class, and I didn’t feel like hanging around for Anthro, so I started for home. Mark caught up with me and said he was going to the printers with Mendy, Guy and Allan.

Allan invited me to his Flat Earth Party, “to celebrate the anniversary of the three ships of Christopher Columbus falling off the edge.” It’s during intersession, and he told me to bring Gary along, too.

I worked on my two papers all night, interrupted by a phone call from Shelli, who seemed reassured when I said I wasn’t mad at her.

Thursday, January 7, 1971

A little bit of our world at Brooklyn College crumbled away today. As I went to fetch the Spigot in Whitehead, I noticed there was a -30- in each “ear”: -30- is the symbol for “the end.”

Carol came up to me and asked if I’d heard about Mark. A few horrible things raced through my mind and finally she told me he was dropping out of school.

I was so stunned I couldn’t say anything but consented to go with her, Shelli and Elspeth to lunch at Campus Corner, where they filled me in on the details.

Mark was depressed when he came in this morning, and Bill asked him what the -30- meant: Mark said he was dropping out for personal reasons. Pressed by Jerry, Mark said he was flunking out. He never went to class or did any work, and finally he worked himself into a box.

“The Spigot will die without Mark,” Elspeth said. I think Mark may die without the Spigot because it’s been his whole life. Jerry says it may be that Mark made it his life to get away from his own problems.

The stupidity of the year award goes to Elspeth, Shelli, Allan and Anna, who brought a cake from Lord’s and acted like it was a party. For God’s sake, how insensitive can you be?

The news spread, and some people, like those in The Alignment, were pleased. Other people, like Ray and Lou and Timmy tried to keep Mark’s spirits up. I hung around in the other room with Jerry, Suzanne, Stanley and Leon, who sat around with long faces.

I told them there was no way I would consent to be editor, that maybe Mendy could take over — that is, if we don’t fold.

Finally, after Anthro let out at 5 PM, I found Mark alone in his office. He didn’t look unhappy, just a bit down, and I had no words for him. Mark has been a constant in my life since he brought me into the world of LaGuardia Hall last May, and I’m depressed about his leaving college.

Maybe I can convince him to take a leave of absence instead of just dropping out. Gary says I should call Mark’s therapist, but it’s not my place. I felt down tonight and join very much in March’s birthday celebration with the family.

My life is changing so fast, I’m dizzy.

Sunday, January 10, 1971

A cold crisp day. Evelyn called early this morning, and when I heard the phone ring so early, I knew it was bad news. It was: Mr. Wertheim, the father of Bonnie’s best friend and Marc’s sort-of-girlfriend Rita, died. He had a stroke. So it goes. Everyone was very upset, and I feel bad for Rita and her sister.

I went out to the college library, but it wasn’t open, and Solly said it wouldn’t open for over an hour, so I came back home. I called Elspeth, who was about to take Jessie to the Port Authority bus terminal, and Elspeth said I’ve been very mean to Shelli.

At Shelli’s house last night, she, Elspeth and Allan talked about how I wasn’t talking to Shelli and how I gossiped about her to Jerry and Elihu. (Which, I’m sorry to say, I did.)

I called up Shelli right away to straighten the mess out. I apologized and we’re friends again. At least she’s not chasing me anymore. I told you this would cause bad feelings somehow, and I feel we’re in for more of the same.

But I’m still going with Shelli (I think) to Sindy and Kieran’s engagement party. Incidentally, Shelli said that Kieran was upset because the big College Governance report, which was supposed to come out in a special edition of Kingsman on Tuesday, may not come out because of some committee disagreements.

I studied Soc and Anthro until I got eyestrain. I never thought there was any correlation between how much I studied and my test grades.

I spoke to Grandma Ethel, who said Grandpa Herb has a cold but has to take over at the Slack Bar because Big Hank is going on vacation. Grandma Sylvia and Grandpa Nat are going to Florida next week.

Tonight I watched the first episode of The First Churchills on channel 13’s new British Masterpiece Theater series. It was very good, starring (sigh) Susan Hampshire, who was Fleur in The Forsyte Saga.

A 19-Year-Old's Diary Entries From January, 1971

Tuesday, January 12, 1971

A cold, windy day. Last night I thought a bit about Brad: the times we shared, the times we might have had if I hadn’t been so stupid, and the times we might share again.

I can hardly remember what Brad looks like and wonder about a lot of things, like is he still living with Lester and why did his last name change.

I called car service and went to SUBO for the Assembly meeting. Because of finals, naturally, we had a rough time getting a quorum: it took over half an hour. Pam was at a BLAC meeting, so she designated Elihu to chair the meeting.

Mike brought in my minutes from last week, a roster list, and a list of committee assignments, the last of which caused a lot of discussion. Mike also reported on his own project, a continuing campaign to get the school to hire a gynecologist to treat students at the Health Center.

Mendy’s Group Libel Amendment, prohibiting chartered groups from slandering any race, religion or nationality, was approved to be put to a referendum. Joel brought up an allocation of money to Puerto Rican Alliance, and it passed. Bob spoke about next term’s budget. Then we confirmed Benny, a good choice, as Upper Court Judge.

We ran into a little trouble running a meeting without our parliamentarian. I miss Mark. No one has heard from him at all, and if I don’t hear from him soon, I’m going to ring him up.

I went to Art, where Sawin handed back the research papers, but he lost mine. Although he said he would find it, I’m taking no chances and typed up a new draft although of course they’re not the same paper.

The first half of the Anthro final was hard — very hard — and it didn’t help that I started to feel ill during the test. I came home and felt lousy and grippy: my arms and legs ache, and I have a spot of fever.

Gary called to say the schedules for the spring term are out and we’ve got to make up our programs. While worrying whether I am coming down with German measles, I studied Soc.

Those hoodlums in the Jewish Defense League are planning to harass Russian diplomats.

Friday, January 15, 1971

Today was Martin Luther King Day, at least at our school, where we all got the day off. Many other people did not work, including Maud, who didn’t come in to clean today.

The patrolmen started a job action last night, and by today it was over 75% effective, with few officers answering any calls but dire emergencies. Another New York crisis – but I’m so immune to them by now, they don’t faze me.

In the mail this morning, I received a pleasant surprise: an A in Acting from Mrs. Myers. Later I did a goofy thing: Mom brought in groceries and told me to take out the garbage. By mistake, I threw out the bag of groceries.

Selling my textbooks back at Barron’s, I got my semiannual rooking. Kieran was there, waiting for Sindy; he said the Governance Report won’t come out in time for students to vote on it at registration.

I drove downtown and registered to vote at the Board of Elections. They’re nicer than most bureaucracies, but I caught a mistake they made in writing my assembly district.

Because of the Supreme Court ruling, they began registering people over 18 last week, but we can only vote in federal elections, not state or city ones, till the legislature changes New York law or there’s a Constitutional amendment. I registered as a Democrat, natch: there’s no other choice.

Grandpa Herb was managing the Slack Bar while Big Hank’s in California and I dropped in to talk with him, Carlos, Joe, Dominic and the other Fulton Street characters, then had a burger at Junior’s.

Gary wrote a letter to Assemblyman Cincotta against the proposed extension of the subway, and we have an appointment to see him next week. Gary got in trouble at the National Guard meeting last night for his hair: too long. I just hope they don’t call out the Guard to police the city like they called them up last year to deliver the mail.

Shelli called. Anna got Gary the grass he wanted, and Shelli laid out the money. I said I would pick it up from her. Last night, Mike’s car skidded on the ice and crashed into another auto. No one in the car — Mike, Elspeth, Shelli, Allan — was hurt, but the car was wrecked. Shelli also said that Jerry and Carole were making out after I left.

I called Grandpa Nat and Grandma Sylvia to wish them a happy vacation. They’re leaving for Miami tomorrow morning and staying at the Deauville.

Saturday, January 16, 1971

A bitter cold day. The city is in the third day of the biggest cop-out in history. The patrolmen are on their “job action” but it really amounts to a strike. Mayor Lindsay said the city streets are as safe as they usually are; that’s something to worry about. Round-the-clock negotiations are in effect and a court issued an injunction, but the strike goes on.

I went to the Junction this morning to xerox my slight story, “Subtle Kinship.” On the whole, I’m rather disappointed in it, though I sent it to a publication I saw advertised in the Voice. From there, I went over to Shelli’s house.

Her father and mother were there, and I didn’t care for them much. Her father has a heart condition and couldn’t go out because of the cold. Shelli has it rough because someone always has to stay home with her aged grandmother who’s senile.

Sindy was out getting her hair done. Sindy’s spending most of her time planning her wedding, and it’s sort of sickening.

When I got back home, Marc rolled some of the grass that Shelli got from Anna, who got it from Jon Z, for Gary. Marc’s smoked more than I. Well, today was the first time I smoked.

Marijuana: I’ve heard so many different things about it, but in the end, I found it mildly pleasant. I got a very minute high and didn’t get sick or anything.

When Mom came in, I didn’t try to hide it; I can’t stand the thought of lying to her. She wasn’t shocked or anything, and I put some pot in my pipe and we both smoked together. How many of my friends turn on with their mothers? Outrageous.

To be frank, it wouldn’t bother me if I never smoked again. I called Gary and told him I had the grass. Gary likes to smoke but he said most people do it because of peer pressure.

Monday, January 18, 1971

I have an idea. Why doesn’t the mayor call the first three weeks in January “Strike Weeks” and everybody can get the whole thing out of his system?

The patrolmen are still not going out on patrol, and now they’ve been joined by some housing and transit cops. The PBA leadership is trying to get their men back to work but has been unsuccessful so far.

Mom said her cousin’s wedding last night was a “hippie” ceremony. Everyone dressed casually. Grandpa Herb and Grandma Ethel and all her aunts and uncles enjoyed it, Mom said, but her uncle Abe looked awful. She got a big thrill when a guy just a little older than me thought she was only 25.

Arriving in LaGuardia, I found Shelli, Elspeth and Kevin sitting in the lobby. Just like Mom this morning, Elspeth was sick with her period.

Mark came in today and we had a meeting in the Spigot office with him, Juan, Bill and Mendy. We are going to come out biweekly and in tabloid, not broadsheet, form. There’s going to be so much work for all of us, it’s not funny.

I never wanted to be on the paper and did it just because of Mark, and now I’m going to be news editor. Bill will serve both as news copy and features editor. I don’t know if I’m going to enjoy working for Mendy.

Incidentally, I ran into Stella, who’s leaving for Minnesota tomorrow. Mark is going to move in with Consuelo, along with Stella’s brother, in Consuelo’s new apartment. I also talked with Dick Wright, who said the Governance Report will finally come out.

At the College Deli, I had lunch with Gary, Anna, Allan, Mason and some girl Mason knows.

Directly after that, I went home and started writing and completed another five-page story, this one entitled “A Soap Opera Mentality.” Writing is very gratifying, but contrary to what a lot of people believe, it’s very hard work.

Alice came over tonight to tutor Marc. It looks like she and this guy Ed are getting serious, and I think she’s going to take him to Allan’s Flat Earth Party, which I didn’t even know she was invited to.

Dad said the Pants Set got rid of the Smithtown store today; the stores are going one by one.

George McGovern announced as a candidate for Prez. I like politics, but must the 1972 campaign begin so early?

Thursday, January 21, 1971

A cold, cloudy day. When Maud got home from working here yesterday, she found a note saying her husband had had a heart attack and was in the hospital.

By the time she got there, he was dead. So it goes: he was only 45 and they were married for 23 years with a brief separation and had no children. Maud is taking the body home to North Carolina, where both of their families are.

I had a brainstorm this morning and wrote a very short story, about my visit with Dr. Lipton last night.

Elspeth has tonsillitis. She’s been sick all winter. Lee gave her his program, and Elspeth is going to register for him. Lee is going to Florida tomorrow, but the weather there has been cold, too.

Elspeth said Mark’s got a temporary job and has already moved in with Consuelo, but they don’t have a phone yet.

I found Gary and Shelli in the library and we finally copied down the rest of the teachers’ names at the various departments. Mom got me a gift for Sindy and Kieran’s engagement party: a fondue dish. Shelli’s getting fondue forks and a cookbook.

Speaking of weddings, Kjell and Sharon have set a date in February of next year, and I think Gary and I are invited.

After I took out Geertz’s book on Javanese religion from the library and xeroxed my story there, I sat around in the lobby with Craig, Linda and Harvey. John McManus is back in school after a long bout with hepatitis; he looks weak.

Tonight Gary picked me up and we went to see Assemblyman Cincotta at Manny Celler’s Democratic club. As soon as he said there was nothing we could do about the subway extension, he discussed other things: the retail business, Brooklyn, Albany. I think he would have gone on for hours if he didn’t have to leave to pay a shiva call. Regulars like Cincotta are a throwback to the past.

Tonight Shelli said, “I’ve got you figured out.” I doubt that.

Saturday, January 23, 1971

Another premature whiff of spring today; it was lovely.

Nixon called for “a new American revolution” in last night’s State of the Union speech and gave proposals for cabinet reorganization, welfare reform, health insurance for everyone and revenue sharing. But there wasn’t a word about the war or the economy.

Gisele came in to clean today, and I talked with her for a while. Her divorce comes through next year, and she wants to get married again – but not to a Haitian, only to a white man, preferably a Jew.

We got a card from Grandpa Nat, who writes that they’re enjoying the sunshine in Miami although it’s not that warm. Here, it was so beautiful I wanted to drive through Prospect Park, but it’s closed to traffic on Saturdays.

So, after lunch, I went to the Marine to see Joe, a fairly good movie. Joe typified the hardhat mentality, a man diametrically opposed to everything I stand for. Yet the hippies depicted in the movie were almost as bad as the Joes of America.

I came home to shower, shave and prepare for tonight’s engagement party. I wore a pleated yellow shirt, white tie, and a grey double-breasted suit; Shelli said I looked spiffy.

The party was held at the Mayfair Chinese Restaurant on Ralph Avenue. Cocktails started at 8 PM, and I was the first non-family member to arrive. I met Shelli’s friend Ivan, whom she calls her “psychiatrist,” and Ivan’s girl Ronna, who sat next to me during the dinner, with us across the long table from Shelli and Ivan.

Elspeth sat on the other side me, across from Greg, who she came with despite his driving up from South Carolina this morning (I noticed him put a pill in his drink, presumably to keep awake). The other people from school were mostly Kieran and Sindy’s friends, like Al, Dick, and Morris.

Shelli and Sindy’s parents were friendly, and Kieran’s parents seem nice. Sindy had a virus, but she looked pretty, and it’s obvious Kieran is crazy about her.

The Chinese dinner was surprisingly good, and only one other person brought a fondue dish as a present. The party broke up after midnight, and I gave Shelli a long kiss goodnight.

Driving home, I saw Ivan and Ronna holding hands as they walked down Ralph Avenue; they looked so sweet together, like they are really in love. I wonder what that is like.

A 19-Year-Old's Diary Entries From January, 1971

Wednesday, January 27, 1971

Snow swirled with high winds and very low temperatures this morning. So after breakfast I went out and shoveled; it was very white and very soft and easy to shovel.

The rest of the living room furniture arrived: two Louis XIV chairs and a love seat, all in greenish gold. With the Chan dynasty table and fireplace, things look spiffy – to use Shelli’s term.

I took Mom’s car to school and ran into Stu as he was about to register. We looked at the list of closed-out classes. As an upper sophomore registering for the first time in the “A” schedule, I’m going to have a hairy time tomorrow. You’d think after two years it becomes easier, but now I’m at the back of the line with the upperclassmen going before me.

Stu’s been handing out leaflets for a travel agency about junkets to San Juan, and a member of the Puerto Rican Student Union came over said he was exploiting the Puerto Rican people and threatened to “take revolutionary physical action” against Stu.

The Spigot staff meeting was at 3 PM, with me, Carole, Shelli, Elspeth, Allan, Bill, Miriam and Gary, who’s joining the staff. Mendy’s beginning to take charge, and so far he’s been surprisingly on the ball, but here’s going to be a greater burden on the rest of us.

I sat around while Anna played sad songs on her guitar for Dean Smith and me, then drove home carefully, as the streets were really icy. Jonny said Brad called while I was out, and I called his number all night, but no one was home.

I also called Larry, the Black Panther who’s been charged with arrested murder, to find out if he’d consent to do an interview about his case, which has either come up already before the grand jury or will soon. Larry wasn’t home, but his mother said she’d have him call me back.

Because the store can’t afford to have an assistant manager, Mom’s been working every night this week at Kings Plaza.

Friday, January 29, 1971

A pleasant winter day. This morning I woke up refreshed and finished “Coping.” It’s not a great story, but it’s not a bad one, either. I especially like the last line: “Tranquility was not to be gained by retreating from the world, but could only be achieved within it.”

After lunch I went to the Junction to xerox the story and dropped in at the college. Carole, Jerry, Casey and his girlfriend were there.

Carole has received a marriage proposal from a guy named Irving Itzkowitz, but that didn’t stop her from making a big play for Jerry as he talked about a Harlem tenement he’s been working on in his job with the city.

Jerry is one of the nicest guys I know; he doesn’t even like to make gay jokes. I think I could be totally honest with him.

After 7 PM, I went to Alice’s house and then we both picked up Renee and went to Allan’s Flat Earth Party. Along with Allan, Fat Ronnie and Mike and his girl Sari were there when we came in.

Soon Gary arrived with Joel and Robert, and Elspeth came with Jessie and another girl. Also there were Carole; Hal; Mason and Kathy; Hilda and her boyfriend; Mark and Consuelo; Jerry, Elihu and Leon.

Shelli made her Alice B. Toklas brownies and ate some while she was baking them, so Hal had to leave the party to pick her up and bring her and the brownies over. She was really stoned.

Gary and Mike both brought out their grass. Renee got quite stoned, and I did, too, myself. Renee and Alice and I left the party early, bought a bottle of Blue Nun and got Chinese food and went to Renee’s apartment.

The three of us ate, drank wine and tea, told raunchy jokes, read poetry by a friend of Renee’s who’s in Vietnam, looked at our old ninth-grade pictures, and giggled an awful lot. They’re both wonderful girls and we all had a very good time, a much better one than we had at the party.

Saturday, January 30, 1971

A very blah sort of day. It seems that nothing goes right anymore. Of course I must admit I’m very depressed. It could be that I usually get depressed after parties. I don’t enjoy staying out late: I am a homebody who likes to be in bed to watch the 11 PM news.

Gary called after 1 PM, not long after we both woke up, and told me about the rest of the party. I thought it was lousy, but Gary was so stoned he just lay on the couch all night, so I wouldn’t place a premium on his high opinion of it.

He said Robert got very extroverted, and he thinks that Robert got Sari’s address without Mike finding out. Consuelo told both of us that she heard from Stella, who was unhappy in Minnesota and that Consuelo wants to go out there to be with her. Incidentally, Consuelo gave Mark her old car.

Shelli seems to have given up on me, and I’m not sure if that makes me happy or not. I couldn’t stand a lot of the people at the party, especially Jessie and Kathy and Fat Ronnie, but I did have a good time at Renee’s.

Today Renee called me and told me Howie wrote her (he’s not writing Alice, so Renee didn’t want to say anything last night). Howie has settled in western Massachusetts, where he found a job as a night D.J. at a local radio station.

Now the bad news: Jonathan has been in bed all day, and the poor kid is really sick with a high fever and sore throat. He mostly has been sleeping. Except to go over to the Junction to xerox some things, I spent the day kvetching around the house.

And riverrun sent me a rejection notice.

Tomorrow will probably be an even worse day than today.

Sunday, January 31, 1971

My throat was sore throughout the day, but I have no other symptoms. Jonny was a little better — his fever has gone down — but he remained in bed, very congested and tired.

I woke up late – that’s something I’ve got to change, starting tomorrow, since my Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes start at 10 AM, earlier than I’ve ever taken a class.

To fight off lethargy, I drove to Rockaway to visit Grandma Sylvia and Grandpa Nat, both of whom I hadn’t seen in weeks. They were tanned, but Grandma Sylvia’s arthritis has affected her legs to the point of making walking difficult.

I enjoyed my visit although there are times I feel we don’t communicate very well. As Grandma Sylvia said, “This generation gap is disgusting” — although I don’t quite know what she meant.

We watched the cerebral palsy telethon. Gary worked there all through last night and today. But I find telethons terribly depressing. Although it was very cold, I took a stroll with Grandpa Nat on the boardwalk, and before I got in my car, he gave me the customary ten dollars.

On Rockaway Beach Boulevard I passed a man selling stuffed animals, and I bought a Snoopy doll for Jonny. At home, I watched the blastoff of Apollo 14 for the moon.

The liftoff was A-OK, as they used to say, but later in the evening, they were having some trouble with a simple docking maneuver. It seems over now, but for a while, the moon landing seemed in jeopardy.

I wrote my book review of Crime in America. Ramsey Clark’s book should be read by all those “law and order” advocates; he’s so reasonable about the causes of crime. Which is one reason he’ll probably never be elected President.

Shelli called after she found last year’s riverrun and read my “Reflections” story, telling me how good it was. We ended up talking for an hour. I don’t know where our relationship is headed. TC mark

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Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection

I used to get butterflies when I looked at you, but now they feel more like maggots feasting away on the heart you slaughtered.

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