Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery

UVM Flashback

September 16, 1975 (cont.)

During my second week at Boonville I developed a bad cold. Imoe called once, very upset that I hadn't come back at the end of the first week as I said I would. I went back to the place where the dead vulture was and picked some blackberries for Noah and Reid and the rest of the people who were sick and staying at the farm house. By the end of the day I had joined them. My cold was so bad I didn't do much except sleep in my sleeping bag on the floor and eat well and be well cared for.

My blond hair had grown long over the summer, almost down to my shoulders, the longest it had ever been. I got it cut by Neddy, who ran the farming part of the property. It felt good to see myself with short hair again. I felt like a new person.

Poppy was sick too, and I had a chance to be with her for a couple days and hear her testimony about joining the Family. It was a story that was starting to sound familiar although each one was unique. It was like a musical theme with infinite variations.

Being around her reminded me of some things that I had experienced at the University of Vermont two years earlier. One was when I was standing in a hallway in front of a bulletin board and looking at a flier about Rev. Moon coming to speak on campus. I remember thinking at the time, "Oh great. Just what the world needs. Another evangelist." And I heard a voice behind me, even though I don't remember there being anyone else in the hallway. It said: "Are you going to see Rev. Moon?" I said no. The voice said: "Don't you know who he is?" I said no. I turned around but didn't see anyone.

Last November I had hitchhiked to UVM to visit my friends from the year before. I wasn't a student anymore, which was ironic. At the start of my freshman year I was the only person who had plans to stay in college because I wanted to be a doctor. Everyone else said they didn't plan on staying more than a year because they wanted to do something else. But in the end I was the only one who didn't stay. Instead I had gotten a Class 5 license over the summer and was going to move to Atlanta and drive trucks. I was excited about it and imagined my friends would be too when I told them, because we had talked about it the entire year before. Now I was really going to live my dream of being an over-the-road trucker.

The hitch north from Dover to Burlington was very strange. First I got picked up in Dover out on Highway 13 by a guy with a brand new Mercedes. He was so proud of that car that he couldn't stop talking about it. But even before we got to New Jersey, a warning light came on that the car was overheating and he had to pull over. I got out and started hitching again and finally made it to New York City, but it was hard to hitchhike through the city and took me most of the day. I remember walking up one of the entrance ramps to the freeway going toward Connecticut and seeing a brown hubcap for a Mercedes. It was the same color as the one that picked me up in Dover. I managed to get a ride to Hartford with a guy who let me crash with him.

The next morning he made us breakfast and then he pulled out a plastic bag of cocaine. I had never seen it before, only heard about it. It was a lot, like two fingers. We snorted some coke and then he said he'd give me a ride to the edge of town heading toward Vermont. The coke made us both very talkative, and several hours later he dropped me on the side of highway deep inside Vermont. It was cold, but I had on my black leather jacket with a Grateful Dead skull and roses emblem on the back that an old man had given me back in Dover.

The man was a customer at the PandB Market on Bradford Street where I worked part-time next to Wesley College, where my mother taught. He saw I had shiny new red Honda SL350 parked outside the store, which I had paid $800 for, and came in one day and gave me the jacket. He said his wife wanted to throw it out, but he'd rather I have it. I bought a large Grateful Dead patch from an ad in National Lampoon magazine, embroidered it myself, and sewed it on the back of the jacket. The bike was later stolen, but I still had the jacket.

At UVM I crashed with Laurie Bobker, who had been my girlfriend the year before, and Brett Gold. They had an apartment at the Living-Learning Center on campus where we had all lived the year before in freshmen suites that each housed six or seven students apiece.

The next day I was walking around campus and one of my friend's introduced me to a man named Thomas. He was a friend of a guy who lived with Jim Carroll, one of my suite-mates from the year before.

It was the night of the Beach Boys concert at UVM and I was totally undecided about going. I was reading "Steppenwolf" at Laurie and Brett's when Jim Carroll came over and invited me to come up to Bolten Valley Ski Lodge with him and Thomas, so I went.

Thomas was very strange. He was quiet but really intense in a creepy way. I had found out by hanging out with him earlier in the day that he was 32 and had been a Jesuit until recently. I could tell he had a lot of sexual problems that I couldn't handle, so I got to feeling very uncomfortable around him.

That night at the lodge someone came over with both hash and mescaline. We opened the capsules of mescaline and snorted the brown powder like cocaine. The psychedelic rush was so powerful I could hardly stand it.

Thomas, who had also taken the mescaline, got up from the sunken living room and went up the steps to the dining area, which overlooked the living room. It made me feel really strange and I flashed on him being God about to grant any last requests. I knew I would freak out if I dwelled on it, so I turned my back on him and stared at the fire in the fireplace, rocking in the rocking chair, listening to the Grateful Dead, staring at a blank white wall filled with images too fantastic to describe.

Suddenly the words "Cosmic Puppy" came to me. The image of a puppy innocently tripping through the universe on the heels of the Grateful Dead appealed to me so strongly that I instantly forgot about Thomas and I took off.

I felt like I was in outer space, tripping among the stars. The joy I felt was indescribable. We played a bootleg recording from a Grateful Dead live show, which lasted for hours, and then Pink Floyd. The experience lasted until dawn. In the early morning hours when we were coming down, we put on Chick Corea's "Crystal Silence." It was snowing lightly outside and it seemed like nothing could be more perfect than the moment I was living in.

The high lasted for days. I told everyone about the "Cosmic Puppy." It became a defining moment of who I was then.

A couple weeks later, back in Dover, I went to Philadelphia to see Yes at the Spectrum. I got there early, hoping to score some acid. I got some almost right away. I was standing down on the floor among all the empty seats. The house lights were still up and not many people were there yet. But the first guy I talked to had some blotter, so I bought it. I was by myself but I was confident in my strength. By the time Yes came on, I was full blown tripping.

The concert was fantastic, with the most amazing and incredible light show I could ever imagine that made the stage look like one of their album covers. At the climax of the show they hit a sustained note and froze in place on the stage, sliced by lasers that made it look like their heads and torsos were all over the stage. The crowed freaked.

On the way home I stopped at Burger King. 

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