Green Valley :: Single girl on the commune
There is a George Bernard Shaw quote: "The fickleness of the women I love is only equaled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me." I should have changed the gender and embroidered it on the butt of my Lee Riders.
I stormed out of Chicago because anything close to a boy-girl relationship was either an illusion or totally weird. And then I beat a hasty retreat out of Orange City FL because my heart throb Art was... well, fickle describes it pretty well. I fled with Lee Ricketts, a potential relationship, I guess, but he was old, old, old -- 54.
Lee Ricketts was the coolest man alive, but not a boyfriend. Still there were people -- specifically, young, handsome, eligible men -- at Buck Brook Farm who thought Lee and I were a couple. Oh, so that's why they weren't flocking around me...
Anyway, there were two young men who finally started sniffing around. Chip McG was really cute but seemed to back off in favor of his buddy, whose name I forget. Bob, maybe. How lame is this scenario: Bob came to my bedroom and offered to "rub my back." "Sure," says me in all innocence. But then, oh-oh, he was interested in a little more and, instead of telling him it was time to go, I decided to pretend I was asleep. I practically had to start snoring like a cartoon character before he got the hint and went away.
Then Dick C. moved up from Florida, freshly separated from his wife, lonely and fat but charming. He briefly inhabited the attic in the main house. And he had a record player, which intrigued me, and he invited me up for a drink. I brought my album of A.L. Lloyd and Ewan McColl sea shanties, which I was sure Dick would love because he was a sailor. He cozied up to me but I made him listen to the entire album because I wanted him to like me, not jump me. By the time the Scotsmen finished their warbling, it was clear Dick wasn't interested in a discussion, so I hightailed it back to my room. Sorry, old boy.
Along in there Bubba moved in. Maybe Lee sent a desperate message to Florida for someone competent to help him run the farm. Faye from BBF, with her Australian ear, thought his name was Babar, after the children's book. I figured that the adopted name meant he was a mystic of some sort. As I remember it, the first thing he did when he arrived was to rip up a stone walkway the kids and I had laid across the lawn. The stones in our walkway wobbled hazardously. Bubba's new walkway was smooth as asphalt -- proof that he did indeed exist on a different spiritual plane. I remember him well, muscular, shirt off, leading work crews of kids, but did we ever have a conversation?
Maybe by the time Bubba came, I was already focused on the BBF headmaster Paul. He was old -- at least 27 -- and not cute like Chip but, wow, he wanted to be friends. He was available, educated, funny, energetic, and as mentally healthy as a headmaster in a commune could be. Whatever interest I had in playing the role of farmer's wife at Abbey vanished. Lee knew I was planning to leave at the end of August anyway, since I had enrolled at Stanford, so he suggested I might want to move down the hill and enjoy the last weeks of summer. And so I went.
My elusive friend from Florida was not entirely out of the picture. Art came up to Buck Brook for a visit, with his brother. We said hi. Whether he had any interest in seeing me or not, I don't have a clue. All I know is that for the first time in my life I chose the "infernal constancy" of one man over "fickleness" of another and stuck by Paul's side.
Green Valley School was a residential program for troubled kids and a sixties-style commune for its staff. I arrived at Green Valley School in Orange City Florida in February 1971. Around May, Lee Ricketts and I drove 10 kids north to the Catskills to start our own little farm adjacent to GVS' Buck Brook Farm. I left the Green Valley family, with my future husband, in August of 1972.