Jots from the 20 year reunion party of 4 friends who traveled Europe when they were 18-years-old.
• Four highschool pals went to Europe in 1976; Rob fell in love on the plane. I was excited; sleeping only 4 of 44 hours on that flight.
• Rob’s uncle rented an orange (“Drifters”) VW van (what else?) with 8-track! In short order Ron crunched it into a parked car. “Don’t worry Ron. We won’t have any more than the usual objections to your driving”, quipped Rob. (Actually, my diary reveals that the main accident-waiting-to-happen was Glaze driving TOO far on the right side of the road.) The driver chooses the tunes; Ozark, Doobies, or Mott the Hoople?
• Holland; Raw Herring mit onions, Potat Frits with Mayonaise, Emannuele 2. The stunning Monique.
• Germany; Munich, Deutches Museum, Dachau, German beer, 10 CC.
• Austria; Vienna, Innsbruck, skiing, and a blonde hitch-hiker from Mad city, Wisconsin.
• Rich; morning horks and vivid dream tales. One even had a title: “The 500 Million Dollar Bet or The Man Who Beat God”
• Italy; Karen (the Tigress) from Bawston at Florian’s Cafe, San Marco Square, Venice. Easter Diner in a rich Italian villa near Verona, the “King Kong” dance and, later the “Sift”. Calzone. Florence!!; Ufuzi, Michaelangelo. Urbino!. Rome; Saint Peter’s was too grandiose to Grok. I rode the city on a rented Vespa wearing ski goggles. Hey! Ron bumps into Mary Forest! Wow! Flaming Arrows to celebrate!
• Greece; the highlight. Corfu, fireflies, Domestika. Wonderful breakfast. The freedom of our own co-ed dorm. Rob Dunn Kirk Wanvic’s solo dance to Kung Foo Fighting. “Jesus, he’s going to be better than Bruce Lee.” The Greek “snake dance” followed. Kirk later showboated his rented motorbike over a bridge.
• The Bazooki bar with stolen Cami; her brother’s finest. Scotch and smashing plates. Surreal.
• Rob and Kim and a slimy sleeping bag …. The “points race”.
• Papa said, “I love everybody from the orange van.” Of course the Greeks loved Ron best. Fishing trips. Free meals. Beware Greeks bearing gifts?
• Ron kissed the ticket-girl Mary Beth good-bye leaving Corfu. A nice touch excepting that she was passed-out drunk.
• Ron declared, “If I don’t get laid before I get to Den Haag, I’ll cut my wang off.”
Ron waxed poetic …
Whether Blonde or Brunette
Whether sink of Bidette
Man it’s all the same to me,
Whether skinny or fat
I’ll be hanging a rat
And baby it’ll be aimed at thee.
• Cut-offs, tanned youth splashing in white breaker waves.
• Athens; Plaka, Acropolis light show, the BEST way to hold hands, souvlaki, Tiger balm. The night we were were wined, dined and feted at the Discotek until 3:00 am?
• Olympia; who won that race, again? Glaze was Adonis for the admiring Greek tourist girls.
• Ask yourself seriously —
is there life after youth?
• Italy; I remember leaving Pompeii. It was the first time in over a month that the four R’s had the van to themselves again. The exhilaration of freedom.
• Glaze and I searched for the “perfect meat”; marble in the famous Carrara pits. A spooky hostel on the Italian Riviera. My first ugly close look at alcoholism — the ex-patriot anarchist philosopher.
• France; Nice, Driving the Grand Prix de Monte Carlo track with Alice Cooper “Under My Wheels”.
• Remember Ron’s French bread baget sandwiches? Fresh tomatoes, mayo, 4 eggs!, with creamy melted butter.
• Best is the naive enthusiasm of youth. I still love to travel, but I no longer promise to write every person I meet.
Silent fading shadows of what we were
they are our substance
they always will be there.
when we meet again
for treasured memories
will still make me cry.
– Ron, Europa (1976)
Long ago a young man sits
and plays his waiting game.
But things are not the same, it seems,
as in such tender dreams.
Slowly passing sailing ships
and Sunday afternoons.
Like people on the moon, I see
are things not meant to be.
Where do those golden rainbows end?
Why is this song I sing so sad?
Dreaming the dreams I’ve dreamed my friend
Loving the love I love to love is just a word I’ve heard
when things are being said.
Stories my poor head has told
cannot stand the cold.
And in between what might have been
and what has come to pass,
a misbegotten guess, alas,
and bits of broken glass.
Where do your golden rainbows end?
Why is the song I sing so sad?
Dreaming the dreams I dream my friend
Loving the love I love to love to love.
Only dreams, it seems;
to pause and think,
to alter fate.
Faces to save,
but more to lose,
a saving grace,
– Rick, ‘76