Random thoughts as they appear... only in memories now. As this "web-page" is created, this entry is posted, it's been 43 years since the fateful night. But the heart and soul know no time, and images rest deep in the recesses of the mind. Some things never cease as long as the heart continues to beat and lungs continue to draw breath. Today, the music still plays, the people continue to dance, the conversations continue round and about, and the love holds firm, fast and steady in the heart. Thank you George... infinitely and eternally.
Post-date: 14 April 2019
I hope you'll all be comfortable enough to be free to comment about anything here. I can't stress enough the fact that this site might be built and sesigned, maintained and modified by me, but the most important aspect of it is the fact that it's here for you, whether you're here because of your memories of being at G's or simply because you enjoy the content and the music. This site isn't impersonal, and input from everybody is encouraged, welome, noted and appreciated. So DO, if and when a thought crosses your mind, drop a line, let me know what you're thinking, make suggestions, recommendations, contributions. If it concerns content, the only way to know if something works is to try... and I'll give all suggestions a go.
As for the latest work on the "Juke-Box" page, I just want to make comment on some of what's taken place this time.
The new "banner" image, centre-page at the top now reflects, to the best possible, the "dining room" at G's. Set off to the back and left from the main entrance of the "Main House", it wasn't really used often, most people preferring the front "parlour" with the seating and sofa, or the "veranda" out-side, in the back, off the "dance-floor" area which is where the majority of people tended to congregate at the tables or the "booths" along the wall. Even I seldom parked my-self there, but the memory of the view never left my mind. One of the most vivid memories is the meetings that took place when we were founding what became the "GAOC"... the "Gay Alliance of Orange County". We were FULL of inspiration and aspiration then, at a time in human history when such organisations were really rather necessary. The "Stonewall Uprising" had recently taken place and the movement toward our "human rights" was still quite new. "GAOC" was founded in response to a need for civil actions, legal actions, supportive of the efforts to simply be allowed to live amongst our fellow citizens with-out concern for being evicted from our homes, fired from our jobs, denied any access to businesses or public areas based, primarily on the matter of with whom we loved. We didn't espouse violence of any manner, and most of what we gathered to discuss, consider and act upon was along legal, civil venues. We were "fighting" for nothing more than the right to "be", and to "be" an integral part of our communities, exactly the same as any other memeber of the community. We were serious, professional and yet, we all had fun, and the meetings held in that room were a pleasure.
But one other memory that stays very much alive and brilliant is one week-end in particular when a Saturday night with a dearest Friend rolled into an early Sunday morning, the crowds had dispersed, the music long ago drifted into silence, and as we sat off and away in the dining-room, the darkness of the night softly changed to the golden glow of sun-rise and poured in through the many large windows that were the outer wall. Saturday was gone and Sunday was wrapping itself around us... and the world out-side, beyond the glass. It was beautiful. And, as was usually the case at G's, nobody came round to toss us out... we were left alone there, to marvel as a new day dawned over the hills of Washingtonille/Blooming Grove.
Back in those days, we didn't have "phone-cameras" and we seldom-to-never hauled regular cameras with us, so there are no "Instapics" or the likes today. And since the Main House is nothing but a vision in the mind and heart, I have no actual image of that morning. But the new "banner" is a compliation, made to the best of my ability, using elements found here and there with one particular exception: The hill on the horizon, out the windows, to the right of the graphic, just beyond the piano (that was, in fact, present in the dining room) is actually "Round Hill"... THE "Round Hill". (Now, if anybody has any actual photos of G's, I'd be MOST appreciative if you'd like to submit them for inclusion.)
As for the changing colour of the "Juke-Box" page itself, I just wanted to add a bit of the "flavour", as it were, of the fact that, of course, as the music played, the dance-floor room was rather dark, save for the light of the juke-box and those red-tinted candles on the tables. "The lights dim, the mmusic starts". It's just a touch of the atmosphere and ambiance. (It probably makes being on the page a bit more pleasant, relaxed, relaxing, easier on the eye, especially if you're playing more than one tune nd for a while.)
All I can say to the matter is: I hope you approve of the changes, and if you don't, let me know. If it can be improved, as I say, this is YOUR site as much as, if not more than it is "mine". Speak up, speak out, chime in. Be suggestive. Be participatory. Be YOU! Be an active part of all of this. It's all for a most worthy cause... to keep Mr. G's Round Hill Lodge alive, as best we can, not only for us who were there, but for those who never had the pleasure, and it would do them good to know that, once upon a time, there was a place where people could gather, from the far reaches of the world to as close as the next town over, and we could all congregate in the joy of each-other's company.
As always, my thanks to you for being here. A little reminder of our "social media" presence at a place called "minds.com" where the music list is ever-growing with music to dance to, relax to, remember with, spanning the years before, during and after the 70s. You're free to visit the "Juke-Box Group" page and listen to the music, and you're invited to take an account and participate there as well. Out "Twitter" account is, to-date, still open, though more attention is paid to this site than that there, having been "suspended" once already, for a still-no-apparent reason. The "forum" is still open. (You needn't pay mind to the current "fund-raiser" there. That's NOT us here... it's stictly the provideres of the forum... BUT I DO encourage you to, if you possibly can, send them a donation, of ANY amount... I have. "Voyager" has been around for many years and they provide an incredible product and service. So very well worth the investment of a dollar or more.) And, I'm always on the watch for more venues to keep this all up, running, alive and well. (And if you find any that you support, let me know. We'll have a page/account up and running as quickly as we can. The more presence, the better... for us all.)
Wishing you all a wonderful Spring season in our North, and an equally wonderful Autumn in the South. And again, no matter who you are, where you are, thanks for supporting, even by simply visiting.
Post-date: 30 March 2019
Post-date: 10 March 2019
As I try to impress on all who come here, this site isn't just something that I've put together for me. Just as G's was open and welcoming to everybody, this site too, is open to all, to enjoy the music, the reading, and for all to contribute their own stories and any photos or “scans” you'd like to make a part of the collection. You can contact me directly at the e-mail address on the “Contact” page, or, as Wayne did, leave a message on the “forum” on the “Sojourners” page. It's an honour, a privilege and pure delight to expand this site with pages or sections... I'm open to suggestions and recommendations.
Adding Wayne's contribution was honestly exciting as well as deeply touching. And the fact that he thinks enough of this effort is a humbling honour, to be sure. I wish there was some way to fully express my thanks, but all I have is the simple “Thank you”, and to make it known on the social media venues that are also active on the Internet. This gives even more “LIFE” to the site and keeps the memory of The Lodge... and George, alive, which is, as Wayne and I seem to both agree, George deserves. And it's been a tonic to my old heart to have had the chance to chat, even via e-mail, about “old times”, people, events, places... history that we've both experienced. I'm just so truly, honestly and sincerely grateful.
With this, these thanks, I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage everybody who comes to the site to feel welcome to drop a line and, if you have anything, no matter how “small” or insignificant you might think it to be, that you can or would like to contribute (no, I'm not asking for money, just to be clear), again, this site is YOURS to be a part of. Photos, tickets, invitations, notes, notes on napkins, signs, what-ever! Send it along! Join Wayne as a “CONTRIBUTOR”, for your-self, for others, for all.
Thanks again, Wayne. (Hopefully the page meets with your approval.)
Post-date: 17 February 2019
As I've already pointed-out on the channel there, just thanking you on the channel just isn't enough. And since Minds doesn't appear on any Search Engines on the Internet, we're rather obscure, primarily chatting with our-selves and one-another. I happen to know, from some many years of site-building and the likes, that many, if not most, if not all Search Engines scan the actual text coded into sites, and they catch and gather the likes of "names", and "links", to and from sites across the entire Internet. Once gathered, they place them in "search results", giving their own brand and style of "publicity" and "exposure" to other sites... hopefully now, to YOUR channel on Minds.
Many of you post your own photography, graphic arts, writings of prose and poetry, your crafts and creations, or your opinions, political points of view, your dreams, hopes, desires, needs and aspirations. All are deserving of much more exposure than simply that afforded to the other subscribers to Minds. Now, if by creating a mention and a link to your channel can help support YOU and YOUR efforts in any way, it's my hope and delight to do what I can to return the kindness of your consideration here.
I'm also inviting all who come to this site to visit the "Thank You" page, click on the names listed. It will bring you to their "Channel"/page where you can read their texts, see and enjoy the images, and in the case(s) of works offered, perhaps find something that will bring you as much pleasure as they bring to those of us who have participated on Minds for any length of time already.
CLICK HERE and the "Thank You" page will open in another tab (if that's how your browser is set), and please do support those GREAT people who support this site and the Channel at Minds. (And if you would, let them know that you found them here. Not only does it help support this site, but it helps to affirm that indeed, they ARE being recognised for their kindness.)
Meanwhile, as always, I thank ALL who come here, support this site, and I hope it brings you ALL at least a few moments of wonderful memories and the pleasure of the music posted. OH! And there's MORE music on G's Minds Channel, so DO visit there as well for MUCH more music! THANK YOU ALL!!!
Post-date: 09 February 2019
Meanwhile, just over a year ago, G's appeared on a relatively new platform called “Minds”. “Minds” is some-what similar to Facebook, in format and use, with the exception that “Minds” is a “Free Speech” platform, and, most often, still, as it was at its inception, more toward the clever, artistic, and intellectual audience, than its competitors. It's also more compassionate, empathetic, eclectic, diverse and supportive in a great many ways. Being associated with “Minds” is quite honourable, to be honest, and the experience, though slow, has been really wonderful, all told.
Sadly, because “Minds” doesn't tend to appear on search engines, as yet, it's been little-known that G's has had an account there, open for anybody who wishes to read on music, news, some-but-not-much politics, art, literature and the likes. I can't be sure how many people would actually search for Mr. G's Round Hill Lodge of Washingtonville, I've already noticed that there are other “Mr. G's” businesses, and indeed, to my surprise, a “Round Hill Lodge”! (That one is, I believe, “Masonic”... how odd.) Still, to-date, the only way to get the word of presence out and about is by “word of mouth” or invitations (such as this is here). That said, the participation in the “Minds” account has been really quite slow over this past time period... until just recently.
In just a matter of a mere 24 hours this week past, the number of “Subscribers” (as they're/we're known on “Minds”) has increased by about 25% if not more! The participation and recognition has increased as well. AND, the appreciation of the “channel” (as the account is called on “Minds”) has bounded, keeping me busy trying to express my personal gratitude to each new Subscriber, individually. I try my best to acknowledge the kindnesses of and every person who comes to the channel, and, so far, I'm managing to keep up with all. But I want to acknowledge them and their thoughtfulness here, as well. I won't list the channels here, rather, I encourage readers to use the links included, go, visit the G's channel, scroll through the posts, read the texts and enjoy the music (there's more there than on the Juke-Box page here because “Minds” has groups for music of pre-60s, 60s, 70s, 80s and more... check those out as well while you're there).
But most of all, I just hope that those who've been such wonderful contributors of “tokens” to the G's channel will, at some point, see this post and know just how appreciative I am for their support. An incredible group of eclectics, brilliant in so many ways, and obviously, uniquely caring. Although Mind tokens don't pay the bills, put food on the table, gas in the truck or oil in the furnace on cold, Winter nights, they DO let me (and all of us) know that the channel's existence is known, that the music posted can be heard, and maybe, just maybe, the site here is being seen (and too, maybe, just maybe) somebody, some-where, might be dancing... just like those of us who were there, at the old juke-box, used to do.
Thank you... each and every one, honestly, sincerely, profoundly. And as I say now, just as I said back then: Meet me at the juke-box... I'll get the first round of drinks.
Post-date: 30 January 2019
This being said (typed, posted), when I decided to build this site, it was my intention to provide a way for all of us who cherished G's, to, if anybody wanted, connect and re-connect with folks from all those years ago... Friends, Lovers, acquaintances, drink or dancing partners... anybody, somebody, everybody. It began with a “Wordpress blog” but G's deserves something more, and as time has passed, there was nothing, as if it (and we) had never existed. G's needed a “presence”, or so I'm of the belief, and the best presence today is on the Internet. But I didn't want it to be a “static” or “stagnant” presence, something just dropped into the ether, floating aimlessly and still, growing dark and silent. G's was a place where people congregated, often, some-times even regularly. We shared our lives with one-another and for so many of us, being at G's was more than a simple “routine”, it was almost an obligation, to our-selves if not to the others. It was the opportunity to refresh and renew, re-energise, re-connect, G's wasn't just a “bar” or a “club”... G's was “The Lodge”, in many respects, it was the “Centre”, where all would gather with a spiritual commonality (amongst other commonalities). I guess one could say, seriously, that G's was sort of a “religious” experience. For a lot of us, a week wasn't complete with-out, at the very least, a “visit”... a “sojourn” if you will.
And so, with this, and more in mind and heart, this site came to “be”... and with it, the hope that it will be discovered, visited, appreciated, enjoyed, not only by those of us who knew the place but by others who never had the blessed privilege to do so. And with participation in an open forum here, not only can we of “The Old Guard” maintain our “ancient” bonds with one-another, as those who've followed us along Creation's own “time-line” read the posts, this can serve as a resource, a reference to what “Life” and “Living” was: ENJOYABLE... even with the moments of drama and tragedies. We, “The Old Guard” have a unique ability here, to set an example for others, to be “teachers”, if you will, to show how living can be... respectful, respectable, FUN! And all of this with a simple post... to one-another.
Some of you might notice that the “forum” isn't part of the site-proper, that it's “imported” to here from else-where. This has been done for a few reasons. One reason being that by being independent of the site, it's got its own identity... particularly on “search engines”. It gives G's just than much more “presence” on the Internet, and the more “presence”, the better for all of us... and G's. Another reason is that, should anything untoward happen to the site, the forum will remain up and running, or, vice-versa. Neither is dependent upon the other. If the site becomes inaccessible, the forum will continue... and again... vice-versa. For those of you who might want to go directly to it, the forum can be reached at:
The “Rules of Engagement” for the forum are quite basic: “Respect”. You aren't required to give any personal information, you can post under what-ever name you'd like (or are known by). No need to provide an e-mail address. “Voy” is quite open with their requirements. Just be advised that the forum IS “moderated” to a point. It WILL be checked, regularly, mostly for “spam”. But like all venues, there are limits to what is tolerable and acceptable on something open to the global population. The forum doesn't “card”, and though it's not actually intended to be used by children, it might be stumbled upon. So just please, keep in mind: Post as you would expect to be regarded. Post with the respect that you would want for yourself. (“If you wouldn't say it to your grand-mother, you probably shouldn't say it on the Internet.”) “Voy” and “Voyager” are a privilege, not an entitlement, and the availability of this forum is a gift. Let's all behave accordingly. We “had our moments” at G's... we surely did, but for the most part, we kept it as respectable as could possibly be (in spite of what some of the residents of Washingtonville may have had to say or might still say today). Let's maintain that tradition.
Enough of this! Enough said. As always, I hope you'll all feel comfortable enough to get in touch with me if you have any suggestions or recommendations for the site. And by the way, if there's a song from the Juke-Box that's missing, please let me know and, if it's at all possible, I'll add it. And if you have any photos or some other information you'd like to contribute, get in touch. This isn't a “stagnant” page, it's not just “mine”... it belongs to ALL of us, and you're certainly more than welcome to contribute, so please do!
So for now, as always, I'll be seeing you... at the bar, a table, a booth, in the “parlour”, at the pool, by the fire-place at the “Stone House” or wandering the meadow by the bungalows.
Post-date: 20 January 2019
45 years ago today, the music that once filled the parlour, the dance floor, the bar and the back terrace went silent as the juke-box blazed, it's vinyl contents, "45s", records, melted in the heat and burst into flame... to become nothing but ash in the inferno.
45 years ago... longer time than most who read this have aged. And yet, for some, it all could well have happened 45 minutes ago, the memories remain so vivid, the pain of loss, still so deep... a wound that never heals.
They tried, and as memories linger, continue to breathe the air of this Earth, they failed to eradicate Mr. G's Roundhill Lodge because there are still those of us who remember and who will take our memories far, far beyond this life... but we'll leave behind a history, noted in music, written word, and on the ether of infinity... immortality.
It's too late now to harbour anger. Anger will never return those days, those nights, the happy people who danced and sang, fell into love. There's no sense being angry. And for most, if not all of us who keep the memo ry of those times in our hearts, any anger has simply become a little room of melancholy, furnished with nostalgia, and maintained by love.
45 years ago they managed to bring G's down... burned the house, silenced the music, dispersed the people who loved not only the place but the proprietor and all the staff, but they failed to eradicate it completely, and here's the proof, still alive, even as these words here are typed and posted.
All are invited to "visit" still. And the juke-box is very much present to enjoy, right here. Hopefully it will keep memories alive for those who lived those days, and hopefully the music will create new memories for those who just appreciate the great music from a time now long gone.
I have to add here that, several months ago, I had the most incredible opportunity any person could ever hope for: to be re-united with somebody who not only holds my heart becuase of G's, but for so, SO many more reasons than I can mention here and now. We talked, hugged, we've kept in touch since. And as we've spoken over the months, the delight to learn that others from those days... 45 years ago, are still very much alive, some doing very well, others just under the streses of "time". But we ARE still wandering around this old planet! It's a comfort to know that I'm not "the last". We might not be in touch, might not get to see each-other, but some-how it's a warm feeling just to know that some-where, "out there", on this old rock we call "Earth", some-body else is still ticking the time away too. Maybe one day, somebody will see this site... enjoy the music again... re-kindle old, fond memories.
Meanwhile, there's another place where G's is still very much up, running, alive and well... on "social media" and everybody's most certainly invited, free, encouraged and will be most warmly welcome to join in. Please, if you care to or have the time, come...
Meanwhile, as for those of us who are now dancing in the night sky above, we who are still Earth-bound remember you... Just know that... "Someday... we'll be together."
Post-date: 12 September 2018
But I'd be remiss if nothing else, if I didn't pass this bit of information on to others, especially those who are interested not only in G's but other matters-relevant to the matter. (I'm NOT going to get into posting all sorts of acronyms, especially the alphabetic mess that's come into common usage lately! Firstly, life itself is complicated enough as it is, but secondly, and probably most imoprtant to me is the fact that I disagree with all of the nonsensical "break-downs". In 1969 we did NOT... WE did NOT stand for the rights of others to dilute and disparage the causes of housing, employment and the general ability to simply go on about our lives and existences. But never mind that. That's "politics" and this site isn't. I continue on topic.)
Since Mr. Wilde has become the international symbol and spokesman for those of us who are wise enough to keep well-educated and informed, these resouces continue to be an almost never-ending source of some of the most diverse information on his life and times. Fascinating... to an absolutely broad audience, and really, just an incredible joy to browse.
The author, John Cooper, is a researcher, author, and documentary historian who has spent 30 years in the study of Oscar Wilde. And, beyond all doubt, the results of his work are nothing short of impressive, maybe even astounding.
So, it's my great honour and pleasure to list, link, suggest and recommend the following resouces. (And, if you'd be so kind, if you correspond with Mr. Cooper, please do mention that you found this information here, on this site. I'd be most appreciative.)
OSCAR WILDE IN AMERICA - Blog
OSCAR WILDE IN AMERICA - Site
OSCAR WILDE IN NEW YORK - Site
See/visit them one... See/visit them all! They really are a pleasure.
Post-date: 2 September 2018
I know and understand that many of you have and have held Twitter accounts and have probably enjoyed them. I, myself, started with Twitter in 2011 (and, by the way, that account has been "locked" as well so I'm all the more suspicious of having G's Twitter account dealt this blow... could it be some sort of "tracking" and "association" that Twitter is now engaged in, I wonder). Over the years I've run into a few "glitches" and "misunderstandings" but over-all, for all that while, I enjoyed "meeting" many people from around the globe and exchanging ideas and ideologies with them. Sometimes, we would disagree, and sometimes we were civil enough to simply debate, often agreeing to disagree and continue discussing and debating other topics. It was what I'd hoped G's presence on Twitter might accomplish as well. But, obviously, intelligent discourse is not what Twitter wants and more obviously, it's something Twitter find reprehensible, and punishable... worthy of, in their esteem and opinion, silencing, very much like dictators and tyrants of history.
Well, I, personally, have had, in my own life-time, much more of this terrorising than I am able to handle and with that said, I've decided to simply abandon the Twitter account. It won't be monitored, and I, personally, will no longer participate in it. It will be left alone until such time when Twitter ultimately deletes it. May it take valuable space on their servers.
THANKFULLY we still have our account that is very much alive and well, AND UN-CENSORED, at Minds.com and there, all are free to join in on any and every topic wished. Minds is "open source", controlled, as it were, in the most part, by dedicated users and participants who are, for the most part, guardians of the right to freedom of expression (with-in, of course, legal parameters). So all visitors here are invited to come to:
Post-date: 2 January 2018
44 years and I can still see Brenda and Pat Rainey dancing to "Love Train", George at the bar, and I can still hear Jasper's bangles counting the beats, accentuating the rhythm of the songs playing on the juke-box.
There's been hardly a day that passes over time when I haven't wondered how many of us are still remembering with me, over the miles and the years. I've learnt that many of us are "gone" now, all too many of the "regulars". Time... it takes us away, apart, but it also leaves behind some who, like me, keep the memories alive, strong, deep, vivid, in mind, heart and soul. One day, I know, I'll pass along, out into time and space, and I'll take with me, all my own memories. But I'll leave behind, this little memorial, hoping that if there's a "place" we "go to" after this life, for me, that place will be the spirit of Mr. G's Round Hill Lodge, and I'll go back to that dance floor, juke-box, and all the people I knew as my "Best Friends", my Lovers, my "Family".
Someday... we'll be together.
But for now, for today, for this year, this 2018, I want to wish all of you who read this, whether you know or knew G's or not, the very best that these times have to offer and can give. More than prosperity, best health and such, I send out my hopes and wishes for *Contentment*, true happiness, peace, serenity of mind, heart and soul. And with all sincerity, whole-heartedly, I send you my thanks. I'm grateful that I was truly blessed with the privilege of having been a part of Mr. G's and that Family of good people. Yes, sure, we all had "our moments" when we probably weren't what most would think of as humanity's "best". Admittedly, not EVERYthing was ALWAYS what could be thought of as "perfect". But HEY! We ALL were, if nothing else... HUMAN. And for the most part, we were Loving Humans, be it for the moment, the day, or how-ever long or short the time. We were Loving... we Loved... one-another, each-other, whom-ever, for what-ever reason. Some of us held onto that Love too... over all the years, never forgetting, never abandoning it. Some of us are still carrying that light with us, through each and every day we continue to take the next breath, and others have taken it with them, "out there", on-ward to where-ever it is that Creation takes us when we leave this place here.
Anyway... again, to you all, each and EVERY one, here's to another year, a fresh new start, a new opportunity. They say it's never too late to try new things. Some say it's never too late to write or re-write your life. This is a new year... an opportunity to start writing or re-writing the "Journal" that will become your life. Hopefully, for those who were at G's then, whether you choose to write or re-write, G's will always be a part of your manuscript. I've got 62 years of compositions, essays, prose, epistles, a great many pages to my own "Journal" and every one has, some-where, a little bit of G's, and those whom I cherish and hold most dear. It's a pleasure, a privilege and an honour to be able to do so.
Remember: We might be a "dying breed", but we're not ALL dead... yet.
"Let's stay together..."
Post Date: Wednesday, 15 March 2017: 01.59
On the off chance that, one day, some-how, some-body puts in a search for one of us, MAYBE this page will appear. There were 9 of us, over 40 years ago, who used to get together really rather frequently. I remember us well. I remember "then" very well. And this past week, I was compelled to look for us, in the hopes of getting in touch with those I thought might still be around. Sadly, well, here; I happened to have stumbled upon what I thought was a valid e-mail address of one of the remaining, and with a burst of HOPE, I composed a little message. When I was done typing, I clicked "SEND" and as I reviewed my composition, my "INBOX" registered a new "in-coming". As I feared: Delivery Failure. The address couldn't "be found".
So I'm just going to post it here. It's got the list of names of the other 8. Six are now "gone", that much has been confirmed. One can verifiably be declared "existent" (or else I shouldn't be posting this). Hopefully BOTH of the other 2 will find this, or somebody who knows of or remembers any of us will find it and post a reply or response.
To that end, the original e-mail of this morning:
Speedy Old Man!
It's been a LOT of years, about 13 as memory serves. Haven't seen you since Bubby's funeral. And even then, it was briefly.
For some reason (let's call it "Old Age" and have done with it then) memories have been crashing heavily these past few weeks and curiosity got the best (and the worst) of me. Since insomnia's taken hold, I've had a lot more time to gather what few wits I can still claim to be mine and in the late hours, when the world is tucked away, I started to do some wandering, as it were, along the many paths of the Internet. Well... seems I happened upon a place FULL of names that have been most of my heart and soul for the greatest part of my life-time. And, so it would be, those parts are being torn away, and painfully, I have to say in all honesty.
It was purely by chance that I came across Bernadette's name in my searchings, mere months a tad too late.
This evening (morning, really), yours appeared! And this e-mail address, in a posting you'd made on the "Record Online" web-site. It's dated 2/16/2006. Well sir, after another look at the 3 feet of snow on the ground (Winter Storm "Stella" is pouring her wrath on us today) and the blustering snow that still falling, I decided to take a chance that this is still your e-mail address and that it's actually you, THE Speedy Burns of Lander Street.
As it appears, of the list of folks I've held nearest, dearest and deepest in my heart through my life-time...
I can vouch for only myself a the moment as still walking this old world. I'm HOPING that this e-mail will reach YOU at this point, and if it does and you reply, then I'll know that there are TWO of us left of the group of 9 I recall from "The Top" of old Downing Park and of course, Mr. G's of Washingtonville.
This said, I can't speak about Dennis. I've looked for him too. Of course I have. They say we never forget our "First True Love" and well, it would take more than one e-mails than Hillary Clinton ever deleted to say even a small portion of how I've held Dennis in my heart and soul over these 46 years. There are several mentions of him on-line, and 5 or 6 phone numbers. I've tried all that I could find to get in touch with him, but they're either not in service or some other sort of nonsense. Bottom line: As much as it frightens me, I wonder how he is... and "if" he is.
The news of Bernadette, I have to admit, has taken quite a toll. Yes, I know and admit that I never suspected or expected that we'd all some-how bump or run into each-other as we all approached the age of 90 or something. But in my remaining silliness, I've always taken a bit of comfort in thinking that, aside from Bubby, Ronny and Dolphy, this old world wasn't exactly "empty"... that some-where on this crusty old planet, SOME (if not MOST) of us were still roaming about (probably wreaking havoc on somebody... as we did oh, so many years ago). Well, as in my heart and mind I meandered through the list... when I thought that out of 9 people, only ONE was verifiably breathing, this place called "Earth" became quite large and quite empty. To put it mildly in perspective: Painfully empty.
So tonight (this morning... since it's 1.30am) I'm taking it as a sign from the Fates that I've stumbled upon a way to contact you and taking a chance with this e-mail... the chance that there are TWO of us left... and if you know of recent news of Dennis, maybe THREE.
Honestly, I'm not looking for anything other or else or more. I mean, at my age now (being hauled along, kicking, punching and cussing all the way, I mean to tell you) of 62 years, it's more curiosity than much else that I hope to settle. I've been spending an amazingly lot of time at G's (in my mind, heart, soul and with music) lately. Those were particularly dear days to me, and as one person said, once upon a time: Had it not been for G's, I wouldn't be typing this insanity at this moment. Greater Truth has never been uttered. (As you see, I have an e-mail address for it AND have been working on a "Memorial Blog" of sorts in the hopes that somebody will find it and those remaining can perhaps, get in touch with one-another.)
So, Mr. Burns, if I haven't offended you (or even if I have) by sending this, if you have the time, the gumption, the inclination, know that you'd do an aging soul a great kindness if you'd drop a line in reply. "Hello". "Who the Hell are you?" "Why are you bothering me?" "Go away old man!" Anything of the sort or kind. And, if you DO know of or about Dennis, that would being a most welcome and wonderful peace to this old heart.
I hope, with ALL that I am and have, that this finds you living well, comfortably, safe and Loved. And since you've been kind enough to get to this point here in my ramblings, thank you.
Oh... and PS: You know... I STILL believe strongly and sternly that you DID win 1st prize in the "Queen of Hearts" competition in 1972 (or was it 1973? I'm old... I recall events, but the dates aren't too clear of late).
With Love and Respect Always....
Post Date: Monday, 30 January 2017: 18.18
First thing in the car, start the engine and the radio. Music. Everything back then (and even today) was accompanied by music on the "AM radio dial". "FM" was reserved for parents and grand-parents. "Easy Listening", as it was called, instrumental versions of dance and romance, set in the scenes and era of the 1930's, the 1940's and the VERY early 1950's. But this evening called for a more contemporary sound-track. The day-light was gone, the atmosphere, dreary. We were on the road destined to no-where in particular, we were alone and there were lyrics to be sung and beats to be bounced to. We listened and, when possible, sang to the radio as we rolled along the dark roads, down, along, to where-ever the roads and whims would take us. Meadow Hill Road to Meadow Avenue and onward to the South Plank Road where it met the park, the pond, the lake, not that we'd stop there this evening, but there we were, at an intersection... with choices of directions... and as we rolled, the windshield wipers flapping, sometimes in rhythm with the tunes on the radio, and other times in contrast. We talked about nothing and everything that came to mind.
"So. Where should we go?" I asked, not having a destination and looking for one, just for the sake of having a purpose for the drive.
A few places were brought up, none of which either of us really wanted to go to, none of which either of us had any particular desire to see or be at. Drop in on somebody? Not at this hour. To the local shopping mall? We'd left the house to get "out into the open". No sense in being locked in a shopping mall that would be crowded in this weather, and even then, would soon close. A pause, a few moments of silence and then... some-how, Dewey suggested "G's", "The Lodge". I'd never been there, heard about it. Wanted, very much to see it. Had only the vaguest idea where it was. And Dennis had told me that he didn't want me to go, did NOT want be to be there. Well, THAT, in and of itself, was all the more, if not THE most important cause and reason for me to want to go. And now, here, I had the car, a tank of gas, somebody who knew how to get there... Nothing could be more opportune! Yes! "G's"! Let's DO go. Why not? I didn't tell Dewey that I'd been all but forbidden to go. I tried to appear nonchalant about it, barely curious, and stifling a rush of exhilarated anxiousness I pulled an almost bored expression and looking directly out through the rain-splattered wind-shield I mustered up a bored...
"Do you know how to get there?" doing my best to sound only slightly interested.
"Sure. Of course I do." he assured me.
"OK. Where do I head first?"
"Washingtonville." he said, all too simply.
OK... I knew how to get to the village, some distance away, off to the South-West. The truth was, I'd tried to find "Mr. G's" once or twice before but was never successful. I couldn't imagine where it could possibly be hidden since the village wasn't at all so large. It was a typical rural little village with all of the businesses located on the main through-fare, and the residents either on that road or just off to either side. A rather typical little rural New York State village. But each time I'd gone in search, I'd driven into, through and out of town, unsuccessful. Ah, but THIS time, it would be different because, here, beside me, was somebody who'd been there many times already and who knew, beyond any doubt, the very way and location. My heart bumped with excitement and anticipation and I did all I possibly could to appear almost un-caring.
From where we were, on the South Plank, it would be a bit out of the way and take a bit longer than a direct route from where we'd begun, but it was raining, it was rather dark, it was a dull and dreary sort of evening and there wasn't any need to rush. I just set my internal map and drove along, as if it were just another trip... oh... to the market or some-where of really no particular interest that was more a necessity than... and "adventure"!
The South Plank became the DuPont , the DuPont to the Wisner. Across Broadway, the "Strook" bridge over the creek and at the flashing traffic light at the "T", a quick right turn here and we were on the Little Britain Road and heading out into the true "rurals". Back then, in the yester-years, there was precious little in the way of inhabitants once out-side the villages. The road ahead meandered past some acres of what had been, many years prior, old farm-land, along-side the reservoir, and then through scruff and wood-lands, often for what seemed to be miles. Just a lonely traveller (or two), and the untouched world lay before and after. But it was all familiar to me, to us, to those who'd traversed these old roads many times, en route from town to town. The only un-familiar at this moment, was the destination at hand.
Dewey gave directions and I never questioned , just followed along. We came to the intersection of Little Britain and the 208... left turn onto the 208 and heading toward the village of Washingtonville, some distance ahead on yet another road through the "nothingness". The closer we got to town, the more the anticipation welled inside me. But outwardly? I drove along, like a dutiful husband taking the family on an other-wise mundane road trip, singing along with the radio, mostly to dispel the energy rushing round and bouncing about my insides. I was a child heading, full-on, to the "forbidden land"... and it was thrilling! Darkness. Rain. Almost empty roads. "Outlaws" on the move! Pilgrims on the way to the "holy land".
(I have to add here, that it MUST have been quite the experience then, because today, 4 decades after the fact, the journey runs through my mind like an old film of a travel-log. Some of the moments have been recorded with deep, rich detail. "Memorable Moments" in a life-time!)
As we approached the village, the road-side sign read "Speed Limit 30". "30!?" I thought in silence. "I don't have the time or patience to do 30. Time's running out here and the miles ahead aren't getting any shorter. And I don't want enough time to pass where there's going to be a change of mind... like Dewey deciding that we didn't have to or shouldn't go to G's!"
"Slow down here." Dewey almost admonished. "Go 29 or 30 but nothing over 30."
Well, OK. Not sure why, but if you insist.
(Some time later I came to learn the reason for the insistence. Stories and accounts abounded of travellers both local and from a-far, rambling into the village limits at speeds of 31 miles per hour and being stopped by the local gendarme - police - for... "speeding". When it was admitted that the purpose of the drive was to get to "G's", the reactions and results varied: heavy fines, traffic tickets, a "hold-over" at the local "hospitality house", better known as the "police station". Hold-overs could run any-where from an hour or some to over-night, depending on the intentions of the arresting party and general condition of the driver of the "new car in town". It could also vary depending on the place of origin and residence of the motor vehicle operator. Come from some-where "local" and one might get away with a lecture on obedience of the law, a quick stop in front of the desk clerk at the police station. Come from too far away? HOURS of waiting, followed by an interrogation and all lasting just long enough to dissuade the diver from continuing on-ward. Argue with anybody and "obstruction of justice" was sufficient cause for a nightly stay in the accommodations offered by the town's tax-payers... a night in jail. The town's folk were never quite happy with the existence of "Mister G's", even though it was located well far enough out-side of town. They had a blatantly obvious abhorrence of each and every one who visited or frequented the place. And their "law enforcement" was their blockade, their "arm across the road". If they couldn't stop the traffic, they'd do their best to dissuade travellers, make the journey as difficult as possible, whether passing through town caused inconvenience to them or not. So, those of us who made the trip on a regular, weekly basis learnt well, the OLD back-roads where "authorities" had as much reason to explain their presence as we, the pilgrims had. The old roads were circuitous, but, in reality, were more a pleasure for their emptiness, serenity and assurance of arriving unscathed, un-delayed. They served the same purpose on the return trips as well, to be sure. Who was to know that this situation in town would, short years later, be, in great part, a major contributing factor in the demise of our place of pleasure, enjoyment, escape, respite and retreat? But for right now... back into the car, on the road, we've got a bit farther to go.)
I drove along, watching the road ahead, the side roads, the little parking areas at the now-closed little businesses AND the speedometer on the dash, keeping my foot on the accelerator only enough and no more than necessary to maintain a constant and unvarying 30mph. If, heaven forbid, the grade of the road caused even the slightest increase in our speed, I took every necessary and available precaution to keep from so much as tapping the brake pedal because, touching that would ignite the brilliant red of tail-lights, indicating that yes, I was, in fact, according to local points of view... "speeding". And THAT was NOT going to happen. "Draw NO attention" was the rule. And forward, on-ward we moseyed, radio volume set at terribly low, law-abiding sojourners, "just passing through" on our way to... any-where BUT G's. Hey, no problem... not for me, anyway.
Through the village, to the left, over the river and out onto the open road, volume on the radio up to "entertainment" and into the darkness, through the still falling, gentle rain. Success! Unscathed. And ever on-ward. And I still had no idea how far, how long we still had to go. But undaunted, we travelled along... up, down, round the corners, past the farm-lands, through the wood-lands, until...
"Up here, make a right." Dewey directed, pointing out through the wind-shield, toward what appeared to be nothing other than... woods.
I slowed the car, looking intently for any sign of a building, a parking lot, a gravel road, a paved road, some place onto or into which to "make a right". There was nothing, as far as I could see and then, there it was, to the right, a dirt road. On it's left was a rather battered wooden sign. To the left and right of the road were the remnants of some kind of once-stately stone-work which now, looked more like neatly piled, local stones and rocks, almost invisible behind the growth of saplings, tall grass and moss. As I turned off the main road and onto the dirt I could see the old sign more clearly through the rain-spotted wind-shield. In dark letters it read "Mister G's Round Hill Lodge". "But", I recall thinking, "it's on a dirt road? Where does this old, dirt road lead to?" I didn't ask because, well, I trusted that Dewey knew where we were going and he had no reason to mislead me, and, of course, there was the sign. So? Over the muddy old road, trying to dodge the pot-holes, some of which were considerably large, trying to avoid the puddles, some of which were about the size of small ponds. THIS was, if nothing else, interesting? OK. Yes... "interesting" it was.
Well then. Since we were obviously approaching the end of our journey here, for some reason I felt compelled to open a dialogue, partly to keep a conversation going, partly to keep myself aware of the surroundings, and partly because I suddenly realised: Dennis might be there when we arrive and, considering his "prohibitions", having told me, in no uncertain terms that he didn't want me coming out here, there might be, at some point, a... perhaps... un-tidy confrontation when I was discovered... IF I was discovered. I felt some sort of obligation to fore-warn my comrade. After all, I didn't deceive him, didn't coerce him into divulging sensitive and secure information, I didn't suggest that we come here... but then, I didn't say "No." when he brought the place up as a possible destination. It would be "rude" and perhaps "inconsiderate" of me to not inform him of the entire situation and circumstances that might surround my... "arrival".
"Well, now that we're here, I think I should tell you that I've been told that I'm not supposed to be here." I began, simply as a matter of fact.
"What? Who told you you shouldn't be here? Why not?" Dewey asked, with only a mild trace of discomfort in his voice.
"Well..." I tried to make my own voice sound as unaffected as I possibly could, whilst, in my chest, my heart began thumping about, almost fearing that I'd hear "TURN THE CAR AROUND! I'M NOT TAKING YOU IN THERE! " and quietly, I continued "I don't know 'why', but Dennis has told me, a few times, that he doesn't want me coming here. That's why I've never been. He talks about the place. You talk about the place. Bernadette talks about the place. They all say that it's 'in Washingtonville' but nobody would ever tell me exactly where or how to get here. I don't know 'why'. But that's why, when you mentioned coming, I just drove along."
"Why didn't you tell me before?" I could sense a bit of tension in the tone of the enquiry.
"If I told you before, would we have gotten this far?" I HAD to ask... more just to keep the chat moving along as the car rolled up and along, swerving here and there to dodge the pot-holes (and the bullet, as it were). I was figuring that the longer I could keep the talk going, the farther along I could get on this single-lane old road, and the closer to My destination I'd get.
"Probably not. No. I mean, I don't want to get into any fights because of this. So if anybody asks me, I'm gonna tell them that you found out how to get here and decided to bring me."
"Fair enough. But for now, thank you. Really. Thank you. This means a lot to me. I don't care what I might find or find out here. I just wanted to see the place. That's all. And I'll go along with what-ever you tell anybody. I'm just grateful to you. Thank you." And I was sincere, truthful, in every syllable that I dragged out for as long as I possibly could.
"Thank you for that. And you're welcome, I guess."
Resigned to the fate at hand and what-ever Fate might toss at us, at our arrival, we continued, listening to the radio... Up a hill, round a bend, into the darkness of the woods, through the mud, through the rain, into the night and at the crest of the hill, a turn in the road and... open space! In front of me, a neat stone house. Farther up a bit of a hill and to my left... a large, old, peeling white LARGE, plantation-like house with a full-length porch along the front. The road forked to the right as well and through the rain and darkness, I could just barely see a row of several bungalows, just there, in the short distance. "Mister G's Round Hill Lodge"! I'd ARRIVED! WELL DAMN! I'D ARRIVED!
"Which way do I go?" I choked up and out from my chest.
"Over there." Dewey pointed toward the front of the large, white house. "There should be parking over there." (It was raining. It was a week-night. There was a space. I drove to and in. Put the car in "park", turned the engine off... and waited...)
"Well, we might as well go in, since we've come all this way." Dewey said, almost cautiously, as if with some reservation.
I didn't say a word as I pulled the key from the ignition and grabbed for the door. He said "go in" and I wasn't going to put any time in between "go in" and be in, time for a possible change of mind. I was "IN"!
We walked across the gravel lot and up to the old house. Muffled music came from inside. The bass rumbled the air, my bones, my gut and head. Dance music. I'd never heard the song before but the beat was very danceable. ("Popcorn"... by "Hot Butter") The stone house at the fork in the old dirt road that crawled for what felt like miles, the bungalows, this new music, the fact that is was all WELL off the main road, it was exotic and almost surreal to me. I was excited. I was anxious. I was almost in awe. And THEN... I was trepidatious. I had NO idea what the place looked like inside, how large, how small. After I walked through that door, how much space would I have, if need be, to avoid being seen? If necessary, could I keep hidden from Dennis, if he were there? I supposed the more important question was, WAS he there? Hey! I didn't drive all this way out here, through the rain, up that old dirt road, I didn't get this far, this close to just get here, get out of the car, to turn round and go back. NO! I had curiosities. I had questions. I HAD to go inside. No turning back...
A bit shaky, and in silence, I walked forward, toward what then seemed an immense old place, and still surrounded by the music and my excitement, climbed the old wooden stairs, up toward the lights and onto the full-length, grand, old porch. Dewey walked in front of me (since, to him, this was all familiar and to me, un-charted territory that could as well be the moon or some other hemisphere). With confidence, he opened the aged white door and together, we entered.
It was strange and yet comfortable, this place. It more resembled somebody's farm home than a "lodge". The air, the "atmosphere" was warm, considerably warmer than the night we'd just come in from, almost "heavy" with body heat from all of the people and activity. And immediately I noticed the scent of "Love's Lemon", a body spray that was popular at the time and all so, and very familiar to me. VERY familiar... to me.
From where I stood in the entrance foyer, directly in front of me there was quite the grand old stairway that led up to a second floor where I couldn't see much more than a hall-way,but I rather knew, from the windows on the front of the house, that there were rooms up there, and I surmised that, since this was a "resort", a "lodge", that that was where the "guests" stayed when they came to visit. To my left, a room that seemed a "sitting room" or "parlour". There were upholstered chairs arranged about the walls and a sofa in the middle. People sat, laughing and talking and having drinks. Ahead, just beyond the stair-way and to the right, there was another room. From it came the music and the sounds of people laughing, talking, singing. Dewey walked toward the back and as I followed, not wanting to lose my own way, the music on the juke-box changed:
"You Don't Own Me", wafting audibly but invisibly on the heavy, warm and slightly humid, scented air. pouring out from the darkness beyond the stairs and the un-seeable room back there. "When I said I needed you, you said you would always stay. It wasn't me who changed but you and now you've gone away. Don't you see that now you've gone, and I'm left here on my own, that I have to follow you and beg you to come home..." And as the voice and music from the juke-box raised into a roaring crescendo, another voice joined in, a familiar, wonderful, beautiful voice that pulled my heart, dispelled my trepidations and nervousness, and held me carefully, comfortably, caringly as it carried me, body, heart and soul toward its source...
"Zing went the strings of my heart."
Thank you Dewey.
Friday, 27 January 2017: 13.05
It wasn't easy getting the Twitter account up and running this morning. I don't know why. Twitter kept sending "notices", blocking and suspending the account even though I followed all the instructions. Verifying e-mail accounts. Verifying telephone number. Over and over again and again. You'd think this was all some kind of subversiveness, a plot to over-throw something or somebody. And yet, I see what "others" appear on Twitter, and other social media and to think... G's was a place of happiness, music, dancing, romance (and yes, admittedly, some "seemy" moments & events... but NEVER violent).
I guess this world just doesn't have the capacity or desire for anything "positive", "happy"... just as those people, 43 years ago, were determined to destroy the very same.
Oh well... Thus far, the Twitter account is up, running, following others, has others following it, and the time-line/posts are running here as well. It's been a bit over an hour now... The best I can do is hang tightly to the hope that it will remain open, up, running AND that others will find it and participate. And more-so, hopefully, others who were there and remember will be able to re-connect, from all around the planet.
I have a bit of "hope" left in my old and ever-aging heart... I won't believe that I'm alone... the only "survivor".
Meanwhile, here's an invitation to come and join: